BIRDING IN ZIMBABWE
Gosho Park, Marondera
Gosho Park, just east of Marondera, is an excellent miombo birding spot between Harare and the eastern highlands and well worth the stop to pick up any missing ‘specials’ on your bird list. Being miombo you could hit a quiet spell but perseverance and a few hours birding often pays off. Turn off the main road at S18.18655 E31.63336 and pay at the entrance gate at Springvale School. For overnighters there is a camp ground and also a bush camp.
The miombo here is different to Harare, receiving much more moisture from the east in the form of ‘guti’ or mist and the trees are strung with Usnea or old man’s beard; this makes it more attractive to the Cinnamon-breasted Tits but they aren’t easy to find here. Wood Pipit is usually found, sometimes along the roads, and also regularly at the flat rocks west of the picnic site. Just a little north of this and in the line of granite outcrops west of the small dam and stream is a good place to look for Boulder Chat, though sometimes they are absent and you may have to check other kopjies. Bird parties are what you are looking for and where you can get the specials together – Spotted Creeper, Green-capped Eremomela, Red-faced Crombec, Whyte’s Barbet, Brown and Green-backed Honeybirds, African Golden Oriole, Miombo Tit and Cinnamon-breasted plus Grey Penduline-tit, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, woodpeckers and Fork-tailed Drongo, Southern Hyliota, Wood Pipit, shrikes, Miombo Double-collared Sunbird, African Yellow White-eye and more. Collared Flycatchers occur in woodland so look out for them in the rainy season, whilst Tree Pipits are generally distributed. Other good birds in the woodlands include Shelley’s and Coqui Francolins, Miombo Rock-thrush, Cabanis’s Bunting and Black-eared Seedeaters. The area has vleis dividing the woodlands so look here for Croaking Cisticolas, Copper Sunbirds, Yellow-mantled Widowbirds, Orange-breasted Waxbills, African Quailfinch, etc. A nice selection of raptors can be found including African Cuckoo Hawk, African Hawk-eagle, Long-crested Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, accipiters and falcons.