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This upland marsh is famous as the site of the "rediscovery" of one of Africa's most enigmatic birds - the White-winged Flufftail. When conditions are right, the marsh boasts no fewer than three species of these elusive "pygmy crakes" (and a fourth species - Buff-spotted Flufftail, is found in surrounding wooded areas.) The marsh is also home to several other wetland rarities such as Eurasian Bittern and Baillon's Crake, whilst encouraging numbers of Wattled Crane and Grey Crowned Crane may be observed in the surrounding areas.

The village of Franklin lies 35km north of Kokstad along a good tar road, and is flanked to the north and east by extensive marshes. These are accessible from the road that crosses the marsh to the east of the village.

Stop along the road as is traverses the marsh and scan any open water for White-backed Duck, Maccoa Duck and Whiskered Tern. Little Bittern, African Rail, Purple Heron and Baillon's Crake may often be seen with patient scanning of the reedbeds, particularly in the early morning. Eurasian Bittern are frequently heard booming in the summer months but are rarely seen. In the evening Marsh Owl and African Grass-Owl may be seen over the marsh fringes whilst Grey Crowned Crane gather to roost in the willows.

A walk through the vlei when conditions are ideal may result in views of flushed Red-chested Flufftail, Striped Flufftail, African Crake and African Snipe. The severely endangered White-winged Flufftail occurs on strictly private land near the main marsh.

Adam Riley and Jonathan Rossouw 1997.

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