As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 29 January 2016

Rare visitor gets birders flocking to the Highveld

Shaun Smillie | 27 January, 2016 00:42

A little bird lost is causing a huge flutter.

More than 600 people, some from as far as Cape Town, have come to Johannesburg to get a glimpse of a bird that is not quite the size of a chicken.

The bird is a spotted crake and it has pitched up at a pond at Waterfall Estate, Midrand.

Spotted crakes, said Trevor Hardaker, chairman of Bird Life SA's rarities committee, usually migrate only as far south as Zambia or Zimbabwe. But this one kept on going.

It is not the only one. It has been a strange summer for spotted crakes.

There have been sightings of at least a dozen crakes around the country.

The rarities committee tracks sightings of rare birds and was notified of the Midrand crake on Thursday.

"They are normally reclusive but this one is parading around in the open," said Hardaker.

The wayward spotted crake and its far-roaming fellows, such as the snowy egret that visited Cape Town last year, are helping to generate tourist dollars.

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