Saturday, 9 November 2013

Lake Hawassa to Wondo Genet

Up and out before sunrise, listening to the sounds of the well wooded gardens coming to life. We pretty quickly caught up with Silvery-cheeked Hornbill whilst walking down to Lake Hawassa and spent a pleasant time scanning the area where our first White-backed Duck was found. Several African Pygmy Goose were close by, and as we watched them a few White-rumped Babblers worked their way towards us, a Lesser Swamp Warbler and Black Crake appeared close by.  Just at the edge of the gardens a flowering tree was attracting numerous sunbirds with Tacazze, Scarlet-chested, Beautiful and Shining Sunbirds giving outrageous views. An African Thrush then appeared and was followed by Northern Grosbeak-Weaver, lots of Little Weavers, a single Spectacled Weaver and a Rufous-throated Wryneck. It was pretty full on as there were so many birds appearing all at once – lovely!

African Pygmy Goose
Hadada Ibis
One of the key birds here is Spotted Creeper which took some searching but we eventually found it and what a stunner it was too! During the search we also had a pair of African Grey Woodpeckers, Hadada Ibis and a Blue-headed Coucal

Spotted Creeper

After another fine breakfast we drove to a different part of the lake and took a walk which didn’t really add many new birds but the sheer numbers of Silvery-cheeked Hornbills was impressive, and more in-your-face Marabou Storks were nice. 

Silvery-cheeked Hornbill

Several Banded Barbets showed much better than our one previous sighting, a Goliath Heron was also nice, as was Woodland Kingfisher, Ruppell’s Starling, and a Broad-billed Roller. A flyby Lesser Crested Tern was something of a surprise to me and may well be just one of a handful of inland records.

Banded Barbet

Woodland Kingfisher

Leaving here we drove an hour or so to Wondo Genet and checked in to the hotel, and during the process of unloading the luggage a pair of Brown Parisomas were seen, along with Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, Montane White-eye and others.

Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher

At 3pm we took the long uphill walk to find some decent habitat and although it was slow to start with, we ended up seeing a number of very good birds. Although the habitat has been severely degraded there are still some big trees and around these we had Grey Cuckooshrike, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Ruppell’s Robin-chat, another Spotted Creeper, Brown-throated Wattle-eye and a couple of Yellow-fronted Parrots

Ruppell's Robin-chat

Along the path a Lemon Dove showed very nicely indeed and a Scaly Francolin was feeding out in the open,  whilst overhead a Mountain Buzzard put in an appearance. On the walk back down we had a Klaas’s Cuckoo and a Nubian Woodpecker. We’d left it rather late to check for Half-collared Kingfisher but in the gathering gloom a superb Abyssinian Ground-thrush flew in and landed right in front of us, and a pair of White-cheeked Turacos were also nice.

Finished the day off with some cold beers, great bolognese and premiership football on the t.v in the restaurant.

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