Often we always focus on the bigger things on the African continent; however when you come to Africa more often, one starts looking at other things, and often this includes birds. Africa is a great spot to do some bird watching, may it be that you are a keen birder or twitcher (due to one constantly twitching with every call or every bird that flies past, with binoculars in hand to see what it is), or even just looking at the large raptors or beautifully rainbow coloured bee-eaters, rollers or kingfishers.
I must confess I am quite an avid twitcher, and have been for a while, wherever we go I am often accompanied with my binoculars and a bird app or book. The thing is that you can go anywhere in the world, and watch birds, and often watching a bird party, then other things come out to play.
But I can definitely say that I get quite excited when I hear or spot a species I haven’t seen before or is a rarity for the area. This was shown, when during our last, end of season operations meetings, we did a trip to the tree house to check on it. Whilst sipping at a sundowner, a sound came from the undergrowth, a bellowing, was it a Narina trogon, with its contrasting red front and green back, or was it…
Could it be…..
But I have never heard one or even seen one ever, in the Selous or other regions….
But that call, I know that call….
Sounds like a fog horn!!
A booming from the undergrowth.
I have my binoculars in hands, guides jumping around to get a glimpse, phones out accessing apps, as we all listening intently…
George, Charlie, Karin all remarking as we look like a mongoose on its rear two legs.. Trying to peer round and see from where, that fog horn call is coming from… Why?
Well Heribert’s phone in hand, Roberts bird app out, and boooooooom, boooooooooom!!! The only one it could be, the long drawn out call, of nothing else, but… a…..
It is a Buff-spotted Flufftail of course or as we like to call it BSF.
I’ve heard this call before in Southern Africa, but never in the Selous, unfortunately never seen one either. It is a very difficult bird to see as they love the cover of vegetation and often call, in the early evening. It is a very unmistakeable call, once heard, and actually a beautiful bird to, with a rufous-red head and black body, with yes, you guessed it, buff spots.
A first record for the Selous, but it has been documented in surrounding areas, and this would be bird number 282 for the Beho Beho birdlist, which the guides compile each season. We are all trying to reach the magic number of 300, which has proved to be difficult these last two seasons since we started, but we have also been lucky enough to find and see birds, which haven’t been recorded, or haven’t been regularly seen in the area. May it be lack of data capturing, but have had some good sightings.
Obviously each lunch and dinner thereafter, a good old banter around the table, and often a booming call from either Charlie or George from across the table, sending everyone into laughter, as we all listened out for another fog horn call from our Buff-spotted Flufftail.