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Flamingo Quest

flamingo-quest-audubon-everglades

FLAMINGO QUEST – 2018

(REGISTRATION OPENS JAN 1, 2018)

Audubon Everglades (Palm Beach County Audubon Chapter), in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), is pleased to offer these special “Flamingo Quests” in Stormwater Treatment Area (STA 2) for an opportunity to see these iconic birds in the wild in Palm Beach County.

A small flock of American Flamingos has been visiting the same restricted access area (closed to public access) in Palm Beach County during March and April for more than 10 years. According to SFWMD biologist, the Flamingos seem to stay through early May, and then move on. In 2014, more than 140 flamingos were present. Because of the recurring pattern, and sheer number seen in 2014, several scientists believe at least most of these visitors are wild birds.

IN THE NEWS

“Flamingos Make Slow Return to Florida” TODAY SHOW Segment (June 2016)

“Flamingos or Bust” Flamingo Magazine Article (Aug 2016)

“Wild Flamingos Return to Florida” National Audubon Society article (June 2015)

WHEN AM I MOST LIKELY TO SEE THE FLAMINGOS?

Like all birding, the birds are in the wild and free to come and go as they please, there is no guarantee to see the Flamingos on any specific date.

  • In 2014, the Flamingo count increased toward the end of April.
  • In 2015, the Flamingo count decreased toward the end of April.
  • In 2016, the Flamingos did not show up until the end of April and increased in May!
  • 2017 was the first year the Flamingos were not seen on the tours or by SFWMD personnel in the area.

Who knows what will happen in 2018? It will depend on the weather, water level, and food availability, and there is no way to predict those things from day to day, much less months in advance. Tours are scheduled for the months the Flamingos are most likely to be seen.


2018 FLAMINGO TOUR DATES

  • Sun Mar 11 (first day of DST)
  • Sat Mar 24
  • Sat Apr 14
  • Sat Apr 28

We also offer carpool tours in the same Stormwater Treatment Area monthly from November – February to see the incredible waterfowl wintering there, but Flamingos are not likely until March.

TOUR TIMES

There will be a tour at 3:30 pm on each trip date. If all tours fill with waiting lists, a morning tour may be added. The probability of seeing the Flamingos is equal throughout the day. The main difference in the times is the lighting, with the best lighting for photography later in the day. Check-in begins 35 minutes before the scheduled start time. The gates close and the tour begins at the start time. Please arrive early enough to allow time to combine into 4 person carpools.

RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED

Tours are open to the public. Each tour is space restricted and advance registration for each participant is required. Trips usually fill with a Wait List, so early registration is suggested.

REGISTRATION OPENS JAN 1, 2018
Register for 2018 Flamingo Quest

FEE

There is no “Fee” for the tour, however, there is a suggested donation of $5 per person for each tour to help fund the cost of offering these tours and Audubon Everglades educational programs

ALL TOURS

  • Are lead by experienced guides who are very familiar with the area.
  • Are carpool caravan tours in the restricted access area with 4 people per auto with stops along the 10+ mile route with time to view, scope and photograph.
  • Require little walking other than exiting the auto for better views as desired.
  • Last approximately 3.5 hours from the time the tour starts until the tour returns to the main gate.

LOCATION

A map and driving directions will be provided after registration is confirmed. The site is in rural Palm Beach County off US Rt 27, approximately 25 miles south of South Bay, FL and 30 miles north of Weston, FL. Approximate driving time from various locations is provided below.


TOUR RULES

ASE entered into an agreement with SFWMD and must abide by their rules to be allowed to conduct these tours.

  1. Liability Release: Each participant must complete and submit a separate SFWMD STA Liability Release. Download, print, complete and bring the completed Release Form with you on the day of the trip.
  2. This is a carpool driving tour with 4 people per auto. Unless you arrive with 4 registered trip participants in your auto, you should be prepared to take additional people in your auto, or join others in another auto.
  3. Everyone enters and leaves the STA with the group; you may not separate from the group or leave early. You must stay with the group and cannot stop or stay in an area without the leader present. The gate is locked after we enter the STA.

GUIDELINES FOR MINDFUL BIRDING IN A GROUP

  1. Listen and heed the instructions of the Field Trip Leader. Do not walk or position yourself ahead of the leader’s location.
  2. Be respectful of your fellow trip participants.
  3. Take every precaution to avoid flushing the birds. Close doors gently, do not slam doors or otherwise create loud noise.
  4. Do not get too close so as to scare the birds away. If you flush a bird, do not further pursue the bird and flush it again.

REMINDERS

  1. WEATHER – these tours GO “rain or shine”, dress accordingly and pack your rain gear “just in case”. Rain does not stop or cancel the tour. However, safety will rule. In the case of thunderstorms in the area of STA 2 at the time of the tour, the tour will be delayed or canceled.
  2. RESTROOMS – There are no flush toilets on the property. Once the tour begins, you may not leave the caravan to use the toilet. Please plan accordingly. There may be a portable toilet near the STA 2 entrance gate. There is a composting toilet at the Harold A. Cambell Public Use area 3 miles south. There are flush toilets 15+ miles south at the Sawgrass Recreation Park.
  3. Come with a full tank of gas, bring binoculars, spotting scope, camera, plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, hats, bug spray, etc.
  4. For the health, safety, and comfort of all participants, smoking is not allowed on ASE field trips.

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME TO STA 2

Palm Beach County

City Distance
Boca Raton1 hour
Jupiter1.5 hours
Palm Beach (Airport)1.25 hours
Wellington1 hour

Other Florida Locations

City Distance
Clewiston45 mins
Daytona (Airport) 4 hours
Fort Lauderdale (Airport)1 hour
Fort Myers (Airport)2 hours
Jacksonville (Airport)5.5 hours
Key Largo 1.75 hours
Miami (Airport) 1 hour
Naples1.75 hours
Ocala4.25 hours
Orlando (Airport)3.25 hours
Sarasota (Airport) 3 hours
South Bay30 mins
Tallahassee (Airport) 7 hours
Tampa (Airport) 3.75 hours
Weston30 mins
Yeehaw Junction2 hours


QUESTIONS?

Email FlamingoTrips@AudubonEverglades.org.