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Flufftail, White-winged

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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wildtuinman
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Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby wildtuinman » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:28 am

Too close and just too quick for a decent shot, but man what a sighting!!

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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby norms » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:53 am

What a great sighting of one of the rarest and most endangered birds in the country.

Well done! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:08 am

norms wrote:What a great sighting of one of the rarest and most endangered birds in the country.

Well done! :thumbs_up:


Actually it is one of the rarest birds in the WORLD! Its global population size is thought to be less than 300 mature individuals...

Recent blood samples from a bird caught at Wakkerstroom and two caught at Middelpunt just a week ago, prompted Malcolm Drummond of the Middelpunt Wetland Trust to write in his announcement of the tri-annual White-winged flufftail Controlled Flush at Middelpunt Wetland:

DNA and isotope analyses are underway to resolve the long-standing conundrum of whether or not the birds that occur and breed in Ethiopia are the same birds that occur in South Africa (i.e. that they migrate between the two countries).

Many suitable South African WWFT sites are under threat, including Middelpunt from diamond mining and the Franklin Vlei from sewage and sawdust pollution.

In many ways, the threat of habitat destruction in Ethiopia is far more serious, as we know that the bird breeds there. This is directly linked to a massive human population increase, which has more than doubled in the last 35 years to about 90 million people, with a parallel increase in livestock numbers. Habitat that should be ideal for flufftail breeding – moist grassland wetland, with vegetation about 35cm high – now looks more like a billiard table: completely overgrazed.


This organised "showing" of the flufftail acts to generate around R25 000 though donations made by birders that attend the "viewing". The Trust applies these funds in various ways to further protection strategies for this critically endangered bird.

BTW, well done, WTM on getting that shot. 100+ others failed to get anything near as good! :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:11 am

Thanks Johan! It was certainly not an easy thing to photograph!

More photos here.
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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby Imax » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:19 am

One of the most exhilarating ticks I have had in a long time, and I think a lot has to do with the fact that as a group everyone gets this lifer almost simultaneously, not like other chases where people individually get the bird as they arrive at the spot. Thus the cheer, back slapping, high fives and applause as 120 people celebrate was great fun.

Then added to this was the individual adrenaline rush of having this scarce little bird flying over my head at arm’s length. I could get no photo worth keeping, but looking it in the eye leaves a "photo" which will be imprinted lifelong in my memory banks. (Now if some clever oke can create a memory printer.....)

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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby DotDan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:47 am

Fantastic, well done guys.. super jealous!!

Hopefully there will be an event like this again in a few years time!

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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:25 pm

Hopefully there will be, Daan...

But it sounds like there is a lot of opposition against such public outings. I think it all depends on how this species' numbers hold in a few years' time. As Johan mentioned earlier, the breeding grounds in Ethiopia is under enormous pressure. And the South African known locations are under enormous pressure because of diamond mining and pollution, so who knows if there will be protected areas for it in years to come.

But even if one would not be able to see it in the wild, there are plans for captive breeding at Pretoria Zoological gardens. So hopefully they will allow small numbers of visitors to see the White-winged Flufftail there. :twisted: :twisted: Of course, not tickable though. But hey, you know that by now, don't you? :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:27 pm

Imax wrote:One of the most exhilarating ticks I have had in a long time, and I think a lot has to do with the fact that as a group everyone gets this lifer almost simultaneously, not like other chases where people individually get the bird as they arrive at the spot. Thus the cheer, back slapping, high fives and applause as 120 people celebrate was great fun.

Then added to this was the individual adrenaline rush of having this scarce little bird flying over my head at arm’s length. I could get no photo worth keeping, but looking it in the eye leaves a "photo" which will be imprinted lifelong in my memory banks. (Now if some clever oke can create a memory printer.....)


Agree with you! It was just simply fantastic. Nothing I have prepared for. To have it running in full view 2m in front of my feet was something I never would've imagined.
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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby DotDan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:18 pm

wildtuinman wrote: Of course, not tickable though. But hey, you know that by now, don't you? :twisted: :twisted:



On the other hand Darren... you probably could have gotten a better photo.. :twisted:

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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:31 pm

Oh yes, for sure! I should've. I am really flabbergasted as to how I missed snapping it as it ran in front of my feet. I only ended up with one photo of it waist down. Shocking really! I think the adrenaline and the fact that I was trying to rather see it with my eyes rather than through the viewfinder and shooting at it from the hip was the major factor. :lol: :lol: But then again I could've not gotten a photo at all! So I will rather take my crap photos instead. And when I go to see them in the Zoo I will take skelm better photos. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby DotDan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:43 pm

:lol:

Almost as good an explanation as the one earlier about seeing it with their eyes and not the viewfinder yada yada yada to feel better about not getting a shot :twisted:

(Jealousy makes me one nasty sumbiatch) :twisted:

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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby Tilandi » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:52 pm

Well done Wildtuinman! :clap: :clap:

DotDan wrote:Fantastic, well done guys.. super jealous!!

Hopefully there will be an event like this again in a few years time!


I am also :mrgreen: and hoping for a twitch next year DotDan. :pray: :pray:
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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby Imax » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:27 pm

DotDan wrote::lol:

Almost as good an explanation as the one earlier about seeing it with their eyes and not the viewfinder yada yada yada to feel better about not getting a shot :twisted:

(Jealousy makes me one nasty sumbiatch) :twisted:



wonder who is jealous? I am still waiting from 5:15 Saturday morning, till now, for you to pitch up at my house, but that empty seat in the car sure had a good view of the birdie

Out of 120 people WTM has the best pic so far, that i have seen

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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:10 pm

Sheesh, how could 120 big ugly bullies pick of such a small terrified birdie?

:mrgreen:
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Re: Flufftail, White-winged

Unread postby Batmad » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:36 pm

Nicely done WTM! :clap:

Here is the individual we managed to capture the week prior to the public flush. I completely understand the adrenaline rush you speak of!

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