Rare Flamingos in NW Florida
I am SO beyond excited to share my photos and recent experience. Flamingos are here in NW Florida!!! Let me rewind...
Last week we had tropical storm Cindy come through the area. It rained for days. I was scrolling on Facebook, and happened to come across this story. How cool that a pair of flamingos were so close to where I live!? If only they had come a little further east and they'd be in my neighborhood. No one seems to know where they came from, and I'm dying to learn more about their story. Over the last week I've been stalking social media to see if there were any reports. I would find little things here and there, but nothing solid... Then, yesterday afternoon while I was sitting in the parking lot waiting for my husband to come out of the store, I saw a photo of the flamingos in the Santa Rosa Beach area by another local photographer. According to her report, they flew away pretty quickly. I went through the comments, and someone mentioned they were spotted on a turtle nesting routine beach walkthrough that morning. With this news, I called my husband, told him to get back to the car ASAP (there were probably some expletives of just how excited I was dropped), and off we went to find two giant pink birds!
We found a secluded beach access, and went for a 3+ hour walk. My husband carried Bodie in the backpack. We saw lots of neat things, but not flamingos. I had pretty much given up on finding them, which was okay, but a bit of a bummer...
And then my husband looked up and said, "are those the flamingos?!" I looked down the beach, and sure enough, it was them! I couldn't believe it! I quickly grabbed my camera and ran down the beach as calmly as I could as not to frighten them. I was actually shaking with excitement. It felt super special to witness such a sight here in northern Florida. I think they knew I was in awe of their beauty. They did not seem threatened at all. I watched them for close to an hour, until it was too dark to see them.
For those who are wondering, I shot this with my Nikon 85mm 1.4 lens. It was dark! The last photos I had the ISO cranked at 4000 and the aperture wide open.
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I'm getting a bit more quiet on the location of this shoot, as I fear people bothering them. I hope they stick around, and maybe they will have babies? If you see these flamingos please be respectful.
Oh, and no flashlights on the beach. It is turtle nesting season, and the lights are disorienting for the turtles. I can't believe how many flashlights I saw on the way back to the car. Use a red light or no light.