Finding Birds in Morocco: coast and mountains update

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Essaouira


6th May 2012 Sky full of Eleonora's falcons (none the previous day). Also, small flock of brown-throated sand martin, 3 glossy ibis and 50 Spoonbills (Peter West)


November 2012  Followed the track till the river took a bend to the left. There were about half a dozen Brown throated Martins interested in the steep embankment this side of the river. No sign of the Western Reef Heron when I was there Having come off the main road, I stopped just past the factory on the right for lunch. Saw Large Tern flying inland with orange/yellow bill. Thought it could be winter Caspian till I checked the book. Certain it was a Royal Tern. Wind was strong from SW. Know they were seen last week south of Agadir. Also saw over 200 Glossy Ibis on reserve (Dave Elliott-Binns)


1st Jan 2013 Great views of a first winter glaucous gull seen and photographed well in the main part of the harbour today. not a bird I was expecting to see here! (Gregor Tims)


27 March 2014 Ring-billed Gull, 2nd summer at beach near Medina Essaourira. Several Brown-throated Sand Martin upstream of P2201-bridge  via Oued Ksob. (Jochen Baurmeister)


4th May 2014 In the morning continuous move of Eleonora's Falcons inland at Oued Ksob for at least one hour with peak of 10 individuals. (Matthias Schoebinger)


Merdja Zerga


11th April 2014 Marsh Owl seen at dawn hunting southern edge of lake (Mark Hawkes)


Lac de Sidi Bourhaba


14th April 2014 Marsh Owl hunting at dusk, north of causeway (Mark Hawkes)


30th April 2014 Marsh Owl again hunting at dusk N of causeway (site 2) with also some barking calls. Remarkably close observations of Marbled, White-headed, Ferruginous Duck and Crested Coot (one even crossing the causeway) (Matthias Schoebinger)


Sidi Yahya


15th Feb 2013 15 double spurred francolins on track that skirts hunting grounds at 33'43'53.83''n 6'55'27.09 if going try to be first car there We had two groups of 5 down to 15 metres (Gary Fennemore)


20th March 2013 1 DS Francolin seen well along track close to fence between sites 1 and 4 plus 2 other birds heard calling. Met a local man who invited us in to Estate (Chris Townend/Wise Birding).


12th April 2014 2 Double-spurred Francolins from the track ENE of the crossroads which is just south of Royal Hunting Lodge (Mark Hawkes)


Larache Marsh


28 Dec 2011 2 Purple Gallinules.  Moulting Swallows. 84 Marbled ducks.  About 700 Shovelers. (Renae Vos)


Agadir to Tamri


March 2012 Up to 75 Bald Ibis at site 8 plus feeding birds by the road at 2 sites and birds on the ground and flying over at site 6. DG


29th Oct 2012 Site 8 1 Great Egret, 2 Northern Bald Ibis, 21 Slender-billed Gull.  Tamri village 1 Barbary Falcon, 4 Laughing Dove, 20 Alpine Swift.  Cap Rhir - 1 Lesser Crested Tern offshore and 15 Bald Ibis in fields just to north (David Walsh/ Ornitholidays)


2nd Nov 2012 Site 2: Road to Immouzzer blocked due to rain in Paradise Valley, but found 1 Tristram's Warbler near obvious ammonites shop on left of road before descent into the valley and 1 Northern Goshawk in Paradise Valley itself. (David Walsh/ Ornitholidays)


22nd Nov 2012 25 Bald Ibis feeding round houses close to road near lighthouse. some perched on power line. (Dave Elliott-Binns)


20th March 2013 Several groups of bald ibis at estuary and along road to cap rhir. Western Orphean Warbler already in and singing in Paradise Valley near Alma (DG)


3rd Jan 2014 38 Bald Ibises just south of the lagoon. Two Spectacled Warblers seen while watching the ibises. also c.350 Audouin's Gulls on the beach and an osprey and a Marsh Harrier over the lagoon. (Gregor Tims)


Sous estuary


April 2011 I  was distressed at how poor the Sous estuary was this  year. It seems  to have suffered from a mini tsunami! I have no idea  why. All that  rubbish must have come from somewhere, and something has rendered the  remaining habitat unsuitable. We saw hardly any terns or waders, when it used  to be brilliant. There were only two lonely flamingos too, instead of the  usual gang (Nigel Redman, BirdQuest). 

