Reflections on our stange ways - birders and poo-ponds

I enjoy having a local spot to go birding. A place you really get to know. You see the changes. The you get to learn a lot about the behavior of the familiar birds, and perhaps get to like familiar birds in a way that one doesn't if you just after that next lifer. For me at the moment the thought of chasing lifers is just to expensive at the moment. My only real chance for them around here is when rare birds show up.

But it's a comfort. I go birding for pleasure more now than ever. I have been birding for years and years, but there was always thing thing of trying to rack up numbers or learn about birds from a guiding point of view.

But lately, it's been mainly for fun.

In Swakop now my main spot has been Mile 4 salt works. We have had some rarities show up there, and it's a great spot. I've had the chance to go in where others are restricted, which makes it nice.

But my other spot, which is right in town is the sewage works. Say that to any birder, and it's no big deal. Birders go to sewage ponds. I even took my guests on a birding tour into the sewage ponds. It's a bit smelly, but you get over it. Actually the Cape Cross fur seal colony is far worse. But there are great birds, and because they are tolerant of noise and people (the workers,) they are very approachable.

Many birders are 'refined people', dress nice, often have money to spend on a pastime that requires world travel and expensive bins and scopes and ipods (for calls) and what have you. But they don't blush an eyelid to go down to the sewage works at all.

In Namibia the Windhoek sewage works is fantastic, and when I was there on the last tour we saw an Osprey, among other fun things. In Swakopmund it's rather small, but still a good spot for birds. In Walvis Bay the sewage works go into a series of moving dunes, and though officially closed to the public at the moment, it's easily accessible from the airport road, walking in by foot. And the pans are full, full of birds. Flamingos, various ducks, only a few waders, and various other things. Great spot for Black-necked Grebe, although there are many good spots for them around here.

So, with good reason, we keep visiting these places where few others dare to go!
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