Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Great birds in the bush!

We hit the bush country south of Yabello, played a blinder and enjoyed a thoroughly rewarding morning’s birding. Driving along the main road a quick stop for the localised endemic Stresemann’s Bushcrow was superb and we also saw D’Arnaud’s Barbet, a singing Spotted Palm Thrush, and a flock of Rufous Chatterers

D-Arnaud's Barbet

Spotted Palm Thrush

Stresemann's Bushcrow - only found in this area of Ethiopia...

Further on several Ruppell’s Vultures were feasting on some dead donkeys in a ditch beside the road….

I loved the early morning light on this Ruppell's Vulture

Upon arrival at ‘our spot’ well it doesn’t get much better than getting Pringle’s Puffback straight off the bat (although you had to be quick!), and then an excellent run of key birds included Northern Grosbeak Canary, White-bellied Canary, Somali Crombec, Red-naped Bush-Shrike, Gabar Goshawk, Black-capped Social Weaver, Foxy Lark and several Purple Grenadiers

Foxy Lark

Northern Grosbeak Canary

Probably the best bird was a Heuglin's Courser that scuttled out form a bush right in front of me and then walked across the trail and literally froze just 5 metres in front of us. Wow! 

Heuglin's Courser - just look at the intricate plumage

We also saw Red-faced Crombec, Banded Parisoma, Grey Wren-Warbler, Martial Eagle, more bushcrows, Bare-eyed Thrush, African Grey Flycatcher, Pygmy Batis, Acacia Tit, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, and a delightful pair of Brubru.

Brubru - one of my favourite birds

Our last stop of the morning was good for Pygmy Falcon, Pale Prinia and White-browed Scrub-Robin.

Pygmy Falcon

Following a siesta we set out at 3pm and returned to the Soda Plains where Great Spotted Cuckoo (for some), Short-tailed Lark, and best of all a pair of White-bellied Bustards were seen. 

Short-tailed Lark

White-bellied Bustard at dusk

Another Secretarybird walking between the acacias and right in front of small village was quite atmospheric, as was a few Somali Ostriches

Secretarybird was a popular find...

And so was this Somali Ostrich 

We waited until dusk and then took a back-track across the plain where we spotlighted 2 African Wild Cats. Driving back towards Yabello we made a couple of stops, the first of which only had a distant calling Northern White-faced Scops-Owl. The second one resulted in a Donaldson-Smith’s Nightjar. Wow! The drive back was eventful with a Genet spotlighted, adding to the Abyssinian Hare we had seen earlier.

I must admit the beer and even the spaghetti bolognese tasted so much better tonight – and that’s saying something!

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