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Ethiopia 2020

Mark Finn
March 6th-20th

This was our first tour back to Ethiopia after a gap of several years. During this time the infrastructure and road system has been upgraded whilst the standard of hotels appears to be improving in some areas. I am grateful for Habtamu at Timeless Ethiopia for making the ground arrangements for the tour plus our driver and guide who both done a great job in some challenging areas.

The following diary should bring back memories of an enjoyable tour in good company and much camaraderie.

The next tour to Ethiopia tour will next take place in December 2021

March 6th: Addis Ababa, Ghion Hotel
Daily 34 New 34 Running  34
Weather: Sunny spells with occasional cloud E wind

The group met up at the International Airport and transferred to base in the suburbs of the city. A few birds were in the airport vicinity which included Hadada Ibis, African Spoonbill, Dusky Turtle Dove, Splendid Starling, Streaky Seedeater and Groundscraper Thrush in the middle of a grassy roundabout. Checked into the hotel and decided to meet up at 1300 hours for a leisurely walk around the Ghion Hotel. This was an excellent introduction to Red-eyed Dove, African Dusky Flycatcher, Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, Baglafecht Weaver, Swainson's Sparrow and Tacazze Sunbirds feeding in a flowering tree. In the open areas groups of the localised Brown-rumped Seedeater and in the tangles views of Tawny-flanked Prinia and Speckled Mousebird. A few of us were struggling after long flights so we settled down on the terrace with cold drinks for an hour. This proved to be good with close views of Black-winged Lovebird and Nyanza Swifts hawking for insects. High above the city Hooded and Egyptian Vultures, Yellow-billed Kite, Pied Crow and a single White Stork. On the return towards the bus a fine Mountain Thrush put in appearance a nice way to end the first birding session of the trip.

Brown-rumped Seedeater

March 7th: Addis Ababa, Debre Birhan road, Gemessa Gadal, Old Ankober Road
Daily 47 New 32 Running 66
Weather: Sunny with late afternoon cloud on a SE wind 25C

Breakfast was taken at 0615 before setting off towards the town of Debre Birhan. Outside the hotel a pair of Heuglin's White-eyes showed in a flowering bush. A large acacia tree attracted a pair of Wattled Ibis (very numerous later in the day). The journey out of Addis Ababa was slow due to heavy traffic. A stop along the roadside added Augur Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, White-collared Pigeon, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Fiscal and Western Yellow Wagtails. Further along the road a stream was productive for the endemic Blue-winged Goose, Wood Sandpiper, Barn Swallow, Moorland Chat and a close Yellow Bishop. Our journey passed through several small towns in a habitat of upland grassland which is an important area for livestock. The latter often die due to the harsh conditions and attract Hooded, White-backed and Bearded Vultures. High above our heads a male Pallid Harrier was observed flying north on the thermals. Beyond Debre Birhan the road rises over a few kilometres until reaching the rocky outcrop of Gemessa Gadal. The cliffs quickly revealed the uncommon and localised Ankober Serin, Rock Martin, Mountain Thrush and singing Cinnamon Bracken Warblers although the latter as usual remained hidden in the flowering bushes. The lower areas held groups of Cape Crows and a few Fan-tailed Ravens. A late lunch taken in Debre Birhan followed by a drive along the old Ankober Road. The grassy habitats added Red-breasted Wheatear, Groundscraper Thrush, Ethiopian Siskin, Ethiopian Longclaw and a Red-billed Oxpecker feeding on an old horse. A few kilometres along the road an area of grasses attracted African Stonechats, Yellow-crowned and Yellow Bishops and the first Ethiopian Cisticolas of the tour. On our return another area had Abyssinian Black Wheatear and a party of African Sacred Ibis.

March 8th: Debre Birhan, Jemma Valley, Jemma River, Fields to A3 road
Daily 88 New 52 Running 118
Weather: Hot and sunny on an E wind 34C

