February 2013

27 February 2013

‘Our trip to West Sahara was a great success. We saw everything we wished with only one exception (Kelp Gull). The most interesting place was near Awserd where we saw more than 100 Black-crowned Finch Larks and up to 200 Desert Sparrows together with a couple of Dunn’s Larks. Displaying Hoopoe Larks were seen and heard from all directions. Cricket Longtail was tricky but finally we saw one singing male at km 7’ (Hubert Krieger et al.)

25 February 2013

24 February, movement across the Straits: a rare sighting of a 3rd cy Bonelli’s Eagle reaching Spain from Morocco. There are several published records of Bonellis returning from Africa: it probably happens every years in very small numbers (David Cuenca, Alex Colorado, Jose Luis Garzón & Javi Elorriaga)

24 February 2013

A new paper is available in Go-South Bulletin:

  • Bergier, P. 2013. L’exploration ornithologique du Sahara Atlantique marocain. Go-South Bulletin 10 : 29-75.

24 February 2013

NOF trip report to the Atlantic Sahara is available on the Trip Report webpage (Aymeric le Calvez, Vegard Bunes, Jarl Nystrøm, Éric Roualet)

24 February 2013

A Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis, Tourterelle maillée, Tórtola senegalesa) at Sidi Abdeslam, 7 Km to the east of Tétouan centre, 15 February. Will it start to breed soon on the other side of the Straits? (see complete description of the record by Rachid El Khamlichi & Mohamed Amezian in MoroccanBirds)

16 February 2013

Recent records from Arnoud:

    • 29 January: an unseasonal Woodchat Shrike singing near the Oued Massa mouth south of Agadir showed characters of a Balearic badius


    • 1 February: we photographed a Moroccan Tawny Owl Strix aluco mauritanica in a pine wood above Agadir at Immouzer; not really a rarity here but nevertheless good to see in the middle of the day.


    • At dusk on 3 February: a Pharaoh Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus desertorum flew over the road halfway between TanTan and Goulimime.


    • On 4 and 5 February, there was too much wind with sand and dust for birding. Then, however, we had an exceptionally good time along the Aousserd road, athough it remained windy. We found at least two Cricket Warblers Spiloptila clamans at the former km 41 on 6,7,8 February; they were singing only in the first 30 minutes after dawn but were silent and difficult to find during the rest of the day (we did not try to find the species at other suitable spots). A Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans was singing here as well.


    • The larks along the Aousserd road on (5),6,7,8 February were phenomenal with five species being abundant: Hoopoe Lark (80+, also west of the 120 km to Aousserd sign), Greater Short-toed Lark (100s), Bar-tailed Larks Ammomanus cincturus (100s), Black-crowned Finch Larks Eremopterix nigriceps (100s or rather 1000s, all along the road) and African Dunn’s Larks Eremalauda dunni dunni (100s). All five species were singing, nesting and/or feeding young. The difference with my previous visit in January 2012, when I found only one small flock of Finch Larks and one or two pairs of Dunn’s Lark, was remarkable. For instance, now I photographed Dunn’s Larks collecting nesting material at N22 54’41.8″ W014 44’25.9″ and at N22 55’35.6″ W014 45’05.2″.


  • A flying immature Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos homeyeri was photographed above the dam of Boulariah Barrage south-west of Aousserd, ie, c 100 km from the Mauritanian border, on 7 February. To the north-east from here, when returning to Aousserd, we spent some time at the tree where Thomas and Krister found Sudan Golden Sparrow three weeks earlier but there were only c 10 Desert Sparrows Passer simplex, another numerous species in the area. (Arnoud van den Berg)

14 February 2013

Most remarkable observations done by Javier Elorriaga and Keith Betton in Northern Morocco :

    • At Merja Zerga, 4 February: A colour ringed Osprey Pandion haliaetus with a white ring in left tarsus, code L4, had been ringed as a nestling in Menorca in 2008. Rudy ShelduckTadorna ferruginea: 1 individual. Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta: over 2000 in a flock. Marsh Owl Asio capensis: two individuals at dusk. Hybrid Reef Egret Egretta gularis X Little Egret Egretta garzetta: one first winter individual (photographed)


    • An adult male Pallid harrier Circus macrourus at Lower Loukos, 5 February (Javier Elorriaga and Keith Betton)


9 February 2013

A new paper is available in Go-South Bulletin:

  • Moores, R. & Brown, D. 2013. Range Extension, Identification and Habitat of Occidental Gerbil Gerbillus occiduusGo-South Bulletin 10 : 27-28.

