TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Southern Morocco

24 MARCH - 2 APRIL 2000


Leaders:
Will Wagstaff

Trip Diary

Fri 24th Heathrow to Ouarzazate

The group travelled to join Bob and I (we had arrived the day before), and were met by Mohamed and I at Ouarzazate that evening. He is an old friend of The Travelling Naturalist from past trips.

Sat 25th Ouarzazate to Tinerhir

Those who got up for a pre-breakfast walk were rewarded with views of many Bonelli's Warblers flitting around the bushes and many hirundines overhead. With the latter were small flocks of European Bee-eaters. On the river there were a wide range of waders and a handful of Spanish Yellow Wagtails and a lone Water Pipit. Returning to the hotel, Olivaceous Warbler and Blackcap were added to the tally, along with several Red-rumped Swallows perched on the overhead wires.

First stop on the way to Tinerhir was a wadi just out of town. As we arrived a group of raptors could be seen overhead. These proved to be mostly Red Kite with a lone Black Kite joining them as they circled away from us. In the wadi we had good views of Woodchat Shrike, both forms of Black-eared Wheatear and a pair of Desert Larks. We also managed to find a family party of Trumpeter Finches. Next stop was the Barrage. Here an Osprey was sat on the ground along with some Ruddy Shelduck and a couple of Grey Herons. On the far we could see a distant Little Egret and some displaying Great-crested Grebes out on the lake.

Our next stop was a patch of desert that had been very productive in the past. That was not the case this year. Apart from an amazing blue lizard the only bird was a Northern Wheatear. We then drove east to the Tagdilt track.

Driving off the road we disturbed the first of many flocks of Short-toed Larks we would see here. As we were having our lunch we had super views of a pair of Red-rumped Wheatears. Walking down the track gave us better views of the Short-toed Larks. However the ominous clouds behind us suddenly appeared to come our way, bringing with them some heavy rain. Who says it never rains in the desert? Mohamed came to meet us, we then followed the track for a while, getting super views of a Temminck's Horned Lark and a male Desert Wheatear. We then headed for the hotel in Tinerhir. Having arrived we were then told that we were not sleeping there, and were taken to the other hotel a couple of miles away - the "outhouse", disappointingly still partly under construction.

Sun 26th Tinerhir

Our first stop of the day was 'Larksrise', a site discovered by Travelling Naturalists a few years ago. A Northern Wheatear hopped out in front of us followed by brief views of a Thick-billed Lark in flight that vanished on landing. A little further up the slope a male Desert Wheatear gave a much better show. Although there were not many birds on show the view over the gorge was superb in the morning sun. Wandering back to the bus a pale phase Booted Eagle was noted over the nearby hill along with more migrant European Bee-eaters. A Tawny Pipit showed alongside the path, followed by one and then a pair of Temminck's Horned Larks.

Our next stop was at the eastern end of the Tagdilt track area. Here a pair of Red-rumped Wheatears showed very well. As we watched these a pair of Black-bellied Sandgrouse flew in. We got views of these delightful birds as they wandered along the ground. Before we moved on we saw another flock of Short-toed Larks and a pair of Desert Wheatears.

The dramatic Gorges du Todra via couple of photo stops was our next site. Just as we entered the gorge a Lanner Falcon was being mobbed by a Kestrel. The Lanner then went and hassled a passing Bonelli's Eagle. Above these a swirl of Little Swifts kept out of the way. After lunch in the gorge then headed off up the trail. House Buntings were easy to see around the bus. The first small fields were home to a coupe of Barbary Ground Squirrels. The small bushes held both Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. Having left most of the other tourists behind we heard and saw Blue Rock Thrushes and had some very close views of Crag Martins. Just as we turned for home we had distant views of a Rock Bunting ,only to find one on the path on the way back. We were almost back at the bus before we found our first Black Wheatears. It was then time for home, and the Tonks tea party.

