Red Stone Hills and adjacent properties are situated on the fringe of the semi-arid plains of the Little Karoo - providing excellent opportunities for birders to identify species from a variety of habitats.
The most important habitats for birds include:
(a) the open karroid veld dominated by s tunted trees, mainly Gwarrie Euclea undulata, and low succulent shrubs;
(b) the dense thickets on the hillsides, where the rainfall is higher;
(c) the fynbos which occurs on the summits of the hills and where the Waboom Protea nitida dominates;
(d) several permanent streams, lined by both indigenous and alien vegetation, which transverse the area providing a habitat for birds that do not normally occur in this dry environment;
(e) man-made habitats such as the lucerne fields and poplar woods which support birds that would not otherwise enter the Little Karoo.
Birders from abroad visiting the dry western side of South Africa for the first time would find a visit to the semi-arid plains adjacent to the R62 productive. Here one can find Southern Black Korhaan, Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Namaqua Dove, Cape Clapper Lark, Karoo Lark, Red-capped Lark, Large-billed Lark, Grey Tit, Cape Penduline-Tit, Karoo Scrub-Robin, Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Karoo Eremomela and Rufous-eared Warbler amongst others. The common cisticola is the Grey-backed Cisticola whereas the Neddicky is more often seen in taller vegetation.
The Acacia thickets support Acacia Pied Barbet, Pririt Batis and Namaqua Warbler while the denser and taller vegetation on the hills around Buffelskloof holds Speckled Mousebird, White-backed Mousebird, Red-faced Mousebird, Cardinal Woodpecker, Cape Bulbul, Layard’s Tit-Babbler, Bar-throated Apalis, Fairy Flycatcher, Southern Tchagra, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Yellow Canary, White-throated Canary and Streaky-headed Seedeater. Birds more often associated with wetter regions but regularly seen here include Sombre Greenbul, Cape Batis, Southern Boubou and Cape Siskin. Unexpectedly, the latter has been found breeding on the red-coloured hills.
Raptors present include Gabar Goshawk, Booted Eagle (at least four breeding pairs), African Harrier-Hawk, Black Sparrowhawk (two breeding pairs), African Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon and Lanner Falcon. Little Sparrowhawk and European Honey-Buzzard are occasional visitors.
The riverine thickets and poplar woods support African Olive-Pigeon, Tambourine Dove, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Greater Honeyguide, Lesser Honeyguide, Karoo Thrush, African Dusky Flycatcher, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Amethyst Sunbird and Swee Waxbill.
Night birds include Barn Owl, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Fiery-necked Nightjar and Rufous-cheeked Nightjar. Due to the lack of large dams, water birds are poorly represented. African Black Duck occur on the stream, South African Shelduck are occasionally seen overflying and Spur-winged Goose is a visitor to the lucerne lands. African Fish Eagle, African Spoonbill and Red-billed Teal are sometimes present on the small dams.
Birds that are most readily seen around the farm-yards include White-rumped Swift, Greater Striped Swallow, White-throated Swallow, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Fork-tailed Drongo and Pin-tailed Whydah which parasitises the Common Waxbill. Birding visitors from Europe will be familiar with Grey Heron, White Stork, Black Stork, Common Quail, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, Common House-Martin, Red-backed Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, and Zitting (Fan-tailed) Cisticola.
The best time for birders to visit the area is after substantial rains in spring and early summer. No bird check-list is ever complete and the compilers would appreciate receiving information on additional species that have been positively identified.