From December 1992 to December 1996 I lived in the small town of Abi Adi (130 36' N, 390 00' E) in the Tembien zone of Tigray, the northern most region of Ethiopia. My wife worked as midwife for a local NGO, the Relief Society of Tigrai (REST) in a primary health care program funded by the dutch NGO Memisa Medicus Mundi.INTRODUCTION
Abi Adi is situated at the west side of
a high north south laying mountain ridge, part of the so-called Western
Highlands that extend from the Kaffa region in south-eastern Ethiopia into
Eritrea, north of the country. From the Western Highlands two major feeds
of the White Nile begin: the blue Nile that rises in lake Tana and the
Takeze river that gets its water from numerous rivers rising in de ridge
between lake Ashenge and Makelle and Adigrat. Less then 100 km east of
Makele the mountains descend steeply into the Danakil depression of the
our house in Abi Adi
our house (bottom right) in the outskirts of the Abi Adi. Ambera table mountain at the horizon.
our back yard
From Abi Adi west to the Takeze river the country is hilly at approx. 1400 m in the river valleys, to 2000 m at some table mountains. Where possible agriculture is performed during the rainy season (approx. from June to mid September). Teff being the most important crop. Thousands of cows, sheep and goats eat away most of the vegetation in the remaining areas. Apart from spread Acacia trees, only trees grow in villages and/or around churches. In the higher mountains directly east of Abi Adi there is more woodland, though wood cutting and cattle grazing largely deformed it to scrub. Along the riverbeds some springs are found. For instance Mai Lomin (Lemon water), the spring that supplies Abi Adi. These and a few areas closed for human activities are real treasures where baboons and bush buck survive. Outside these areas erosion is severe almost everywhere.
During our stay in Tigray I made extensive
notes of the birds I saw during my 3 to 4 excursions a week. Most observations
were done in the surroundings of Abi Adi and Makele. Accompanying my wife
on her field trips resulted in observations in the neigbourhood, such as
the Jijike and the Takeze river (South West of Abi Adi), the surroundings
of Agbe and Yetchila (to the South), Hagere Selam (to the East),
Ambera (to the North West) and Werk Amba and Adaha (to the north)(see
Special birding trips were made to Adua and Aksum, Adigrat, lake Ashenge (mid winter waterbird counts) and surroundings and Desa'a forest north east of Makele. In three of the four years I was back in the Netherlands during the months of April, May and June. So that period is not well covered.
This site will inform you about the rich
bird life in Tigray. Although the rural areas are densely populated, birds
are not really threatened. Fertilizers are hardly used and also the use
of insecticides is low. Last but not least there is no hunting. For a general
overview of the birds of Tigray click here.
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