North West – Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve

About the Birding

1. Follow the Dr. Yoosuf Dadoo road out of town. The road from Klerksdorp to the reserve should be travelled slowly. Just out of town on the left is a small low building. There is a Rufous-naped Lark that displays on top of this each breeding season. All along the telephone wires Black-winged Kite, Southern (Common) Fiscal and Common (Steppe) Buzzard can be seen. About 4.5 kilometers along there is a low koppie to the right. Common Scimitarbill are seen here. Along the edge of the road there are many Blue Waxbill and the thorn trees have many White-Browed Sparrow-weavers.

Also watch at each low culvert along the road where Red-breasted Swallow breed. Just past the koppie a gravel road turns out to the right. This road is altogether amazing for warblers from December onwards. Marsh, Icterine Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat are all to be found/heard. Where this short road (only a kilometre!) gets to an open gate with a stop sign, the church camp begins. There is a large stand of bluegums in the camp area. There are breeding Ovambo Sparrowhawks and Gabar Goshawks. Do not miss this short stretch, it is amazing. Another kilometre past the koppie is a lucerne field on the right, which has Abdim’s Stork in summer. Just past this again is a seasonal stream, which has hundreds of breeding South African Cliff Swallow and White-rumped Swift. During wet years African Snipe give their wonderful displays with their tail feathers drumming. Listen for Red-chested Flufftail in the stream. The next patch of thorn trees is an area for the Crimson-breasted Shrike. Also in this area Eastern Clapper Lark can be heard calling early in the morning. Watch for Swainson’s Spurfowl and Helmeted Guineafowl. The final stretch to the entrance has many Ant-eating Chat on the wire and Black-chested Prinia in the low shrubs. Later in the breeding season the road is also very good for Rock Bunting, Pin-tailed Whydah and Shaft-tailed Whydah.

2. At the entrance (Coordinates S26 44.198 E26 42.537), there is often a roosting Western Barn Owl in the thatched roof. To the right of the office is a birdbath where many birds can be seen early in the morning – Common Scimitarbill, Cape Robin-chat, Kalahari Scrub Robin, Chestnut-Vented Tit-babbler (Warbler) and all the finches including Violet-eared Waxbill.

3. The koppies 500m to the right also sometimes have roosting Western Barn Owl. When the aloes flower there are Malachite Sunbirds here. One kilometre past that, is the Caravan Park where Ant-eating Chat and Familiar Chat have become very tame. In the mornings Burchell’s Coucal and Cape Robin-chat call.

4. An old quarry is situated on a low koppie about 2 km further on the right. Here African Pipit, Nicholson’s Pipit and Buffy Pipit are found alongside Cape Longclaw. Also seen here are the nomadic Chestnut-backed and Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark.

5. A large seasonal dam (Coordinates S26 44.212 E26 41.896) is about 1km past the quarry. African Spoonbill, Maccoa Duck and South African Shelduck arrive in summer along with many breeding Little Grebe. The small bushes alongside have breeding Scaly-feathered Finch (Weaver).

6. The road meanders through a flat grassy area for the following eight kilometres. This is where most of the grassveld types can be found: Melodious Lark, Rufous-naped Lark, Eastern Clapper Lark, Sabota Lark and Spike-heeled Lark. Zitting Cisticola, Desert Cisticola, Cloud Cisticola, Northern Black Korhaan and Levaillant’s Cisticola (next to the dam). During wet years there are hundreds of Common Quail, African Quail-finch and Harlequin Quail calling from the grass. Dryer years offer Caspian Plover, Double-banded Courser and Burchell’s Courser. Secretarybird stride around as well. Red-breasted Swallows breed under low culverts. During summer Blackwinged Pratincole are also seen. This is a really outstanding area to try see African Quail-finch. They are always along the road. Look for tiny birds that fly up as you drive along.

