Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti


Djubouti bird watching map
Visit Djibouti Nature´s web page: https://djiboutinature.org/ for much information about birding in Djibouti


Friday 7th of September 2018 and as I had forgotten my phone in the car I had asked for a wake-up call for 3 thirty in the morning. I had my tea and I went down to the reception. No sign of my Guide and driver and I went back to my room. They called 10 minutes after 5, they had arrived and we left Acacias Hotel and Djibouti City behind bound for Ali Sabieh and Assamo Garden and we will Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.st hopefully see some beautiful birds down there.

National Highway 1 (Djibouti)

National Highway 1 is a major national highway of Djibouti. It connects the suburbs of Djibouti City to Yoboki and the Ethiopian border near Galafi, where it becomes Ethiopia's National Highway 18.

The highway begins at a roundabout in Djibouti City at 11°34′4″N 43°7′50″E, near Colege De Fukuzawa, where it connects with National Highway 2 and National Highway 3. National Highway 1 is 255 km in length and passes through the regions of Djibouti Region, Arta Region, Ali Sabieh Region and Dikhil Region.

The highway is heavily travelled by Ethiopian trucks.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


It is pitch dark when we´re leaving Acacias Hotel and it starting to get some morning light just before 6. At 6 thirty there is light enough for pictures. Yesterday we had turned to the north going to the mountains but today we stayed on #1 road approaching the desert. I was told that this was the biggest desert in Djibouti and we were on a good highway, and I was not surprised to learn that it was paid by the European tax payers.

Grand Bara

The Grand Bara (Somali: Baadha Wayn), Bara Wein or Bada Wein, is a desert in southern Djibouti. It consists of large areas of sand flats, with sparse, semi-desert and desert grasses and scrub vegetation. A road built in 1981 passes through the area, connecting the capital Djibouti City with the south.

Prior to the arrival of the French, the extremely arid interior was inhabited primarily by the Issa Somali.

Geography
The Grand Bara and Petit Bara are the remains of dried up lake beds. They form vast arid plains in the centre of Djibouti and mark the delimitation of the volcanic part of the country from the sedimentary part. The clay of which they are formed is poorly drained and water collects here in the rainy season and this is followed by the growth of grasses.

Djibouti has few paved roads; it has been estimated that there are about 2,900 km of roads, only about 12% being paved, and fewer than half being serviceable throughout the year. In 1981, a road across the Grand Bara was built, linking the capital with the south. It is about 40 km long.

Ecology
The Grand Bara is part of the Ethiopian xeric grasslands and scrublands ecoregion. Large mammals occurring in this area include the Beira antelope (Dorcatragus megalotis), Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas), Soemmerring's gazelle (Gazella soemmerringii), Salt's dik-dik (Madoqua saltiana) and gerenuk (Litocranius walleri).

Few Beisa oryx (Oryx beisa) remain after great hunting pressure. The Berbera gerbil (Gerbillus acticola) is endemic to this region as are Arnold’s leaf-toed gecko (Hemidactylus arnoldi) and the northern sand gecko (Tropiocolotes somalicus). Archer's lark (Heteromirafra archeri) is the only endemic bird species.

Climate
The heavy rainfall affected the Grand Bara. As a Result the Plain floods in July and September. The climate of the Grand Bara limits the number of animals living permanently in these extreme conditions.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
National Highway 1 - Yet another wreck along the road

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
National Highway 1 - High way paid by the European tax payers

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
National Highway 1 – Djibouti´s biggest dessert

We drive along National Highway 1 until we reach a place called Doudoud Bolole, in the middle of nowhere, but there were some huts and trucks parked so I guess it is one of the snack stops for the truck drivers driving between Djibouti and Ethiopia.

We leave road #1 turning left and we´re on National Highway 5 going to Ali Sabieh. Reaching Ali Sabieh and we will leave the paved road, well, th epaved road continues for a bit but the pavement is gone crossing the dry rivers. Last bit we are driving through the landscape on dust roads until we reach Assamo and we will Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.st hopefully see a lot of birds there.

Ali Sabieh علي صابح

Ali Sabieh is the second largest city in Djibouti. It is situated about 93 kilometres Southwest of Djibouti City and 10 km north of the border with Ethiopia. It sprawls on a wide basin surrounded by granitic mountains on all sides. The famous landmark of Ali Sabieh is located near the city.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The landscape is very beautiful, not much vegetation but it is a very exciting landscape and I enjoyed the view from the back seat. We had stopped to buy water in a village outside Djibouti, second day on tour here and the second day I forget my water and pick-nick lunch at my hotel

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
We´re on National Highway 5

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Today we drive through a totally different landscape

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Today we drive through a totally different landscape

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Driving along National Highway 5

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Driving along National Highway 5

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti

There is of course some vegetation in the desert, but it turns really green when we approach Assamo. We stop to have a look in a few trees and there are plenty birds, Common Bulbul / Somali Bulbul, Rüppell's weaver and Flycatchers. Also the long tailed very beautiful but scared Namaqua dove so impossible to get any pictures.