 

March 2012 The problems reported here last April seem to be temporary. We had loads of birds here. The creek at site 4 was especially good giving close views of Wood Sand, Green Sand, Snipe, Water Pipit, Moroccan Magpie, Moroccan White Wag and, on 31st March, a Spotted Crake and a Bluethroat. On 12th March we were able to stay at site 4 until after dark; we heard the nightjars but only glimpsed one in the floodlights. (DG)


28th Oct 2012 1 Lesser Crested Tern (but very few shorebirds). (David Walsh/ Ornitholidays)


2nd Nov 2012 Site 1: 1 Slender-billed Gull, 14 Ruff also 9 Black Tern over the golf course pond on the right (David Walsh/ Ornitholidays)


19 March 2013 No access even on foot beyond the main car park at site 3 probably because of golf tournament being held next week. V few birds on estuary - being greatly developed by new flood defences etc. (DG)


6-8 Feb 2014 Only day visits, and the place is still under heavy development, which is a shame as the habitat is fantastic, plus probably why not a single siting of Stone curlew.  Site 6 - Plenty of Audouin's Gulls and a few Lesser Crested Terns. Moroccan Cormorant.  Site 5 - Full of tringa waders, Avocet, Snipe and Stilts.  Site 3 - A few Stonechat and Sardinian Warbler. Moroccan Magpie everywhere.  Site 2 - Bridge still collapsed. c100 Flamingo, 40 Spoonbill, a few White Stork, plenty of commoner gulls.  I have posted a few photo's at markwalkernaturephotography.com  (Mark Walker)


18th March 2014 Track past the Royal Palace again closed even to pedestrians but access to river mouth still possible by following the path at site 3 (it continues beyond the point shown on the map). We had an Arctic Skua, a Kittiwake, 35 Pratincoles high overhead and flushed 2 Red-necked Nightjars. Nightjars also seen and heard at dusk from the car park at site 3 (DG)


13th April 2014 4 Lesser Crested Terns, 2 Bonelli's Eagles during the day and Red-necked Nightjar churring at dusk south of royal palace (Mark Hawkes)


Oued Massa


Feb 2008 2 Ferruginous Ducks at site 3. Birds at site 1 included 3 Tchagras, 35 Spoonbill and a variety of waders, including 40 Black-tailed Godwit, and ducks including 5 Ruddy Shelduck and 18 Marbled Teal. Birds in flight included Plain Martin, Little Swift and 20 Cranes (T Pettersson et al, trip report at www.club300.se).


Aug 2010 I had a flock of Bald Ibis perched on a telephone cable in the town of  Sidi bou Mediane - just north of Oued  Massa, on the main road (Tony Peral)


12th March 2012 It looked like the Brown-throated Martins were no longer breeding by site 3 but we had 1-2 birds hawking over fields just to the north. Site 7 had the usual collection of Marbled Duck and Glossy Ibis plus a Great White Egret and a Tchagra (DG)


30th March 2012 Brown-throated Martins common along river from post office turn off. Also in this area (including football pitch road) were Tchagra, Black-shouldered Kite, 3 Little Crake, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis etc (James Lidster/Sunbird)


30th Oct to 3rd Nov 2012 Around sites 4-6: 6 Marbled Duck, 6 Ferruginous Duck, 120 Glossy Ibis, 1 Black-winged Kite, 1 Barbary Falcon, 5 Laughing Dove, 10 Brown-throated Martin, 1 Eurasian Wryneck, 3 Black-crowned Tchagra, 3 Moroccan Reed Warbler Over site 3: juv Bonelli's Eagle. Site 1: 1 Lesser Crested Tern at the mouth and 16 Northern Bald Ibis at Sidi R'bat. 36 Black-bellied Sandgrouse by main road at site 9 (David Walsh /Ornitholidays)