This morning we departed from Debre Birhan at 0430 hours to visit the Jemma Valley. The road was among the worst (although being upgraded) as it passes through steppe grassland and eventually into cliffs and ravines. In the steppe habitats a few lingering Red-throated Pipits were recorded with Thekla Lark and small flocks of uncommon Black-winged Lapwings. In a remote village a pile of grasses attracted Eurasian Hoopoe and a pair of Tawny Eagles feeding on the ground. The top of the Jemma Valley was reached with a stop adding Ruppell's Black Chat, Black-crowned Tchagra and Red-rumped Swallows. As we dropped down into the valley exposed cliff faces provided views of White-collared Pigeons and White-billed Starlings. A walk along the road added Pin-tailed Whydah, White-throated Seedeater and Pectoral Patch Cisticola. A short diversion to an overlook was productive for the endemic and range-restricted Harwood's Francolin. Further down the valley another exposed cliff held White-winged Cliffchat, Little Rock Thrush and Lesser Striped Swallows. A late lunch was taken with Cinnamon-breasted Buntings, Abyssinian Wheatear and Streaky Seedeaters for company. A rather rough patch of road ended by the Jemma River a tributary of the White Nile. The best area here was a fruiting fig tree which lured Lesser Honeyguide, Northern Crombec, Mocking Cliffchat, Vitteline Masked Weaver, Yellow-spotted Bush Sparrow and Sahel Bush Sparrows. On the river and cliffs the group located Blue-breasted Bee-eaters, Pied Kingfisher, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Sandpiper and in an old tree a female Abyssinian Ground Hornbill. On the return journey about halfway up another stop added Eurasian Griffon Vulture and Western Marsh Harrier plus migrating Common Swifts. Our last stop was at a village where hundreds of hirundines were migrating which were mostly Barn Swallows with the odd Ethiopian Swallow and Eurasian Crag Martin. Further along the road a Grey Heron was located plus Spot-breasted Lapwings, Western Cattle Egrets and the commoner waders. Time was pressing as we joined a tarmac road back to AA. A long and rewarding day in the field.

Ruppell's Black Chat

March 9th: Addis Ababa, Debre Zeit, Lake Cheleleka, Lake Hora, Awash National Park
Daily 118 New 71 Running 189
Weather: Warm and sunny on a SE wind 32C

After checking out and joining the rush hour which is manic in AA we found ourselves visiting the lake complex around Debre Zeit. On arrival a flower laden lane attracted many birds including Mourning Collared Dove, Common Chiffchaff (probably SE Europe subspecies), Variable and Tacazze Sunbirds, Red-cheeked Cordonbleau and overhead squadrons of Yellow-billed Kites and Maribou Storks. The main interest was the shallow lake with a bordering habitat of agricultural fields, wet grasses and exposed mud. In the open water plenty of ducks including Red-billed and Yellow-billed Ducks, Garganey, Hottentot Teal, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, White-faced Whistling Duck, Red-knobbed Coot and Little Grebe. In the grasses Great, Intermediate and Little Egrets, Glossy Ibis, Black-headed, Grey and Squacco Herons, African Jacana, African Sacred Ibis, African Spoonbill, Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Egyptian and Spur-winged Geese. A walk along the shore produced a few waders notably Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh, Common and Green Sandpipers, Pied Avocet, Ruff and Little Stint. In a distant pond a few Gull-billed Terns. The older trees had Willow Warbler, African Citril, Red-billed Quelea, Lesser Masked Weaver, and hirundines including Mosque Swallow. On the way back we located Steppe Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Black-billed Barbet and Grey-backed Camaroptera. Lake Hora was next on the agenda where the lake held Pink-backed Pelican, Reed and White-breasted Cormorants. The main interest was in the trees which produced sightings of Little Bee-eater, White-winged Black Tit, Spectacled, Ruppell's and Speke's Weavers, African Paradise Flycatcher and Red-billed Firefinches. Lunch taken and then east towards Awash National Park with a Long-crested Eagle en route. Once in the park we located Isabelline and Woodchat Shrikes, Ruppell's and Splendid Starlings, Glossy-backed Drongo, Red-billed and White-headed Buffalo Weavers and Nile Valley Sunbird. A little luck was with us as a pair of White-bellied Bustards showed well at close range and Eastern Chanting Goshawk and Taita Fiscals posed in treetops. As dusk fell African Wood Owl and a very tame Freckled Nightjar concluded an amazing birding day in Ethiopia.

