Pink Flamingoes?

21 Jan

What color is a flamingo? Did you say pink?
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A flamingo is the color of shrimp. And for good reason. Flamingoes favor a shrimp cuisine rich in beta-carotene, as we learned while visiting Celestun, a little village about two hours west of Merida on the Gulf of Mexico. Celestun is a day-trip from Merida and known for the greater pink flamingoes who breed in the winter months in the mangroves lining the estuaries along the Gulf Coast. This is the largest breeding ground of pink flamingoes in North America.
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On the short boat trip along the beach we veered inland to fresh water estuaries, rias, and springs, “Valdiosera” and “Venecia.” These springs pop-up among the mangrove trees lining the estuaries and mix cool fresh water with the salt water of the Gulf.

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The ecosystem among the rias and the mangroves is fragile. Home to over 300 species of birds, including pelicans, egrets, and heron as well, all are threatened. The Yucatán flamingo population is also imperiled. Habitat destruction by the draining of wetlands and pollution in the past caused a decline in flamingo numbers, placing the bird on the endangered species list. Their numbers have increased from a low of 5,000 birds in 1956 to 30,000 in 2002 and although more recent estimates put them at over 40,000, much remains to be done to ensure their survival.

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Seeing these exquisite birds in their native habitat was exhilarating and humbling.
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6 Responses to “Pink Flamingoes?”

  1. Fred January 22, 2016 at 6:05 am #

    Your photos are fantastic i like the contrast, fresh water and salt water.

    • Jill January 22, 2016 at 6:08 am #

      Dana takes the photos and I agree. They are great!

  2. faltan January 21, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

    Loving your blog..bringing back lots of memories from that part of Mexico J

    • Jill January 21, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

      I am so glad you are here reading as we go along. Yes, the Yucatan is very different than Merida. We are slowing w…a…y down.

  3. Nancy Lehrhaupt January 21, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    It looks so wonderful!!!!!! I bet there were a lot of big spiders there too?

    • Jill January 21, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

      Not any that I saw thank goodness. Did have one crawl up my leg and bite me last week but we were in a museum in the center of the city! You would have loved the flamingoes.

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