Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Flamingos in Ebro Delta Nature Park

Tarragona, Catalunya, Spain

Recently Wisconsin residents were delighted to enjoy the arrival of five flamingos on the shores of Lake Michigan. It is quite a distance from their likely home in Cuba or on Mexico’s Yucat√°n Peninsula. The misdirection is attributed to Hurricane Idalia, which swept the flamingos up and deposited them in the southeast US. From their they flew north.

Thousands of bird lovers arrived to gape and photograph the misdirected travelers. After all, they had traveled through 13 states and are stunningly beautiful. The Wisconsin visitors were American Flamingos, instantly recognizable due to their pink color, distinctive bill and long pink legs.

Following this, we marveled to see thousands of Greater Flamingos stirring and rearranging themselves in the Ebro Delta wetlands. These birds' bodies are slender and covered with a pinkish-white plumage that’s more intensely colored on the wing. Black feathers can be found on the primary and secondary flight feathers.

Delta de l’Ebre is one of the most important Mediterranean wetlands. This is a well known huge delta located where the Ebre River meets the Mediterranean Sea. The area is a bird watcher paradise.

Centuries of sediment have created an ample feeding ground. In addition to the approximately 95 species native to the delta, there are another 300 birds which pass through the Delta de l’Ebre each year as part of their migratory route.

Here among the rice fields is an abundance of flamingos. There are so many flamingos that tourist maps signify there presence in half a dozen places simply with a flamingo silhouette.

Twice daily they put on their show. They form amorphous groups of dark silhouettes. Suddenly they descend like unwieldy dancers intent on sticking the landing but without benefit of an air traffic controller. One can’t imagine how they all fit in a quickly constricted area.

The unison maneuvering, the raucous din and the flocks natural rhythms stirred by morning light and evening sunset are simply spectacular. Some do peel off like cool kids or loners in high school ready to experience a bit more space.

The natural cadence of their show is awesome.

No wonder a group of flamingos is called a “flamboyance”.

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