112 posts in this topic

But back to the main stars - sorry, can´t resist posting some more birds.




Black-Headed Batis




African Citril




Chestnut Weaver - one of the many new species for me.




The Banded Barbet was an imporant find - it is another endemic to the Horn, we saw two of them.




Grey-Headed Bush Shrike




We had a nice extended sighting of this (European) Hoopoe, one of my favourite birds, and could also clearly hear how it got its name:






Northern Carmine Bee-Eater - always a special bird to see.




Red-Headed Weaver - they look like they fell in a red paint pot.




Red-Fronted Tinkerbird - I have seen this little beauty before but never as close.




Wire-Tailed Swallow sleeping in the dining room.




Goliath Heron, pretty relaxed about our presence - normally they are much shier in my experience.




It was very enjoyable watching these Pelicans hunt - obviously the Cormorant hoped to steal a bit from them.





Green Sandpiper




Yellow-Billed Stork




Spur-Winged Lapwing






As mentioned before the lodge is very close to the village, which of course means a lot of livestock - and people - are around. After a while Abiy had his hands full "protecting" our bird findings. The kids were quite shy at first, only one or two started following us, curious about what we were doing here.


Well, it did not take long for them to become a bit bolder, and they multiplied - and all of them wanted to be models.






Eventually we drew quite a crowd and finally gave up, as nice as the kids were, having 20 of them jumping around us was not really beneficial for birding. :)




We felt a bit like rock stars - the first time so many other people found us so inherently fascinating. B)





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We hoped to get two specific bird species here at Langano, and were successful on both fronts.




Ethiopian Bee-Eater (Merops lafresnayii). I love Bee-Eaters (but then, who doesn´t?), and so I am always very happy when I get a new one. This is quite a recent, though apparently somewhat controversial split from the more widespread Blue-Breasted Bee-Eater (Merops variegatus). It´s different in having a richer blue forehead and supercilium, slightly darker belly, much broader dark tailband and significantly larger size. This form is a near-endemic to Ethiopia and Erithrea. While scientists might be arguing about the exact taxonomic status there can be no debate that it´s a beautiful bird.




Late afternoon I was becoming a bit worried if we would manage our second top target bird. But I need not have worried - Abiy was confident we would find them, and of course due to his skill and experience he was right.




The Yellow-Fronted Parrot, a bird exclusively found in Ethiopia.




A gorgeous bird, and we had the pleasure of watching three of them for about half an hour.








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Everything shown in the posts so far was found in a radius of certainly not more than 1,000 m from the lodge, so it´s really in incredibly rich area, and I´m sure that it would be the perfect place to convert everybody into a birder! Birding groups tend to stay here for three nights, and it´s easy to see why. Even if not keen on feathered friends I do recommend Haro Lodge for everybody going to Bale, it´s such a wonderful atmosphere here, a little slice of paradise, and as mentioned before it´s perfect for a stop to break up the long drive South.


On our way out we quickly had a look at the Bishangari area. Seeing the burnt premises was of course not too enjoyable (and I did not find it in my heart to take pictures of this long-standing and well-reputed wildlife lover centre). There are plans to rebuild apparently, though I cannot quite see how this would be a good idea without solving the tensions with the local community.


We had a very nice sigthing of Abyssinian Ground Hornbill close by.






Bishangari is famous for its ancient huge trees, home to all kinds of birds and other wildlife, shared quite harmoniously with livestock.




At least the Warthogs and cattle seem to get along quite well. :)






Baboons were also quite common around Haro and Bishangari, but - as I do quite often I confess - they were pretty much ignored, so no photos.


Two more birds to cap off the Langano part:




Sulphur-Breasted (aka Orange-Breasted) Bush-Shrike




Grey-Backed Fiscal


Next up: Back to Mammals - we are moving on to Bale Mountains NP - which means Wolves!

Edited by michael-ibk
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This last Abyssinian calao picture is absolutely fantastic!

