BINGA BIRD SPA          - 16/5/2011      <--Prev : Next-->

We popped up to Binga for the weekend and of course winter there is truly wonderful The days are balmy the nights are cool. There was not a single soul apart from us there, the April month has so many holidays in it that the April Lake People had all gone back to work.

As we sat enveloped in the peace and quiet, a charming little tableau developed right under our eyes at the waters' edge. As the day grew warmer we noticed an inordinate amount of activity at the water's edge involving dozens of Sacred Ibis and dozens of some sort of large brown vulture. We took an educated decision involving a Roberts' Bird Book and identified them as Hooded Vultures.

On closer inspection, the area in which they were massing yielded nothing - we thought that maybe there would be a dead croc or hippo, but there was absolutely nothing there that would attract any sort of activity. However Sacred Ibis are not scavengers like vultures which made it all the more strange. And then we noticed a whole flock of White Faced Whistling Duck join the party !

The only idea we could come up with was that it was a Bird Health Spa !!

Binga is known for its health giving mineral springs and we could see some bubbles in the shallow water were they were gathering. The water was tepid and sulphuric- smelling too.

They had been there for nearly a month we were told. My romantic theory was that they were paddling in the warm water and taking in the medicinal water from the springs ? HeeHoo is more sensible about such matters being an ardent ornithologist but he failed to come up with an answer..

The Spa was a hive of activity as the Ibis waited their turn for positions, roosting nosily in the thorn tree overlooking the "spa". The vultures flew in and out at whim and every so often the peace of the spa was rudely interrupted as the lordly resident Fish Eagle flew over menacingly, flexing his muscles.

At this the entire health and beauty set would whirl away in distress causing an immense noise from the multitude of flapping wings. Against the setting sun it was indeed a magical sight. I must admit I always did wonder how a hooded vulture cleaned his white fluffy neck after eating a gory, messy carcass and now I know. And how is it that this Sacred Ibis remain so sparkling white ? They go to the Binga Spa of course !!

Hmmm does anyone have a better suggestion?