Where do you go to see the greatest bird spectacle on earth? The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley. Come at the right time and you’ll see the shoreline of Kenya’s lakes turn bright pink as they’re filled with millions of flamingos. The lesser flamingos (the smallest species of them) gather at these lakes to feed on the abundant blue-green algae which thrive in the warm alkaline waters. UNESCO calls it ” the single most important foraging site for the lesser flamingo anywhere.”
Professional wildlife photographer Martin Harvey was lucky enough to see this for himself, coming back with these amazing photos. As he told us, “To witness a concentration of birds like this is, without a doubt, one of the greatest ornithological experiences in the world. There is constant movement of pink as birds move about the lake in search of food or disturbance by predators. It truly is an enjoyably overwhelming wildlife experience.”
Which lakes would should one actually visit? “The best place to see large numbers of flamingo is either Lake Nakuru or Lake Bogoria in Kenya,” he says. “However the flamingos of East Africa move between several widely separated lakes depending on food availability. It is therefore very much a matter of luck to see a huge concentration like that in these pictures.”
What does Harvey hope others will get out of these photos? “Despite their apparent large numbers, flamingo are a threatened species due to their very specific feeding and breeding requirements,” he says. “As conservationists, we can only try to get people aware of this truly incredible species and hope to put pressure on governments to protect their habitat.”
If you just can’t get enough, watch Harvey’s incredible video here.