Cape Bird Club
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WEST COAST SITE GUIDE

Tienie Versveld Nature Reserve

Tienie Versveld
Tienie Versveld vlei - Mel Tripp
Arum Lilies - Mel Tripp
Arum Lilies in spring- Mel Tripp
Cape Longclaw - Mel Tripp
Cape Longclaw - Mel Tripp
Tienie Versveld rank grasslands
Tienie Versveld rank grasslands - Mel Tripp

This small 22ha nature reserve is owned by the National Botanical Society of South Africa. Primarily a protected area for many endangered wild flowers and plants, it is a small island of grassland, fynbos and seasonally inundated wetland, surrounded by the cereal crop farms and pastures of the Swartland.

The best time to visit is in spring (August/September) when many of the Geophytes, (bulbous plants) and other plants are in flower providing at times a quite spectacular display.

It holds an interesting mix of bird species, approximately 60 species recorded to date.

Four species of larks are often present with Red-capped and Large-billed Lark quite common and Cape Long-billed and Cape Clapper Lark less so.

Also common are African Pipit, Cape Longclaw, Capped Wheatear and Pied Starling.

This is a good place to get to grips with several cisticola species (LBJs). Levaillant’s Cisticola occur in the wet areas and Grey-backed Cisticola in the drier scrub. Zitting (Fan-tailed) Cisticola occurs in the moist rank areas, and the local fynbos race (with distinct streaks on the breast) of the Cloud Cisticola is abundant and easily seen – listen out for its distinctive call.

Summer will see many species of migrant swallows present including Barn, White-throated, Pearl-breasted and Greater Striped along with Brown-throated and Banded Martins.

European Bee-eaters (a breeding migrant) are also around in early summer and are often first noticed by their liquid, melodious calls.

Cape Weaver, Southern Red and Yellow Bishop are all common.

Common Quail are everywhere in spring and African Quail Finch are often flushed underfoot from the rank grasslands and African (Ethiopian) Snipe in the marshy areas. Cape Spurfowl and Grey-winged Francolin are common in the general area of the reserve with Blue Crane regularly seen and heard. Look out for Southern Black Korhaan displaying on the hillside to the south of the reserve.

In winter and spring, after the rains and while the vleis (dams) still hold water, several species of waterfowl are likely to be present, e.g. Egyptian Goose, Cape Teal, Cape Shoveller, Yellow-billed Duck and South African Shelduck.

The reserve is open throughout the year. There are no facilities and no entry fee is payable.

A network of footpaths criss-cross the reserve and in the wet season, wellington boots are good to have. Park along the roadside and cross the stile into the reserve.

The reserve is on the R315 to Darling, approximately 3km east of the R27 – R315 intersection, on the right-hand side of the road and sign-posted.

 

Tienie Versveld site map
Tienie Versveld site map
Mel Tripp