It was a pleasure arriving in Swakopmund and being able to enjoy some cooler weather after the inland heat. Swakopmund is a sophisticated destination where one can stay in first class accommodation and enjoy very good food. Added to that, the area, especially around Walvis Bay, is a birder’s paradise.
We had our first taste of what was to come with a visit to the salt pans north of the town, but the real bonanza was the area south of Walvis Bay! This must rank as one of the birding wonders of the world, with thousands of waders wherever one looks! Of course, we were not only interested in waders as we wanted to see the rare Dune Lark, but we were once again, not successful. Sure, we could have hired a professional for around R3000 for the two of us, but we wanted to do it alone. We did, however, see many Gray’s Larks.
The area is a real tourist destination and there were desert tours going in every direction, specially to Sandwich Harbour. We decided not to spend the extra time driving there, although it might have produced our Dune Lark, and concentrated instead on the salt pans. It really was wonderful to see so many birds and we had quite a time trying to identify them all – needless to say, we failed in a number of cases. Nevertheless, our Challenge list was starting to grow, after a long period of nothing new.
Of special interest was a Pacific Golden Plover. I sent a small image to Trevor Hardacre and he suggested it was an American Golden Plover, but I had studied it for a long time and stick with my identification.