Mon 27th. Tinerhir to Erfoud

A cloudy but warmer start to the day. As the day progressed it got steadily warmer and sunnier. Having breakfasted and packed we were soon on our way into the desert and Erfoud. First stop was at a small garden. The first bird we saw was a rather nice Bar-tailed Desert Lark. This was followed by some very obliging Woodchat Shrikes. The male Orphean Warbler feeding in one of he bigger trees was a real find. At the back of the garden several Spectacled Warblers were showing very well. Back at the road a Crested Lark and a Tawny Pipit gave us some good views. Crossing the road to the dry wadi a series of male Black-eared Wheatears were noted. Eventually leaving this patch of desert we continued towards Erfoud, passing the line of wells that cross the area. We stopped for lunch just short of Jorf. Although nothing showed whilst we ate, as we started walking we found a very tame pair of displaying Desert Wheatears. This was followed by a pair of Hoopoe Lark. The male occasionally calling and then doing his unique display for us to see. It did not take long to get to the hotel in Erfoud from here.

Once checked in and unpacked we set off out towards the dunes to have a look around. This area was much drier that it had been in past years. We had a look along a couple of wadis. The first held another male Hoopoe Lark. The second had only a Woodchat Shrike at first before a very nice Rufous Bush Robin was found, which showed very well sat out in the open. We then decided to call it a day and to head for the hotel to test the swimming pool.

Tues 28th Erfoud Area

Our two landrovers were ready for us after breakfast for our trip into the desert. First stop was at the wadi by Auberge Chez Michel. Good numbers of Redstart and Subalpine Warbler were hopping around the bushes along with the obligatory Woodchat Shrike. A few Bonelli's Warblers were in one of the larger trees, whilst another held a super Southern Grey Shrike. On the way back to the road some Bar-tailed Desert Larks performed very well close to us. Another pair of these delightful larks were on the opposite side of the road along with more male Subalpine Warblers and Redstarts.

Next stop was for a welcome drink at the Cafe Yasmina and its Desert Sparrows. Several of these enchanting sparrows could be seen along the walls along with two more Southern Grey Shrikes and a real poser of a White-crowned Black Wheatear. We had a wander outside the cafe, finding a small flock of migrant Short-toed Larks and more Subalpine Warblers, a pair of Brown-necked Ravens passed over before we left.

The lake Dayet Srji just the other side of Merzouga was our next stop. Although there was no water this year it gave us some super birds. No sooner had we piled out of the land rovers than a flock of Spotted Sandgrouse came in and landed close by. A quick walk along the bank gave us views of the main flock and a male who stayed put to give us excellent views of this elusive species. These eventually flew as we had our picnic, giving us a real fly by.

Walking down to the bushes in the dried out lake bed we soon had better views of the Thekla Larks we had seen from the bank. A fast disappearing warbler soon proved to be a Desert Warbler. Eventually we saw two of these elusive species, along with yet more Subalpine Warblers and a handful of Willow Warbler. The cultivated land nearby gave us views of more Thekla and some migrant Short-toed Larks and a Tree Pipit. It was then time to go. We had a fleeting glimpse of one of the Desert Warblers on our return. We said goodbye to our little fan club and set off on the uneventful trip back to the hotel.

Weds 29th Erfoud to Ouarzazate

There was not much of note seen before breakfast so we were soon on our way towards Rissani and the southern route to the Draa Valley. Several of the now familiar White-crowned Black Wheatears were seen along the roadside along with a few larks. Our first stop at a small wadi found a very elusive Spectacled Warbler creeping about the bushes. We continued through the spectacular scenery of this area until we stopped for lunch overlooking the Draa valley and a male Black-eared Wheatear.

The river and the lush valley was quite a contrast to our last few days in the desert. We stopped overlooking the river. The explosive sound of Cetti's Warbler greeting us as we got out. The bushes below us contained the by now obligatory Subalpine Warblers and a few Reed Warblers. Several Stripe-necked Terrapin were hauled out on the banks of the river. Just as we got back to the bus a Bonelli's Eagle passed low over us giving super views. We followed the river for a while before heading up and over the Anti Atlas, stopping for a photo at one of the many scenic views. Birdlife was rather sparse here, although we did find a few Desert Larks by the roadside and a lone Black Wheatear. Our last stop of the day was at the Oued Ouarzazate. This saw us watching our first water birds for a while. Two Little Egrets and a White Stork were wading along in the deeper water with many small waders in the shallows. A White Wagtail of the Moroccan race let us admire his distinctive face pattern. We also found the Water Pipit we had seen on our early morning sortie at the start of the trip.

