I fail to understand bush people who do not have any appreciation of birds; admittedly I do not know many who do not enjoy birds and observing them, but those that donít baffle me...

Over the past few days certain representatives of the avian race have thrown some very surprising spanners into the birdlife around Djuma.
Surprisingly there have been a few new species added to the bird count for our traversing area, as unlike most lodges in Southern Africa, instead of comparing distribution maps and the location of the lodge in accordance to the map if the two coincide, the bird gets added to the list. We decided early on to only put the birds which have physically been seen, heard or reliably identified within our traversing bounds, giving guests and potential birders a more accurate account of what our area has to offer within this realm of avifauna.
What is more is that I am 99% confident that these most recent sightings are also the first records of these species within the confines of the sabi sand game reserve. Naturally I stand to be corrected and welcome the time when I get any information substantiating or refuting this statement.
The first fairly recent surprise was a small flock of Collared Pratincole found on our northern traversing area.

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Luckily there was one of the land owners present in the area, whom I knew enjoyed his birds and called him over to substantiate our sighting. I did this to avoid the weeks of friendly verbal abuse I knew would be coming if I had no evidence to silence the friendly skeptics. The first sighting was in early December 2 years ago.
More recently, within the last 2 weeks to be more precise, I had another bird surprise with the sighting of a Grey Headed Gull, interestingly enough at the very same dam.

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All be it a very interesting sighting I wasnít to surprised by this as these gulls are regularly encountered inland when compared to the other species of gull in our country.
None the less it was still the first Grey Headed Gull I have seen at Djuma and a new one for the ever, but slowly, increasing bird count.
A couple of days ago, I had just begun a 4 night safari with a well traveled mom and daughter from France, and had been spending time with my baboon troop at Vuyatela, so was a little out of the loop as to where all the animals were hanging out. After chatting to Johnny at Bush Lodge, who knew where there was a cheetah with a kill and a male leopard not to far from that, this naturally seemed like a good way to kick off their holiday. We tailed JohnnyĎs route about a KM behind him, when the radio crackled into life, with Johnny on the other end, wanting to know where about we were. After informing him we were not far behind him, he told me he had a flamingo at a pan not far from where I had seen the gull and Pratincole.
I immediately thought I had fed him too much tequila the night before, but knew that it is virtually impossible to misidentify a flamingo.
After traveling the short distance to the pan he was at, there it was in the flesh, an immature greater flamingo.

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I had to admit to Johnny that had I not seen it with my own eyes I would have battled to believe him.
But since I have personally seen Arnottís chat, a bird pretty fussy about its habitat, in the sabi sands game reserve, and if you know anything about the Arnottís chat you would realize how weird that is. I even left a cheetah on a kill to go and see them, but remember struggling to convince my guests at the time how special this was.

In a nutshell I think this is a large part of why I find birds to be such fascinating creatures. On a mammalian equivalent it would be like finding a Cape fur seal in Gowrie dam. Most unlikely but I imagine that exciting. So to all birders never forget that birds have wings and may turn up in the most unexpected places.