BIRDING IN ZIMBABWE
The Hillside Dams are situated in the suburb of Hillside in Bulawayo. The area is owned by the City of Bulawayo, and was declared a bird sanctuary by the city half way through the last century. Historically, these dams were some of the first water storage dams for the city, but is an area that has been used for time immemorial. The presence of rock paintings, and archaeological findings through the years, attest to this. The park-like surrounds of lush, green lawns shaded by both exotic and indigenous tree species gives one a sense of tranquility in an area that is within easy reach of the city centre.
The dams are home to many varieties of waterfowl, with the African Fish-eagle making its presence known on many occasions by means of its unmistakable call. The African Jacana, Black Crake, together with many other varieties, make themselves known by their antics within and on the reeds of the dam and their paddling around. Of an evening, the Spotted Eagle-owl may be heard, competing with the Fiery-necked Nightjar. During the day, the trained eye may discern where this Eagle-owl rears its family with regularity. Much of the vegetation which was left in situ, or planted was done with thought. The constant flowering of all the tree and aloe species within the Hillside Dams area may allow one to view the White-bellied, the Miombo Double-collared and the Scarlet-chested sunbirds all rushing to and fro.
A light meal, or tea in the boma-like restaurant, or strolling the pathways, or taking a seat on the benches or lawns of the dams, permits bird lovers of all ages to enjoy this species rich area.
Image credits: White-faced Duck, Spotted Eagle-owl, Fiery-necked Nightjar & African Jacana by Ian Riddell