Thurs 30th Ouarzazate to Taroudannt

Those out for an early morning walk to the Oued Ouarzazate had a good start to the day with a hedge full of Bonelli's and Subalpine Warblers. Along the waters edge a Temminck's Stint was feeding with a couple of Wood Sandpiper and two Snipe. Lots of Bee-eaters were moving overhead. In the fields two Hoopoe were creeping about and Quail was heard singing. Our first Sedge Warblers of the trip were joined by a very active Olivaceous Warbler. Spanish Yellow Wagtails were constantly on the go around the wet areas. It was all too soon time to head back to join the others for breakfast.

We continued our westward travel today, the first part of the trip continuing over the Anti Atlas. We had a quick stop for a fast disappearing male Marsh Harrier and a longer stop a few miles down the road to watch two Brown-necked Raven floating about over a ridge. These were joined by a pair of Long-legged Buzzards and a Kestrel. At our feet Thekla Larks gave very good views as they went about their business. The habitat changed as we descended into the Argana Forests. We had a short walk after lunch into the groves. At first we found the by now very familiar Woodchat Shrikes and Greenfinch. A flurry of wings announced the departure of a group of Barbary Partridge. Some movement in a nearby tree was found to be two Lesser Whitethroats, a species well out of its normal range. The highlight of this stop was the superb Moussier's Redstart that showed very well under one of the trees.

Our next stops, either side of Aoulouz, saw us watching three Southern Grey Shrikes of the algeriensis race and from the bridge beyond the town a Blue Rock Thrush showed very well, whilst on a distant pool a good collection of waders and White Storks were feeding. As we wandered onto the bridge an Osprey went overhead being mobbed by a Kestrel. A few yards from the bridge we had a quick photo stop for some goats climbing the Argana trees, as they are supposed to do.

Nearing Taroudannt we passed tall hedges protecting the orange groves. Over these we saw a pale phase Booted Eagle and a pair of Black Kites, and added Wood Pigeon to the list. On reaching the Hotel Palais Salaam in Taroudannt some headed for the shops, whilst others explored this delightful hotel. Birdwatching was not very hard, sat beside the pool, glass in hand, watching Pallid and Little Swifts plus parties of Bee-eaters going overhead and displaying Kestrels in the grounds along with the occasional Spotless Starling for variety. During dinner some Moroccan dancers entertained us.

Friday 31st Taroudannt to Agadir

A bright and early start today so that we reached the Sous estuary just before 8.30am. The first stop brought us plenty of additions to the list. The Stone Curlews on the hill behind showed very well, as did one of the Moroccan race of Magpie with its distinctive blue flash behind the eye. Out on the mud, along with the more familiar waders, were a few Kentish Plovers, Ruff and a lone Collared Pratincole. In the distance good numbers of Greater Flamingo were gathered, we moved along to the next vantage point to get a look at these elegant birds. A few Spoonbill were found roosting with the Flamingo. More familiar waders were seen including Redshank, Greenshank and both Black and Bar-tailed Godwits. The last vantage point found good numbers of rooting terns and waders, all of which took flight as an Osprey flew upstream. Whilst stood here there was a constant stream of Swallows and Bee-eaters passing overhead.

It was then time to leave the scene and head north through Agadir to Cap Rhir. A few Gannets passed as we had lunch by the lighthouse. A little further along the road we had a quick look for Bald Ibis, to no avail. Our next stop was at the Tamri Estuary. A flock of gulls on the beach included several Audouin's. On the sea Gannets could be seen diving in the distance with four Cory's Shearwaters sat on the sea not too far from a group of three winter plumaged Guillemot. The prize bird here was the Lesser-crested Tern that John found sat in with the flock of Sandwich Tern by the tide line. A walk over the bank to the inland side of the sandbar found us soon looking at a flock of twelve Bald Ibis. We soon realised that there were more on the hill behind. These joined the first flock so that we must have seen over forty of these globally endangered birds. It was then time to head back to Agadir and settle into our rooms.

We were ready for action by 5.30 and set off back to the Sous. The first stop saw many of this mornings birds still present with the addition of Avocet and two Glossy Ibis to the days tally. Reaching the end of the track we spent most of the short time until dusk watching the waders and terns. With these was a very distant Slender-billed Gull. As the light faded meant we could see the moons of Jupiter with a scope. The cool wind that had been so pleasant during the day kept the moths in the trees. The result was that the only Red-necked Nightjar was one we heard behind the walls of the nearby royal palace. We did see a good numbers of bats whizzing between the trees but no nightjars came to join them. It was time to return to the hotel for a well-deserved dinner.

