Wise Birding Holidays

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

MOROCCO MARCH 2016

I recently returned from leading another Wise Birding trip to Southern Morocco and as always it was a great trips stacked full of quality birds, scenery, food and people. For me, one of the most exciting parts of a birding trip to Morocco is seeing the migrants in the desert. It simply re-inforces what a tough trip "our" migrants have to endure, but also it is quite surprising just how much food and water can be found by these migrants in the desert. Of course, the specialities like Egyptian Nightjar, Desert Sparrow and Bald Ibis are always great to see too and I am in the very fortunate position of being able to see these great birds again and again. Below are some of the highlights of the trip. Hope you enjoy!

THE SPECIALITIES
Male Levaillant's Green or "Maghreb" Green Woodpecker

The very common but always stunning male Moussier's Redstart

Female Moussier's Redstart - Be careful not to throw one of these away as a Common Redstart in the UK with a brief view!

The High Atlas views at Oukaimeden with Crimson-winged Finches and Seebohm's Wheatears for company

Male Tristram's Warblers are usually easy to find as they return to their higher elevation breeding grounds

Male Tristram's Warbler

The spectacular Todra Gorge where Tristram's Warbler can be found

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse was an unusual species for Tagdilt and my first sighting of this species here.
We had at least 70+ birds this year on the Tagdilt Plains

Thick-billed Lark - always a relief to find this highly nomadic species and one that is always at the top of people's wish lists!

Temminck's Larks are common around the Tagdilt Plains

The Tagdilt Track looking towards the town of Boumalne Dades

Brown-necked Ravens are a daily occurrence in the desert region

Cream-coloured Courser - Reasonable numbers this year and some excellent views

Male Desert Sparrow and House Sparrow - The highly adaptive House Sparrow is plentiful in the desert
region and often takes over Desert Sparrow nest sites


Male and female Desert Sparrow

Egyptian Nightjar - High on everyone's wish list and a little too easy to see these days, thanks to the local Berbers!

Desert landscape looking towards the Erg Chebbi Dunes

African Desert Warbler feeding young

Long-billed or "Maghreb" Crested Lark - This species is easily found in the Tafilalt region

Erg Chebbi Dunes near Merzouga

One of our Pharaoh Eagle Owl sites - This nest site was in a different area to the usual spot and had 4 juveniles!

Pharaoh Eagle Owl - This was a second bird near Rissani

Watching Pharaoh Eagle Owl with local guide Lahcen

Pharaoh Eagle Owl - Digiscoped

Southern Grey Shrike - The "Grey" Shrikes are always interesting to see with much work being done on their taxonomy 

Seebohm's Wheatear - Considered as simply a race of Northern Wheatear by some this 2CY bird was a migrant in the desert

Seebohm's Wheatear - A presumed adult again this was a migrant in the desert en route to the High Atlas breeding grounds

Seebohm's Wheatear - Showing the diagnostic black underwing coverts

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - This bird was seen watched down to a few feet sheltering in an Oasis during a sand storm

Western Olivaceous or Isabelline Warbler - A bigger beast than Eastern Olivaceous, with a much more chunky feel,
broader bill and thicker legs. The bird was singing too which helped!

Northern Bald Ibis - We had fabulously close views of over 50+ birds including some flying over the Atlantic!



5 comments:

  1. Looks like a top notch trip.
    John.

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  2. Thanks JR and Sue - More to come still!

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  3. Great set of pics. Particularly like the Seebohm's with the litter - Tagdilt?

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  4. Cheers Dinger! Are you suggesting the Tagdilt is a tip! Actually, the bird was in the desert where I saw quite a few migrant Seebohm's in exactly the same place as 2014...

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