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The Faerie Glen Nature Reserve is situated in the east of Pretoria, just to the south of Lynnwood Road, about 11 km from Church Square. 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 any birding stint of 2 hours or more will produce at least 40 species, even on a winter's afternoon. About 150 species have been recorded, including rarities such as Corn Crake and River Warbler.



African Black Duck, European Nightjar, European Bee-eater, Red-throated Wryneck, Brown-backed Honeybird, Marsh Warbler, Cape Grassbird, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Cape Weaver and African Firefinch.



The northern border of the reserve is formed by the hills of the Bronberg Mountains, with Renosterkop (1489m) in the northeast the highest, and Faerie Glen Hill (1442m) the most accessible. The perennial Moreletta Spruit flows along the foot of the Bronberg Mountains, and a large part of the reserve lies in the flood plain of this spruit, between 1350m and 1380m above sea level. A shallow, wooded kloof stretches southwards from the eastern side of Faerie Glen Hill.

The Bronberg Mountains are mainly covered with mixed woodland, typical of the so-called Bankenveld. At the bottom of the Faerie Glen Hill a stand of White Stinkwood trees (Celtis africana) forms a thick bush, which extends into the shallow kloof. The flood plain is mainly grassland. Acacia thornveld covers parts of the reserve, especially to the south of the spruit, with the rest consisting of mixed woodland. Tall grasses grow along the spruit, with a few reedbeds in the stream.



The only facility is a network of trails, covering the whole reserve. Dogs are allowed, if on a leash.



In summer the grassland holds large numbers of Southern Masked-Weaver, Southern Red Bishop, White-winged Widowbird and Red-collared Widowbird. Other seed eaters are not common, but small groups of Bronze Mannikin and Common Waxbill should be found regularly. Cape Grassbird (common) and Levaillant's Cisticola also occur herein the grassland as well. This is also the best area for swallows and swifts and a typical summers afternoon should produce Greater Striped Swallow, Lesser Striped Swallow and White-throated Swallow, plus perhaps Barn Swallow, as well as African Palm-Swift, White-rumped Swift and Little Swift, especially as the birds fly lower and lower as the insects are lowered with the cooling of the air. Rock Martin can also be expected, especially in winter. Tawny-flanked Prinia is common, and in late summer Marsh Warbler is just about guaranteed (listen for their low-pitched "tchh" alarm call in grassland at the edge of bushveld). The grassland is burnt regularly in almost every winter, and then Crowned Lapwing, Blacksmith Lapwing and African Wattled Lapwing, as well as Spotted Thick-knee can be expected. In summer, especially late summer, Diderick Cuckoo is present in considerable numbers.

The spruit does not support many birds, but African Black Duck is regularly seen flying along the stream. Various kingfishers have been recorded, but their occurrence is unusual. Lesser Swamp-Warbler is resident, and Cape Weaver breed in isolated spots. The thicker vegetation next to the spruit is also the favoured habitat of African Firefinch, which should be listened for in particular near the parking area.

In the acacia thornveld Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler, Long-billed Crombec, Rattling Cisticola, Black-chested Prinia and Neddicky occur in commonly, while Crimson-breasted Shrike is a fairly recent addition to the list. In summer these species are supplemented by Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. Amongst seed-eaters, Yellow-fronted Canary and Black-throated Canary are the most common. Helmeted Guineafowl keep to grassland in the thornveld. In winter the Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird moves into trees with mistletoe.

The mixed woodland supports many species, including Red-throated Wryneck, White-bellied Sunbird, Amethyst Sunbird and Streaky-headed Seedeater. The reserve is also one of the best spots around Pretoria to find Brown-backed Honeybird, and a walk in the woodland on the floodplain should present good views. A wide range of other bushveld birds also occur regularly, even if they may not always be present, including Acacia Pied Barbet, Cardinal Woodpecker, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Brown-backed Honeybird, Black Cuckooshrike, Arrow-marked Babbler, White-throated Robin-Chat (in denser areas), White-browed Scrub-Robin, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Black-crowned Tchagra (especially along the hillsides), Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Violet-backed Starling, and Cape Glossy Starling. Bokmakierie are rarely encountered and can be found anywhere in the reserve. In summer Red-chested Cuckoo and Black Cuckoo often call from denser trees, and in late summer, during caterpillar outbreaks, Levaillant's Cuckoo can be expected. The thick bush is best for spotting Southern Boubou and Bar-throated Apalis, and in summer African Paradise-Flycatcher is regular.

The hills sometimes produce something rare, such as Cape Rock-Thrush or Striped Pipit, but generally birding is quiet. On the side of the kloof there are dead trees that are often used in summer as perches for European Bee-eater. Raptors are scarce; Black-shouldered Kite can be expected from time to time, and in late summer Yellow-billed Kite and Steppe Buzzard may occur. Now and then a Little Sparrowhawk, or even a young African Harrier-Hawk, may be seen.

At night Spotted Eagle-Owl are common, and in summer European Nightjar occur, although they are seldom recorded because they do not call.



Admission times
Sept - Apr: 06:00 - 19:00 (summer)
May - Aug: 06:00 - 18:88 00 (winter)

Entrance fee: No charge

Three hiking trails (any combination of trails can be used):
Hadeda route: 6,2 km
Acacia route: 4,5 km
Kiepersol route: 11,3 km

Contact number +27 12 348 1265/6
Fax number +27 12 348 8462

From the N1, take the Atterbury rd offramp (no 140) to the east. At Turn left into Genl Louis Botha Drive dr turn left and follow the signs to the reserve.

Stephan Terblanche 2001, 2007.

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