Sunday, 17 November 2013

Awash National Park

Left at 5am and got to Nazret for a 7am breakfast of scrambled eggs at a nice hotel, whose gardens held another Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, several Black-winged Lovebirds and this African Grey Woodpecker

African Grey Woodpecker

So we continued on the journey to Awash, seeing a Verreaux’s Eagle fly over the road as we watched a pair of Blackstarts and a Blue Rock Thrush on a lava flow. I didn’t find out until we were on the journey that we were booked into a hotel in the town of Awash rather than one of the lodges actually inside the park, which kind of made me a little angry but I had to just go with the flow – we’ll stay inside the park next year!!! Anyway, after an early bolognese lunch at the hotel we drove to the park entrance and set off through the open savanna dotted with acacias – a typical African scene. 

Pygmy Falcon

It was great to finally be here and we were all excited, so to get Green-winged Pytilia early on was nice as it was the only sighting of the day. Helmetted Guineafowl, Pygmy Falcon, Dark-chanting Goshawk, African Palm Swift, Ashy Cisticola, Woodchat Shrike, Somali Fiscal, and these Northern Carmine Bee-eaters were all seen within the first half an hour, but I loved this Madagascar (Olive) Bee-eater…. Isabelline Wheatears were also exceedingly common and kept distracting us, but our first Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Larks were much better!

Northern Carmine Bee-eaters

Madagascar (Olive) Bee-eater

The overcast conditions then cleared and we had bright, sunny weather by mid-afternoon which meant the temperature soared and bird activity died down totally. And things remained slow for the rest of the day, except for Cardinal Woodpecker, our first Grey-headed Batis, a pair of Brubru, Lanner, Isabelline and Red-backed Shrikes and Black-crowned Tchagra. Oh and a couple of Buff-crested Bustards were also found close to the main track….

Buff-crested Bustard

Dinner at the Awash Falls Lodge was kind of like Jim Bowen telling you what you could have won – if only you were staying at this lovely location – if you get my drift! Still, managed to spotlight some crocs on the river below….

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