March 10th: Awash, Ali Dege Plain, Awash National Park
Daily 74 New 34 Running 223
Weather: Hot and sunny with SE winds 36C

This morning we headed north towards the new reserve at Ali Dege, an area of plains habitat with a few clumps of cover. The road passes by several customs points with the first one having a male Mocking Cliffchat. The next stop was good for Egyptian Vultures which showed well on the ground with a party of Helmeted Guineafowl, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Cut-throat Finch and a Rosy-patched Bushshrike singing from the top of an acacia bush. Near the reserve entrance Northern Carmine Bee-eaters were feeding by the roadside and a flyover of Black-headed Lapwings. Picked up our guide who showed us a Western Barn Owl sitting on the ground. It was time to visit the reserve a vast area accessed by rough tracks. In the first thirty minutes a group of Somali Ostrich and a migrating male Montagu's Harrier. The acacia bushes attracted Woodchat and Great Grey Shrike, Tawny Pipit and the first of many Chestnut-backed Sparrow Larks. A bonus came with a Secretary bird thermaling around (we later found its mate on the top of an acacia bush), Common Kestrel and Crowned Lapwing added to the list as well. The next stop was an area of acacia woodland which proved to be productive for Arabian Bustard, Black-winged and Scissor-tailed Kites, Taita and Somali Fiscals, Northern White-crowned Shrikes and brief views of Gillett's Lark. Our visit ended by the local school with Yellow-breasted Barbets for company. Back to base for lunch and out again at 1500 hours to visit another area of Awash National Park. The drive down towards the river had a single White-bellied-go-away Bird and a covey of Crested Francolins. A walk along the river edge added Pied, Great and Grey-headed Kingfishers, Striated Heron, Eastern Plantain-eater and a pair of Tawny Eagles nesting in a pylon. On our return journey various stops were productive for Buff-crested Bustard, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Blue-naped Mousebird and a pair of Pygmy Falcons.

March 11th: Awash, Lake Betakes, Sodore, Awash River
Daily 82 New 21 Running 244
Weather: Overcast with late afternoon rain showers NE wind 30C

The morning started with a pair of Abdim's Storks sitting on the roof which had arrived overnight. The first birding stop was at Lake Betakes which is surrounded by lava fields and scrubby trees. A village near the lake allowed us close views of African Wattled Starlings. On the lake itself muddy margins held Little Stint, Marsh Sandpiper, African Darter and Hadada Ibis. At the end of the road we parked up and walked in the lava field recording an Osprey, Pied and Isabelline Wheatears, Beautiful Variable and Nile Valley Sunbirds and a Blackstart sitting proudly on an outcrop. On the return a male Pallid Harrier flew past plus a single House Martin. In another section of the lava fields we eventually located a Sombre Rock Chat sitting and posing quietly on a rock – excellent views of this little known endemic. It was time to move on towards Sodore which since my last visit has changed with a lot of development and habitat loss. In the restaurant a African Pied Wagtail was seen and a short walk nearby added African Pygmy and Woodland Kingfishers, Eastern Plantain-eaters and a calling Klaas's Cuckoo. Time was getting on again as the group headed south with a stop at the Awash River area which has a habitat of muddy fields, grasslands and trees. Among the commoner birds and migrants we added Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Western Reef Egret, African Fish Eagle, African Snipe and Whiskered Tern to the birdlist. On our return to the bus the verge gave us Blue-spotted Wood Dove and Bruce's Green Pigeon feeding on seeds.

Sombre Rock Chat

March 12th: Langano, Bale Road, Dinsho, Goba
Daily 87 New 27 Running 271
Weather: Sunny and clear with light NE winds 28C

Langano Lodge is an excellent place to stay and birdwatch around the extensive grounds, lake and cliffs. Around the reception area new trip species included African Hoopoe, Ring-necked Dove, Marico and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds. After breakfast a walk down towards the late shore was productive for a party of Mocking Cliffchats, Red-winged Starlings, Heuglin's White-eye, Rattling Cisticola, Little and Vitteline Masked Weavers. On entering the gardens at the bottom of the road we located a Red-throated Wryneck against the trunk of a tree, Little Swift, African Thrush, Orange-bellied Parrot, African Thrush, Grey-headed Batis, Plain, Rock and Eurasian Crag Martins and a pair of Grey-backed Fiscals which appeared to be weak in flight. The journey towards the Bale Mountains meant picking up supplies en route where we located Thick-billed Ravens in the centre of a town. The route started to go up in altitude passing through villages and pasture lands the latter being important for livestock. A stop produced White-backed and Hooded Vultures, Somali Crows, several migrant Abdim's Storks, Red-billed Oxpeckers and parties of White-collared Pigeons. At lunchtime a kettle of vultures, Augur Buzzard and the commoner highland species. The road climbs higher and higher with the odd sighting of African Stonechat, Moorland Chat and Streaky Seedeater along the roadside. At Dinsho we met up with a local guide to walk among the juniper forest. The walk started at the abandoned Dinsho Lodge and in no time at all we were watching the shy and retiring Abyssinian Ground Thrush. Further up the trail Mountain Thrush, White-backed Black Tit and Ruppell's Robin Chat. In a section of old trees a roosting Abyssinian Owl which is a hard species to observe plus a pair of displaying Mountain Buzzards and a Lanner Falcon. On the return walk we heard the distinctive song of Brown Woodland Warbler, Brown Parisoma, Malachite Sunbird and a group of Abyssinian Siskins. Headed towards Goba our base for the next two nights.

