Guests often ask me if I’ve had any unusual visitors. We’ve had our share but most of them will have slipped in and out of Londolozi without drawing too much attention to themselves. I’m ok at recognising people like actresses and world leaders but only because of the context in which they appear like films or the news. Put them in a Land Rover, sitting quietly and dressed in something more appropriate to their surroundings, and they become unrecognisable to me – just grinning guests pointing cameras at the wilderness. The point I’m trying to make is that when I’m asked about which unusual visitors I’ve had I’m normally stuck for an answer. Last week however we had two unusual visitors that I’m unlikely to forget.

The first is this Green Sandpiper photographed here at the Causeway by Malcolm Hide.

The first is this Green Sandpiper photographed here at the Causeway by Malcolm Hide.

A second picture taken for confirmation!

A second picture taken for confirmation!

We first found it on an afternoon game drive with Cheryl and Shirley and since then this migratory visitor from Europe and Asia has received quite a bit of attention. Remarkably it is estimated that only 200 to 300 birds arrive in South Africa every year with the bulk of the population settling down to enjoy an African Summer much further North of us. It has been suggested that Green Sandpipers are more likely to visit us if we’ve had significant rainfall and so far this year the rain has been plentiful, persistent and earlier than usual.

The second bird pictured here is a Grey Backed Sparrow-Lark.

The second bird pictured here is a Grey Backed Sparrow-Lark.

We had to do a double take when we spotted this as its’ normal range is well to the West of us, where it prefers open, arid to semi-arid habitats. As it turns out it’s a first record of this little bird at Londolozi and its movement well North and East of its usual habitat is due to dry conditions in the South African interior whilst we’ve experienced a cool and wet start to the summer.

There is a buzz at the moment within the team as some new birds are being spotted and recorded. Trevor McCall-Peat found a small group of Orange Breasted Waxbills, Richard Ferrier had a Green Twinspot at his house and Greg Pingo found a Lanner Falcon in the North.

This Green Twinspot flew into Richard Ferriers window and thankfully flew off shortly after this picture was taken!

This Green Twinspot flew into Richard Ferriers window and thankfully flew off shortly after this picture was taken! Photographed by Mike Sutherland

Come to think about it we’re probably going to need a lot of salt and will have to do a lot of pinching, the birds only exist if there is proof in the form of a picture!

Written by Tom Imrie

Photographed by Malcolm Hide, Londolozi guest and Mike Sutherland

Filed under Guests Wildlife

About the Author

Tom Imrie

Field Guide

Tom is the voice of wisdom, reason and logic on the Londolozi Ranging Team, as well as all the other facets that go hand-in-hand with being an intellectual far beyond the realm of most mere mortals. There are very few subjects under the ...

More stories by Tom

9 Comments

on Unusual Visitors
    Derek & Chris says:

    Any chance of any Blue Waxbills 19th to 24th Jan?
    I’m getting worried as from “The Blog” it looks as if when we get there, everything will have been seen, and there will be nothing left to see???? However really looking forward to our visit, so stop the cubs from growing any larger.

    Carol Robinson says:

    Special, thanks for sharing these beautiful birds with us.

    Christy says:

    Love the bird news!!! Hope to hear and see more!:)

    Nicholas says:

    My favourite type of reports! Great to see what you can come across at the right place and at the right time.

    Jenifer Westphal says:

    These “stars” are adorable….thanks for sharing!

    Thanks for the story and photos.

    We recently saw an unusual bird for California, a pin-tailed whydah, which I could identify thanks to our visit to Londolozi.

    Wendy Hawkins says:

    Thanks Tom. Its nice to see birds as “we humans” forget the feathered ones are just as beautiful as the furry ones, but a lot more colourful & sometimes more interesting!
    Congratulations again on winning Guide of the Year, well deserved 🙂

    TinaGreeff says:

    Your selection of birds were great!Some of these birds are very difficult to see.Please add more of these in future – sure lots of people will enjoy them

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