BIRDING IN ZIMBABWE
Greystone Park Nature Preserve
The Greystone Park Nature Preserve is a local residents’ association initiative to conserve this spot in the Harare suburbs (S17.74508 E31.12713). The habitat consists of a small dam with acacia and grassland above it and a stretch of dense riverine vegetation below the dam wall.
The dam has typical waterbirds like Black Crake, African Jacana, Reed Cormorants, Common Moorhen and the like, with herons and kingfishers. Weavers include Southern Masked, Village, Golden and Thick-billed and swallows overhead include Eastern Saw-wings.
Southern Red Bishop and Red-collared Widowbird are common around the dam and Dark-capped Yellow Warblers flit about the reeds where the calls of Lesser Swamp-warbler, Sedge Warbler and Little Rush-warbler are heard. Speckled Mousebirds clamber about denser vegetation and as you move into the wooded area you can find Cardinal Woodpecker, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Kurrichane Thrush, Southern Black Flycatcher, White-browed Robin-chat, White-browed Scrub-robin, Brubru, Tropical Boubou, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike, Violet-backed Starling, Greater Blue-eared Starling and Miombo Blue-eared Starlings, along with doves, barbets and bulbuls. Keep an eye out for the Whyte’s Barbets where they nest in dead wood and around fruiting trees where they eat. Of the sunbirds, Variable, White-bellied, Amethyst and Miombo Double-collared Sunbird are common and you can always hear Purple-crested Turaco in the gardens or flying over the stream.
An unusual but regular summer visitor is the Buff-spotted Flufftail but he lurks in the damp and dark forest below the wall and is difficult to see. Magpie Mannikin has been ringed here, and Red-throated Twinspot, Black-throated Wattle-eye and Yellow-breasted Apalis are most atypical Harare birds that have been found here. Raptors include the Gabar Goshawk and African Goshawk, whilst overhead Eurasian Hobby and Amur Falcon occur in summer, with Wahlberg’s Eagle and passing Black-chested Snake-eagles.