Monday, 13 February 2012

Greetings from Ethiopia

Two hours through customs and then a six hours drive to Jimma in the Western Highlands. On the way we saw a burnt out petrol tanker in the middle of the road, after having tried to demolish a bridge. Goat, sheep and cows wander around everywhere. Including in the road and we eventually came across a freshly mown down goat with a group of people, one with a very big knife, haggling over the price of the carcass. 
Up this morning at 04:20 from my first session. The nets are set up the day before and furled in a coffee plantation. A guard ensures no cattle walk into them. On arrival two of the local team open the nets, still in the dark. Then the kettle is put on a open fire for black tea with lots of sugar. At dawn two of the team start net rounds. 
The birds are brought back and identified. Then everyone watches as I process and ring them with the help of Tifases, girl of about 25 and the only other ringer. So a few Blackcap, a Willow warbler plus four new african resident species for me. These include Rüppell's Robin chat and a family of African Firefinch, shown below. 
The only downer was a local dog tried to extract a Robin chat with its teeth. Luckily I managed to save the bird, somewhat wet and with a few primaries missing! 

Friday, 10 February 2012


I may not have won the Lottery but who cares. I'm going to Ethiopia for three months of ringing! 
It's going to be like walking into Aladdin's cave. It all started with an email four days ago and tomorrow I'll be flying high!  Watch this space...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What a great day!

It started off with a terrific Redwing. Then not one but two new female Blackcap! 
Then 3 BLABI, 1 Wren, a re-trap GRETI, a beautiful 6M Starling and a Dunno. 
And the only BLUTI in sight was a Control with a chip on the left leg.  
What a day!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Winter Visiter

Well I'm pleased with my January total. It topped out at 242 birds. I have ringed 350 and 74 re-traped birds since November when my C permit arrived.  
The female Blackcap that has been flitting around over the road finally decided to pay me a visit. She has now taken up residence in the ivy. Plenty of apples are now scattered on the lawn and at one stage there were seven Blackbirds pecking away. A great site to see. And new Robins are still turning up.