Snow Petrel - Antarctic Ocean 2016

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Waxwings!!! 27/11/12

After my once a year shopping trip to Eastbourne, I happened to find 4 Waxwings sat upon a dead tree on the one-way system. Ignoring all other traffic, I quickly veered onto double yellows and started watching them. No bins, no camera........brilliant.

My phone became my new camera and the results were painful. Never mind, I quickly got the news out as I had to dash off soon after, but hopefully this is the start of a mini invasion.

UK Yearlist BOU now on 305.

3 of the 4 Waxwings taken on my iphone. Just about viewable is the crest
on the left hand bird.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Ethiopia 10/11/12

We arrived in Addis on Ethiopian Airlines at first light to start the Ethiopian Endemics trip with Naturetrek. My first bird of the trip (a Pied Wheatear) was my first lifer so a good start.

We birded from the airport after immigration and then made our way through the traffic to The Ghion Hotel. We birded the grounds for an hour before driving north to Gafersa Reservoir, which proved to be a great introduction to what turned out to be an amazing country. Not just the wildlife, but the people were great, despite all the poverty, there wasn't a moment when I felt in danger, everyone was happy to see you, and more importantly they were good bird spotters, and were always rewarded when they found a goody.

Although I am not a fan of birding with a large group or tour company for personal reasons, I feel Ethiopia can be the only way to do this unless the trip is planned to perfection. Roads were dodgy, no signposts, and local knowledge is always useful.

All endemics targeted were seen, plus some very good mammals, best being the Ethiopian Wolf and South African Bush Baby.

Addis Airport
Hooded Vulture - 20+
Dusky Turtle Dove - 2
Swainson's Sparrow - 20
Nyanza Swift - 20+

The Ghion Hotel
Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher - 1
Brown-rumped Seedeater - 3
Ruppell's Robin Chat - 1
Tacazze Sunbird - 20
Bronze Mannikin - 6
Dusky Flycatcher - 1
Red-rumped Swallow - 5

Gafersa Reservoir
Lanner - 1
Augur Buzzard - 2
Moorland Chat - 10
Wattled Ibis - 10
Spur-winged Plover - 4
Three-banded Plover - 1
African Citril - 4
Half-collared Kingfisher - 1
African Black Duck - 2
Baglafecht Weaver - 2

 Swainson's Sparrow
 Brown-rumped Seedeater - ENDEMIC
 Tacazze Sunbird
 Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher - ENDEMIC
Wattled Ibis - ENDEMIC

Ethiopia 11/11/12

Today we travelled north from Addis Ababa to Debre Libanos Gorge. We stopped a couple of times en route on the Solulta Plains and also on our return to Addis. Several endemics were seen on the Gorge, and is generally a must go site. The views are amazing.

Solulta Plains
Erlanger's Lark - 1
Thekla Lark - 20+
Black-winged Plover - 8
Pallid Harrier - 3
Red-breasted Wheatear - 2
Blue-breasted Bee-Eater - 2
Black-headed Siskin - 20

Monastary at Debre Libanos
Ruppell's Black Chat - 3
White-billed Starling - 8
Lammergeier - 1
Stout Cisticola - 3
Fan-tailed Raven - 6
Eurasian Griffon Vulture - 1
Ruppell's Griffon Vulture - 20
Grey-backed Camoroptera - 1
Yellow-bellied Waxbill - 1
Brown-woodland Warbler - 1
Eastern Grey Woodpecker - 2
White-cheeked Turaco - 2
Mountain Wagtail - 1

Ethio German Park Hotel/Portugese Bridge
Verreaux's Eagle - 1
White-winged Cliff Chat - 1
Mocking Cliff Chat - 2
Red-collared Widowbird - 1

 White-winged Cliff Chat - ENDEMIC
 Verreaux's Eagle
 Lammergeier with Yellow-billed Kite
White-cheeked Turaco

Ethiopia - 12/11/12

Today we travelled south from Addis to Wondo Genet in the Rift Valley. We stopped at a couple of good locations, mainly lakes/lagoons and a fish market in Zwai. We also visited Lake Abiata reserve which reminded me of the Kruger, mainly due to the Hornbills. We arrived in Wondo after dark.

