Tuesday, May 20
1:00 - 5:00 PM
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Tour
The 140,000 acre Refuge is an overlay of the Kennedy Space Center and is managed in a partnership between the National Park Service (Canaveral National Seashore) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge).
The tour will start at the visitor center to enjoy an interactive display of the refuge's wildlife as Merritt Island is home to over 330 species of birds. May is past the peak migratory bird season but is still a good time for seeing shorebirds which use the refuge as a stop on their return to their summer birding grounds. Resident birds such as Snowy egrets, great blue herons, white ibis, reddish egrets and roseate spoonbills are nesting on the refuge and can be seen in large numbers through early summer.
During the tour, you will learn about management of both uplands and wetlands. The refuge manages the uplands with prescribed fires and the wetlands by manipulating water levels. Bring your binoculars and wear comfortable shoes for hiking. The tour will end at a manatee viewing area at Haulover Canal.
A Guided Tour Through One of Florida's Wildlife Management Lands, Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
Join Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission area biologists along a vehicle tour through the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The WMA traverses a lovely tapestry of natural communities, creating ample opportunity to observe wildlife, wildflowers, lush cabbage palm hammocks, and extensive stretches of freshwater marshes.
The WMA tour will take you through large acreages of mixed wetlands and uplands and will make frequent stops along the way. The location on the St. Johns River, creates outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities. There will be an opportunity to venture the unpaved Power Line Road, which runs east and west, eventually ending at the St. Johns River. This raised roadbed provides excellent views as it passes through sand cordgrass marshes.
The tour will also offer opportunities to view vultures perched along the powerline stanchions while herons, egrets, ibises, limpkins, and wood storks regularly congregate in ditches and wetlands of this WMA. Raptors such as bald eagles, ospreys, red-shouldered hawks, owls, and kestrels nest and hunt here. Rails, ducks, and purple gallinules frequent the marsh surrounding the St. Johns River. Flatwoods on the north and south end of the property are good for viewing brown-headed nuthatches, northern bobwhites, and warblers. This area offers miles of rustic trails, which provide opportunities to spot migratory songbirds. White-tailed deer and wild turkey prefer woodland edges of the WMA or are attracted to the areas. clearings. Swallow-tailed kites are a spring and summer specialty usually spotted in flight over open areas. Autumn and spring blooms in wetlands and roadside ditches attract numerous species of butterflies.
- Don't forget your binoculars!
- One field trip is included in the registration fee
- Buses depart Cocoa Beach Hilton Hotel at 1:00pm and return at 5:00pm
- Snacks and water will be provided
- You will be notified of cancellations (except due to weather) in advance of the conference