Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Ethiopia - Part 4

The Bale Mountains form a spectacular mountain range rising to more than 4,300 metres that are home to many of Ethiopia's endemic birds and mammals. It was a part of the country that we had particularly been looking forward to visiting.

It was unfortunate then that low cloud and rain were the main features of our time in the mountains! Although we did manage to see most of the key species, including an Ethiopian Wolf, the world's most endangered canid, opportunities for photography were very limited.

Rouget's Rail - endemic to Ethiopia and Eritrea and listed as 'Near Threatened' by BirdLife International. Habitat loss resulting from the ever-growing human population seems to be the main problem.

Abyssinian Owl - formerly treated as conspecific with Long-eared Owl. This very obliging bird was one of the highlights of the tour.

The Sanetti Plateau where Giant Lobelias are a feature of a remarkable Afro-alpine moorland landscape.

Mountain Nyala - its range is now restricted to the Bale Mountains.

The Sanetti Plateau supports the only know sub-Saharan breeding populations of three Palearctic species: Red-billed Chough, Golden Eagle and Ruddy Shelduck.

Abyssinian Ground Thrush - a secretive, ground-dwelling bird, treated by some authorities as conspecific with the Kivu Ground Thrush that we have seen in Uganda.

Abyssinian Ground-hornbill - a species seen frequently during the tour at lower elevation, this one, a male, was surprisingly in the grounds of our hotel in Goba at the base of the Bale escarpment.

We hope to return to the Bale Mountains one day and to see them bathed in sunshine!

No comments: