In March 2008 the unusually wet season resulted in a number of transient “rains migrants” arriving in northern South Africa. At Maloutswa Pan in Mapungubwe National Park, we encountered this furtive family of Allen’s Gallinules Porphyrio alleni. One adult bird (presumably the female) was tending to 4 fluffy little chicks that were tagging along behind, at times up to 6 m from the adult. Mom would frequently turn over lily pads (as do jacanas) to peer underneath in search of morsels – while the babies tried unsuccessfully to imitate this behaviour. This situation presented a rare opportunity to study plumage development in this elusive species. Also on this same page I made some notes on Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus and Common Buttonquail Turnix sylvacticus.