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Sunday, 02 March 2008 21:02
Written by Neil Gray

2 March 2008 On the 25th January 2008 word hit the birding webpages that a Pacific Golden Plover, a rare vagrant to southern Africa, had been seen at Muzi Pans some 40km north of Hluhluwe in northern Zululand. I kept my fingers firmly crossed that it would still be there when I visited the area to take up a timeshare week at Sobhengu Lodge on the Nibela Peninsula at the northern end of Lake St Lucia from 22-29 February.

Luck was with me and on 25th February one month to the day after the initial sighting, with the assistance of Bheki, one of the local bird guides, I not only saw but managed to take close-range photos of the bird. That was the second lifer of the day as Bheki had already located a Pel's Fishing-Owl for me on the banks of the Mkuze River some 3km to the south-west. The Pel's was not so accommodating but I did manage a few shots through a lot of intervening foliage.

Other highlights of the week included photographing a pair of Rosy-throated Longclaw, a regional special, on the floodplains where the Mkuze River flows into Lake St Lucia and sightings of other regional specials in sand forest at Sobhengu, including Grey, Olive and Neergaard's Sunbirds, Rudd's Apalis, Dark-capped Weaver, Black-bellied Starling and Collared Pratincole, not a common bird in South Africa.

A trip total of 186 for the week helped my 2008 species list to 331, so I'm off to a good start, still trying to reach 500 in a calendar year for the first time.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 September 2012 11:02 )