Red Phalarope: impact of autumn 2023 storms
The Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius is a wader with highly original habits. It nests in the Arctic tundra and winters at sea. In this species, the female wears the breeches. More colorful, she appeals to the males, who look after the brood on their own.
Once the nesting season is over, the birds spend the winter scouring the oceans. Populations in northeastern Canada, Greenland and the few Icelandic individuals are distributed, as far as we know, off Florida and the Caribbean archipelagos, off West Africa and off southern Africa.
A few birds are regularly seen in France, mainly during autumn migration. Oceanic winds can also push a few phalaropes along the coast, but the storms of early November 2023 were exceptional. Thousands of birds were swept along the coast and sometimes carried far inland, as far as the Ain (Western Alps)!
Large groups were observed: 40 to 50 at the Marais d'Orx (Landes) and up to 350 at the Capbreton wastewater treatment plant (Landes)!
In all, more than 679 data records were collected between November 1 and 6, for a total of over 6,000 birds.
Image caption: Broad-billed Phalarope. Sylvain Bost.