Sat 1st Agadir

Our last day was to be spent at one of the best known birding sites in Morocco, Oued Massa. Our first stop was at an area we had discovered on our last trip. On our way to the small stream we stopped to get a look at a hunting Black-shouldered Kite, quickly followed by a Laughing Dove and a Brown-throated Sand Martin. We did not wander far for the first part of the morning as we found the distinctive Moroccan race of Chaffinch, Cirl Bunting, Marbled Duck, Alpine Swifts and many more now familiar species. We had a couple of stops on our way through the town. The first of which gave us our first Black-headed Bush-shrike. The view over the main part of the reserve from the approach road whetted our appetite for more but lunch came first.

We spent the afternoon wandering beside the reserve. A group of Spoonbill were close enough to watch using their distinctive feeding methods. Further off two Glossy Ibis, a Black-necked Grebe and a flock of Marbled Duck were noted. All the while with hundreds of Bee-eaters going over head. We reached the old pumping Station and spent a while here in the cool, being entertained by a Long-legged Buzzard mobbing two Osprey, one of the latter having just caught a fish.

The route back took us a little inland, flushing a Barbary Partridge as we went. Almost back at the bus a Barbary Falcon sat on a dead tree for a few moments before a Little Owl became the last new bird of the trip as it sat on a disused building. It was then time to head for Agadir to prepare for the journey home after an excellent day out.

Sun 2nd Agadir to London

I was certainly glad we were not out birding today as the weather was awful. Mohamed came to collect us so that we were on time for the plane. Sadly the plane was not on time for us. Thankfully the connection at Casablanca was held so that we reached London only a little late. It was then time to say goodbye after an eventful trip with lots of super birds.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip. Thank you for your good cheer, especially during our stay at the "outhouse".

Will Wagstaff

3rd April 2000.

SYSTEMATIC LIST

BIRDS

Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea Four were on the sea at Tamri on 31st.

Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis One was on Oued Massa on 1st.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis At least twenty five were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus Five were on the Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi on 25th.

Northern Gannet Morus bassanus Sixty plus were noted off Tamri and Cap Rhir on 31st.

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo One was on the Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi on 25th and eleven, including one adult of the Moroccan race were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax One flew over Ouarzazate on 25th.

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Up to ten were noted on five dates, not in desert.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta Seen on four dates. max 20 on 1st.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Noted on four dates. max twenty on 31st and 1st.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea One at Oued Massa on 1st.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia Seen on five dates. Max 27 on 1st.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus Two at Oued Sous on 31st and two at Oued Massa on 1st.

Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita At least forty were on the Tamri estuary on 31st.

Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia Fifteen were on the Oued Sous on 31st and nine were on Oued Massa on 1st.

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber Two hundred and thirty four were on Oued Sous and one was at Tamri on 31st.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea Noted on four dates with a max of eight on 25th.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Two were at Ouarzazate on 30th and six were on Oued Massa on 1st.

Common Teal Anas crecca Four were on Oued Massa on 1st.

Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris Twenty five were on Oued Massa on 1st.

Common Pochard Aythya ferina Two pairs were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus One was at Oued Massa on 1st.

Black Kite Milvus migrans Two were at Ouarzazate on 25th with two near Taroudannt on 30th.

Red Kite Milvus milvus A flock over thirteen were near Ouarzazate on 25th.

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus A male was over the Anti Atlas on 30th with a female near Oued Massa on 1st.

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus Singles were at Oued Sous on 31st and Oued Massa on 1st.

Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus Two were seen on way to Tinerhir on 25th. Three were in the Anti Atlas on 30th. One was at Oued Massa on 1st.

Bonelli's Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus One was near the Gorges du Todra on 26th with an adult in the Draa Valley on 29th.

Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus One was at 'Larksrise' on 26th. Two were near Taroudannt on 30th.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus Singles were noted on 25th, 30th and 31st with two on 1st.

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Seen on six dates with max ten on 30th and 1st.

Lanner Falco biarmicus One was near the Gorges du Todra on 26th.