White-collared Pigeon

March 13th: Goba, Bale Mountains, Dinsho
Daily 53 New 6 Running 277
Weather: Sunny and clear on NE winds 27C

This morning we headed towards the Bale Mountains an incredibly beautiful and remote area of Ethiopia. On the entrance road a stop for a dark phase African Goshawk perched in a tree. The road ascends quickly beyond the entrance barrier with a habitat of moorland, cliffs and patches of grass. On the road edge a covey of Moorland Francolins and further up the smaller Chestnut-naped Francolins gave us excellent views. A few scattered pools attracted the uncommon Ruddy Shelduck, Yellow-billed Duck, Red-knobbed Coot, Blue-winged Goose, Little Grebe, Common and Wood Sandpipers and a pair of Greenshanks. Over the next few kilometres scanning of this vast area produced sightings of Spot-breasted Lapwings, Red-billed Choughs and a female Pallid Harrier. On the return leg a male Black-eared Wheatear was a surprise find and raptor sightings included Golden and Steppe Eagles, Lanner Falcon and Lesser Kestrel. On exiting the park a few diversions into the juniper forest and meadows added Brown Parisoma, Marico Sunbird, Streaky Seedeater and Grey-backed Camaroptera. Down the road another patch of juniper held a pair of Abyssinian Catbirds in duet mode and singing Ruppell's Robin Chat. Lunch taken and then another visit to Dinsho where our guide showed us a roosting African Wood Owl. The final birding was in a valley with low cover where Ethiopian Cisticolas were common along with African Stonechats.

March 14th: Goba, Dinsho, Awassa, Yirgelem
Daily 101 New 18 Running 295
Weather: Sunny and warm 28C

On leaving the hotel a Yellow-crowned Canary appeared in a spindly tree. Just a few kilometres down the road we encountered an unusual sight with dozens of vultures sitting or asleep in a recently ploughed field. The birds were very approachable and careful scrutiny revealed Lapped-faced, Ruppell's, Eurasian Griffon and Hooded Vultures, Thick-billed Raven and Yellow-billed Kites. In the roadside vegetation Pectoral Patch Cisticola and Lesser Blue-eared Starlings. The next stop was in another area of grassland bordered by cliffs and woodland where Abdim's Storks were resting on their migration, a pool attracted Yellow-billed Ducks and Blue-winged Geese. In an area of low shrubs a Chestnut-naped Francolin, Yellow Bishop and Ethiopian Cisticola. The next stop was remarkable for Lappet-faced and White-headed Vultures actually feeding on a dead vulture! The journey down towards Awassa went smoothly and a late lunch was arranged next to the lake. At 1500 hours a walk in the hotel grounds with its large trees and shrubs attracted Woodland Kingfisher, Grey-headed Batis, Icterine Warbler and Beautiful Sunbirds. Lake Awassa is close by with extensive reedbeds and open waters. In the first section a group of African Pygmy Geese, many Maribou Storks, White-breasted and Reed Cormorants, Black Crake, African Jacana, Purple, Grey and Squacco Herons, Pied and Malachite Kingfishers. In the lower parts of the marsh the group located Great Reed, Lesser Swamp and Sedge Warblers, Common Waxbill and Bronze Mannikins. On the return walk Glossy-backed Drongo, Grey-backed Fiscal, Ruppell's Robin Chat and a male African Citril feeding on fruiting figs. It was time to head south to our next base with Silvery-cheeked Hornbills along the way. On arrival a calling Red-chested Cuckoo was a sign of impending rains, The lodge was a great place to stay with excellent food and drinks.

