Friday, 18 February 2011

ETHIOPIA 18 February 2011: Sof Omar

Friday 18 February.  Discussions yesterday resulted in car two (Dave S, George and me) having a day trip to Sof Omar while Merid and the others went back onto the Sanetti plateau and into the Harenna Forest where they would camp for the night.  We left the hotel with Robel three hours before dawn and drove to Sof Omar where we arrived as it was getting light.  We spent most of the morning looking unsuccessfully for Salvadori’s Seedeater, for which this site was our best bet.  We did see Crested Francolin, 2 African Hawk Eagles, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Mottled Swift, Narina Trogon, Pigmy Kingfisher, 3 Black-billed Wood-Hoopoes, 4 Grey-headed Batis, 2 Sulphur-breasted Bush-Shrikes, 2 Slate-coloured Boubous, 8 African Paradise Flycatchers, 6 Northern Brownbuls, 9 White-rumped Babblers, 20 Bristle-crowned Starlings, 6 Brown-tailed Rock-Chats and 2 Red-headed Weavers but the area was disappointing being rather dry and very hot.  We visited the caves at the start of the underground river for which the site is famous but they were not overly impressive.  We left by 2pm for the drive back to Goba seeing 2 Spot-breasted Lapwing on the way back.  We arrived in time for a look around the hotel grounds and were shown a juvenile Verreaux’s Eagle Owl by a German guest.  That it was roosting in the direction from which the owl I’d seen the previous evening had come from seemed more than a coincidence.  Also seen in the hotel grounds were 3 Wattled Ibis, an adult Ayre’s Hawk Eagle flying over and 2 Emin’s Weavers.

Pearl-spotted Owlet at Sof Omar
Sof Omar

drinking time at Sof Omar

entrance to underground river, Sof Omar

further underground

the emergent river at Sof Omar

camels going to Sof Omar

Emin's Weaver in hotel garden, Goba

Streaky Seedeater in hotel garden, Goba

Wattled Ibis in hotel garden, Goba

Verreaux's Eagle Owl in hotel garden, Goba

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