Peregrine Falco peregrinus One of this or the next species flew across the road on the way to the airport on 2nd.

Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoides An adult male was at Oued Massa on 1st.

Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara A flock of at least five was in the Sous Valley on 30th. One was at Oued Massa on 1st.

Quail Coturnix coturnix One was heard at Ouarzazate on 30th.

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Seen on three dates. Max 30+ on 1st.

Coot Fulica atra Two hundred plus were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus Thirty plus were on the Oued Sous on 31st.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus Seen on four dates. max thirty plus on 31st.

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta Six were on the Oued Sous on 31st.

Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus Two were seen and at least four were heard on Oued Sous on 31st.

Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor Four were seen in flight at 'Larksrise' on 26th.

Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola One at Oued Sous on 31st.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius Seen on five dates. Max 10 on 31st.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula Thirty plus were noted on 31st at Oued Sous and Tamri.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus Twelve were at Oued Sous on 31st.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola Twenty were at Oued Sous on 31st.

Sanderling Calidris alba Thirty plus were on the Oued Sous on 31st.

Little Stint Calidris minuta Seen on four dates. Max 25 on 25th.

Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii One was at Ouarzazate on 30th.

Dunlin Calidris alpina Two were on the Oued Sous on 31st and one as on Oued Massa on 1st.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax One was at Ouarzazate on 25th. Six were at Oued Sous on 31st.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago One was at Ouarzazate on 29th with two there on 30th.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa Four were at Oued Sous on 31st and one was at Oued Massa on 1st.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica Eight were at Oued Sous on 31st.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus One was at Ouarzazate on 30th.

Common Redshank Tringa totanus Ten were at Oued Sous on 31st.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia Three were on Oued Sous on 31st and one was at Oued Massa on 1st.

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus Seen on five dates. Max five on 31st.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola Seen on four dates. max eight on 25th.

Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos Ones and twos seen on four dates.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus Twenty plus on 31st and four on 1st.

Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii At least twenty were at Tamri on 31st.

Lesser Back-backed Gull Larus fuscus Many were at the coast on 31st and 1st.

Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans Many were at the coast on 31st and 1st.

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei One was at Oued Sous on 31st.

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica Four were at Oued Sous on 31st.

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis At least two hundred were at Oued Sous and Tamri on 31st.

Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis One was at Tamri on 31st.

Common Guillemot Uria algae Three were on the sea off Tamri on 31st.

Spotted Sandgrouse Pterocles senegallus Ten were at Dayet Srji on 28th.

Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis A pair were on the Tagdilt track on 26th.

Rock Dove / 'Grot' Dove Columba livia Common, seen daily.

Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus Common from Taroudannt west.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto Common from Ouarzazate westwards. Two at Erfoud on 27th.

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur Heard on four dates. Many seen in coastal areas on 31st and 1st.

Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis Ten plus seen at Oued Massa on 1st.

Little Owl Athene noctua One was at Oued Massa on 1st.

Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis One was heard at Oued Sous on 31st.

Pallid Swift Apus melba Seen on five dates. Max 150+ on 1st.

Alpine Swift Apus melba One at Tinerhir on 27th. Ten at Oued Massa on 1st.

Little Swift Apus affinis Seen on five dates. Max 30+ on 26th.

European Bee-eater Meriops apiaster Seen on six dates with highest numbers over Oued Massa on 1st.

Hoopoe Upupa epops One was at Ouarzazate on 25th with two there on 30th.

Bar-tailed Desert Lark Ammomanes cincturus Only noted in desert areas when three seen on 27th and seven on 28th.

Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti Noted on five dates. Max of four on 26th and 29th.

Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes Four , including some display on 27th. One was heard on 28th.

Thick-billed Lark Rhamphocoris clotbey One was at 'Larksrise' on 26th.

Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla Seen on four dates. Max 80+ on 25th.

Crested Lark Galerida cristata Seen on six dates in small numbers around cultivation.

Thekla Lark Galerida theklae Seen in dry area on three dates. Max six on 28th.

Temminck's Horned Lark Eremophila bilopha Five were noted on 25th and 26th in Tagdilt track area.

Brown-throated Sand Martin Riparia paludicola Four were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Sand Martin Riparia riparia Seen on first four days only. Max count 20+.

Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris Twenty plus were in the Gorges du Todra on 26th and one was in the Draa Valley on 29th.

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Seen daily. max count was 100+ at Oued Massa on 1st.

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica Seen on five dates. Max 20+ on 25th.

House Martin Delichon urbica Seen on six dates, max count 50+ on 27th.

Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris Seen on four dates. Max three at Oued Massa on 1st.

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis Seen on four dates. Max five on 25th.

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis One at Ouarzazate on 25th.

Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta One was at Ouarzazate on 25th and 29th.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flavissima One was at Oued Massa on 1st.

Blue-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava flava Up to twenty were at Ouarzazate on 25th and 29th.

Spanish Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava iberiae Seen on five dates. max 20+ on 25th.

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea One was at the Gorges du Todra on 26th.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba Singles were noted on three dates.

Moroccan White Wagtail Motacilla alba subpersonata Singles of this distinctive race were noted on 29th and 30th at Ouarzazate with three more noted at Oued Massa on 1st.

Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus Common, seen daily except in desert on 28th.

Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos One heard at Ouarzazate on 30th. One seen at Oued Massa on 1st.

Rufous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes One was seen well near Erfoud on 27th.

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus Singles were noted on 25th and 30th with ten plus in desert on 28th.

Moussier's Redstart Phoenicurus moussieri A male was in the Sous valley on 30th. A pair and a male were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Stonechat Saxicola torquata Ten plus were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe Seen on five dates with a max count of ten on 26th. Two of the 'Seebohms' race were noted near Ouarzazate on 25th.

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica Seen daily except on 30th. max count was of five on 27th.

Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti Seen on four dates, max three on 26th and 27th.

Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta Pairs were seen in the Tagdilt track area on 25th and 26th.

White-crowned Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga Seen daily east of Ouarzazate. Max fifteen on 29th.

Black Wheatear Oenathe leucura Three were in the Gorges du Todra on 26th. Singles were noted in the Anti Atlas on 29th and 30th.

Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens A female was at 'Larksrise' on 26th.

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius Two were in the Gorges du Todra on 26th. A male was at the Aoulouz Gorge on 30th.

Blackbird Turdus merula Small numbers noted daily. Max 15+ on 29th.

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti Two were heard in the Draa Valley on 29th. At least five were heard and one seen at Oued Massa on 1st.

Fan-tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis Small numbers were seen and heard at Oued Sous and Tamri on 31st and at Oued Massa on 1st.

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Two were at Ouarzazate on 30th. Three were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus Three were in the Draa Valley on 29th. Six were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida One was at Ouarzazate on 25th with four seen there on 30th.

Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata Five were seen near Jorf on 27th. One was near Rissani on 29th.

Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans Seen on seven dates. max fifteen plus on 28th.

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala Small numbers noted around all coastal sites on 31st and 1st.

Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis One was at Oued Sous on 31st.

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca Two were noted at the head of the Sous Valley on 30th.

Desert Warbler Sylvia nana Two were at Dayet Srji on 28th.

Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis One was seen near Jorf on 27th.

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla One was at Ouarzazate on 25th with up to four noted on 30th-1st.

Western Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli Noted on four dates. Max 20+ at Ouarzazate on 25th.

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus Noted on seven dates. Max ten plus on 25th.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Four birds noted on three dates inland.

Great Tit Parus major One was near Taroudannt on 30th. Six were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Black-headed Bush Shrike Tchagra senegala One was seen and two more heard at Oued Massa on 1st.

Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis elegans Three were noted near Erfoud on 28th. Two were seen from road near Rissani on 29th.

Lanius meridionalis algeriensis Between one and three were seen daily near coast from 30th-1st.

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator Noted on seven dates. max ten plus on 30th.

Magpie Pica pica Nine were noted on 31st with three more seen on 1st.

Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis Two flew over the Cafe Yasmina on 28th. Two were in the Anti Atlas on 30th.

Raven Corvus corax Seven were seen from coast road between Agadir and Tamri on 31st

Spotless Starling Sternus unicolor Widespread around the coast from 30th- 1st.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus Common, seen daily in all habitats.

Desert Sparrow Passer simplex Three males and two females were at the Cafe Yasmina on 28th.

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Six of the North African race were at Oued Massa on 1st.