March 15th: Yirgelem, Negele
Daily 75 New 20 Running 315
Weather: Sunny and warm with variable temperatures 20-28C

The gardens of the lodge looked good for birdlife although the only bird of interest was a Tambourine Dove. After breakfast we travelled in a southerly direction and turned onto the Negele road which was 266km in total. Our first stop was a well grazed field with stands of bushes and large trees. This habitat proved to be good for White-browed Robin Chat, Black-headed Oriole, African and Mountain Thrushes, Abyssinian Woodpecker and Tacazze Sunbirds. On exiting the area a large tree housed White-cheeked Turaco and a pair of Abyssinian Catbirds. The next stop was an area of marshes which are dotted along the route towards Negele. An initial scan of the area revealed Egyptian Geese, Hottentot Teal, Wattled, Sacred and Hadada Ibis, Grey Heron, Common Moorhen and Wood Sandpiper. On the grazed grassland Red-breasted Wheatear, Western Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Northern Fiscal and Red-billed Oxpeckers feeding on horses and cattle. A few kilometres down the road a recent animal (dead) attracted a multitude of vultures including Lappet-faced, White-headed and Hooded. The road bridge held White-rumped Swifts a breeding visitor to the area. Further on a steep section of the road bordered by trees and cliffs was good for Blue-breasted Bee-eater and Black Sawwings. Along the route remains of good forest habitat attracted Cardinal Woodpecker and Ethiopian Oriole singing close to the trunk of an old tree. Eventually the summit was reached and on the down slope an area of degraded woodland was explored. Luck was with us as four Ruspoli's Turacos were located feeding and jumping along a mature tree. In the same area Northern Brownbul, White-rumped Babbler and Baglafecht Weaver. The group were pleased with this so we moved to lower elevations and stopped near an abandoned hut. On the roadside trees a pair of Nubian Woodpeckers, White-crested Helmetshrikes and Slaty-coloured Boubou. Across the road the trees attracted Tree Pipit, Northern Black Flycatcher, Bluethroat, Vinaceous Dove, Glossy-backed Drongo, Lilac-breasted Roller and a singing Reichenow's Seedeater. Negele was not faraway a rather dusty and run down border town our base for two nights.

March 16th: Negele, Liben Plain, Darusalem, Charri Valley
Daily 70 New 22 Running 337
Weather: Hot and sunny with no wind 30-37C

An early start today at 0600 hours to visit Liben Plain along one of the roughest roads in Ethiopia. The first bird was a female Desert Wheatear perched by the road which was followed by a party of Yellow-necked Francolins with their 'punk like' head dress. The dry grassland verges attracted African and Plain-backed Pipits, Superb Starlings and Somali Crows. Liben Plain is a protected area although it suffers from over grazing by livestock. On the first walk sightings of Tawny Pipit, Somali Lark, Temminck's Courser and the remarkable sight of two Kori Bustards wandering around in display mode. Breakfast taken in the field followed by another walk to view Sidamo (Archer's) Larks at close range. Birds around two huts included White-crowned and Superb Starlings, Vitteline Masked Weaver, Cut-throat Finch, Northern and Black-eared Wheatears and a Lilac-breasted Roller. Our journey continued towards the village of Darusalem with a habitat of acacia, farmland and rocky slopes. A wander around this area produced several good birds including Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Shelley's Starling, Dodson's Bulbul, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Purple Grenadier, Salvadori's Seedeater and Somali Bunting. On the return journey Singing Cisticola was noted in grasses whilst a lake had African Spoonbill, Abdim's Stork and two migrating Short-toed Eagles. In the acacia bushes a surprise find was a Red-headed Weaver. Lunch taken in Negele followed by a trip into the Charri Valley a new area of acacia forest and cliffs with watercourses in the valley bottom. The latter held a single Three-banded Plover. Back towards Negele we stopped in the higher areas where Red and Yellow Barbet, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Orange-bellied Parrot and a female Cardinal Woodpecker were added to the day list.

Sidamo Lark

March 17th: Negele, Dilla, Yabello
Daily 43 New 4 Running 341
Weather: Warm and sunny 30C

Today was to be a long travelling day towards Yabello on the road to Kenya. The usual birds were around the town with the best being a Black-breasted Bustard on the outskirts. A few stops were made which included a dry area of acacia which supported several Ruspoli's Turacos. Our journey took us to Dilla via a rough road which held Blue-headed Coucal and Black-chested Snake Eagle to the list. The road down to Yabello is good and another stop added Slender-billed Starlings perching on a roof. Arrived at the hotel for our stay of two nights.