7. After this one reaches the picnic area. This has Brubru, Bokmakierie, Red-throated Wryneck, all three mousebirds species, Lesser Grey Shrike and Red-backed Shrike (in summer). Greater Honeyguide and Lesser Honeyguide can be heard calling. Very often there are Black Cuckooshrike, in this area too.

8. From here you can cut back to the gate or continue past the picnic spot. The rest of the road (16 km) goes through a mixture of grassveld and low koppies with scattered thorn trees.

9. The area around the chalets and caravan park can be good areas to try to see Spotted Eagle-Owl as well as Western Barn Owl, Marsh Owl, Rufous-cheeked Nightjar (summer) and Spotted Thick-knee. Also keep a lookout for Cape Penduline-tit and Ashy Tit.

10. Raptors, migrant and nomadic species seen in the reserve are Pallid Harrier, Lanner Falcon, Greater Kestrel, European Honey Buzzard, Gabar Goshawk, Red-chested Cuckoo, Diederik Cuckoo, Great Spotted Cuckoo and Capped Wheatear. African Grey Hornbill and Grey Go-away-bird may also be seen occasionally. African Fish-eagle, Martial Eagle, Cape Vulture, African Hawk Eagle, Booted Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, African Marsh Harrier and Verreaux’s Eagle have all been recorded

Faan Meintjies also has a great diversity of mammal species to look out for including Sable, Grey Duiker, Steenbok, Aardwolf and Aardvark. The latter are typically nocturnal recluses however.

Other sites within a day trip of the reserve:

1. The tar road continues past the reserve and leads to Eleazer and also to Potchefstroom (about 50km). This site as well as OPM Prozesky and Boskop Dam are within an easy drive from the reserve along the road as described below. 10 km from the entrance the road becomes gravel. Just before this a small spruit crosses the road. Stop and look here for Levaillant’s Cisticola, Bokmakierie that often display in breeding time and many Southern Red Bishop and Yellow-crowned Bishop. To the right some way in is a stand of bluegums, which host Swallow-tailed Bee-eater. At the crossroads there is a huge farm dam on the left. (Coordinates S26 39.781 E26 45.846). Please phone Mr. Cronje 0827823820 for permission to go onto his farm. When the dam is not too full, there are extensive muddy areas where waders are abundant. African Spoonbill, Pied Avocet, Little Stint, Common Sandpiper, Red Knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen, Little Grebe, Greater Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Maccoa Duck, Cape Shoveler, Yellow-billed Duck, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Goose, Black-winged Stilt and Wood Sandpiper are all here, as well as Levaillant’s Cisticola and African Stonechat. Specials that are regular are the flocks of Black-winged Pratincole (summer). A further 10km along the road to Eleazer, there is a shallow pan to the left. Although quite a distance from the road, there are many African Spoonbill, White-winged Tern and Whiskered Tern, and this is also good for Black-winged Pratincole.

2. Another round trip would be from the reserve gate and again towards Eleazer. 6,5km from the gate turn left on the road to Brakspruit. Just to the left are low koppies which is a great place to look for Rufous-cheeked Nightjar in the early evening. All along this road there are many breeding cisticolas, larks and pipits. Listen for the various display calls of the males. And an abundance of warblers.

3. At Brakspruit turn right and follow the Ventersdorp road for 32 km to the Ratzegaai turnoff. Turn left for about 15 km and turn in at the second farm board reading Kotze. Please phone Dries Kotze beforehand for permission to visit (0845122104). He is a keen birder and has wonderful birding on his farm. Specials here are White-backed Vulture, Cape Vulture and Lappet-faced Vultures at his vulture feeding site. During summer Western Yellow Wagtail are found amongst his cattle. The runoff from his pig farm is specially treated at a sewage plant and attracts various waders in summer and other birds. This is worth a day’s visit on its own.

