Over recent days I have written about some of the birds I saw on a visit to the Portuguese Bridge area (near Debre Libanos) which is about 110km north of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. There is some controversy over the old bridge (shown above). Local guides claim it was built by the Portuguese about 400 years ago. Other authorities claim that it was built more recently.
We were visiting the area last December. Geologically it is a very interesting place. We had wonderful views over the valley and down into the Blue Nile Gorge about 1000 metres below us. I’ve included no bird photos today – only scenery shots of this amazing place.
I saw a good number of birds and if you look through recent posts here you will see photos of some of them. Instead of bird photos I have compiled an annotated list of some of the birds seen:
- Pied Crow – numerous
- Fan-tailed Raven – 3 flying overhead
- Lammergeier – 1 soaring on thermals overhead
- Yellow-billed Kites – numerous – about 20 – 30 swooping low over people eating lunch. One took food from my fingers!
- Dusky Turtledove – about 5 seen
- Speckled Pigeon – only 1 seen
- Tacazza Sunbird – 2
- Rock Martin – about 10 swooping around the cliff edges
- Blue-breasted Bee-eater – 2 seen swooping for insects and then sitting on a branch
- Augur Buzzard – one seen only briefly, flying overhead
I saw and heard a number of other species but either didn’t get good views of them or no views at all. One of the more frustrating sightings was that of the Rock Martins swooping around the cliff edges. They came quite close – close enough for good identification – but none settled down to perch so I could get a photo. On the wing they were too swift to focus on. [Sigh]
So – you’ll have to be content with some lovely scenery shots instead. But stay tuned for more photos taken elsewhere in the coming days.
One of my favourite Australian birds would have to be the Rainbow Bee-eater (click here for a photo). They are regular spring and summer visitors to our garden and even occasionally breed on our 5 acre block of land. When I visited Nepal a few years ago I had a brief glimpse of the Blue-bearded Bee-eater and the Green Bee-eater while visiting Chitwan National Park in the southern part of the country.
Before travelling to Africa late last year I knew that several species of bee-eaters could be seen there, so I hoped that I would get good views of at least one species. I was rewarded with not only a good sighting but several photos as well. The Blue-breasted Bee-eater shown in today’s photos is every part as spectacular as the other species I had already seen. The two birds sat obligingly on a branch in full view and in full sunlight until I had some shots. They then continued on hawking for insects.
These birds were seen at the locality known as Portuguese Bridge, about 110km north of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
I have a sneaking suspicion that spring has arrived in South Australia.
- It has stopped raining every day.
- The nights are warm enough not to have a heater going.
- The days have more periods of sunshine than cloud.
- I’ve had serious bouts of hay fever.
- The birds are busy nesting.
And today I recorded two species of birds in our garden that usually arrive from up north about this time of the year.
The first was one of my favourites: the Rainbow Bee-eater.
The second species was the Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo. I only heard this one briefly late in the afternoon. This is the first cuckoo I’ve heard this spring. I will be listening carefully for the other species of cuckoo that occur here at this time of the year. And with so many other species breeding they shouldn’t have trouble finding a host for their eggs.
Rainbow Bee-eaters would have to be high on my list of my favourite birds. In fact, the whole bee-eater family are quite spectacularly coloured birds. I saw several different species during my visit to Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal a few years ago.
The Rainbow Bee-eater is the only species present in Australia. We always know that spring is well and truly here when they announce their arrive from over wintering in the northern parts of Australia. In the past they have stayed around our home all summer, even nesting on several occasions.
This year they came through a few months ago and then we didn’t hear or see them until earlier this week. It seems a little early for them to be heading back north again. Perhaps they just came to visit to cheer me up. I’d like to think so.
One of the Australian bird species I always enjoy seeing (or hearing) is the Rainbow Bee-eater. This bird is a seasonal visitor in the summer months here in Murray Bridge, South Australia. Small flocks (and sometimes only an individual) arrive in spring and depart on their way north in late summer (about February) or early autumn (March).
Many years ago we had them nesting on our five acre block of land. From childhood I have been intrigued by this beautiful bird that makes its nest at the end of a small tunnel in the sand or in the sandy bank of a road or railway cutting.
I suspect that they currently nest in the banks of an ephemeral creek about hlaf a kilometre from our home. They may also nest up the hill from our place.
This summer they arrived here a little later than usual. Over the last month I don’t know if they have visited our garden as we have been away interstate. Since returning last Friday, however, they have been hanging around almost every day, coming for a short while and then moving elsewhere. I haven’t been able to get close enough for a new photo, so I’ve used one taken several years ago.