Borrowed from their website "Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge traces its beginnings to the development of the nationís Space Program. In 1962, NASA acquired 140,000 acres of land, water, and marshes adjacent to Cape Canaveral to establish the John F. Kennedy Space Center. NASA built a launch complex and other space-related facilities, but development of most of the area was not necessary. In 1963 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed an agreement to establish the refuge and in 1975 a second agreement established Canaveral National Seashore. Today, the Department of Interior manages most of the unused portions of the Kennedy Space Center as a National Wildlife Refuge and National Seashore."

All I can say is Thank you NASA for buying this land and sharing it with the public.

The National Wildlife Refuge Black Point Wildlife Drive is a 7 mile auto tour offering the best chance to see wildlife. Generally, the best time to see wildlife is early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Knowing this Ed and I decided we would do the drive twice, first thing in the morning (I actually had Ed in the car at 7:15 am) and again around 4pm.

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Roseate Spoonbill is always a favourite with birders.

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A Snowy Egret in breeding plumage and a Glossy Ibis.

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A couple of Moorhens.

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A Tricolored Heron and a Yellowlegs.

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A Green Heron fishing in a drain pipe.

At one stop along the drive we saw a number of Coots. We also saw two small alligators. After a few minutes we noticed the alligators had disappeared. A few minutes later the coots started acting funny.

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All of a sudden the Coots took off ---- they didn't fly but ran on the water. Something was scaring them.

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A little further up the waterway a fellow watched as an alligator caught himself a bird. We arrived a couple of minutes later. The bird was a little big for the gator but he was determined he was going to eat it.

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The Coots were pretty nervous. They stayed in a tight group and got out of the water. Surprisingly, they actually stayed near the alligator who was munching on their buddy.

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The afternoon light gave the refuge a beautiful glow.

During the middle of the day we drove around the rest of the reserve and onto the Canaveral National Seashore.

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In one area we saw lots and lots of Manatee. At one spot we saw three Manatee eating together. Several of the Manatee had barnacles on their backs.

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On this trip we've seen a lot of Vultures and only a few hawks, so it was nice to see this Red-shouldered Hawk (we think) on a telephone pole. A bunch of sandpiper class birds were hanging out on the beach.

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The beach at Cape Canaveral.