21st March 2013 Plain Martin easily seen at several sites along river. Site 7 again had a few Marbled Duck, about 50 Glossy Ibis and great views of 2 male Little Bittern. Several singing Western Olivaceous Warblers in earlier than usual. (DG)


4th Jan 2014 Two Cream-coloured Coursers seen very well just outside the reserve by the roadside. c.25 Marbled Teal at the 'secret pool', where there were also two pallid swifts, six brown-throated martins, a Cetti's warbler and two glossy ibises and a long-legged buzzard flew over. A tchagra was heard. On Oued Massa were four ruddy shelduck, two garganey, four pintail and the more common herons and waders. There were two Mediterranean gulls and c.50 Audouin's gulls with the gull and tern flock, as well as three Caspian terns. A little owl was also seen nearby.


8th February 2014 c50 Bald Ibis at Sidi Wassay near to where the plastic bottles are separated close to the cliffs. None were seen at Sidi R'bat. Sites 1 & 2 - one Flamingo, one Spoonbill, c100 Audouin's and a few Lesser Crested Terns as well as Moroccan Cormorant, plus the usual herons/egrets. Three Little Owls, plenty of Moussier's Redstarts, Stonechats and Turtle Doves on the "heath". Heard Tchagra calling from the higher trees on the right of the track. Plenty of LBJ's either side of the track. (Mark Walker)


2nd March 2014 Oued Massa. Reserve very quiet almost no water birds at all. Sandwich terns at estuary mouth on sand plus one Caspian. Sanderling on beach. Tchagras heard across river near entrance. 8 Marbled Duck flying down river at eastern 2.  Royal or Caspian fishing that area. Tchagras seen and heard at 3. Laughing doves on small fields north side of reserve road. Flock of Bald Ibis found by coastal track south of Sidi Wassay. (Tim Osbourne)


20th March 2014 Found two helpful and friendly guides for the Massa area. Ahmed, based at Camping Wassay (ahmed.baitarornitho@laposte.net) and Ibrahim Oussouilh based at the massa reserve (ibrahim_paradis@hotmail.fr). They both seem to know what they are doing, speak reasonable english and didn't seem the type to rip you off. (DG)


13th April 2014 Tchagra singing and seen just west of road bridge. With another singing to south of bridge (site 3). A third bird heard much further south along valley, where 2+ Plain Martins were located (site 6), also 3 Little Bitterns at various places. No Plain Martins were seen by road bridge on either visit. 60+ Bald Ibis south of Sidi Wassay (taken by a guide - birds were in a complex area of dunes) (Mark Hawkes)


High Atlas mountains


5 May 2007 At least 3 Tristram's Warblers, including fledged young, at site 16 (Richard Bonser in trip report in www.freewebs.com/richbonser)


March 2012 The trees in which the Cattle Egrets were nesting at site 2 have been felled as the birds were making too much mess! The egrets have moved away from the main Market area but are still around Site 7 is indeed great for waterbirds BUT you have to reach the south end of the lake. This is possible by driving down the west side to a village then turning left down a very rough track for at least 2pm (we were in a 4x4). On 9th we had 10 species of waders and lots of duck including 30 Ruddy Shelduck. I had up to 40 Crimson-winged Finch at Oukaimeden but they can be elusive. The secret is to be at the most southerly car park by the ski lift either early morning or late afternoon. During the day locals sell bags of walnuts to the tourists and the finches come for the scraps at the end of the day. By 31st March we had only one bird but we attracted it by buying a bag ourselves, crushing the contents, spreading it on the wall of the car park and waiting till after 5pm Although there was little snow there were no Seebohms on 10th March but by 31st they were easy. (DG)


