Sebastian Inlet State Park and Pelican Island NWR
February 3, 2022 @ 8:00 am - 11:30 am$35.00
Meet on site at the northern side of Sebastian Inlet State Park, 9700 S Hwy A1A, Melbourne Beach, FL 32951. After paying at the toll gate ($4 per individual or $8 per car), drive under the bridge and meet down by the inlet.
Spend a morning at two of the Treasure Coast’s best birding spots. Spanning both sides of the Sebastian Inlet and the barrier island on which it is situated, this popular state park has beach and Indian River Lagoon frontage, coastal strand, maritime hammock and mangrove habitats. A diversity of wading birds and shorebirds occur here along with offshore species that might be seen, such as gannets, jaegers, shearwaters and storm petrels. Mangrove margins and the interior hardwood hammock can host migratory songbirds. We will check the tidal pond for shorebirds, gulls, terns, and possibly Reddish Egret. Rarities such as Purple Sandpiper, Black-legged Kittiwake, and others have been known to be here. The beaches attract numerous gulls and Black Skimmers and Magnificent Frigatebirds are often floating overhead. After checking out the inlet, we will head to Pelican Island NWR where we will learn about our nation’s first National Wildlife Refuge while looking for songbirds in the restored orange groves and waterfowl and shorebirds in the wetlands. American White Pelicans and many species of ducks and shorebirds overwinter here. Pelican Island itself can be scoped from an elevated observation tower, accessed via the ¾-mile Centennial Trail, which showcases the history of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The refuge is famous for its Brown Pelican rookery but more than 15 additional species nest, feed, and rest on the 5-acre island, including Wood Stork, Double-crested Cormorant, Roseate Spoonbill, and egrets and herons. While scoping the open waters of the Indian River Lagoon, we may see Horned Grebe, Common Loon, Red-breasted Merganser, and Lesser Scaup.