Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Birding at the Landfill

Here we are the the celebrated Spacecoast Birding Festival in Titusville, FL.  This is the 20th anniversary of the festival, and we've heard that the woman who ran it before isn't here anymore, and things have been a bit disorganized, to say the least. However, the birds are still here, and I'm not letting myself get discouraged.
Brevard County Solid Waste Landfill
Our first trip was to the landfill to ID gulls. We got the info on the facility before loading into one of their vans for a guided tour. The 192-acre permitted landfill area is lined by a clay slurry wall, groundwater monitoring wells were installed and a methane gas collection and flare system is in place.  The site originally consisted of 285 acres and now totals 957 acres. Portions of the landfill have gone through closure procedures by capping it with a liner, two feet of cover dirt and sod.  It is estimated the Landfill will have enough capacity to handle the disposal needs for Brevard County until 2018.
Garbage trucks and transfer trailers dump their waste onto the "working face" of the landfill. Heavy equipment then levels and compacts the garbage.  At the end of each day, the garbage is covered to reduce odors, and keep birds and animals from feeding on the garbage. But plenty of birds come to feast during the day.
The Turkey Vultures call this absolute heaven!
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls
The trip was to focus on identifying gulls, and I hoped we might see some of the more exotic gulls, but we saw only four species - Laughing, Ring-billed, Lesser Black-backed and Herring.
Although bill color was one feature we watched, occasionally you get a Laughing Gull with a red bill, which is just an anomaly.
White Ibis
I was surprised when flocks of White Ibis flew overhead. I always thought they were water feeders only, but apparently they come to the landfill feast too, along with the vultures, gulls, crows, wood storks and eagles.
NASA Launch Facility
From our elevation of 200 feet (?) we could see all around, including the NASA facility where they launched the shuttles.
Eagles, of course, are never disturbed by all the hubbub of lesser birds.
At times, it felt like we were all extras in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's classic "The Birds!" I have a new laptop, and it's going to take a while to adjust to the slight differences in the keyboard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The new landfill, with current EPA standards, will be operative by 2018.