What a cracking day this was and lived up to all expectations as we visited the Sanetti Plateau. Leaving at 6.30am after a long night’s sleep we stopped just out of town as the roadside was crawling with birds, most of which turned out to be Streaky Seedeaters, but a Ruppell’s Robin-chat was also very nice and a bunch of Chestnut-naped Francolins also showed well along the road.
As we got up onto the moorland numerous photo opportunities arose from the mind blowing scenery, although Rouget’s Rail, Wattled Ibis and our first Moorland Francolins were also great.
The variety of birds up here isn’t great but what is here is very special, and none more so than the endemic Spot-breasted Plovers and we spent ages watching and photographing them in the beautiful sunshine.
However, a pair of Wattled Cranes stole the show for me and what views we had as they fed in a marshy hollow below the road. Other goodies present were hundreds of Ethiopian Siskins, Thekla Lark, a pair of Lanners, Red-throated Pipits, Blue-winged Goose, Ruddy Shelduck and Yellow-billed Ducks.
Raptors were well presented with Steppe and Greater Spotted Eagles, a pair of Lanners, Peregrine, Common Kestrel, lots of Augur Buzzards and Eurasian Sparrowhawk. Fantastic views of a Simien Wolf hunting Mole Rats was also something special. We even had an Ayres’s Hawk-eagle as we descended towards the Harenna Forest, along with African Stonechat and Ethiopian Cisticola. Our picnic lunch was taken in the forest but it was really quiet, apart from a White-headed Vulture, and a few Red-billed Oxpeckers hanging around some cattle., so we drove back up to the plateau.
The last hour of sunshine was spent around some fields close to town and what a good move this turned out as we had really great views of Groundscraper Thrushes, Black-winged Lovebirds, Common Fiscals, a nesting pair of Yellow-fronted Parrots, yet another pair of Lanners, a pair of Abyssinian Ground Hornbills and the last bird of the day was a Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk we scoped as it perched on top of a conifer.
Today also provided us with several good mammals and to add to 3 sightings of Simien Wolf, we also had Ethiopian Klipspringer and Menelik’s Bushbuck.