I was chasing a flycatcher but I was not lucky with the light, sun against me and the bird was between me and the sun. I walked back and forth trying to get pictures of the birds eating fruits in the trees. But now at least I know that there are plenty birds in Djibouti.

But I never came up with much of bird pictures and I was frustrating, why can´t they just sit still for a second so I can get the pictures. Of course, half the fun is to chase the birds trying to get pictures. And all the places I get to see looking for the birds.

I mean, how many people have been out here in the middle of nowhere on the Horn of Africa? It is really interesting to see and beautiful even though the barren landscape. I really happy that I Djibouti desertdecided to come here for a few days even though Djibouti is very expensive.

We decided to leave and continue down the, well, it is not a road, we´re driving on a dust path at best. But it is fun!

Common Bulbul / Somali Bulbul, Pycnonotus barbatus, Pycnonotus somaliensis
Common Bulbul / Somali Bulbul

Laughing Dove, Spilopelia senegalensis
Laughing Dove

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Female or juvenile Rüppell's weaver

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Female or juvenile Rüppell's weaver

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
My Guide when I take pictures explaining “against” the light

My Guide, I got the name from Acacias Hotel is really good. He know duck all about birds, but he knows the area where to find them and he is very good on spotting birds even though he don´t have a clue what it is. And he stay away when I wander off to try to catch some birds so he understand that I need to be alone trying to sneak up on the bird.

I just had to explain the sun and light for him.
- We want the bird between us and the sun, I explained
I took two pictures. One with him behind me and the sun and the above picture with me between him and the sun. He understood double quick

300 US per day is very expensive, but I have realised that it is, well, not cheap, but Ok price for Djibouti. Way better than the guy wanting almost 1000 US per day.

We drive towards the dry river bed of the border river between Djibouti and Ethiopia and we pass a tree and I say STOP. I get out and there are full of Rüppell's weavers and Yellow-breasted Barbet. We stopped outside some house and the children was scared when I got out of the car.

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
Passing a village

Gambaga flycatcher, Muscicapa gambagae

Gambaga flycatcher, Muscicapa gambagae
Gambaga flycatcher

Gambaga flycatcher, Muscicapa gambagae
Gambaga flycatcher

Yellow-breasted Barbet, Trachyphonus margaritatus
Yellow-breasted Barbet with an insect

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Female or juvenile Rüppell's weaver

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Female or juvenile Rüppell's weaver

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Female or juvenile Rüppell's weaver




Thanks to ammadoux at Birdforumfor help with the juvenile VS female.

Forum thread HERE

Also thanks to ammadoux for an very interesting link to the birdforum discussion “Different faces of the Rüppell's weaver”


Birdforum



Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Rüppell's weaver

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Female or juvenile Rüppell's weaver

Yellow-breasted Barbet, Trachyphonus margaritatus
Yellow-breasted Barbet

Yellow-breasted Barbet, Trachyphonus margaritatus
Yellow-breasted Barbet

Yellow-breasted Barbet, Trachyphonus margaritatus
Yellow-breasted Barbet

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Male Rüppell's weaver

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Male Rüppell's weaver

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Male Rüppell's weaver

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Male Rüppell's weaver

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
The children point out one Rüppell's weaver for me

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Male Rüppell's weaver at the village well

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
Plenty Weavers and Barbets in the bushes and our hero enjoys every second

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
It is only a small village

The whole village came to have a look at what I was doing. All 10 of them and as soon as the parents, they only spoke Somalian but we did some signs, among them the internationally recognised sign for “bird watching”

I came up to speak with the children and they ran inside and the parents laughed and called them out again and they were soon forgetting about being scared.

And the children was soon coming to help me look for birds. I have learned to say hello in Somalian but that’s about it but that brought me a long way. But I enjoyed my time and we were invited for breakfast but no time for breakfast as we will continue our trip along the dry river bed. The river is just dust but the rain season will soon start and it will turn in to a real river again.

I walked ahead down to the river bed as there were a very small water stream, like water coming out from a garden hose and I walked down there to see if there was any birds. No birds and my Guide and driver were soon coming to pick me up.

We drive along the river and we´re soon arriving to what is known as the Assamo Garden with fruit trees, well, I think it is mango trees and we parked the car.

