Tanzania & Ethiopia Birds – Review of 2010 – March
Work brought me to Dar es Salaam where I stayed on the coast. There was a great array of birds on view at the lagoon. This included Indian House Crows, Kingfishers, Sacred Ibis, Whimprel and these Crab Plovers which have thick heavy-looking beaks.
I’ve always liked Dar but it is not everyone’s cuppa. Very hot and sticky in the day time with dreadful traffic and road problems for its 3 million people, it is still a great mix of styles, chaos and life. The evenings are lovely with nice temperatures and peacedul sunsets.
From there I flew to Addis Ababa for the first time. It is much more spread out and spacious than I had expected. I also expected it to be very poor which it is in parts but it is also growing fast and the economy is good – at least in the main centres. Addis has nearly 4 million people and like all of Africa, Chinese money and projects are clearly visible.
Again I didn’t have too much time to go far but even the birds in the city look quite exotic like this Speckled Mousebird with an impressive tail.
Before flying home on the Saturday, I managed a quick visit to the crater lakes at Debra Zeyt to the south. Here there were great numbers of birds and many I didn’t recognise. On one of the lakes there was a huge flock of Little Grebes while Herons, Ibises and Cormorants hugged the margins. Small birds gave voice to the trees and bushes all around the edge.
Malachite and Pied Kingfishers were reasonably common. I was only sorry not to have a better and longer lens having to do with a 70-300 to fit in with a business-like briefcase!
Returning to the city I found many vultures flying around or sitting on the roof tops. These included White-backed and Ruppell’s Griffons (below L&R), Hooded and Egyptian. There were also a few Maribiu Storks brightening the sky.
Flying home there was a good view of Dublin port. Somehow it looks more impressive from the calm sky with the hum of the jets, compared with walking on the ground where you are more aware of litter. On the other hand, Bull Island which was also clearly visible looks interesting but nothing like as amazing as it is from the ground. This is one of Dublin’s jewels and still survives despite the determination of planners to destroy it through the second causeway without a bridge or channel for the water. Silt is still filling in the lagoon.
Home in Wicklow, I was reminded that it was spring by lambs at The Lamb.