4. Another option is to continue to the end of the tar road past the entrance to Faan Meintjies. Turn left at the crossroads there. The first road following the crossroads has a sign to left indicating ‘Mahems vlei’. Take that for about a kilometre until a very sharp turn to the left, with a short farm track going off to the right. Park there and listen. Recorded in this area has been Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike, White-browed Scrub Robin and White-throated Robin-chat, as well as Coqui Francolin. Return to the crossroad, turn left again and you will get to a sign ‘Inyala Lodge’. This is a good venue to stay over with outstanding birding and good mammal viewing. If you turn left at the Inyala Lodge sign, this section of road is the best in the greater Klerksdorp area for warblers in summer. Common Cuckoo has also been seen here in summer and the varied habitat types along this road always makes for exciting birding. The rare yellow form of Crimson-breasted Shrike has also been seen along this stretch.

Key species:

South African Shelduck, Gabar Goshawk, Greater Kestrel, Burchell’s Courser, Blackwinged Pratincole, Chestnutbacked Sparrow-lark and Greybacked Sparrow-lark, Melodious Lark, Eastern Clapper Lark, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Red-breasted Swallow, South African Cliff Swallow, Ant-eating Chat, , Grassveld Pipit, Long-billed Pipit, , Cape Longclaw. Nocturnal species include Spotted Eagle Owl, Barn Owl, Marsh Owl, Rufous-cheeked Nightjar, Fiery-necked Nightjar and Spotted Dikkop, and rarities include Pallid Harrier and Honey Buzzard

About the Birding Site

The 1200 hectare reserve, situated just outside Klerksdorp, includes low koppies, scattered acacia thorn trees and large areas of grassveld. There are also three seasonal dams. A 14km or 28km loop of gravel roads offers access to all areas. Habitats include open grassland, acacia thornveld, rocky koppies, dams and gardens.

Depending on the time taken to identify the many LBJs, the reserve can be covered just comfortably in one day. Staying overnight would enable one to see the nocturnal birds and animals, as well as some very worthwhile localities within the area.

Key species:

South African Shelduck, Gabar Goshawk, Greater Kestrel, Burchell’s Courser, Blackwinged Pratincole, Chestnutbacked Sparrow-lark and Greybacked Sparrow-lark, Melodious Lark, Eastern Clapper Lark, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Red-breasted Swallow, South African Cliff Swallow, Ant-eating Chat, , Grassveld Pipit, Long-billed Pipit, , Cape Longclaw. Nocturnal species include Spotted Eagle Owl, Barn Owl, Marsh Owl, Rufous-cheeked Nightjar, Fiery-necked Nightjar and Spotted Dikkop, and rarities include Pallid Harrier and Honey Buzzard

Other Related Information

Access and facilities:
Faan Meintjies is situated 12 km from Klerksdorp. The road to the reserve is well signposted at all entrances to Klerksdorp. Entry is from 7am till 4pm. Residents in the chalets and caravan park may move around the park at any time. An entry fee is payable.

Other related information:

Recommended accommodation nearby:
No BirdLife Recommended Accommodations are currently available in the area.

There is a large picnic area as well as three chalets and a caravan park in the Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve.
Inyala Game Lodge is situated to the north of Faan Meintjies and is a good overnight option in area
http://inyala.co.za/

Local guide information:
No BirdLife Recommended Tour Operators or local guides are currently available in the area.

Text prepared by:
Anthony Archer
Martin Benadie | Specialist Birding Guide

Key species:

South African Shelduck, Gabar Goshawk, Greater Kestrel, Burchell's Courser, Blackwinged Pratincole, Chestnutbacked Sparrow-lark and Greybacked Sparrow-lark, Melodious Lark, Eastern Clapper Lark, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Red-breasted Swallow, South African Cliff Swallow, Ant-eating Chat, , Grassveld Pipit, Long-billed Pipit, Cape Longclaw. Nocturnal species include Spotted Eagle Owl, Barn Owl, Marsh Owl, Rufous-cheeked Nightjar, Fiery-necked Nightjar and Spotted Dikkop, and rarities include Pallid Harrier and Honey Buzzard

Contact details:

Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)18 462 5700
Website: http://www.matlosana.gov.za/

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