Addis Ababa - Coca Bridge
Long-crested Eagle - 1
Black-winged Lovebird - 3
Shikra - 1
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill - 7
Red-billed Quelea - 1
Woodchat Shrike - 1

Coca Bridge, Rift Valley
Fish Eagle - 6
Wire-tailed Swallow - 10
Goliath Heron - 1
Pallid Harrier - 1
Senegal Thick-Knee - 1
African Darter - 2
African Jacana - 10
Kitlitz's Plover - 15
White-faced Whistling Duck - 4
Pink-backed Pelican - 1

Zwai Fish Market
Marabou Stork - 40+
Basra Reed Warbler - 1
Lesser Swamp Warbler - 1
Pygmy Kingfisher - 1
Malachite Kingfisher - 4
Northern Carmine Bee-Eater - 2
Grey-headed Gull - 2
Western Reef Egret - 1
Intermediate Egret - 2
Black Crake - 2

Zwai Restaurant
Black-billed Woodhoopoe - 1
Beautiful Sunbird - 10+
Nubian Woodpecker - 1

Lake Abiata Reserve
Abyssinian Black Wheatear - 2
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting - 4
Brubru - 1
Boran Cisticola - 4
Ruppell's Starling - 10
Lappet-faced Vulture - 1
Little Bee-Eater - 2
Von der Deckins Hornbill - 6
Hemprich's Hornbill - 4
White-headed Buffalo Weaver - 20
Masked Shrike - 2
Black-crowned Tchagra - 1
Abyssinian Roller - 1

 Pygmy Kingfisher
 Malachite Kingfisher
 Woodland Kingfisher
 Pied Kingfisher
 Von der Decken's Hornbill
 Hemprich's Hornbill
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting

Ethiopia 13/11/12

We birded the whole area north of Wondo and Wondo Genet, walking the slopes and valleys. After breakfast, we entered the Forestry college where fortunately there were some trees left. Nice to be in the shade today and some cracking birds were found.

Wondo Genet
Abyssinian Black-headed Oriole - 5
Little Rock Thrush - 1
African Thrush - 1
Tambourine Dove - 4
Abyssinian Woodpecker - 1
Spotted Creeper - 2
Lesser Honeyguide - 1
White-cheeked Turaco - 3
Yellow-fronted Parrot - 2
Brown-throated Wattle Eye - 1

Wondogenet Hotel
Double-toothed Barbet - 2
African Goshawk - 1
Thick-billed Raven - 2
Brown Parisoma - 1
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird - 2
Bruce's Green Pigeon - 2

Forestry College
Verreaux's Eagle Owl - 2
Abyssinian Ground Thrush - 1
Abyssinian Black-headed Oriole - 10
White-rumped Babbler - 2
Olive Pigeon - 2
Narina Trogan - 1
Northern Puffback - 1
Little Sparrowhawk - 1
Yellow-fronted Parrot - 4
Green-backed Honeyguide - 1
Banded Barbet - 2

Evening walk - North of Wondo Genet
Crowned Eagle - 1 (fem on nest)
Yellow-fronted Parrot - 8

 African Goshawk
 Verreaux's Eagle Owl
 Abyssinian Ground Thrush
 White-rumped Babbler
Abyssinian Black-headed Oriole - ENDEMIC
 Variable Sunbird
 Tambourine Dove
 Thick-billed Raven - ENDEMIC
 Yellow-fronted Parrot - ENDEMIC
sunset over Lake Awassa


Ethiopia 14/11/12

Today we drove from Wondo Genet to the Bale Mountains. The first part of the drive was uneventful apart from a local bus which had been speeding and coincidentally taken out and killed 7 cows causing an unbelievable mess which the Vultures and local dogs soon cleared up. The 2nd part of the day was amazing, driving through very scenic mountain passes seeing some much wanted endemics. We birded the lower slopes of the Bale Mountains at Dinsho Lodge where a local guide showed us some Owls. We stayed at the Goba Hotel.

Wondo - Mountain Pass
Pallid Harrier - 2
Lanner - 2
Black-winged Plover - 100+
Somali Crow - 1

Shashemene - Dinsho Lodge
Abyssinian Catbird - 2
Abyssinian Longclaw - 2 (seen in evening)
Rouget's Rail - 6
Ethiopian Cisticola - 3
Cape Eagle Owl - 2
Black-headed Siskin - 50
White-headed Vulture - 1
Golden Eagle - 2
Great White Pelican - 20 (migrating)
Blue Rock Thrush - 1

Dinsho Lodge
Abyssinian Long-eared Owl - 1
African Wood Owl - 1
Abyssinian Catbird - 2
White-backed Black Tit - 4
Brown Woodland Warbler - 2
Ethiopian Boubou - 1

 Abyssinian Catbird - ENDEMIC
 Cape Eagle Owl
 Abyssinian Long-eared Owl
 Ruppells Robin-Chat
 White-backed Black Tit - ENDEMIC
 the cow killer

dogs enjoying their breakfast


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Ethiopia 15/11/12

The day was spent at 13,000 feet on the Bale Mountains Plateau, but on the north and south slopes some good birding was had. On the plateau the weather was fortunately good, with some clear spells, but in the afternoon it rained, so we headed back to the Goba Hotel.

