Trip reports

Indoor Meeting - Ethiopia

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Ethiopia with 84 million people is the most populous landlocked country in the world. News coverage of famines may have given a misleading impression of the country. There are lush forests, lakes, and banana and coffee plantations. There is a mixture of ancient of modern scenes. Some things appear to not have changed in a thousand years for example oxen being used to plough fields and animals grinding corn.

Peter showed us a wide range of birds. There are a number of kingfishers, the malachite kingfisher is similar to European kingfisher but has a bright red bill. The pied kingfisher as it name suggests is black and white. There is also the woodland kingfisher which lives in dense woodland.

Water birds include marabou storks, pelicans, ruddy shelduck, glossy ibis, African black duck, hamerkop and purple heron. Fishermen gut their fish on the shore of the lakes, so many of these birds have come quite tame, feeding off the scraps.

There are also birds prey to be seen such as the fox kestrel, dark chanting goshawk, African fish eagle, pygmy falcon, Rüppell's griffon vulture, African hobby, spotted eagle owl and African long-eared Owl.

They were able to get close up views of four or five nightjars close to a cafe. The nightjars were not bothered by people and seemed to be relying on their camouflage to keep them safe.

We were treated to a video and pictures of the Ethiopian wolf, (Abyssinian wolf). This is an endangered species that is very fox like and is about the size of a Labrador. It feeds on mole rats.

Visitors often feel a sense of feeling at home. Could this be because our ancestors came from here and some information is stored deep down in our DNA?

Peter was thanked for a very interesting talk. Peter is now standing down from the committee, he has taken on many roles, including as acting leader. In recognition of all his hard work he was presented with a digital photography book and a wildlife photographer desk diary.