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Excitement on  the 31 December 2018, when Brad Smith identified a very rare bird at the lodge, the Golden Pipit! This  beautiful, gold and yellow  bird with  black breast band, enthralled many  twitchers” who came from far and wide  to see it.

According to ornithological studies, the Golden Pipit is not usually  vocal,but this one sang out loud and clear, and seemed to enjoy the Mavela  environment.  Brad cut back the grass in certain patches  around the lodge , which our new feathered friend loved, and made it easier for birders to take photos and enjoy good sightings of him.
He stayed at the lodge area for 44 days,just 5 days short of the longest it has stayed in South Africa, previously recorded in 1986.  No other sightings of this beautiful rare bird have ever come close to that length of stay! 

The last sighting of him at Mavela was on the 12 February 2019 where he departed.  Its was a pleasure having such a special bird at our lodge. R35 000 was collected in conservation levy by the reserve,
 from day visitors and lodge guests.