Yay! The flamingos have arrived.
And as usual, a stunning surprise at the end of the post.
Gathered in the middle of the large lake, I could only get the flamingos from a distance.
We do not know the exact day that they arrived, but the last time that we visited the lake 2 weeks ago, they were not there yet. They migrate to South Africa to breed at the start of summer, and they come down from the northern parts of the African continent.
Check out the happy dancing pair at the end of the line.
Did you know that there are 6 different species of flamingos?
Species Six extant flamingo species are recognized by most sources, and were formerly placed in one genus (have common characteristics) – Phoenicopterus. As a result of a 2014 publication, the family was reclassified into two genera. In 2020, the family had three recognized genera, according to HBW.
Soon our lake will be filled with both the Greater and the Lesser flamingo species, but at Kamfers Dam there are many more. Have a look at the source link below.
Kamfers dam The dam harbours high concentrations of blue-green algae (Spirulina spp) and diatoms (Cyclotella spp.), the main food sources for its plentiful lesser flamingos. The dam typically supports 20,000 lesser flamingos, but occasionally over 50,000 individuals are present, a large proportion of the subregion's total population. The birds are mobile and commute between the major feeding sites in southern Africa.
And then we had a nice surprise.
What was that taking off from the lake area.?
They are South Africa's national birds, the Blue Cranes.
The reason for our happiness to see so many, is that they are on the Red Endangered list. Normally we have only seen couples and at one time 3 at most. Now look at this bonus in numbers.
Decline While it remains common in parts of its historic range, and approx. 26 000 individuals remain, it began a sudden population decline from around 1980 and is now classified as vulnerable. In the last two decades, the blue crane has largely disappeared from the Eastern Cape, Lesotho, and Eswatini. The population in the northern Free State, Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West Province has declined by up to 90%. The majority of the remaining population is in eastern and southern South Africa, with a small and separate population in the Etosha Pan of northern Namibia. Occasionally, isolated breeding pairs are found in five neighbouring countries.
It is always great fun to come out here to the lake, and sun protection is a must, as the sun can fry one here.
Let me tell you that we were almost crying when we saw the 7 blue cranes in flight. They are safe here at the lake as the security is tight and no one can come and interfere with their habitat. Maybe, just maybe greater colonies of blue cranes can be established in this protected area, and we are going to make a noise about it. If we don't care, then who will? Thankfully the flamingos are also safe here, as no swimming or watersports are allowed in the lake. Hikers are allowed and as @fermentedphil can tell you, it's quite a hike around that lake. We have done it once, but with my bad left knee it was torture, and my critical low iron level was also not of great assistance to me on the hike. So, nowadays we only walk a few hundred yards until I find an open space in the reeds for my zoom to do the walking:) Such is life.
I hope that you enjoyed the story and the pictures.
Photos by Zac Smith-All Rights Reserved.
Camera: Canon Powershot-All Right Reserved.
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