20 January 2013 – all about a crake…
News had broken during the course of yesterday of a Baillon’s Crake that was photographed at Intaka Island Wetland Reserve and, since this was still a bird that we needed for our challenge list, it made the decision as to what would be done today. Up early and I was at Intaka by 6am. I walked straight to the hide where the bird had been seen and soon realized that apparently I was not the only one that had decided to chase this bird. The hide was pretty packed and, as I walked in, all the cameras were pointed out of the hide and the shutters were going crazy. I quickly and quietly grabbed an open seat not wanting to disturb anyone and looked out of the hide to see the Baillon’s Crake walking around out in the open. I grabbed the camera and fired off a few shots. Unfortunately, the crake was walking around in an area that was in total shade, so some quick changes to the settings and I was firing off again. It stayed out for a few more minutes before disappearing back into the reeds and it seems like I had timed my arrival absolutely perfectly…!
Just a few seconds later and my phoned beeped with a text message. It was from Tinus Lamprecht and it read “Baillon’s Crake showing well now at Intaka”. I had obviously come in so quietly to the hide that nobody had even realized that I was there…! I leaned back and saw Tinus sitting just a few people away from me in the hide and thanked him personally for sending me the update – it’s certainly the first time I have ever had the opportunity to thank someone personally for sending a rarity update. I then quickly typed out an email to send to SA Rare Bird News and then waited for the crake to re-appear.
I spent a couple more hours in the hide watching the crake (which only came out a few more times) and also photographing a few of the other common species there, but most of the time was spent chatting to friends – these twitches often turn into quite large social events as well. All in all, a good morning and I was home by 10:30am with a challenge tick in the bag…:)