Edited by jeremie
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Thank you, @jeremie . I ran after the Hornbill quite some time to get close enough, and thankfully it was not too concerned about me. It is quite amazing, however, how quick they move even when they are just walking, it´s not easy catching up to them, but fun trying to do so. A big reason why I enjoyed Langano that much - it´s all about walking in the forest, walking at the shore, and this is a very different activity to sitting in a car, especially a non-safari car like we had here. This is something I loved about Ethiopia in general - no matter where you are, no matter what you see, it´s absulutely ok to get out and try to approach on foot.

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Excellent report and photos as usual, and glad of having been of some limited help.


Very sad to see that the situation in Awash has further deteriorated since my visit in 2013 (it was very bleak then already).


As to the lions, I recall that the rangers got really excited during our second morning, since apparently lions  were heard calling close to the Filwoha Hot Springs. Even if we made a dash, obviously it took us some time to get there, and by the time we reached we could only see Afar and their livestock.


Somehow I have always been doubtful as to the genuiness of those lion vocalization we had been told had been heard, but who knows?


The rangers escorting us in Ali Deghe also told us that lions were present in the area - but again no more evidence than that.

Edited by Paolo
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Some authors still consider that Ethiopia is home to more than 1000 lions. I think this is an overestimate. Considering that Awash-Ali Deghe is the third lion stronghold of the country after Omo and Gambela regions, it seems clear that the real population is largely lower than this poor guess estimate. The Abyssinian country lacks of wildlife systematic surveys and its protected areas are very poorly management, thus this situation should get worse in the following decade. The fact that APN was expulsed out of the Gambela project after investing so much energy and money on it clearly shows the lack of interest Ethiopia has for its network of protected areas. 


There is a 2014 mammal watching report stating some lion indirect evidences from Awash and Ali Deghe here:

http://www.mammalwatching.com/Afrotropical/other reports/MDB Ethiopia 2014.pdf


I feel extremely worried to see that the last lions sightings on Mammalwatching for Ethiopia were in the Gera forest and in the Harenna forest South to Bale Mountain National Park...

http://mammalwatching.com/Afrotropical/other reports/JvG Ethiopia 2015 full.pdf



Edited by jeremie
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i am not very optimistic on the lion population in the Omo either. There is very little prey left for a healrhy lion popultion on the eastern side of the river. The western side is definitely faring better, but I guess that the big buffalo and eland herds for which the area was once famed are a thing of the past (I hope I am wrong).

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@Atravelynne and @Michael-Ibk I just love all your photos and I'm especially excited about all your bird photos and especially those of the endemics.I will definately visit Lake Lagano. I will also include Awash, and Guassa even if I'm already planning to visit Bale Mountain National Park. I'll be visiting Ethiopia soon enough.




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@michael-ibk sorry to hear about your illness - but you appeared to have recovered.

Beautiful bird photos -your stay by the lake was very productive. The Yellow fronted Parrot is stunning.

@Atravelynn wonderful writing and photos

You both write very sensitively about the difficulties for the parks and the people

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On 7/19/2017 at 9:32 PM, Kitsafari said:

@michael-ibk  a well-written piece on Awash - you conveyed the distressing state of affairs in Awash well as did Atravelynn. and it reminds me of that road they are building in Guassa - I do hope the latter doesn't become like Awash.   We are despairing together.  The geladas were taking the existing road traffic in stride.  I  recall one instance when a loud truck sound in the distance made me jump.  In contrast, the geladas were completely unfazed, no flinching whatsoever.


Grooming continues undisturbed by truck traffic


what a capture of the kill by the roller!


Edited by Atravelynn
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On 7/20/2017 at 7:40 PM, michael-ibk said:

Langano does its birds big, splashy and colourful.


And you have showed them as big, splashy and colourful, @michael-ibk! That is my kind of a place, for birding :D! Beautiful photography, and I can only imagine what your Big Year result will be :o.

Edited by xelas

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