Beaches and Birds: A Lagos Weekend

copyscape-banner-white-160x56IMG_0540‘Up the creek’ on a Sunday in Lagos, to many, is an obligatory migration from city to shore  to reconnect with nature and life’s simplicities. Today, one can find multi-million dollar houses with multi-million dollar yachts waiting for those who just can’t live one afternoon without luxury. But for some of us, a banana boat, a hut, and some grilled chicken will do just fine, thank you very much! We’ve come to hear (no generators) the crash of the ocean, long walks on a rough beach, and nap under coconut trees. IMG_0529 This Sunday we head to Ileshi, a sleepy fishing village about 40 minutes by banana boat from a Victoria Island jetty, passing Tin Can Island. Lagos Harbor is Nigeria’s most important port receiving water from Lagos Lagoon and Badagry Creek, a fresh/brackish water that originates from Lake Nokoue in Republic of Benin. The creek parallel to the Atlantic Ocean coast is dominated by coconut trees and mangroves. A system of inlets, often treacherous to navigate due to unseen sand bars, connect Republic of Benin with Lagos Harbor— the Yewa River, Badagry, Agaja, Ibese, Festac Creek and Tin Can Island.  Click here for more pictures.

 

A morning that begins at 5:30 am, a long drive, then tramping around the bush for 3 hours, perspiring profusely, may not appeal to many people but for a few, there is no where else you would rather be on a Lagos weekend! The Nigerian Field Society and the Lekki Bird Club organizes birdwatching opportunities outside of Lagos. From large birds of prey to petite iridescent sunbirds, each forest destination brings opportunities to see diverse species in the dozens.

Today, our group leaders are Steve Turnipseed from NFS and Bunmi Jegede from LBC. This day we visit the LUFASI, Lagos State Urban Forest and Animal Shelter Initiative, an urban forest park that sits on 15 hectors of land and created to save the Ekki trees as well as to provide a shelter for animals. This forest protects two endangered species in Nigeria, the Ekki tree or ironwood tree, known for its extremely hard wood, and the Hooded-Vulture, once abundant now takes refuge in the tall Ekki trees. 

Click here to view birds sighted.