15 December 2014 – Scaup and Lesser Yellowlegs at Essaouira

I have recently returned from two weeks in Essaouira, a visit that coincided with the storms and floods that had such a devastating effect in parts of Morocco. It certainly affected the bird life on the river and estuary. All but one of the active nests of Brown Throated Sand Martins that I was monitoring in late November were destroyed by the swollen river, though by the time I left on 5 December, some were starting to excavate new holes in the riverine sand cliffs.

I recorded most of the species I usually see at this time of year, and added a few that I have not previously seen in the area. The most interesting sightings were of three Scaup on one of the golf course ponds (26 Nov and 1 Dec), and a Lesser Yellowlegs amongst other waders on the estuary on 2 December.

Also, I was told that there were 5 Bald Ibis by the river just to the south of the town, though I did not see them myself. Up to now, the nearest to Essaouira that I have seen Bald Ibis was about 15 km farther south, near Sidi Kaouki.

(Peter Greig-Smith)

see Peter’s papers:

  • Greig-Smith, P.W. 2011. Birds observed in Essaouira, 2007-2011. Gouth Bulletin 8 : 104-112.
  • Greig-Smith, P.W. 2014. Use of habitats by resident and migrant birds in and around a golf course on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Bird Study 61: 111-120.

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