Walvis Bay Lagoon
Myriad birds frequent the area all around The Raft Restaurant which is situated in Walvis Bay Lagoon and it is enchanting to just sit and watch them.
At low tide the ‘Greater Flamingoes’ are busy stomping in seemingly endless circles in the sand, flushing out the crustaceans. Their squawking squabbles over the tasty titbits are really amusing. The smaller ‘Lesser Flamingoes’ parade in their pretty pink feathers, positively proud, that they are pinker than their ‘Greater’ relations.
Damara Terns use dive bomber tactics as they fly over the surface spotting fish from six or seven metres above the water and plummeting repeatedly with amazing accuracy, surfacing vertically straight into the air with their catch, only to become a potential victim themselves under the attack of a Kelp Gull trying to steal the hard won prize.
Black knecked Grebes are soooooo cute.
Paddling across the lagoon in little gangs, only to suddenly disappear, all at the same time – popping up again 15 seconds later in perfect unison.Olympic champion synchronized swimmers!!
Cape Cormorants with their Piercing Turquoise eyes, set off beautifully by a Bright yellow ring, perch on the old jetty after a mornings successful fishing, lifting up their wings for a blow-dry from the afternoon breeze coming in from the South West. You can almost sense them competing against the White Breasted Cormorants in a ‘who’s the best groomed?’ competition.
Our resident Grey Heron can be spotted in the shadows at night under The Raft, elegantly strutting his stuff in search of eels making sure any other Herons around know that it’s ‘his patch’ by letting out an occasional long, loud, grating screech. He is seemingly regardless of the fact that one day a younger, smarter heron will come along and claim ‘the patch’ as he did himself from the scraggy old guy that was here when The Raft was built.
Other regular visitors include Avocets with their long curly beaks,
Black-winged Stilts with their long skinny legs in red stockings,
Bar-tailed Godwits – a must see if only because of their name(!), so too the Little Stints and Whimbrels, to name but a few.
Floodlights set the lagoon alight at night offering a stage for the ‘Greater Flamingo Ballet’, the ‘Bobbing Hartlaubs Gulls’ and the ‘Performing Seals’ on their nightly hunt.
On lucky lunchtimes Atlantic Bottle-nosed Dolphins take a detour into the lagoon on their way up and down the coast between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, they too can put on quite an aerobatic show to the delight and frantic camera clicking of all the diners in the restaurant.
Then of course The Raft would not be The Raft without the impressive Eastern White Pelicans, circling in a huge V formation like B52 Bombers, gliding down to land on the surface of the lagoon, skidding to an elegant halt, sending an impressive spray of surf out in front of them that any world champion water skier would be proud of. Along with the respect they deserve just for managing to carry about such a huge beak, a round of applause should be given each time they manage to take off from a sitting start with such a big tummy – mind you there’s quite a lot of flapping and paddling involved, sometimes it looks like they might not quite pull off the launch – but they always do!!