The Swartvlei flamingos frolicking in the lagoon – captured by the lens of Sedgefield photographer André Victor.

The Swartvlei Lagoon is currently enjoying some exotic visitors in the form of a small flock of immature flamingos. The members of this juvenile group of specialist feeders have huddled together to kick up the soft silt of Swartvlei and scoop up the generous servings of crustaceans – sitting at just the right water level for their specific needs.
This activity is referred to as ‘agitation feeding’. The renegade flock (teenagers do like to explore) may hail from any number of larger groups of the species. None of them are being officially tracked and traced, but they could come from the West, Mossel Bay, the East, Paradise Beach (Jeffrey’s Bay) or even Kimberley in the Northern Cape. According to a local ornithologist, Mark Dixon, it’s not outlandish to think that they could fly overnight from The Big Hole, feast all day, fly back, gather up more of their family and pop down again for another day of good eating. The juvenile flamingos are paler than their fully-fledged adult counterparts and will take on the attractive pink hue as they mature and imbibe more beta carotene through their diets. As the salinity stabilizes in Swartvlei, now that the river mouth has been breached, they will soon move on to search for the tasty morsels that they enjoy so much. Nature is amazing and ever-changing, and those of us who live in Sedgefield have front-row seats!