Serin Serinus serinus Seen on five dates west of Ouarzazate. Max counts of 20+ on three dates.

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris Seen on five dates. Max 10+ on 31st and 1st.

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Seen on six dates. Max 20+ on 1st.

Linnet Carduelis cannabina One to two noted on five dates.

Trumpeter Finch Bucantes githagineus Four were near Ouarzazate on 25th. Two were at 'Larksrise' on 26th.

Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus A male was at Oued Massa on 1st.

Rock Bunting Emberiza cia Two males were in the Gorge du Todra on 26th.

House Bunting Emberiza striolata Seen daily in small numbers around habitation. Max ten plus on 26th.

Corn Bunting Milaria calandra Small numbers were seen and heard singing at Ouarzazate on 30th and at Oued Massa on 1st.

MAMMALS

Barbary Ground Squirrel Atlantoxerus getulus Five were noted in the Gorge du Todra on 26th.

Shaw's Jird Merioes getulus Singles were noted at the Tagdilt track on 25th and near Jorf on 27th.

Jird sp. Meriones sp. One seen in tree at head of Sous Valley at present remains unidentified.

As does the animal noted at Oued Massa on 1st.

BUTTERFLIES, MOTHS and DRAGONFLIES

Several species were noted . None were accurately identified. A large hawk moth was noted at the hotel at Erfoud on 27th.

HERPS

Stripe-necked Terrapin Eighteen were in the Draa Valley on 29th. Eight were in the pool at the hotel in Taroudannt on 30th with many being noted at Oued Massa on 1st.

Sand Lizard Small numbers noted on six dates.

Spiny Legged Lizard One blue specimen was noted on 27th.

FISH

At least three species were noted at Oued Massa on 1st including several large specimens leaping out of the water.

ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR NOTEWORTHY SPECIES SEEN ON 24TH MARCH

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus Ten were on the Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides Two flew over the Oued Ouarzazate.

Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax One flew over the Oued Ouarzazate.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia Seventy plus were near Ouarzazate.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea Ten were noted on Oued Ouarzazate and Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Two were on the Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.

Black Kite Milvus migrans Four seen over Oued Ouarzazate.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus One was at Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.

Quail Coturnix coturnix One was flushed at the wadi near Ouarzazate.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus Seven were on Oued Ouarzazate.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius Six were on Oued Ouarzazate.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax One was on Oued Ouarzazate.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago One was on Oued Ouarzazate.

Little Stint Calidris minuta Fifteen were on Oued Ouarzazate.

Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii Three were on Oued Ouarzazate.

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus One was on Oued Ouarzazate.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola Two were on Oued Ouarzazate.

Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos One was on Oued Ouarzazate.

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica Four flew over the Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur One was heard on Oued Ouarzazate.

Little Owl Athene noctua One was at Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.

Pallid Swift Apus melba Six were noted over Ouarzazate

European Bee-eater Meriops apiaster Ten were noted over Oued Ouarzazate.

Hoopoe Upupa epops Three were at Oued Ouarzazate.

Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti Two were at Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.

Crested Lark Galerida cristata Five were at Oued Ouarzazate.

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica Ten plus were over Oued Ouarzazate.

Moroccan White Wagtail Motacilla alba subpersonata One was on Oued Ouarzazate.

Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris One was at Oued Ouarzazate.

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis Four were on Oued Ouarzazate.

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis Two were at Oued Ouarzazate.

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator Seven were noted on this day.

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus Two males were on Oued Ouarzazate.

White-crowned Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga Two were at Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe Three were on Oued Ouarzazate.

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica Five were noted on that date.

Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti One female was seen at Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.

Fulvous Babbler Turdoides fulvus Two were at Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.

Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida Four were at Oued Ouarzazate.

Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans Four were noted that day.

Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis Two were at Oued Ouarzazate.

Western Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli At least twenty were on Oued Ouarzazate.

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus One was heard at Oued Ouarzazate.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Several were at Oued Ouarzazate.

Serin Serinus serinus Six were at Oued Ouarzazate.

Trumpeter Finch Bucantes githagineus Two adults and two young were at the wadi near Ouarzazate

House Bunting Emberiza striolata At least five were noted on that date.

Corn Bunting Milaria calandra Three were in the wadi near Ouarzazate.


© The Travelling Naturalist 2000