Tawny Pipit, Ethiopia

Tawny Pipit, Ethiopia

On my trip to Africa last December I had a few problems identifying some of the birds I saw. This is not unusual when one is in unfamiliar territory. It even happens to me here in Australia when I visit places I may only go occasionally, or for the first time. Contrasting with that is at home where I am immediately aware of any strange bird call in our garden.

While visiting our daughter who was teaching last year in Addis Ababa, we went on a day trip north of the city to a locality known as Portuguese Bridge. Along the way we stopped at a lookout and I managed 2 quick photos of the bird shown today. I am not absolutely certain I’ve got the identification right but the closest I can come is Tawny Pipit.

It was certainly behaving like a pipit, feeding on the ground, constantly bobbing and running along the ground. The area was quite rocky and in parts bare of much grass. I’ve eliminated all of the other pipits found in the area because the throat has no streaking. The only other possibilities (I think) could be a chat or one of the larks.

If any of my readers has more knowledge of the area, or experience with these species, I’d appreciate comments and a more definite ID.

Tawny Pipit, Ethiopia

Some Blue Bonnets and a Pipit

On the third day of our recent holiday on Yorke Peninsula we drove along the south coast, stopping in various places to look at plants, birds and the general coastal scenery. As the afternoon progressed we visited the small village of Port Moorowie, a collection of nearly a hundred holiday homes and shacks. As far as I could tell there we no shops or other services there but it was still quite a delightful place to spend some time, especially during the summer months.

But not the day we visited. The wild gale force wind from the south west still made it most unpleasant to get out of the car, so we didn’t venture out on this occasion. Add to that the intermittent icy showers and you get a picture of how unpleasant the weather can be. All day the birding had been minimal; most species kept a very low profile.

A few hundred metres after leaving the beach settlement I saw a flock of about 20 parrots fly across in front of the car. I stopped, watching them closely. Several landed about 70 – 80 metres away. The binoculars revealed that they were Blue Bonnets, one of Australia’s colourful smaller parrots. Two landed in a good position for a photo, but unfortunately were too far away for a reasonable shot, even with my good zoom lens. If it hadn’t been raining at the time I might have managed a reasonable photo. I haven’t yet managed a reasonable photo of this species so I can’t show one. Those I took on the day are of such poor quality I don’t want to show them here.

A few hundred metres on I also saw a Richard’s Pipit on the road. It flew off and landed on a farm fence post. Again I was unsuccessful in getting a good photo. You have days like that. I guess if I hadn’t been on a tight time schedule I could have employed a little more patience and just waited for one to land close by, in bright sunshine and posed just right.