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! 

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