7 February 2013

Northern Bald Ibis – 2012 breeding season results

2012 breeding season finished with uneven results in Souss Massa National Park and Tamri regarding breeding success.

While in the protected area results were quite usual, similar to previous year, in Tamri we have recorded a failure on breeding success. Thus, in Souss-Massa 34 pairs nested (two less than in 2011) and 95 chicks hatched (one less that in 2011). 56 of them fledged (vs. 79 in 2011), thus survival was lower that last year (1,03 against 1,3). Nevertheless, at Tamri there were less pairs formed, 43 vs. 51 during the previous season. This should not be a problem, but just 11 of them lay eggs. None of them finished the incubation period.

It is not clear what the causes of the failure are, but, comparing this situation with previous years, we found that results were also bad in 2008. That year, tere were 55 fledgings in Souss Massa and two in Tamri.

Although many factors could affect breeding, we found that 2008 was also a dry year; the first trimester had just 21 mm being the average for that period 99 mm. In 2012 rainfall was jus 6 mm in that period. (info SEO Birdlife Morocco, http://northernbaldibis.blogspot.fr/)

6 February 2013

In addition to the Bonaparte’s Gull seen at Oualidia on 27 January, Zbigniew and his friends have recorded:

    • 26 January at Massa: 80 Greater Flamingos, 13 Marbled Ducks, 3 Black-necked Grebes at School Pools, 1 Great White Egret at salt pans near Sidi Massa


    • 27 January: 1 Great White Egret at Lac de Sidi Bourhaba, ca 10 000 Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Mehdya


    • 28 January: 90 White-headed Ducks and 1 male Ferruginous Duck x Pochard hybrid at Sidi Bourhaba, 1 Marsh Owl and 2 Squacco Herons at Merja Zerga


    • 29 January: 1 Marsh Owl at Merja Zerga, 2 Dupont’s Lark (probably a pair) and 3 Rock Sparrows at Zeida


    • 30 January: several Scrub Warbler at ‘Er-Rachidia 43’ marker, 1 Pharaoh Eagle Owl near Risani


    • 31 January: 5 Desert Sparrows (3 males and 2 females) at Erg Chebbi, Merzouga


    • 1 February: 1 Houbara Bustard near Boumalne du Dades


    • 2 February: 10 Bald Ibises, 1 Great White Egretand 550 Audouin’s Gulls at Tamri, 5 Little Swifts at Taroudant


    • 3 February: 2cy Bonnelli’s Eagle, 1 Little Swift, 3 Great White Egrets, 1 female Cirl Bunting, 10 Brown-throated Martins at Oued Massa


  • 4 February: 70 Crimson-winged Finches at Oukaimeden (Zbigniew Kajzer, Łukasz Ławicki, Dominik Marchowski, Marcin Sołowiej)

2 February 2013

Records from Souss / Lower Draa:

  • 30 january: East of Goulimime, we came across a family of Scrub Warblers, six birds together, all actively searching for food at 11:30h. Could not see any difference between young and old birds; only occasionally, a bird was being fed. I guess this means that the birds started nesting in late November or early December.
  • Other good birds so far included a Balearic Woodchat Shrike singing at Sidi Rabat, Oued Massa, on 29 January (photographed); Great White Egret both at Oued Massa mouth 29 January and at Oued Souss on 28 January (photographed); and twice a Barbary Falcon near Goulimime (east and south) on 30 January.
  • On 28 January, we did a short sea trip a few km off Agadir; the best birds were c 150 British Storm Petrels Hydrobates pelagicus, twice two swimming Manx Shearwaters, and a total of up to 10 Mediterranean Shearwaters; all shearwaters were photographed (Arnoud B. van den Berg)

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