Catching Up Is Hard To Do: Part 2

June 8, 2019

The title of this and the previous blog proved to be much more prophetic than I dreamed! It’s been a long hiatus, brought on by a conspiracy of circumstances. Let’s close out the previous year before we delve into some new and exciting adventures!

Toward the end of last year, as I was planning to meet with Annie and getting ready for another holiday season, I got an invitation from Mitchell Harris to help lead a team for the Cocoa Christmas Bird Count! This was exciting for me, and it felt good that someone with the birding caliber of Mitchell Harris wanted me to help out.

I assembled a team – Camille, Sarah, and Bella – and got my maps and lists organized. The dry run Camille and I did with Mitchell beforehand helped hone our plans and we were more than ready for the CBC day.

A shopping mall seen across a still pond.
The Cocoa CBC circle includes some build up areas, like the Merritt Square Mall, but park space is still often close by.

Our section of the CBC circle was mainly urban and high-density suburban, with a few parks. Getting the timing right for the birds we wanted to “get” was a little tricky, but we managed to work out a reasonable route with time enough to spend at high-probability sites like Rotary Park, Veteran’s Park, and a roadside rookery. The Merritt Island Rookery had so many hundreds of birds streaming in as the sun set, it was one part comical and one part awe inspiring. Bella was cracking herself up trying to call in the flocks upon flocks of species coming in, as I struggled to keep up the count on eBird!

A Savannah Sparrow perching among sparse Mangrove leaves.
I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to take photos, but I thought this Savannah Sparrow posed nicely!

I’ll post the checklists below. Feel free to map out where we went and how we did.

Rotary Park at Merritt Island (at dawn):
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50673168

Courtenay Pkwy including vacant lots:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50674223
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50674280
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50674354
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50674560

Merritt Square Mall:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50674624

Veterans’ Park:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50677314

Merritt Island Airport:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50678160

Merritt Island Causeway:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50678299

Crooked Mile Road:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50680287

Georgiana Cemetery:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50681013

Rotary Park at Merritt Island (afternoon):
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50683421

Osteen Park:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50683421

Waterway Park:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50686162

Kenzel Court:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50686421

Sawyer Avenue:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50687824

Abandoned Development, Tropical Trail:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50688634

Lewis Carroll Avenue:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50690381

Merritt Island Rookery:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50691754

Our final count was 78 species for our section. The final circle count was 145 species. Not bad. It was an exhausting day, but we managed to work well together, help out with a long running (119 years!) bird census, and see parts of the county I’d not had an opportunity to visit.



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