Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Ethiopia - Part 5

The Awash region was undoubtedly among the most productive and enjoyable parts of Ethiopia that we visited. We stayed at Awash Falls Lodge, located within Awash National Park and at Bilen Lodge in the arid Afar country to the north-east.

An impressive variety of birds included the huge Somali Ostrich, the tiny Ashy Cisticola, the striking Rosy-patched Bush-shrike, the endemic Sombre Rock Chat, Harlequin Quail, Heuglin's Courser, Gillett's Lark and Eastern Grey Plantain-eater.

We saw more mammals here than anywhere else in the country, amongst them Grevy's Zebra, Soemmering’s Gazelle, Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk, Lesser Kudu and Salt’s Dikdik.

Pallid Harriers were seen commonly in a variety of habitats and finally one posed for a photograph! This is a species undergoing a steep population decline in Europe mainly as a result of the destruction and degradation of steppe grasslands through conversion to arable agriculture.

Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse - very confiding birds seen at Bilen Lodge. We also saw plenty of Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse.

Awash Falls - a more impressive sight than we expected.

Arabian Bustard - we also saw Buff-crested, Kori and White-bellied Bustards in this area.

Northern White-faced Owl - we saw six owl species in all, a dozen individual birds.

Secretarybird - its common name is popularly thought to refer to the crest of long quill-like feathers, lending the bird the appearance of a secretary with quill pens tucked behind his or her ear. More recently it has been suggested that "secretary" is derived from a French corruption of the Arabic saqr-et-tair or "hunter-bird." Whatever, it's a pretty strange bird!

Hooded Vulture - seen around most towns and villages and attracted to garbage everywhere!

We have another tour in Ethiopia planned for December 2012 with a slightly modified itinerary. Details are on the Avian Adventures website.

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