Jean and I love to visit Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on a fairly regular basis and today we were blessed to be able to see an abundance of wildlife. As you can see above we were able to spot eagles as soon as we drove into the park, and later saw a huge variety of birds and as you will see below, we even got to see a bobcat crossing the road right as we were leaving.
You want to get to the Refuge as early in the morning as possible to get the best chance to see a variety of animals roaming and flying about. The best place to see the wildlife in the refuge is on the Black Point Wildlife Drive which is a 7 mile meandering one way trail through the more remote parts of the park. It will take approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete the drive depending on what you see and how fast you drive. Most people (including Jean and I) creep along at about 5 miles an hour to make sure they don’t miss anything that might be hiding in the bushes or just under the swampy areas on either side of the narrow road.
The drive used to be free, but now requires a $5 per car entry fee. You can also pay $15 for an annual pass or use your America The Beautiful Pass that gets you in to all federally managed parks and recreation areas. We used our pass we purchased last August for our vacation out to Arizona last October.
Young Eagle (we spotted a total of 4 during this trip)
Of all the times we have been up to the Merritt Island national Wildlife Refuge, this one was one of the best because of the variety and sheer numbers of birds and other creatures we we able to see. The highlight was probably seeing a bobcat cross the road right in front of us as we stopped a second time to see an eagle that had perched itself on a telephone pole right at the entrance to the refuge. I was taking pictures of the eagle and just happened to look away for a second and there was the bobcat. I have been in Florida for 44 years and have never seen a bobcat in the wild.
The pictures could have been much better, but I was so startled to see it and I thought it was a dog at first and didn’t really have time to focus the camera. I just pointed it and shot 3 pictures one after another. I now know how people taking pictures of Bigfoot feel when those photos always come out blurry. At least I know the Florida bobcat exists and you can see the pictures to prove it.