The Florida Space Coast continues its established position as one of the top birding events in the nation with the up-coming 2012 15th annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. Residents and visitors to the east central area of Florida during January should mark their calendars and plan to attend some of the many excursions planned.
The festival is held in Titusville, Florida at the Brevard Community College North Campus and has scheduled activities from January 25th through January 29th. Events range from classroom presentations, to field observation, to water travel adventures.
There are a wide variety of seminars and outside nature events to provide unique experiences interacting and learning about the many species residing here. Those of all ages and interests will find something to make attending this event an experience to remember.
With the hurricane season long past and well into the drier winter months, outdoor nature activities are quite enjoyable during this time of year. Those events which involve hiking along trails and back roads will generally find a inviting course of travel. Most of the bugs so common to this area in the summer months are also well past their peak season, so there is usually no need for potent repellant.
Many of the field trips will be in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge which is in the immediate vicinity. This unique and popular destination for ecotourism adventures provides endless opportunities for not only those participating in one of the planned events, but also those wishing to explore on their own pace. The many access roads (some closed to vehicles) provide hiking and biking activities for those of all interests and physical abilities.
Those wishing to observe and photograph our native or transient wildlife at a more comfortable pace will find the Black Point Wildlife Drive. This well maintained natural material roadway winds along the lagoon with abundant opportunities to stop and photograph flora or fauna at a leisurely pace.
As of September 2011, there is a new fee for those wishing to travel this road of $5 which is a daily fee also valid for some of the improved boat ramps in the refuge. Though rare during the colder months, manatees are common in the Haulover Canal near the Bairs Cove boat launch. Visitors during times of warm local waters will want to be sure to drop by after their trip along Black Point Wildlife Drive.
For more information about this festival, be sure to check out the official festival website at: www.spacecoastbirdingandwildlifefestival.org. For more information about the area, be sure to also check out the pages here on Florida Nature Guide dedicated to the natural areas of Florida where additional links to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and other public lands can easily be located.