To the Atlas mountains and desert

18 December 2010.

After yesterday, today, a long bus journey from the Atlantic coast of Morocco to Ouarzazate in the mountains, 1,160 metres high.

Rain in the morning.

White storks on a TV antenna.

At 7:37, we are at El Gfifat. A bit further, a kestrel on a lamppost. Magpies.

A bridge over the Souss river just before Taroudant. A male Moussier’s redstart.

A great tit. Four white storks on the other river bank.

A pied wagtail near the river.

A greenfinch on a wire.

A laughing dove on another wire.

A spotless starling on a telephone pole.

A bit later, in the old walled town of Taroudant: house buntings mix with house sparrows on the busy market.

A bit of rain. Collared dove.

Near the town gate, a kestrel under a white stork nest.

On a TV tower just outside the city center, a lanner falcon eating a pigeon.

12:25: a dead great grey shrike along the motorway.

This is a black-shouldered kite video.

At 12:55, a black-shouldered kite on a tree.

At 13:15 at Aoulouz near the river, a long-legged buzzard.

Cattle egrets fly to the remains of an old bridge.

A little egret.

A kestrel tries to drive away a much bigger long-legged buzzard.

On the mountains, in big Arabic script: “God, Fatherland, the King”. And “Long live the king”.

A praying mantis on a tree in a mountain village.

In the evening, we arrive in Ouarzazate.


Sanderlings and stone curlews

This is a whimbrel video, from the Brouwersdam in the Netherlands.

17 December 2010.

From the reservoir, we continued to a rocky coast near a fishing village south of Agadir, Morocco.

Yellow-legged gulls.

Below, close to the floodline, whimbrels and sanderlings feeding.

Ringed plovers and Kentish plovers.

Four turnstones.

An Arctic skua.

As we leave, twenty stone curlews in the sand dunes.

Read about stone curlew migration.

Stone curlew photo: here.

A bit further, cattle egrets follow a flock of sheep.

Two Whimbrels tracked by scientists from a US university have been shot by hunters on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, highlighting the continuing lack of protection for migratory shorebirds in this important part of their flyway: here.

Swifts and long-legged buzzard

17 December 2010.

After the morning in the Oued Souss delta, we continue.

In Sidi Bibi town, little swifts.

In the countryside, over twenty black-bellied sandgrouse flying.

This is a black-bellied sandgrouse video, recorded in Turkey.

We continue to a reservoir. Unfortunately, not many birds. A stonechat sitting on a wire.

As we go back, black-bellied sandgrouse flying again.

A crested lark.

A long-legged buzzard sitting on a field.

A common sandpiper on the concrete bank of a canal.

Two house buntings.

Aourir, M., Znari, M., Radi, M., & Melin, J.-M. (2013). Wild-laid versus captive-laid eggs in the Black-bellied Sandgrouse: Is there any effect on chick productivity? Zoo Biology doi:10.1002/zoo.21095

Birds of Oued Souss, Morocco

17 December 2010.

Today, after yesterday, our third full day in Inezgane near Agadir, Morocco.

Cattle egrets flying over Inezgane in the morning.

This is a cattle egret video from Scotland.

Lots of apartment houses in Inezgane and elsewhere in Morocco (and in, eg, Turkey) have lots of satellite TV dishes. Many immigrants from Morocco in western Europe have satellite dishes as well. Xenophobes hate that, claiming that the immigrants have those dishes because they supposedly hate west European society and its media (never mind that those xenophobes usually hate their own country’s TV as well, for being supposedly “Leftist”). The xenophobes claim these satellite dishes are also a sign of supposed “Islamic fundamentalism” (rubbish, as most really ultra orthodox Muslims, like ultra orthodox Christians, see TV as “satanic”). The satellite dishes in Morocco prove, for the umpteenth time, the foolishness of xenophobia. Are the dishes in Morocco, supposedly, a sign of Moroccans hating Morocco; or hating Islam?

Like on our first day, we go to the Oued Souss delta.

Greenfinch sound.

On the sandbanks, grey herons, little egrets, and fourteen spoonbills.

A black-winged stilt and a curlew.

Again, Dorcas gazelle on the other side of the river, like two days ago. Four animals.

A great grey shrike in a tree.

To the left of the shrike in the same tree, a greenfinch.

A chiffchaff.

A black-tailed godwit on a sandbank.

Serin. Collared dove.

Common sandpipers.

A kestrel.

A Sardinian warbler.

Marbled duck and black-crowned tchagra in Morocco

This video says about itself:

Footage of Marbled Duck taken in Almeria, Spain, by Speyside Wildlife guide, Mark Denman. There are currently less than 100 pairs in Spain and Mark’s Speyside Wildlife group saw 4 during their trip in January 2010!

16 December 2010.

After yesterday, today we are on our way to Souss-Massa national park, not far south from Agadir.

Spotless starlings near houses.

As we arrive in the coastal dunes area, a group of over twelve black-bellied sandgrouse. Both males and females. Then, stray dogs arrive and make the sandgrouse fly away.

As we approach the national park: great tit sound. Moussier’s redstart.

House buntings near a farm.

A black-headed gull.

In the water: coot and moorhen.

A common bulbul in a treetop.

A blue rockthrush.

Two black-crowned tchagras in a tree.

Cattle egrets follow a tractor on a field on the other side of the water.

Two little grebes are swimming close to a landing where common sandpipers are resting.

In a shrub, a cirl bunting.

A spotless starling and common bulbul in a palm tree.

This is a spotless starling video, recorded in Spain.

A dark clouded yellow butterfly.

A blackbird and a chaffinch near a farm.

At 12:50, we arrive at the official national park entrance.

On a sandbank, a grey heron and a juvenile spoonbill.

A hummingbird hawk-moth near flowers.

Two bar-tailed godwits on a bank.

A greenshank. Greenshank photos: here.

Two oystercatchers between a grey heron and a great cormorant on a sandbank.

Sanderlings running along the high tide line on the beach.

Many antlion made insect traps in the sand along the footpath.

On our way back, we see nine marbled ducks, and a ringed plover, on a sandbank.

A little owl on a rock. Little owl photos: here.

Six greenshanks on the other side of the water.

October 2011: Staff at Natural England‘s Holkham National Nature Reserve have discovered what is thought to be only the second established breeding area in Britain for the mysterious yet savage antlion, an insect whose larvae excavate cone-like pits and lurk in wait for other insect prey. And its numbers on site appear to be increasing: here.

Aberkane, M., Chettibi, F., Bakhouche, B., Draidi, K., Bouslama, Z. & Houhamdi, M. 2013. Breeding ecology of the Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris at Boussedra march (Annaba, Northeast of Algeria). Annals of Biological Research 4 (10):103-107. PDF.

Etayeb, K. S., Yahia, J., Berbash, A., Wattier, R., & Brochet, A.-L. (2014). First Breeding Evidence of Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris) in Libya. Waterbirds 37(1): 107–110. doi:10.1675/063.037.0114: here.

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