BLPNs visit to Priscilla Vale on the 25 October 2020, was hosted by Malcolm Stainbank and his son Warren. Warren kindly assisted to allow more members to attend. Unfortunately, we were a little late in leaving as some members missed the turnoff, but the weather played ball for a change and the day was clear and hot. Feeback after the visit suggested it was a roaring success.
Warren’s group saw 86 species with Malcolm’s a bit off the pace with a final total of 70 Some of the bird sighting highlights included African Yellow Warbler, Knysna Turaco, YellowNarina Trogon, Dark Capped Yellow Warbler, Broad-tailed Warbler, Dark-backed Weaver, Olive Bushshrike and Orange-breasted Waxbill.
Malcolm’s group ended up with an enjoyable picnic next to the main dam.
Priscilla Vale is made up of a range of habitats. It has an altitude difference of 423m and 230ha has been included in the newly proclaimed Biodiversity Nature Reserve Ingwehumbe (Cave of the Leopard). There are upwards of 700 plant species and a number of fauna and flora which are endangered. It is also very scenic and with the adjoining farm Virginia trails there are 82 km of cycling and, running and walking trails.
Malcolm and Warren find great reward in people enjoying and appreciating what the area has to offer.
Additional comment by Nicolette Forbes
This was my first visit to Priscilla Vale Farm. Malcolm and Warren were great hosts and I was completely blown away by the beauty of their farm. In between the farmland areas of natural grassland, forest and bush veld provided lots of enjoyment to the groups that attended with wild flowers, soaring raptors and forest birds giving enjoyment in equal measure.
The ecological quality of these habitats is high and portions of Priscilla Vale along with some of the neighbouring farms have recently been declared as a nature reserve, the Ingwehumbe Nature Reserve. This is an area of just over 1000 ha and hosts a variety of different vegetation types including the Critically Endangered KwaZulu-Natal Sandstone Sourveld, Moist Coast Hinterland Grassland, Eastern Valley Bushveld, KZN Hinterland Thornveld and Eastern Scarp Forest that support large numbers of threatened and endemic species. The whole are of the reserve is considered a Critical Biodiversity Area which is Irreplaceable and Optimal. Priscilla Vale Farm and the Stainbank Family along with Virginia, Kwagumbi and Ngangeza farms are to be congratulated on this huge contribution to biodiversity.
A return visit is on the cards for the members that missed this opportunity so look out for it on the schedule.