We left the wonderful Haile Resort after a later than usual start at 7am and called in to a nearby area along the lake shore where a Goliath Heron was seen close by, along with Malachite and African Pygmy Kingfisher, whilst a beautiful Grey-headed Kingfisher was new for the trip.
Leaving here we drove for an hour or so to Lake Abiata, one of the famous Rift Valley sites. And what an amazing place this was. There were literally thousands of Lesser Flamingo’s all the way along the shoreline, as well as smaller numbers of Greater Flamingo’s as well.
|Lake Abiata - so many birds to sift through here|
The shoreline was crawling with many species of wader, including numerous Little Stints, hundred upon hundred of Pied Avocet, 1000’s of Ruff, 100’s of Kittlitz’s Plovers, plus smaller numbers of Ringed Plover, Common Greenshank, Green, Wood and Marsh Sandpipers, a solitary Black-tailed Godwit and a few Black-winged Stilts. Overhead was an almost constant stream of Common Cranes flying in to land on the marshes, and it was such a great surprise to see 21 Wattled Cranes flying in as well. To add to all this activity were some African Spoonbills, lots of Marabou Storks, Yellow-billed Storks, Sacred Ibis, egrets, ducks and the odd Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier and African Fish Eagle, Gull-billed Terns, 100’s of Yellow Wagtails and a single Pallas’s Gull. A flyover Northern Carmine Bee-eater was also much appreciated, whilst a few Grassland Pipits were seen as we left the area.
|Wattled Cranes - something of a surprise to find 21 at Lake Abiata|
|Wattled Cranes at Lake Abiata|
We had lunch at the Wabe Shebelle Hotel on the shores of Lake Langano, which is surrounded by some nice trees and is a known stake-out for Slender-tailed Nightjar and Greyish Eagle-Owl – both of which obliged.
We also found Red-throated Wrynecks to be common, and also saw Little Rock Thrush, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, and African Orange-bellied Parrot. We sat on the veranda of the restaurant which overlooks Lake Langano and watched numerous White-winged Terns flying past in the strong winds. The odd Whiskered Tern also passed by, as did a White-rumped and Little Swift, along with our first Western Reef Egret.
|African Orange-bellied Parrot|
|Eastern Olivaceous Warbler|
Leaving here we re-entered Lake Abiata National Park, but from a different entrance and a nice walk through the acacia forest turned up a couple pairs of the endemic White-winged Black Tit, along with Mouse-coloured Penduline-Tit, Buff-bellied Warbler, Black Scimitarbill and Cinnamon-breasted Bunting.
|White-winged Black Tit - another endemic|
As it was late afternoon we drove the short distance to our lodge overlooking Lake Langano and had our first Icterine Warbler and Ruppell’s Weaver.