Sunday, December 14, 2014


I spent the last fortnight of November on a family holiday in Ethiopia, here's a few photos:

The main purpose for the trip was to trek in the Bale Mountains, a lush, green plateau that defies all expectations of Ethiopia. Highlight here was the Ethiopian Wolf, of which we saw 4, giving great views and completely unconcerned by our presence. The birding here was fantastic too, particularly for raptors. Small burrowing mammals are incredibly common and so are their predators, with Lanner Falcons, Steppe Eagles and Augur Buzzards pretty much constantly on show. Being a bit of a Crane fan, I was delighted to see a pair of Wattled Crane feeding distantly on the shores of a small lake, nearly 4000m above sea level. 
On the way to and from the mountains we stopped at Lake Ziway, in the Rift Valley. The main jetty was one of the most absurd birding experiences of my life, with ranks of Marabou Storks, Hammerkops and White Pelicans waiting to be fed by hand, while White-winged Terns swooped in for leftovers. A boat trip out on the lake got us up close to a Hippopotamus and an island covered in nesting African Darters, African Spoonbills and Black-headed Herons.
We then spent a few days at the resort town of Debre Zeyit, with its string of crater lakes, and then Ambo, for some hiking at the nearby Mount Wenchi.
African Paradise Flycatcher

Augur Buzzard
Bale Mountains campsite

African Wood Owl

Blue-winged Goose
Easy birding at Ziway

Abyssinian Catbird

Moorland Chat

Wattled Crane

Erlanger's Lark

Goliath Heron




Rock Hyrax

Isabelline Wheatear

Malachite Kingfisher

Mountain Wagtail

Mountain Nyala

Pallid Harrier

Pied Wheatear

Rougets Rail

Rupells Vulture

Common Redstart (samamiscus)

Silvery-cheeked Hornbill

African Spoonbill

Steppe Eagle

African Stonechat

Verraux's Eagle (and Chough)

Verraux's Eagle

White-cheeked Turaco

Ethiopian Wolf

Red-throated Wryneck
At the end of the holiday I managed to squeeze in a day trip to the grasslands of Awash NP, a must-visit site about 4 hours East of Addis Ababa. The park seems to have a strict policy preventing exploration on foot so I was limited to a few hours on a 'game drive' around the Oryx Plains, and a short stroll with an armed guide around the Awash Falls lodge and nearby campsite.

African Harrier Hawk


Northern Carmine Bee-eater

Long Crested Eagle

Namaqua Dove

Northern White-crowned Shrike

Besia Oryx 
Rosy-patched Bush Shrike

Tawny Eagle