Re: Spotted Crake

Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:44 am

Thanks for all the comments. \O

Lis, a friend of mine lives there and had told me about it on Friday night. I took a drive there on Saturday but couldn't see it, and tried again yesterday. ;-)

Re: Spotted Crake

Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:40 pm

Being so close, the trip is well worth a spotted crake ;-)

Re: Spotted Crake

Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:42 pm

The birds are fine, Lis...it's the birders that are nutty! =O:

Re: Spotted Crake

Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:43 pm

I have to agree. lol I admit I went to find the bird, but I took some pics and left. Others were camped there the whole day with chairs and cooler boxes...how many pics can you take of one bird? O**

Lis, some people came from as far away as the Free State! :shock:

Re: Spotted Crake

Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:47 pm

=O: =O: I don't think birders count pictures... =O:

Your photo's are beautiful Flutts.

I went out to Marievale 2 weekends ago, but it was madness - the cars were lined up for metres... 0- and that day there was no crake.

Re: Spotted Crake

Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:48 pm

Thanks Amoli! \O

Try Waterfall...only about 20 people at a time and plenty of space for everyone. ;-)

Re: Spotted Crake

Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:52 pm

\O Thanks, I will - hope it sticks around. O0

Re: Spotted Crake

Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:52 pm

Good luck! ;-)

Re: Spotted Crake

Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:35 am

Posted on Birdlife SA's FB page by Trevor Hardaker:

I see a lot of people asking why the SPOTTED CRAKE at Waterfall Estate in Midrand is causing so much excitement, so here are a few comments and thoughts if you have nothing better to do…:)
Firstly, Spotted Crake is a regular annual migrant in low numbers into Southern Africa and is present every year in the northern parts of the subregion. It is, however, fairly unusual for them to make it all the way down to South Africa, although it is not unprecedented and there are plenty of previous records of this happening. What is unprecedented though is the number of Spotted Crakes that are currently in South Africa – I’m not personally aware of there ever having been so many of them around in the country at any one time. So, on the rarity scale, it’s not quite a mega, but it’s still a rather good bird…
So, what makes the Midrand one so popular? Well, it is right in the middle of the part of the country with the highest density of birders, it is really just a short drive from most parts of urban Gauteng and it is also in an easily accessible spot. What makes it even better is that it is hanging around a small pond, so you don’t have to search through acres and acres of habitat to find it, and also, it is extremely confiding and acting very un-Spotted Crake-like. These birds are notorious skulkers and generally don’t afford good views whereas this bird is doing exactly the opposite. So, in short, this is literally one of the best ever opportunities to get fantastic close-up views of this bird in South Africa.
What drives people to go and see it? Well, that will differ from one person to the next? Some will be driven by the numbers because they get to add another bird to their lifelist, some will want to take advantage of the fantastic photographic opportunities and some will just realize that this is a pretty unusual opportunity to get awesome views of this normally rather secretive species.
Whatever the case, it is an opportunity not to be missed! I have seen this species a number of times before in the subregion, but also travelled up from Cape Town on the weekend to enjoy it, partly because my wife had never seen one before (and I took her along) and partly because I realized what a great opportunity it would be to spend time with this confiding individual and just enjoy the unparalleled views of it.

Re: Spotted Crake

Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:39 am

Rare visitor gets birders flocking to the Highveld

Shaun Smillie | 27 January, 2016

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.

Avi-tourism is becoming a draw, particularly in towns such as Wakkerstroom, to where birders flock from around the world.

A 2009 report by the Department of Trade and Industry put the take from the bird-tourism industry at between R1-billion and R1.7-billion.

"We have a group coming through every second or third day," said Kristi Garland, Bird Life SA's manager in Wakkerstroom.

"The big groups come from Germany, the UK and the US."

They are mainly coming to see, she said, endemic species such as the yellow-breasted pipit and the blue korhaan.