Down on the Beach

The element of surprise is the part i look forward to most when walking on our favourite beach.  Yesterday I set off hoping to get some better photographs than the one below of some of the European swallows which like to inhabit an area near the coastal pathway.  I admire these hardy little visitors who cover a long distance to spend summers on our shores.

European SwallowsIt was a heavenly day, but the wind picked up and the wise little birds were sheltering in a different area.   Meanwhile the surfers, fishermen, and kite boarders looked to be revelling in the freshning spindrift.

Surf angling is popular when the yellowtail run.
Surf angling is popular when the yellowtail run.
The surf was up with a good curl for the local surfers to ride.
The surf was up with a good curl.
The baboons were happily foraging on the dune vegetation while family hike along the dunes.
A lone baboon passes a family hiking in the dunes.
A small family of baboon are peacefully enjoying their habitat.
While the baboon family are peacefully moving along a foraging route.

The swallows are forgotten as the antics of the baboons catch my attention.  The three juveniles and baby can’t resist sliping and sliding down the dune and in their indulgence of the rough and tumble of everyday play :

Pa, the Alpha male comes padding by on a mission to get across the sand to the car park.

_DSC2571The family follow, romping along.

_DSC2580Meanwhile one of the sub-adult males is engaging in a reconnaisance of a different kind.

As soon as the alpha male arrives, he beats it and leaves the scene.

_DSC2689Savvy baboons: they have learned that where there are people and cars, there is a possible source of easy food.   Leaving bags on car seats and in sight through the windows will certainly attract their attention.   Lay out a picnic or light a barbeque in their domain and they will come to investigate and even make off with food that’s laid out for the taking.   We could take better care not to tempt them with human food when we come into the areas which overlap with their homerange.

17 thoughts on “Down on the Beach

  1. How wonderful to see them playing so relaxed! It’s a shame if they see people and cars as a larder, they are unlikely to find anything healthy and it will make them vulnerable.
    By the way – the two swallows on the left? they flew from Exeter 🙂 tell them its nearly time to come home.

    1. Aha, so that’s where they’re from! Seems like the word is already out – they’ve heard your call. They’ve started congregating, but are you sure that spring is really on it’s way ….?! Oh our baboons! They’re content in their own world and along come the humans and complicate their foraging options.

  2. Fantastic post – from my point of view, where NEVER would I see a baboon at the beach!!! (My point of view being the northeast coast of the US.) I had to look up the location of Cape Peninsula to see where this occurred. These photos are so amazing to me! The beach looks so similar to my area of the planet, but baboons are thousands of miles away! Thanks, so much for the wonderful photography and storyline! Absolutely delightful!

    1. Thanks for your very encouraging comments Mary – makes this blogging scene all the more worthwhile 🙂 I shall mosey over to the northeast coast and have a look at your world…. thanks for visiting.

  3. How wonderful! I would be very nervous about those baboons! We had a similar experience in Tanzania where they invaded a tourist van and pulled apart their picnic and started throwing buns out of the window. It was funny (from a locked car) Are they likely to attack humans?

    1. Hi Sue Ann, I’m pretty wary of baboons in raiding mode! They tend to be very single-minded over getting what they want. Generally they don’t attack people, incidents tend to happen when neither baboon nor person will back off and the baboon might assert dominance rights over food. I find it interesting that they will exploit any given opportunity when it involves easy pickings. They’re fascinating creatures.

  4. Hi Liz-
    What an interesting and amazing photo/narrative. Baboons in the dunes… sounds like a story in the making, and with important lessons to be shared!

    I returned home a few days ago from a class on the Oregon Coast where we completed a beach transect. The largest organisms we found were mole crabs. (Happy to report none were in our cars looking for food!!) ~Jane

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