Bale Mountains NP north slope
Chestnut-naped Francolin - 10
Cinnamon Bracken Warbler - 6
Tawny-flanked Prinia - 2
Lammergier - 3
Rouget's Rail - 4
Ethiopian Cisticola - 3

Bale Mountains NP plateau
Spot-breasted Plover - 28
Moorland Francolin - 2
Wattled Crane - 2
Blue-winged Geese - 4
Black-headed Siskin - 300+
Cape Eagle Owl - 1
Steppe Eagle - 2
Lesser Spotted Eagle - 2
Golden Eagle - 4
Ethiopian Wolf - 2

Bale Mountains NP south slope
Bale (Brown) Parisoma - 1
White-backed Black Tit - 4
Black Sparrowhawk - 1

 Black-winged Lovebird - ENDEMIC
 Ethiopian Cisticola - ENDEMIC
 Abyssinian Longclaw - ENDEMIC
 Chestnut-naped Francolin - ENDEMIC
 Spot-breasted Plover - ENDEMIC
 Black-headed Siskin - ENDEMIC
 Blue-winged Geese - ENDEMIC
 Steppe Eagle
 Rouget's Rail - ENDEMIC
Ethiopian Wolf - ENDEMIC

Ethiopia 16/11/12

Today was the long drive from Goba to Negele. It had rained all night and continued all through the morning, forming some magnificent flash floods in several villages. The first part of the drive was through a very large forest,  but soon habitat changed to sparse woodland then to acacia by the end of the day. For this reason, a huge array of species were seen, despite spending most of the time in the 4x4.

Bale Mountains NP
Spot-breasted Plover - 4
Wattled Crane - 2
White-cheeked Turaco- 1
Moorland Francolin - 2
Rouget's Rail - 2

Extensive Forest
Crimson-rumped Waxbill - 2
Yellow-bellied Waxbill - 3

Forest - Genale River
White-bellied Go Away Bird - many
Golden-breasted Starling - 10
Lesser Masked Weaver - 1
Eastern Chanting Goshawks - 5
Dark Chanting Goshawk - 3
Emerald Spotted Wood Dove - 2
Alpine Swift - 1
Lesser Striped Swallow - 1
Shelley's Starling - 1
Lesser Blue-eared Starling - 10+
Black-bellied Sunbird - 1

Nr Genale River
Prince Ruspoli's Turaco - 1
Brown Snake Eagle - 1
White-crested Helmet Shrike - 4

Genale - Negele
Ethiopian Swallow - 3
Grey-headed Kingfisher - 1
Black-billed Barbet - 2
Northern Black Flycatcher - 1

 Prince Ruspoli's Turaco - ENDEMIC

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Ethiopia 17/11/12

Before breakfast we birded the Liban Plains and Acacia SE of Negele to seek the rarest bird of the trip, the Sidamo Lark (found only in fields on the Liban Plains, estimates of only 100 pairs left). Lunch was taken at the Nile Hotel in Negele before heading straight back out again birding an hour south of Negele in search of Bustards. The day list was very large, but only notable birds mentioned here to avoid a long list of birds.

Liban Plains + Acacia scrub
Sidamo Lark - 3
Somali Short-toed Lark - 3
Pectoral Patched Cisticola - 10
Plain-backed Pipit - 2
Blue-cheeked Bee-Eater - 4
Slate-coloured Boubou - 2
White-crowned Starling - 50+
Yellow-breasted Apalis - 2

South of Negele
Grey-capped Social Weavers - 30+
Yellow-bellied Eromomela - 2
Gabar Goshawk - 1
Red-billed Teal - 3
Kori Bustard - 5
Temminck's Courser - 12
Wattled Plover - 1

 Sidamo Lark - ENDEMIC
 Somali Short-toed Lark
 Temminck's Courser
 Superb Starlings
Kori Bustard