Rare bird sightings in Somerset East

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Monday, 5th September 2016

Birders are "flocking" to the lovely Glen Avon Farm in Somerset East, Karoo Heartland, as a small population of the elusive Striped Flufftail has been found. 

Striped Flufftail Somerset East

A small population of the rare Striped Flufftail has been found on the Somerset East farm of Glen Avon in the Karoo HeartlandA small population of Striped Flufftails was recently found on Glen Avon.
This has caused quite a flutter in local birding circles as this bird ranks very high on many experienced birders 'still to see' lists.
Flufftails are renowned for their ability to be heard and not seen. There are three regular flufftails in the Eastern Cape, namely, the Buff-spotted which occurs in dense forests, the Red-chested, which occurs in bulrushes in vleis and the Striped, which likes rank grass in mountain or marsh habitat.
These birds are the size of a mouse and creep around very unobtrusively. The Striped Flufftail has tunnels in the grass much like mice do. One second you see it, the next it has vanished. These birds are very reluctant flyers. If flushed they will land about 10m away never to be flushed or seen again!
The Striped Flufftail calls mostly for a few hours after sunset, so the intrepid birder needs to go armed with a torch, a bird-caller pda, gumboots and maybe a camera ..... just to prove.....!
The Glen Avon population is easily accessible and vocal at the moment, so there have been a few bookings in the B&B by birders wanting to add 'that elusive one' to their life tally. We had a couple from Uitenhage last weekend. This week we have 4 from Gauteng and on from Graaf-Reinet on Thursday and on Friday there are 4 coming up from PE to try their luck. This bird seems to call in late winter and early spring. Once calling stops, it is as though the bird ceases to exist!

This discovery has caused quite a flutter in local birding circles as this bird ranks very high on many experienced birders 'still to see' lists. Flufftails are renowned for their ability to be heard and not seen. There are three regular flufftails in the Eastern Cape, namely, the Buff-spotted which occurs in dense forests, the Red-chested, which occurs in bulrushes in vleis and the Striped, which likes rank grass in mountain or marsh habitat.

These birds are the size of a mouse and creep around very unobtrusively. The Striped Flufftail has tunnels in the grass much like mice do. One second you see it, the next it has vanished! These birds are very reluctant flyers. If flushed they will land about 10m away never to be flushed or seen again!  The Striped Flufftail calls mostly for a few hours after sunset, so the intrepid birder needs to go armed with a torch, a bird-caller pda, gumboots and maybe a camera - to ensure that they have proof!

Striped Flufftail Glen Avon

The Glen Avon population is easily accessible and vocal at the moment, so enthusiastic birders would do well to join in the exodus to the Bed & Breakfast at Glen Avon Farm to add "that elusive" Striped Flufftail to their life tally. 

Book a weekend at Glen Avon in Somerset East: 

Glen Avon Mill

 

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