Free State (East) – Gumtree/Kirklington
About the Birding
Birds associated with the bushy, boulder-strewn hillsides include Mocking Cliff Chat, Cape Rock Thrush, Ground Woodpecker (which nests in holes in banks of erosion gullies), African Olive Pigeon, Layard’s Tit-babbler (Warbler), Cape Batis, Swee Waxbill and Streaky-headed Seedeater, while it is not unusual to encounter Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk where taller trees occur. Wailing Cisticola, Karoo Prinia, and Cape Grassbird prefer grassy areas on the slopes.
About the Birding Site
The Gumtree area is situated between Clocolan and Ficksburg in the eastern Free State. The area is characterized by flat-topped, sandstone outcrops so typical of this area, with wooded hillsides and more densely vegetated valleys. Extensive grassland areas are confined mainly to lower-lying areas and the flat-topped plateaus. Much of the area has been converted to cultivated lands.
Other Related Information
Gumtree is accessed via the R26 between Clocolan and Ficksburg. The turnoff to Kirklington farm is along the gravel road a few km north-west of Gumtree.
Nearby Ficksburg borders on Lesotho, with a busy border crossing on the outskirts of town. Ficksburg is an excellent place to launch trips into Lesotho, particularly in search of the high altitude specials (Refer to the Mafika Lisiu/Bokong Nature Reserve write-up in the Lesotho Highlands section).