I say “apparently” because our guide for the day – the awesome Steve from Batis Birding Safaris – seemed extremely perplexed that Peter and I were not sharing his huge excitement at our sighting of a Royal Tern at Walvis Bay.
Excitement so great that having seen the thing – a big “mossie” (sparrow), according to Peter, not even a decent sized chicken (he was joking!) – around 10am, by 4pm the word was out in the birding community, and birders from as far away as South Africa were standing by to fly to Swakopmund in the hopes of seeing said bird.
Problem was, there were only three people who saw it – me, Peter and Steve – and only one who appreciated its significance. And that one didn’t have a camera – and my camera lens, good as it is, is definitely not designed for bird pics at 50m… Steve called for reinforcements with appropriate camera gear, but by the time the troops arrived, birdie had flown the coop, so to speak. Convinced he will be back, the troops were still waiting patiently four hours later.
Meanwhile, back at the B&B, I downloaded my photos, and thanks to the wonders of truly giant file sizes, I think the evidence is clear. One “ordinary” tern with yellow beak, and his big cousin the Royal tern with brighter orange beak, side by side on the sand.
Who knows, my photo may be famous – at least until the professionals descend on Swakopmund in the next few days.
And just for the record, Steve, we were really thrilled to have shared in your discovery, and so pleased if my photo does in fact authenticate your sighting. We loved the rest of the day too, but more of that to come in the next few posts.