Sunday 24 March 2013

Morocco Day Twelve to Fourteen

A few highlights from the last couple of weeks:
Erg Chebbi 
Thick-billed Lark 
Desert Sparrow 
Spotted Sandgrouse 
Birding with nomads 
Jaffa photographing Thick-billed Lark
Breakfast on the terrace celebrating 218 species, 7 additional sub-species (225 if your Dutch)

Spent the last couple of days encountering the enigmatic Andalusian Button-Quail before heading back to Marrakech. A great trip and cleaned up on everything with 23 personal WP ticks and a trip list of 218-225.
Thanks to Chris Townend (Jaffa from Wise Birding Holidays ) for organising everything while Lee, Darryl and I sat back and enjoyed the show.

Moroccan and Maghreb Endemics ?

African Blue Tit C.t. ultramarinus 
Morrocan Wagtail Motacilla alba subpersonata 
African Chaffinch F.c.africana 
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter niscus punicus 
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus zedlidzi 
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis parva
White-breasted Cormorant P.c.maroccanus 
Common Linnet C..c.mediterranea
Taxonomy is Morocco is pretty confusing. According to the Birds of Morroco (Thevenot et al 2003) of 259 subspecies resident in Morocco, 84 are endemic to Morocco and the Maghreb. Recent taxonomic studies have suggested various elevations of several subspecies to species level e.g. Seebohm's Wheatear, Atlas Flycatcher, Moroccan Wagtail etc. Basically things are in a state of flux (i.e. a free for all) and the timely article by Collar in BB this month was particularly pertinent to the Moroccan taxonomic tower of Babel.

Thursday 21 March 2013

Morocco Day Eleven

Double-spurred Francolin (double spur visible in this shot)
Crested Coot 
Ferrugionous Duck
Two more WP ticks today- Double-spurred Francolin and Marsh Owl. Trip species list broke the 200 barrier also.
Only a couple of days left and the most difficult species yet to come. 

Morocco Day Ten


Top to bottom: Neil, Jaff and Sue, Lee, Jaff and Andrew, Darryl
Today we concluded our southern Morocco leg of the trip and various group members went seperate ways. We are on our way to the north for some more WP ticks.

Monday 18 March 2013

Morocco Day Nine

Mousier's Redstart 
Bald Ibis 
Black-crowned Tchagra 
Brown-throated Martin 
Bald Ibis 
Spent today out of Agadir clearing up on the last few Moroccan specialities.

Morocco Day Eight

Western Bonelli's Warbler 
Western Subalpine Warbler 
Woodchat Shrike 
Mansour Reservoir
Completed our journey to Agadir today stopping off at a few migrant hotspots on the way. Migration is gearing up out here and picking up day by day. Plenty of Bee-eaters on the move today and the first trickle of raptors. Loads of Woodchats, Bonelli's Warblers, Subalpine Warblers, a few Northern Wheatears, Black-eared Wheatears, loads of Pallid Swifts and a sprinkling of Redstart, Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtails and other bits and bobs.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Morocco Day Seven

Seebohm's Wheatear
Egyptian Nightjar
Travel day today with a stop off north of Goulmia where we had Scrub Warbler and also a surprise migrant Seebohm's Wheatear that we dipped in the high Atlas.

Friday 15 March 2013

Morocco Day Six

Crowned Sandgrouse 
Spotted Sandgrouse 
Spotted Sandgrouse 
Fulvous Babbler 
Desert Sparrow 
Desert Warbler
Another day in the desert with a good suite of desert birds. New WP ticks were Crowned Sandgrouse and Fulvous Babbler. Spent the early part of the night driving round the desert looking for night mammals- just a couple of Hares and Egyptian Nightjars.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Morocco Day Five

Egyptian Nightjar 
Desert Sparrow 
White-crowned Black Wheatear 
Erg Chebbi area 
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater 
Brown-necked Ravens

A good day in the desert with five new WP ticks- Egyptian Nightjar, Desert Sparrow, Spotted Sandgrouse, African Desert Warbler and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater.
Plenty of migrants around Yasmina.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Morocco Day Four

Male Maghreb Wheatear 
Female Maghreb Wheatear 
Male Maghreb Wheatear 
Isabelline Wheatear 
Pharaoh Eagle Owl
Today we transfered from the Hamada deserts around Boumalne Dades to the sandy deserts around Merzouga visiting the Troda Gorge en route. We arrived at Merzouga in a dust storm so hoping the wind will abate for tomorrow.
New WP birds included Tristram's Warbler, Maghreb Wheatear and 'Moroccan Wagtail'.
Stopped off en route at a few migrant spots too including the temporary lake near Merzouga. The waterbirds were hunkering down in the dust storm.