March 18th: Yabello, Mega, El Soad, Mega to Yabello road
Daily 81 New 18 Running 359
Weather: Unsettled with frequent showers on a SW wind 25C

Departed from the hotel at 0500 hours to visit a rocky valley beyond the town of Mega. The group arrived at first light with the birds being active and singing from various areas. Around the van close views of Greater Blue-eared, Lesser Blue-eared and Superb Starlings, Slate-coloured Boubou, Lesser Honeyguide and Speckled Mousebird. The main target was the recently described Black-faced Francolin which duly showed and called high up on the cliff face. Breakfast was taken with birds in the vicinity comprising of Bare-eyed and African Thrushes, Rufous Chatterer, Red-headed Weaver, Yellow-throated Bush Sparrow and Singing Cisticola. In the cliffs a pair of Verreaux's Eagles were hunting the local Rock Hyrax for food. A walk along the river area was productive for Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Eurasian and African Hoopoe (good comparisons), Red-fronted Tinkerbird and Rattling Cisticola. In a rather bare area a pair of Long-billed Pipits and a Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike singing from a rather dense bush (showed well). It was time to join the El Soad Road which runs through pristine acacia savannah. The first stop added Familiar Chat, Grey-capped Social Weaver, and the endemic Stresemann's Bush Crow. A walkabout within the bush habitat proved to be good for sightings of Pygmy Falcon, Crowned Lapwing, White-tailed Swallow, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Somali and Taita Fiscals. Further on another walk added Kori Bustard, Flappet and Gillet's Larks, White-bellied Canary and overhead Steppe and Tawny Eagles and the first Bateleur of the tour. The next hour or so was dominated by the weather and road conditions which were challenging. On the way back to Yabello a roadside stop was excellent for Abyssinian Scimitarbill, D'Arnaud's Barbet, White-browed Scrub Robin, Spotted Palm Thrush, Black-capped Social Weaver, Purple Grenadier and Orange-winged Pytilia.

Stresemann's Bush Crow

March 19th: Yabello, Konso Road, Awassa
Daily 77 New 16 Running 375
Weather: Unsettled with rain showers and sunny spells 35C

The group met up at 0600 hours to visit an area along the Konso road. On arrival Vulturine Guineafowl were seen along the road and adjacent areas. Birdlife was rich is this area with sightings of Emerald Spotted Wood Dove, Green-backed Eremomela, Dark-capped Bulbul, Golden-breasted and Shelley's Starlings, White-crowned Shrike, Black-throated and D'Arnaud's Barbets. On the telegraph wires hundreds of migrating Barn Swallows and a few Lesser Striped Swallows the latter being a short distance migrant in Africa. On the return journey a Common Cuckoo was noted. and near Yabello an immature Martial Eagle and White-browed Coucal. Back for breakfast and then the long drive north to Awassa with birding stops along the way. The first stop added the scarce Bare-faced Go-away-Bird by the roadside. The road passes by several wetland areas surrounded by forest with one having a perched Broad-billed Roller and a pair of Woolly-necked Storks feeding by cattle. A walk towards the nearby forest edge had calling Red-chested Cuckoos which were also seen in flight. In the woodland itself a pair of Yellow-fronted Tinkerbirds a scarce bird within Ethiopia. Our journey passed through many villages with one having a wetland with a pair of Wattled Cranes and a group of White-backed Vultures. Not too much interest until arriving in Awassa where the hotel grounds held a pair of African Spotted Creepers and Little Weavers.

March 20th: Awassa, Wondo Genet, Addis Ababa
Daily 95 New 10 Final 382
Weather: Sunny spells with a light NE wind 30C

Our last full day in Ethiopia started with a visit to Awassa fish market a rather chaotic place bustling with people and Maribou Storks. A walk among the large trees produced Eastern Grey-headed Woodpecker, Western Black-headed Batis, African Grey Flycatcher, Spotted Creeper and a singing Willow Warbler. A scan of the lake added Grey-hooded Gulls, White-breasted and Reed Cormorants, Giant, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, various egrets and herons and a flock of White-winged Terns. Next on the agenda was Wondo Genet an area of forest where a short walk had a singing Brown-throated Wattle-eye, calling Scaly-fronted Honeyguide, Heuglin's White-eye, African Paradise Flycatcher, Black-headed Oriole and a perched Silvery-cheeked Hornbill. The remainder of the day was spent travelling to Addis Ababa with a few stops along the way. The only new bird was a migrating Black Stork. Eventually arrived at the hotel where we could shower and freshen up for our journeys back to the UK and USA.

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