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
The car come to pick me up

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
Driving on the dry border river between Djibouti and Ethiopia

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
Driving on the dry border river between Djibouti and Ethiopia

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
Assamo

Assamo

Assamo (Arabic: أسامو‎), also known as Ina ‘Assamo, It is located around 120 kilometres south of the capital, Djibouti City. The surrounding district is rich in both livestock and fledgeling agriculture. Its population, with the nomadic and semi-nomadic neighbourhoods is estimated at 500 people.

Assamo

Overview
During the Middle Ages, Assamo was ruled by the Ifat Sultanate and Adal Sultanate. It later formed a part of the French Somaliland protectorate in the first half of the 20th century. The town has an old fort built on top of a mountain by the French Army. The area also served as an agricultural market for nearby localities.

Assamo lies along a river, near the border with Ethiopia. Nearby towns and villages include Ali Sabieh, Dewele, Guelile and Ali Adde.

Demographics
As of 2012, the population of Assamo has been estimated to be 500. The city inhabitants belong to various mainly Afro-Asiatic-speaking ethnic groups, with the Issa Somali predominant.

Climate
Assamo features a somewhat rare version of a highland climate with warm, but not hot, summers and cool winters. Due to its 754 m altitude, temperatures are relatively mild for a town located not particularly far from deserts.

Characterized by hot and dry summers, and mild to cool winters where most of the precipitation is concentrated (spring and autumn being pleasantly warm transitional seasons). However, due to the town's altitude and inland location, its climate features are the humidity is very low, and temperatures usually fall on 27 °C at night, which makes summer particularly pleasant compared to coastal cities.

Assamo has a hot semi-arid climate (BSh) in Köppen-Geiger system.

Agriculture
Assamo is noted for its agricultural and farming industry. Crops grown in the area include vegetables and fruits. Significant investments have been made in the industry.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
Assamo

We get out of the car and we discover a Rüppell's weaver building a nest and I take the time to “try” to make a video. The area is full of Rüppell's weavers and we can see that it is a popular area for them to build their nests. And we also saw a lot of old used nests on the ground.

The males are building the nest and I guess no female would be impressed by an old used nest.


Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Rüppell's weaver nest

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Rüppell's weaver nest

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Male Rüppell's weaver building nest

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
Old Rüppell's weaver nest hanging in the tree

Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
We found an old Rüppell's weaver nest on the ground

We walked around the garden but we didn´t see any other birds. My Guide walked back to get the car and I walked in the other direction. I walked down the dust path followed by a young boy and he was trying to tell me something while pointing.

We reached the dry river and we had not seen any birds. We could see the car coming towards us and when they arrived I asked my guide to translate what the boy was saying. He told me that he had pointed to a place where they had water melons.

We left Assamo and we had been on the way for 10 meters when I told the driver to stop. I asked the driver for a chocolate bar and I gave it to the boy and we left for Acacias Hotel in Djibouti a few hours away.

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
I walk along the dust path

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
Reaching the dry river

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
The car come to pick me up

We leave Assamo and we drive on the dust road towards Ali Sabieh. We see a Gazzelle on the way, but other than that, no wild life and no birds. The road is not bad, except when we have to cross the dry rivers. And I can imagine how it will be to drive here during the rain season.

Crossing the rivers with no means to see how the road looks like. And they were really bad so a 4 wheel drive is minimum requirements to drive along here.

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
Drivig along the dust road

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
Drivig along the dust road

Birding/ Bird watching in Assamo, Djibouti
On the paved road but we have to cross many dry rivers

Dorcas Gazelle
A Dorcas Gazelle next to the road

Dorcas Gazelle
A Dorcas Gazelle next to the road

Dorcas Gazelle

Conservation status
Dorcas Gazelle
Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 18 August 2015.


The dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas), also known as the ariel gazelle, is a small and common gazelle. The dorcas gazelle stands about 55–65 cm at the shoulder, with a head and body length of 90–110 cm and a weight of 15–20 kg. The numerous subspecies survive on vegetation in grassland, steppe, wadis, mountain desert and in semidesert climates of Africa and Arabia. About 35,000 - 40,000 exist in the wild. The extinct Saudi gazelle from the Arabian Peninsula has been previously considered as a subspecies of the dorcas gazelle.

Dorcas Gazelle
Gazella dorcas range


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


We pass Ali Sabieh علي صابح and we´re on National Highway 5 driving towards Doudoud Bolole where we will get on National Highway 1 driving through Grand Bara. On the left hand side the government had dug up a lake to collect rain water and there were some waders on the mudflats.

