During our visit to Ethiopia last December we hired a driver to take us through some of the rural areas north of Addis Ababa. We drove just over 100 kilometres to a locality known as Portuguese Bridge. On the way we only stopped once so the opportunities for birding were minimal and photography quite difficult.
The above shot was one taken as we were travelling along in the mini bus at about 90kph. It shows a typical rural scene in that part of the country. My attention was focussed on the birds in the scene, a small flock of Cattle Egrets feeding in the paddock. (Click on the image to enlarge.) Cattle Egrets seemed quite common in the areas we travelled in rural Ethiopia. Later we found this also to be true of Morocco and Spain.
A short distance further on we saw the small donkey shown below pulling an enormous load of grass. These amazing little beasts of burden are obviously very strong. Donkeys are common throughout this part of Ethiopia. Even in the city drivers must be on the lookout for them everywhere.
I love visiting the walk-through aviaries at Adelaide Zoo. It enables me to get close up photos of many species I have trouble approaching closely enough for good photographic studies, like the one above. When one is only a few metres from a bird of this size (48-53cm high) and puts the zoom on the lens into action, amazing shots can result. The fine details of plumage come to life and the colours can be impressive. Please note that the photos on this post have not been altered in any way from the originals.
Cattle Egrets are widespread throughout northern and eastern Australia and parts of SW Western Australia. They are widespread in my part of South Australia but my experience of them is that they are not present in huge numbers here. They take on the beautiful orange plumage during breeding. I love the plumes on the back of the bird shown in the photo below (click to enlarge).