Black Point Wildlife Drive is a great expedition on any day, but in the winter it bustles with activity as the local wildlife population is supplemented with migrating species. The drive can last 40 minutes or longer, depending on how many stops are made along the way. The drive covers seven miles over a dike road that meanders through marsh impoundments and grassy flatlands that provide habitat to hundreds of species of wildlife.
Locals use the drive to entertain visitors wanting to see a Florida alligator. Odds are pretty high that they will be successful. Other animal sightings can include river otters, bobcats, and snakes.
Animals of the feathered variety are numerous along the trail. Resident shorebirds like herons, storks, egrets, ibis and many more can be seen anytime during the year. Migrating species use the refuge as a stopping place on their migration to points south and increase the variety of viewing possibilities.
There are numbered stops along the way with information describing various inhabitants and habitat. The stops are linked to a printed guide that can be picked up at the registration area. A small fee of $5 per car is charged and paid on a self-administered system at the entrance to the park.
The refuge authorities offer several suggestions for best viewing opportunities. If possible, time your trip one or two hours after sunrise, or one or two hours before sunset. These time periods are best to see active feeding occurring in the impoundments. They also suggest using your vehicle for cover, since the wildlife has become accustom to traffic they are not as spooky as they might otherwise be. Also be sure to bring your binoculars to get a close up view because approaching animals on foot are likely to cause them to move.
The drive is part of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge which is home to 330 species of birds, 117 fishes, 65 amphibians and reptiles, 31 mammals, and 1,045 plants. Although all these will not be seen in the drive itself, a little more exploring outside the drive is not that hard to accomplish.
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