Bird watching at Stonecutters Lodge is most rewarding. Spot the Gurney’s Sugarbird flying amongst the protea bushes or the Buffstreaked Chat boulder hopping. The river banks are home to a variety of Kingfishers and in Spring the reeds in the wetland are ablaze of scarlet when the Red Bishops come into breeding plumage.
Cormorants try their luck at the dams but this white-breasted cormorant bit off more than he could chew and chocked to death on a 1kg Rainbow trout. The fish eagle is another regular visitor, calling beautifully as he flies over the trout dams. The wood owl is often heard on the property and has been spotted with regularity. The red-cheasted cuckoo arrives in the summer breeding season along with many other migrants that return to this area year after year.
A self-drive tour of the area takes one into the Highlands Meander covering the “change-over zone” between Highveld and Escarpment grasslands and low-lying river valleys offer migration routes from the Bushveld into the Escarpment.
The nearby Steenkampsberg Mountains and Slaaihoek area are important refuges for a number of scarce grassland birds including Wattled Crane, Stanley’s Bustard, Ground Woodpecker, Rudds Lark, Yellow-Breasted Pipit and Bald Ibis.
The high altitude wetland habitat is one of the most threatened habitats in South Africa and is home to the Wattled Crane, the Crowned Crane and the White-Winged Flufftail. The fast flowing mountain streams of the escarpment should be searched for African Black Duck, Half-collared Kingfisher and Long-tailed Wagtail. In secluded kloofs some stunning birds can be seen – Crowned Eagle, Cinnamon Dove, Nerina Trogon, Olive Woodpecker and many more.