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Daytona: Wildlife and NASCAR

A beautiful pink Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja in flight over a mangrove swamp
Roseate Spoonbill

An American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) wades in the water looking for food.
White Ibis

Last February, Tracy and I went to see the Great America Race. As I’ve mentioned before we always try to hit a few wildlife refuges when we travel. Our trip to the Daytona 500 was no different.

Anytime we travel we research the area. When we found Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida, we knew we had to go. A forty-five-minute drive from Daytona, the wildlife refuge shares the island with Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. We knew it was going to be a great day as soon as we pulled off the main road and into the refuge. An American Alligator was sunning himself right on the side of the road. Not something you see every day in North Texas!

The refuge is home to many water birds that we had never seen before. Glossy and White Ibis were everywhere. Herons of all kinds seemed to be around every corner. Alligators slept in the Florida sun, oblivious to all the photographers and sightseers. We decided to take a trail down along one of the canals. A very large alligator was sunning himself on the far side. As we stopped to take in the sight of this magnificent creature, a flock of Roseate Spoonbills flew over. I turned, looked up, brought my camera to my face, and snapped two pictures. The picture “Spoonbill Soaring” at the top of the page is one of those pictures.

In honor of the 60th running of the Daytona 500 this weekend, I would like to share just a few of the images from last year’s trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in the beautiful state of Florida.

A large American Alligator soaks up the warm afternoon sun while relaxing on a small piece of land .
American Alligator

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Until next time, keep the sun behind you and the birds in view


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