Sunday, 27 February 2011

ETHIOPIA 27 February 2011: Gibe Gorge

Sunday 27 February.  We left the hotel in Walisso before dawn and drove for a couple of hours to the rim of Gibe Gorge where we birded the agricultural areas and adjoining patches of scrub and woodland by the road. We then worked our way down to the valley floor and along the western bank although it soon became hot. Returning to the valley rim we tried another location before leaving late morning to return to Addis.   Birds seen included Pallid Harrier, 4 Wattled Lapwing, 2 sandgrouse (probably Yellow-throated but regretably only distant flight views), 2 Pigmy Kingfishers, Wryneck, Redstart, Whinchat, Rock Thrush, Moustached Grass Warbler, Foxy and Boran Cisticolas, 3 Western Black-headed Batis, 6 omoensis White-rumped Babblers, 10 Bar-breasted Firefinches, 6 Black-faced Firefinches (brilliant), White-throated Seedeater and 3 Ortolan Buntings.  The trip had raced by and I would certainly have welcomed another couple of weeks visiting more remote areas.  As it was Dave S returned to Thailand that evening, Dave M, Ian, Mick and myself the following morning and George a few days later - partly due to flight delays.  Thanks guys for your excellent company and having me along, and to Merid for his expert guiding.

above Gibe Gorge

Boran Cisticola

Grey-backed Fiscal

Rock Thrush

above Gibe Gorge

White-throated Seedeater

returning to Addis

Addis airport

leaving Addis

island in Lake Tana

Egyptian desert

Saturday, 26 February 2011

ETHIOPIA 26 February 2010: Rift Valley Lakes

Saturday 26 February.  We were up at dawn and birding in and around the hotel beside Lake Awassa for an hour before departing rather sooner than we’d’ve liked.  This allowed us time for some stops on the long drive towards Gibe Gorge.  We tried two sites beside Lake Langano and the causeway on the western side of Lake Ziway on the way north up the Rift Valley before heading west. We arrived at Walisso, in striking distance of Gibe, as it was getting dark.  Birds seen included 10 African Pigmy Geese, 10 Abdim’s Storks, 7 Wattled Ibis, 15 Fish Eagles, Long-crested Eagle, 2 Black-winged Lovebirds, 2 Greyish and a Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, 3 Slender-tailed Nightjars, 5 Somali and a Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Black Scimitarbill, 2 Red-throated Wrynecks, Masked Shrike, Spotted Creeper, 2 Ruppell’s Robin-Chats, Abyssinian Black Wheatear and Little Rock Thrush.

Verreaux's Eagle Owl at Lake Langano

Dusky Eagle Owl at Lake Langano

Slender-tailed Nightjar at Lake Langano

Red-throated Wryneck at Lake Langano

Maribou at Lake Ziway

White Pelicans at Lake Ziway

Marsh Sandpiper at Lake Ziway

Nubian Woodpecker and rival

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver

heading west

Friday, 25 February 2011

ETHIOPIA 25 February 2011: Yabello to Awassa

Friday 25 February.  We left the motel soon after dawn and had a brief stop a few kms out of town where we saw our last 3 Stresemann’s Bush Crows and first Buff-bellied Warblers.  It was then pretty much continual driving north to Awassa with little to enliven the journey although a Black Stork and  2 Bare-faced Go-away-birds were nice.  We arrived at the United Africa Hotel early afternoon and had a couple of hours in and around the grounds there seeing 8 African Pigmy Geese, 4 Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, 2 Silvery-cheeked Hornbills, 3 Double-toothed Barbets, 2 Red-throated Wrynecks, 2 Western Black-headed Batis, Ethiopian Boubou and 2 Marsh Warblers.  The rest of the afternoon was spent in Lake Awassa Park for our first decent array of African waterbirds including very 2 welcome but somewhat unexpected Allen’s Gallinules, Blue-headed Coucal, 4 Woodland, Pigmy, 12 Malachite and 10 Pied Kingfishers, Spotted Creeper and 15 Abyssinian Waxbills.

Stresemann's Bush Crow north of Yabello

Northern Carmine Bee-eater at Awassa

Red-throated Wryneck at Awassa

African Pigmy Geeses at Awassa

Marabou at Awassa

African Fish Eagle at Awassa

Spotted Creeper at Awassa

Abyssinian Waxbill at Awassa

Allen's Gallinule at Awassa

Pigmy Kingfisher at Awassa

Woodland Kingfisher at Awassa