after sunrise we were on the Aledeghe Plain and watching the first of 5 Arabian Bustards feeding quietly right
out in this vast open wilderness, and with some careful positioning form our drivers
we got ahead of one bird and it just kept walking towards us until only about
30 metres away! Probably the highlight was seeing one of these much-wanted
bustards with a Northern Carmine
Bee-eater riding on its back – an extraordinary sighting and my personal
highlight of the whole tour.
We were able to drive the cars closer and had
amazing views once again and were able to observe them for quite some time.
Many Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Larks
were also present, along with White
Stork, a couple of distant Secretarybirds,
plus Soemmering’s Gazelle and Beisa Oryx.
then drove the short distance to the Bilen Plain and the first bird we found
was a pair of Yellow-breasted Barbets
perched on top of an acacia, followed by a Tawny
Pipit. Further on we took a short walk but it was getting really hot,
however we did find several Nile Valley
Sunbirds including one male still in breeding plumage which was something
of a surprise. There was also a Black-cheeked
Waxbill, Brubru, Blue-naped Mousebird and plenty of other
birds in the vicinity.
We had a coffee at Bilen Lodge and saw yet more
barbets, and a flock of Red-rumped
Swallows on the wires here, but by now it was late morning and really hot.
Returning to the hotel for lunch and a siesta we set out at 3.30pm for a drive
in Awash NP but it was rather quiet.
Although our first Red-fronted Warbler was overshadowed by 3 Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse seen just before the light faded. Driving
out we had a brief view of more Bat-eared Foxes beside he track.