shallow water along the whole coastline. It is a veritable paradise for
birds, and bird watchers throughout the year. You will find about 31
species here. However, you should consider the migration seasons of
the various species. The months of October and November see the
arrival of Terns that have flown from afar as Scandinavia and
Western Asia, journeys often in excess of 10,000km.
breed in the Arctic Circle and then, accompanied by their chicks,
just a few weeks old, fly South across 90 degrees of Latitude to
enjoy the Walvis Bay summer.
The Greater and Lesser
Flamingos fly inland during the month of December, some 750km to
Etosha and others 1500km to Northern Botswana were they breed on the
vast Makgadikgadi Salt Pans flooded by the summer rains. They make
the return journey with surviving youngsters in March.
The National Geographic Channel has a Wildlife Program named
"Kalahari" that shows graphically the astounding trek that
the chicks have to make with their parents during this period. It is
a must watch.
After Lake Nakuru in Kenya,
seasonally, this is the best place to see Flamingos. If you visit
during the 'residency months' you will see up to 60,000 of them
paddling around in the shallow waters, heads inverted as they dine
and cackle amongst each other, while above V-formed squadrons of Pelicans patrol.
It's along this coastline
between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay that tens upon tens of thousands
of black cormorants make their daily commute flying in a seemingly
endless long black line that stretches from one horizon to the
other. When a shoal of anchovies is spotted the bird 'traffic
density' above the fish makes one wonder as to how mid-air
collisions can possibly be avoided.
It's all a wonder of nature,
and if you're a photographer be sure to bring along some powerful
telescopic equipment. With a bit of patience the rewards will prove
to be most memorable.
The Walvis Bay Ramsa Site - Winter Bird
Count (August 2005) recorded:
There was a movement by the
flamingos during the count and it is estimated that the undercount
of these species is between 10,000 to 12,000 birds. Of Flamingo
juveniles only 73 Greater and 162 Lesser were counted. It is
believed that many of the Flamingos remained at the Sua-Pan in
Botswana. One of the migratory inland breeding areas. Sightings were
also made of European Oyster Catcher, Red-necked Phalarope,
Black-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank and Osprey
Acknowledgements and further reading: P1,P5, T8
Of Interest: 70% of the World's Chestnut-Banded Plovers rely on The
Walvis Bay Wetlands
for their survival