Observation of the Week Dec 10-16

This weeks highlighted observation is this American Flamingo! by @toxmace
https://www.Inaturalist.org/observations/194147187
This may be a shocker to some of you but this has been the third time flamingos have been spotted wild in SC. All of these observations were took in, or near the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. What do you y'all make of these sightings?

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Posted on December 17, 2023 07:44 PM by wildlife13 wildlife13

Comments

I've been in Florida for the last two weeks. Birders in the Titusville/New Smyrna area have been excited to see a group of flamingos that have been hanging out on a small island in the Indian River off of Merritt Island. I was told by multiple folk that they showed up after one of the recent hurricanes. Could be what has driven them to the low country of SC as well?.

Posted by jtmartin54 5 months ago

@jtmartin54 That makes sense. I have heard that hurricanes will push tropical birds north. For instance, in Florida, a Red-legged Honeycreeper was spotted a while back. So yeah, I agree that this is prob the most likely cause. How long do you think these sightings will continue for?

Posted by wildlife13 5 months ago

The story I've been hearing about Jimmy and his other pink cohorts this year is that they got swept up in Hurricane Idalia from Cuba/etc, pushed north, and deposited throughout the east coast. There was our gaggle at Bulls Island, a mess at Pea Island in NC I kept hearing about on carolina-birds, and I heard some even landed as far north as Ohio after the storm. The flock at Bulls Island disappeared after a week or two but Jimmy randomly returned around Thanksgiving. I don't know why he's there on his own, unless he is an unrelated bird that's been been slowly making his way back south toward the Bahamas. It'll be interesting to see if he stuck around after this weekend's Nor'easter and after this week's near freezing temps. I've got a friend who was supposed to try and relocate him yesterday.

I still remember that first lone Flamingo that was photographed in Cape Romain several years ago, completely out of the blue, that whipped carolina-birds into a tizzy for a bit. It vanished as quickly as it appeared. So I don't know if this is part of a trend or just a couple of closely clustered coincidences. Roseate Spoonbills and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were a rare summer-time sighting across the state when I started birding 8 years ago. Now we have a hundred-plus first-year Spoonbills overwintering in the ACE Basin for >4 years running and a dozen-plus breeding pairs of Whistling-Ducks on just Edisto Island each spring. Maybe we'll have Flamingos thick as Avocet at Bear Island in a decade, who knows!

Posted by toxmace 5 months ago

Here's that state-record-ish Flamingo sighting from back in 2017. That was actually by Felicia Sanders with DNR. I think the CBC/ABA ruled it as an escapee:
https://ebird.org/checklist/S39816313

Posted by toxmace 5 months ago

Interesting to note, Hurricane Irma had blown through Cuba and up the Florida peninsula just a month prior to Felicia's sighting. We got a good deal of wind and a harsh surge here in the Lowcountry from Irma. I don't think that timing is a coincidence in hindsight.

Posted by toxmace 5 months ago

@toxmace Yeah, most likely their just sporadic sightings caused by large storms, but I can only hope that this becomes something larger.

Posted by wildlife13 5 months ago

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