Rattling Cisticola, an uncommon species in the Free State, is also found here and in similar thickets elsewhere in the reserve, always close to the shoreline of the dam. Fairy Flycatcher is a common winter visitor.
Waterfowl species, including Fulvous Whistling and White-faced Whistling Duck, Cape Shoveler, Cape Teal, Southern Pochard, South African Shelduck and Knob-billed Duck may be seen in good numbers at times, depending on the water level of the dam. Heronries hosting numerous different species of heron, egret, ibis and cormorant are present during seasons of good rainfall. Goliath Heron is commonly seen along the shoreline, while Great Crested Grebe is encountered on the open water. Good numbers of Caspian Tern are regularly seen and migrant White-winged Tern are abundant in summer. Lesser Black-backed Gull is occasionally seen during summer and has been known to overwinter.
The road heading north from the main camp along the shoreline of the dam is excellent for waterbirds and waders; Yellow-billed (Intermediate) Egret, Little Egret, Squacco Heron and occasionally Black Heron may be seen feeding in the shallows, particularly where there is emergent vegetation. Exposed sand or mud should produce a number of small waders, including Kittlitz’s Plover and Three-banded Plover, with Common Ringed Plovers usually present in low numbers in summer. Other summer visitors include Common, Wood, Marsh and Curlew Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Ruff and Little Stint.
During summer the main bridge crossing the dam is a hive of activity, with many hundreds of South African Cliff Swallows and Little Swifts breeding under the bridge in large colonies. Grey Herons perch on the concrete supports beneath the bridge and prey on unsuspecting swifts and swallows by snatching birds in flight, or flying out short distances to retrieve birds downed in the water.
Open grassland areas produce Eastern Clapper and Rufous-naped Lark, Northern Black Korhaan, Ant-eating Chat and Desert Cisticola. Listen for calling Orange River Francolin, particularly in the early morning. Woodland and savanna habitats provide a wealth of species, including Common Scimitarbill, Lesser Honeyguide, Acacia Pied Barbet, Crested Barbet, Cape Penduline-tit, Barred Wren-Warbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Long-billed Crombec, Pririt Batis, Ashy Tit, Brubru and Crimson-breasted Shrike. Magpie Shrike and Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill are present in low numbers. Red-crested Korhaan is more often heard than seen. Waxbills and finches are well represented, with Blue, Black-faced and Violet-eared Waxbill, Green-winged Pytilia and Red-billed Firefinch common residents, while Jameson’s Firefinch is more rarely encountered. Fawn-coloured and Sabota Lark are common in thornveld habitat. The characteristic calls of Tinkling Cisticola are heard in savanna areas bordering open grassland. Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl may be encountered, often nesting on top of large Sociable Weaver nests, a number of which are situated in camelthorn trees close to the tourist roads.
Larger mammals present include Buffalo, Giraffe, Eland, Roan and Sable Antelope, Gemsbok, Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Tsessebe, Blue Wildebeest, Burchell’s Zebra, Springbok, Steenbok and Black-backed Jackal. Aardwolf is occasionally encountered and Slender Mongoose, Yellow Mongoose and Springhare are common. Snakes include Cape Cobra, Puffadder and some impressive Boomslang specimens.
Barred Wren-Warbler, Tinkling Cisticola, Sociable Weaver, Rufous-eared Warbler, Double-banded Courser, Orange River Francolin, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Pririt Batis, Violet-eared Waxbill, Red-crested Korhaan