27 June 2022


Long-time WWF supporter and our monthly wildlife contributor David Waterhouse shares a special poem with us about Greater Flamingos; birds that are truly ‘candy to the eyes’ if you are ever so lucky to come across them.

In this piece, David transports us to the salt plains of Rann of Kutch, India.

We searched the Rann salt plains, empty and bare,

Surely, no life form can prosper out there?

Yet, in mid-summer days, as monsoon rains fall,

Lakes teeming with life soon spread over all.

Then do the wolf and wild ass retire

To islands of high ground, a few metres higher.

When monsoon rains cease and the shallow lakes shrink,

Their waters are graced with tall birds, white and pink.

For in the cool season, flamingos appear;

They may linger briefly, or sojourn all year.

What a joy to behold in the falling red sun,

When the day is just dying and night’s just begun.

A mirror-smooth wetland, nigh on twenty miles square

Has a throng of flamingos, all sieving out there.

Soon the sun fades and the full moon appears,

As the bugling of crane calls resounds in the ears.

The slender grey forms gather round the lake’s edges,

Long bills probe the shallows to feast on the sedges.

Then, in the pale moonlight high over our heads,

Squadrons of pelicans trace curving zeds.

In lettered formations they fall from the clouds

And glide to their rest place in tightly-packed crowds.

Such avian splendor, a joy to the eye,

Now fades from our sight as the sun leaves the sky.

Greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) part of breeding colony of approx 10,000 pairs, at waters edge, Camargue, France, April 2009
© Wild Wonders of Europe  / Allofs / WWF

David became a WWF supporter 60 years ago and he remains a supporter to this day. He intends his support to continue beyond his lifetime through a gift in his Will. He hopes that by sharing his experiences in nature he can inspire others to protect it.

You can help too. Please consider including a gift in your Will to WWF just as David has, and ensure nature is protected into the future.