I asked them to stop the car and we went out on the mudflats but we never came close to the birds so no god pictures. But it was interesting to see them and I can imagine the amount of birds here when the winter visitors from Europe arrives.

Well, who knows? I might be back by then and I can have a look for winter visitors.

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
We stop at the lake

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Traffic passing on National Highway 1

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Waders on the mudflats

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Traffic passing on National Highway 1

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Waders on the mudflats

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
National Highway 1

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
We stop to buy peanuts in a cone, and it was good

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Approaching Djibouti

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Plenty Ethiopian trucks at the outskirts of Djibouti

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Plenty Ethiopian trucks at the outskirts of Djibouti

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Plenty Ethiopian trucks at the outskirts of Djibouti

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti
Plenty Ethiopian trucks at the outskirts of Djibouti

We approach Djibouti and we pass all the trucks parked outside Djibouti. Ethiopia is landlocked and everything have to pass Djibouti and the port of Djibouti, so it is a lot of trucks. 1000 trucks in each direction every day so it is a lot of trucks.

My Guide drop me at the hotel and as there is a little day light remaining I go to look for birds around the hotel

I walk along the water and I spot a House Crow and it looked very strange. I had seen one at the Supermarket earlier and it reminded me about a Vulture with the head shape. But the rest of it looked like a House Crow. Lucky to have Birdforum where I can find help.

Thanks to andyb39 and PYRTLE at Birdforum for helping me out with the House Crow. I had identified it as a House Crow but the head shape made me wonder about the identification.

Forum thread HERE


Birdforum



House crow, Corvus splendens

House crow, Corvus splendens
House crow / Corvus splendens

House crow, Corvus splendens
House crow / Corvus splendens

House crow, Corvus splendens
House crow / Corvus splendens

House crow, Corvus splendens
House crow / Corvus splendens

House crow, Corvus splendens
House crow / Corvus splendens


Listen to the House Crow

Remarks from the Recordist

Recorded with my ZOOM H5 Handy recorder. High Pass Filter applied with Audacity

Recorded in the area around my hotel, Acacias Hotel in Djibouti.

I spot a House Crow and it looked very strange. I had seen one at the Supermarket earlier and it reminded me about a Vulture with the head shape. But the rest of it looked like a House Crow. Lucky to have www.birdforum.net where I can find help and my identification was confirmed

www.xeno-canto.org

I´m busy with the crow when I see a bird walking around on what looks to be a garbage dump. Just next to the ocean and walking towards the bird and I see that it is a Sandpiper and I follow the bird for quite a while trying to get some pictures.

Looked like a Common Sandpiper and I could identify the bird thank to the Common Sandpiper I had seen in Sweden and I got my identification confirmed on Birdforum

Thanks to birdboybowley at Birdforum for confirming the identity of the Common Sandpiper.

Forum thread HERE


Birdforum


Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, Drillsnäppa, イソシギ

Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, Drillsnäppa, イソシギ
Common sandpiper / Drillsnäppa

Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, Drillsnäppa, イソシギ
Common sandpiper / Drillsnäppa

It is getting dark but I continue walking down the dust road and I spot a group of Red-billed Firefinches. Never seen the bird before but it was a gorgeous little finch. But the light was almost gone and the pictures really turned out to nothing but . But it was an amazing bird and I will be back here again tomorrow to have a look for the birds.

Walking back to my hotel and I was excited to at least have seen the little gorgeous bird feeding around the bushes. But darn, they have thrown garbage everywhere and the whole area looks like a garbage dump. What a shame, they could have clean up the area and it would have been a very expensive (and nice) prime area at the waterfront.

Red-billed Firefinch or Senegal Firefinch, Lagonosticta senegala
Red-billed Firefinch or Senegal Firefinch
I really hope I can get a better picture than this


I spent the evening in my room with the clock to go off at 3 thirty, we will leave the hotel at 5 o´clock and we will drive through the desert tomorrow and we will Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.st hopefully se ostriches and gazelles on our way to `As `Ela. It promise to be an exciting adventure and you just need to click HERE to find our exactly how exciting it will be.




Visit Alternativ för Sverige's You Tube channel by clicking HERE


If you cannot reach their channel, or see some of their videos, it is because of the censorship. China!!?? NO NO, it is Sweden 2018!!

Birding/ Bird watching in Djibouti

       
                  
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page.
Jiffy (also jiff)

noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.

ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.

So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!

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Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!

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E ni Svenskar och inte förstår Engelska så ska ni skämmas. J och Björn, med det menar jag inte att alla mina stavfel ska ältas varje gång vi träffas.

Flag of Skåne / Skånska flaggan Well, the flag of Skåne, just a BONUS flag.


                                       

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