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Page History: Hagesdam, Bloemfontein

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Page Revision: 2008/10/10 11:27


The farm Hagesdam is approximately 60 kilometres south-west of Bloemfontein in the Central Free State. Access to the farm is from the Jagersfontein road (R706), turning on the Hagesdam / Steunmekaar offramp,after 40 kilometres, on the tarred road from the city. On the gravel road proceed for 15 kilometres until the farm sign post, "George Fourie, Hagesdam", is on the left on the road. A total of 138 species have been recorded in the area. The best birding is recommended during the summer months when a total up to 70 or more species can be recorded on a mornings or day visit with a minimum of six hours spend at site.

Habitats

The Hagesdam locality consists of a large hill (highest point is 1576 metres) with a series of lower koppies extended in a westward direction, forming an archipelago of "islands" in the surrounding grassland. The hills dominated by Olea and Buddleja species bushes with low scrub on lower hills. The mountain slopes are quite rocky and hiking boots are recommended to wear when the hills are explored for special birds. The surrounded areas in grassland with eroded areas with karoo type bushes where several typical birds of the southern Free State occur

Birding

Special birds of the hilly areas include African Rock Pipit (one of only a few localities near Bloemfontein), Layard's Tit-Babbler, Fairy Flycatcher, Grey-backed Cisticola, Grey Tit and Short-toed Rock-Thrush. At least three to four territories of African Rock Pipit are known in the area, and they can most of the times be located from where they are calling from the top of a bush or dry branch of a tree, and not always at the higher plateaus near the large rock boulders. They responded well with tape playbacks, but care must be taken not to over use the method. Calling activity is mostly in early mornings and is not so vocal during winter months than in summer breeding season.

Fairy Flycatcher, Grey-backed Cisticola and Layard's Tit-Babbler are commonly encountered along the bushy hills, while the Short-toed Rock-Thrush is not so common here, but were regularly observed. Other species recorded in the hilly areas is Grey Tit, Long-billed Pipit, Plain-backed Pipit, Rufous-cheeked Nightjar roosting under the shades of the trees on the lower hills, and Eastern Long-billed Lark heard from time to time. Raptors occurring in the area are Jackal Buzzard, Black Harrier (hunting over trees on lower hills), Lanner Falcon and Martial Eagle visiting the skies and also a pair of Booted Eagle and a solitary Verreauxs' Eagle visiting the area. Grey-winged Francolin have been recorded on the lower foothills.

In the surrounding grassland areas are dominated by Spike-heeled Lark, Red-capped Lark, Large-billed Lark and Grey-backed Sparrowlark. Long-tailed Pipit have been recorded once in the open karoo parches while Cape Longclaw and Northern Black Korhaan are abundant. During winter, from April onwards, Sickle-winged Chat are present in the grassland areas with low bushes. A colony White-browed Sparrow-Weaver breeding in a old oak tree near the reservoir which are a watering point for sever seed eating species.

General

The owner of Hagesdam, Mr. Fourie, must be contacted beforehand by telephone number 051- 5750692 or 082 4162559 to get permission to get access to the farm or arrangements must be made with Dawie de Swardt (051-4366736) for a guided tour. The farm road to do the necessary birding area at the hills (across the entrance to the farmhouse) is a further drive of 3 kilometres through karoo veld where birding also can be done. In summer, after rains, this farm "tweespoor road" can be quite slippery and is advisable to contact the farmer beforehand to inquire about condition of road before planning to visit the area.

Dawie de Swardt 2001



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