Dullstroom as a birding destination

Dullstroom is a small town situated on the edge of the 2nd Escarpment of Mpumalanga.

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An easy 2,5-hour drive on the N4 East from Gauteng it’s a perfect spot to get back to nature and in the big outdoors that the Escarpment has to offer.

 

Cape Canary

With the average altitude of the area at around 2000 meters above sea level, Dullstroom is the highest town in South Africa. The Dutch Settlers who settled here in 1883 called the area “the place of eternal mist”

With the altitude, the Dullstroom area is classified as a Subtropical Highland Climate and this makes, it an ideal place to look for some of the elusive high altitude grassland bird species of Southern Africa.

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With the diverse habitats in the area and the moderate summer temperatures and icy cold winters, the area lends itself to some spectacular birding.

Dullstroom will be 127 years old in 2020 and the old part of town has some tremendous old trees that create an almost microhabitat that abound with bird species.

In the area around Dullstroom, we are blessed with numerous habitat changes such as grassland, rocky ridges, wetlands, streams and open water (mostly trout dams).

Within a 25km radius of the town, the high altitude gives away to spectacular valleys and cliffs that again creates a totally different habitat.

Each of the above-mentioned habitats is home to a variety of resident bird species but also during the summer months, it becomes home to a huge influx of summer migratory bird species.

 

It is not strange during the months of November to February to see 75-95 different species of birds in the area. Many that are o the area.

A bonus with the summer months birding is that the grasslands, rocky ridges, and wetlands provide a festival for the eye with some of the most beautiful flowers.

Bird species to expect in the area.

With the abovementioned description of habitats found in the area let’s look at some of the specials we have in the area. (Please bear with me as I enjoy birding so even a common species still counts as a special to me. )

 

Bokmakierie

In town, itself:

With the abundant trees and scrubs in town that creates a source of food and shelter to birds one often see the following:

Cape Canary

Cape Robin-Chat

Red-winged Starling

Cape White-eye

Diederik Cuckoo

Southern Boubou

Dark-capped Bulbul

African Olive Pigeon

Olive Thrush

Red-eyed Dove

Cape Turtle Dove

Speckled Mousebird

Cape Weaver

Hadeda Ibis

Natal Spurfowl

African Sacred Ibis

Malachite Sunbird

On the grass veld around town one often find the following:

Western Cattle Egret

Cape Crow

Long-tailed Widowbird

Fan-tailed Widowbird

Red-collared Widowbird

Southern Red Bishops

Levaillant’s Cisticola

Zitting Cisticola

African Pipit

Cape Longclaw

Red-billed Quelea

African Wattled Lapwing

Black-headed Heron

Cape Longclaw

In and around the rocky ridges we find many of the above-mentioned species but also the following:

Red-winged Francolin

Ant-eating Chats

Mountain Wheatear

Spotted Thick-knee

Swainson’s Spurfowl

African Stonechat

Red-winged Starling

Around the wetlands and streams one can look for the following:

Cape Wagtail

Southern Red Bishop

Yellow Bishop

Yellow-crowned Bishop

Numerous Warblers

Red-chested Flufftail

Pin-tail Whydah

Glossy Ibis

Little Egret

Yellow-crowned Bishop male in breeding colors

On and around open water (dams and wetlands)

Reed Cormorant

White-chested Cormorant

Red-knobbed Coot

Black Crake

African (Purple) Swamphen

Common Moorhen

Yellow-billed duck

Spurwing goose

Egyptian goose

Whiskered tern

Little Grebe

South African Shell Duck

Pied Kingfisher

Purple Heron

Southern Cape Weaver

Some of the special species found among the above-mentioned habitats:

Wattled Crane

Grey Crown Crane

Blue Crane

Southern Bald Ibis

Yellow-breasted Pipit

Buff-streak Chat

Gurney’s Sugarbird

Red-throated Wryneck

Black-winged Lapwing

 

Wattled Cranes

 

Black-winged Lapwing

Buff-streaked Chat

Some of the raptors regularly seen in the area:

 

Secretary Bird

Cape Vulture

Black-chested Snake Eagle

Brown snake eagle

Long Crested Eagle

Jackal Buzzard

Common Buzzard

Black sparrow Hawk

Black-winged Kite

 

Not only is Dullstroom an ideal weekend destination, a fly-fishing destination but also a birding paradise.

It’s the ideal place to come and visit, get some fresh air and vitamin D during the day but good food, wine, and company during the evenings in beautiful surroundings.

 

Hope to see you soon…

 

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