The answer is... a storm petrel!
In January, a storm petrel was found in the Kruger National Park, having been blown in land during a tropical storm. The bird was ringed on Mousa RSPB nature reserve in July 2011, by RSPB Seabird Ecologist Mark Bolton and Glasgow University PhD student Hannah Watson. Mousa is a famous breeding site for these sparrow-sized seabirds, particularly the Iron Age Broch. http://safring.adu.org.za/ can tell you more about where and how the bird was found.
This photo shows the 2,000 year old broch and the water mill which was used when Mousa was inhabited over 100 years ago. As well as breeding in the broch, storm petrels breed in beaches (like the one to the right of the broch) and in dry-stone walls all around the island.
Shetland-ringed storm petrels have been found in various countries, such as Portugal, France, Namibia and Ivory Coast whilst on migration. They winter in the seas around South Africa, including the Indian Ocean.
I just adore storm petrels, or Alamooties as they are called in Shetland. They look gorgeous, smell gorgeous and sound gorgeous. If you haven't had the good fotune of smelling storm petrels, Assistant Warden Newton and I were surprised to notice that pilau rice has a similar scent to a storm petrel! Their call was well described by the late Bobby Tulloch as "a fairy being sick." Click here to hear them.
My adoration of storm petrels turns into fascination when thinking about how they live their lives - amazing annual migration from the seas around Shetland to the seas around South Africa, the way they feed, how they breed and so on. Truly amazing peerie birds and I look forwards to their return.
Thanks for reading!