15-18 Oct 2012 Trekked from Oukaimeden to top of Mt Toubkal via Tizi-n-Eddie, Tacheddirt, Mizane valley, Aroumd then back down to Imlil. Chaffinch, grey wagtail, Lesser Kesrel, Great spotted woodpecker, wood pigeon, goldfinch, several rock buntings, blue tit, coal tit, single moussier's redstart, wren, blackbird, 100+ flocks of alpine choughs, odd red-billed chough, serin, alpine accentor actually at the summit, rock doves at refuge, dipper, crag martins, lots black redstarts, common redstart. In Imlil great tit, cattle egret, black wheatear. Two great grey shrikes on way back to Marrakech. Birds generally hard to come by but some nice quality amongst common UK species. (Stuart Smith)


1st-8th March 2014 Levaillant's Woodpecker at Toufliat Forestry house on 1 and 6 March. Apparently excavating in roadside tree next to small 'PTT' hut on W side of road next to forestry buildings. Another pair seen regularly at the Auberge le  Maquis at Aghbalou in the Ourika Valley, 800m beyond the turn off for Oukaimeden, between 0700 and 0800 hrs on 7 and 8 March. 200+ Red-billed Chough on alpine plateau area just north of Tizi-n-Tichka pass on 1 and 6 March. (Guy Anderson)


28th March 2014 c100 Rock Sparrow, c40 Crimson-winged Finch and c40 'Atlas' Shore Lark brought down to ski-lift car parks at Oukaimeden by midday snowfall. (DG)


15th April 2014 5+ Crimson-winged Finches at ski lift area - coming to dripping tap area before the crowds arrived. 20+ Seebohm's Wheatears from ski lifts and up into mountain pass. 5+ Atlas Shore Larks here too. Levaillant's Woodpecker heard twice at site 10. Levaillant's Woodpecker seen at Toufliate Forestry House (beside main road). 2 Little Swifts at Aghbalou. (Mark Hawkes)


19th April 2014 Site 16 Male Tristram's Warbler singing and showing in ravine to west of lay-by. Also male Western Orphean Warbler too. (Mark Hawkes)


Middle Atlas mountains


June 2007 Five male Atlas Flycatchers and 2 Levaillant's Woodpeckers at site 3 to the right of the track near km post Fez 73 (Richard Bonser in trip report in www.freewebs.com/richbonser)


Dayet Aoua


June 2007 Four male Atlas Flycatchers (but no females - not yet arrived?) and a Levaillant's Woodpecker at site 7 (Richard Bonser in trip report in www.freewebs.com/richbonser)


Oukaimeden


April 2012 yday (11th) there were 60+ Crimson wings around the ski lift car park. Today in 30cm of fresh snow there were 20+ in same area with 2 others seen near Kenzi hotel. One Alpine Accentor this afternoon, between Chez Juju and radar tower, sitting on rooftop near 'centre ville' sign. (James Lidster/Sunbird)


14th Oct 2012 For our trek to top of Mt Toubkal we started here. Both choughs at the village and black redstart. Our first camp was about a mile up the valley where I saw upwards of 200 crimson winged finches, 4 black wheatear, rock sparrow, a couple of horned larks and northern wheatear. Kestrel flew through next morning and 4 crag martins seen further up the pass. (Stuart Smith)


12th Feb 2014 Plenty of Crimson-winged Finch and Horned Lark around the buildings opposite the ski lifts, plus one each of Alpine Accentor and Rock Bunting. Large numbers of both Chough's around the meadows, between the restaurant and the resevoir. Photo's at markwalkernaturephotography.com (Mark Walker)


7th March 2014 20+ C-w Finches feeding at edge of remaining snow patches 200m along track south of southern car park/ski lift base at 11:00 hrs. 40+ in southern car park by 16:30 hrs feeding on scraps and very tame! Also many Horned Lark, Rock Sparrows and a few Chaffinch and Linnet around ski centre. 100+ Red-billed and 10+ Alpine Chough on village meadows late morning. Lots Black Redstarts along southern track to the pass and 5+ Crag Martins and pair Moussier's at the col. No sign alpine acceptors nor Seebohm's wheatears yet though. (Guy Anderson)


 

Finding Birds in Morocco:

coast and mountains

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