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Photographer's Note

The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 and comprises approximately 140,000-acres. The refuge provides a buffer zone around the John F. Kennedy Space Flight Center for NASA in the quest for space exploration. Approximately one-half of the refuge's area consists of brackish estuaries and marshes. The remaining lands consist of coastal dunes, scrub oaks, pine forests and flatwoods, and palm and oak hammocks.

Over 500 species of wildlife inhabit the refuge because of the coastal location, seven types of habitat, and its position between the sub-tropic and temperate climatic zones. Found within the refuge are several wading bird rookeries, a number of active bald eagle nests, numerous osprey nests, and up to 400 manatees during spring months.

Scenes such as this Ibis combing the marsh at sunset are almost guaranteed. During the winter months thousands of migrating water foul from as far as Alaska call this location home.

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Additional Photos by Ned Messerschmidt (nmess) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 558 W: 78 N: 414] (2301)
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