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An Unexpected Twitch | Zach Simpson

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

I was invited to go to Castleburn Resort for a long weekend in the Drakensberg with one of my friends from school. I was excited knowing that there could be some potentially amazing birds to see.

The first day went well. My friend and I went for a walk along the river to do some birding and to just enjoy being out. Just before we got back to the resort, I received a photo call from Brad Arthur, a fellow birder who was also staying at Castleburn. He said that a Lesser Jacana as well a couple of Maccoa Ducks had been seen about 60km away from where we were, near Swartberg.

I jumped at this opportunity and decided to go and twitch these birds, before I knew it Brad, Nathan Ngugi, Dylan Weyer, and myself were off to find these amazing birds, both of which would be lifers.

Lesser Jacana photographed in the Drakensberg
Lesser Jacana | Zach Simpson

We arrived at the first dam and before long we found the tiny bird foraging on some partially submerged grass. I was surprised to see how small the Lesser Jacana was, especially when comparing it to a nearby Cape Wagtail. We sat and watched it for some time, and I managed to get some cool photos. We then moved on to the dam where the Maccoa Ducks were seen and soon found a couple.

The Afternoon turned out to be really amazing, we also saw some other cool species such as, Southern Pochard, Cape Shoveler, South African Shelduck, White-backed Duck, African Snipe, Bearded Vulture, Mountain Wheatear, Red-winged Francolin, Denham’s Bustard, Secretarybird and Wattled Crane, which was also a lifer.


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