Tshwane and Environs – Faerie Glen Nature Reserve

About the Birding

Birding the reserve can be deceivingly fruitful and one can do so through the network of footpaths which can be easily followed. There is also a steep concrete path that can be taken to the top of the mountain which then descends through a wooded area on the eastern side. Specials that can be found in the reserve include African Black Duck, European Nightjar (occasionally), European Bee-eater, Red-throated Wryneck, Brown-backed Honeybird, various swallows and swifts, Marsh Warbler, Cape Grassbird, Crimson-breasted Shrike, and both Cape and Village Weaver.

In summer the grassland holds large numbers of breeding Southern Masked Weaver, Red Bishop, White-winged Widowbird, and Red-collared Widowbird. Cape Grassbirds are common and Levaillant’s Cisticola also occurs here. This is also the best area for swallows and swifts and a typical summer’s afternoon should produce Greater and Lesser Striped, White-throated, and Barn Swallows, as well as Palm, White-rumped, and Little Swifts. Rock Martin can also be expected, especially in winter. Tawny-flanked Prinia is common, and in late summer Marsh Warbler is almost guaranteed. Other seedeaters are not common, but small groups of Bronze Mannikin and Common Waxbill are found regularly. The grassland is burnt almost every winter, and then Crowned, Blacksmith and African Wattled Lapwing, as well as Spotted Thick-knee can be expected. Diederick Cuckoo is present in considerable numbers in summer. African Black Duck is regularly found flying along the stream. Lesser Swamp Warbler is resident, and both Cape and Village Weavers breed in isolated spots. In the Acacia thornveld, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Long-billed Crombec, Rattling Cisticola, Black-chested Prinia, and Neddicky occur in considerable numbers with Crimson-breasted Shrike also present. In summer these species are augmented with Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. Also look out for Cut-throat and Red-headed Finches. Amongst seedeaters Yellow-fronted and Black-throated Canaries are the most common. During winter the Yellow-fronted Tinkerbirds move into trees with mistletoe. The mixed woodland houses various birds, of which Red-throated Wryneck, White-bellied and Amethyst Sunbird, and Streaky-headed Seedeater can be expected with every visit. Acacia Pied Barbet, Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Brown-backed Honeyguide, Black Cuckooshrike, Arrow-marked Babbler, White-throated Robin-Chat (in denser areas), White-browed Scrub-Robin, Brown-crowned and Black-crowned Tchagra (the latter especially along the hillsides), Orange-breasted Bush Shrike, Violet-backed and Cape Starling, and Bokmakierie are almost always present in small numbers and can be found anywhere in the reserve.

Summer brings with it the arrival of many different cuckoo species with Red-chested and Black Cuckoo often calling from the denser trees whilst during caterpillar emergence in late summer, Levaillant’s Cuckoo can be expected. The thick bush is the best spot for Southern Boubou and Bar-throated Apalis and in summer African Paradise Flycatcher is regularly seen here. On the side of the kloof there are dead trees that are often used in summer as perches for European and White-fronted Bee-eaters. The best time for birding is in summer, especially in the morning or late afternoon. Up to 75 species can be expected on a summer morning, but 40 species are guaranteed, even on a winter’s afternoon.

Key species:

Freckled Nightjar, African Black Duck, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Half-collared Kingfisher, Marsh (summer) and Garden Warbler (summer), African Firefinch, Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Red-chested Flufftail, Black Cuckooshrike

About the Birding Site

Faerie Glen Nature Reserve is a small 128ha nature reserve situated within the city limits of Pretoria. The reserve’s vegetation is a transition zone between Bankenveld (grassland), sour mixed bushveld and sour bushveld (Acacia veldt). The perennial Moreleta Spruit flows at the foot of the Bronberg Mountains and a large part of the reserve lies within the flood plain of this spruit and is mainly covered in grassland.

Tall grasses occur along the spruit with a few reed beds in the stream. The Moreleta Spruit transects the reserve and a wooden bridge has been erected in the eastern section of the reserve to facilitate the crossing of the spruit on foot whilst a section of the Bronberg Mountains forms the northern border.

Key species:

Freckled Nightjar, African Black Duck, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Half-collared Kingfisher, Marsh (summer) and Garden Warbler (summer), African Firefinch, Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Red-chested Flufftail, Black Cuckooshrike

Other Related Information

Directions:
Take the R21 from O.R. Tambo International Airport to Pretoria and turn off onto the N1-North to Polokwane shortly before you reach Pretoria and then the Lynnwood/WNNR off-ramp Turn right at the traffic light, cross over the freeway and follow the road for ± 3km. Turn right at the (5th) traffic light onto the M33 (General Louis Botha Drive). ± 1km further there is a sign indicating the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve/Plumbago Tea Garden on your left. It takes approximately an hour from O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Other related information:

GPS coordinates: S 25°46’27”, E 28°17’29”
Times: 06:00 – 18:00 (winter and summer, 7 days a week).
Entrance Fees: Adults (R17), Pensioner (R7), School Children 7-12 (R7), Pre-school 0-6 (Free). No cash, credit and debit cards only.

Text prepared by:
John Kinghorn and Toni Geddes

Key species:

Freckled Nightjar, African Black Duck, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Half-collared Kingfisher, Marsh (summer) and Garden Warbler (summer), African Firefinch, Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Red-chested Flufftail, Black Cuckooshrike

Contact details:

N/A

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