Black Skimmer – the thrill of the chase

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Black Skimmer – the thrill of the chase

Having birded extensively throughout Africa and being very fortunate to have already seen 2077 species on the continent, you can imagine my surprise and delight when, after having just returned home from a fabulous Angola tour, I was informed that a Black Skimmer (a major vagrant from the Americas) had turned up in Cape Town – a first for the African continent! I therefore decided to dash down last Friday on a quick flight in order to try and see the bird. On arriving in Cape Town, my good friends and colleagues, Keith Valentine and Simon Bellingham, met me at the airport, and we then rushed off excitedly to Rietvlei a short distance away. What a thrill it was as we arrived at the site to find this very lost bird still there and obliging us with good flight views (see my photo below), before resting on a sandbar where it seemed very content and in good condition. As things turned out, the very next day it had disappeared, much to the frustration and disappointment of those who had made the very long journey from various other cities to see the bird! What a relief to have seen it on Friday…. And then, on Sunday, a Black Skimmer was found at Walvis Bay, approximately 1250km kilometres to the north, almost certainly the same individual – but who knows?  Hopefully it will stay long enough for many more birders to enjoy!