We didn’t even realize there was a National Wildlife Refuge nearby until George saw a sign on the way to the RV park. We’d only driven 60 miles that morning so after we had lunch, we headed to the Visitors Center.
Merritt Island NWR shares a common boundary with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (think Cape Canaveral). The long barrier island is on the Atlantic Flyway, so there are lots of birds!
The volunteer at the Visitor Center sent us out onto the short boardwalk out back (we saw a screech owl in a tree hole, but it was too shady to get a decent picture). Then we went down the road a piece (maybe I’ve been in the south too long—that just popped out!) to Peacocks Pocket road out along the dike. It’s not very long, but it’s super-narrow and twisty but there’s a lot to see.
On one side is the Indian River Lagoon and on the other through a marsh with lots of little hammocks. We saw several kinds of herons and egrets, stilts, ibis, osprey, red-winged blackbirds, plus lots more.
Since we’d started so late in the day, we decided to forego the other driving and hiking trails the lady had suggested, and headed north up Hwy 1, then south on A1A to Canaveral National Seashore*.
On the way back, we stopped at the Manatee Observation Deck by the Haulover Canal. (Trick question: Did we see any manatees? Answer: Of course not!!!—but the folks that were just leaving had seen two while they were there!)
*There's a separate blog post for Canaveral NS.