Lompoc, CA

Flamingos Walking along the Beach in Lompoc

Anne Bonfert

The beach is packed — by birds

  • Credit: Anne Bonfert

It’s a lovely summer day. The sun is shining and a light breeze is blowing off the ocean. Driving south from town we head straight towards the beach. The sound of the waves is getting mixed up with some sea birds complaining.

Apparently, it’s too busy on the beach. No space for the seagulls anymore. The flamingos are taking over. Going for a stroll on the beach they can’t be stopped. The promenade is full and nobody can walk past them.

Flamingos are known to live on the coast. Here are several salt pans that are home to many of those birds. The redder they are the healthier they are. The red color they obtain from eating specific bacteria in the water.

I don’t know that much more about these lovely birds except for them making a great photo object. Their color, their slow movements, and relaxing behavior make them an amazing target for nature photographers.

Driving along the beach we pass a few of them and I get to take some great pictures. But other birds are part of the scene too. Seagulls as the most common ones.

Often to be ignored and overlooked but they are a huge part of the marine life and the birdlife too.

As we’re passing the second group of flamingos further down the beach they start to fold out their wings and run towards the waves. Within a few strokes of the wind, they take off and glide above the water.

  • Credit: Anne Bonfert

What an amazing scene. I still can’t believe I took these two pictures out of a moving car. Sometimes it’s not about the right preparation. It’s just about the right moment. And being there. To take the shot.

These are the two best shots I’ve ever taken of flamingos. And I’ve been on catamaran cruises before where they specialize in bird and sea life sightings.

Yet this unplanned and unknown situation was way more special.

Now and then I look at the other birds on the beach giving them some attention too. Most of the seagulls try to walk in between the flamingos so that they are part of their picture.

We turn around. We selected the spot we want to come to on Christmas day. That was the reason why we drove out here today. And I’m more than happy about it.

Look at the flamingos going for a walk on the beach. All in one line. Like someone placed them there. But nothing is fake. They are all here in freedom. They can do what they want.

  • Credit: Anne Bonfert

Which they do as well. They group up eventually with the other flock of flamingos and take off. They’re flying north. Where to? Nobody knows.

They disappear on the horizon.

Putting my eyes back onto the shoreline I get to see different birds. Strandloopertjies are occupying the beaches. In English, they are called sandpiper.

The Afrikaans word describes their behavior of walking down along the beach. That’s what they do. They walk. In the search for food. They run sometimes too.

With their long beaks, the sandpipers get to pick worms and insects in the muddy sand. They feed on any type of coastal creatures they get to find in the shallow waters.

Even in flight they usually stay close to the water level.

This has been my short excursion into the birdlife on the ocean. I enjoyed capturing different bird species and especially watching some flamingos taking a walk.

What kind of birds do you get to see when walking along the beach in Lompoc usually?

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.” — Robert Lynd

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I am a traveler. Photographer. Writer. Teacher. Skydiving instructor. Adventure enthusiast. Nature lover. And fell in love with the African continent. My stories go around travel, nature and all kinds of adventurous activities.


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