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.
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.
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.
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