Here is a summary of three birding trips to Morocco led by Mark Beevers with Rockjumper Birding Tours this spring. It includes only interesting and sought-after species (e.g. some North African endemic species and subspecies, and localised, rare or uncommon species,…). Mark will send all national rarities to the Moroccan Rare Birds Committee (MRBC) in due course.
February / March Tours (two):
2nd February. Oukaïmeden: seven Alpine Accentors and 20 African Crimson Winged Finches.
23rd February. Tizi n’Test: immature Golden Eagle near the top. Ouirgane: Pair of Siskins. Oued Souss: First winter Little Gull and 50 Mediterranean Gulls.
24th February. Pelagic off Agadir: three-four European Storm Petrels, four Manx and four Balearic Shearwaters (plus five unidentified), first winter Black-legged Kittiwake and a pale phase Pomarine Skua. Oued Tamri: five Ferruginous Ducks.
25th February. Oued Massa: c. 50 Northern Bald Ibis and 25 Common Cranes. Oued Souss: 25 Marbled Teal and 80 Eurasian Spoonbills.
26th February. 123 km west of Ouarzazate: c. 20 Cream-coloured Coursers and single flock of c. 70 Thick-billed Larks.
27th February. Tagdilt Track: 11 Cream-coloured Coursers and 40 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse.
28th February. KM43 between Errachidia and Tinejdad: One Isabelline Wheatear and four Streaked Scrub Warblers.
2nd March. Erg Chebbi: 60 Spotted and 26 Crowned Sandgrouse coming to drink and one Egyptian Nightjar.
3rd March. Tagdilt Track: 16 Cream-coloured Coursers. Barrage El-Mansour Eddahbi: two Black Storks.
5th March: Road up to Oukaïmeden: Northern Goshawk. Oukaïmeden: 200 Alpine and 50 Red-billed Choughs and 60 African Crimson Winged Finches.
6th March: Ourika: Tawny Owl seen. Tizi n’Test: six Ring Ouzels at the top. Oued Souss: 280 Greater Flamingos, first winter Little Gull, c. 100 Mediterranean Gulls and first winter Common (Mew) Gull.
7th March. Oued Massa: 22 Common Cranes. Tamri: c. 30 Northern Bald Ibis and c. 200 Audouin’s Gulls.
8th March: Barrage El-Mansour Eddahbi: Red-throated Pipit.
9th March. Tagdilt Track: 21 Cream-coloured Coursers, ten Black-bellied Sandgrouse and 15 Thick-billed Larks.
11th March. Erg Chebbi: c. 50 Crowned Sandgrouse coming to drink and one Egyptian Nightjar.
12th March. Tizi n’Tichka: Four (possibly five) Pale Crag Martins.
2nd May. Oukaïmeden: Tawny Owl heard on access road, up to six Seebohm’s Wheatears on two visits, pair of African Crimson-winged Finches and 20 Rock Sparrows.
3rd May. Pelagic off Agadir, out to 22 miles offshore: 40 European Storm Petrels, one White-faced Storm Petrel (at 126.96.36.199 N, 10.02.16.6 W, photo below ), 200+ Black Terns, two adult summer Sabine’s Gulls (188.8.131.52 N, 10.02.16.6 W) and two Artcic Skuas plus Hobby over Agadir. Tamri: 70 Northern Bald Ibis and 21 Eurasian Spoonbill on the estuary.
4th May: Oued Massa: Ten Northern Bald Ibis, seven Glossy Ibis, female Little Bittern, 350 Common Ringed Plover, 200 Dunlin and two Eleanora’s Falcons. Oued Souss: four Marbled Teal, 15 Eurasian Spoonbill, two Pied Avocet, 125 Common Ringed Plover, 100 Dunlin, nine Little Stints, ten Mediterranean Gulls, first winter Little Gull (from February), 13 Lesser Crested Terns counted flying downstream, 30 Black Terns and three Eleanora’s Falcons.
5th May. Barrage El-Mansour Eddahbi: one Temminck’s Stint.
6th May. Tagdilt Track: male Houbara Bustard (photo below), five Cream-coloured Coursers, 25 Black-bellied and seven Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, seven Thick-billed Larks and a male Maghreb Wheatear (east of the road to Ikniouen. Dades Gorge: pair of Bonelli’s Eagles.
7th May. Todra Gorge: Family party of Tristram’s Warblers. Between Tinejdad and Errachidia (km 43): five Thick-billed Larks, family party of Streaked Scrub-Warbler, one Desert Warbler and a male Greenland Wheatear.
8th May. Erg Chebbi: 125 Spotted, 200 Crowned and one Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Egyptian Nightjar, five Desert Warblers and three male Desert Sparrows. Rissani: 23 Honey Buzzards, 250 Brown-necked Ravens and three Eastern (Saharan) Olivaceous Warblers.
9th May. Erfoud. 60 Honey Buzzards migrating north.
10th May. Zaida Plain: four Cream-coloured Coursers, Dupont’s Lark (three seen and one heard). Midelt: 40 Honey Buzzards migrating north. Aguelmame Sidi Ali: 120 Ruddy Shelduck.
11th May. Oued Loukkos: 46 Griffon Vultures and an immature Egyptian Vulture migrating north, 70 Collared Pratincoles, Caspian Tern, six Brown-throated Martins and five singing Savi’s Warblers.
12th May. Asilah area north of road R417: No sign of any Great Bustards. Sidi Boughaba: 50 Collared Pratincoles, a Lanner Falcon, a late female Pintail, one Marbled Duck, 14 Ferruginous Ducks, minimum of 74 White-headed Ducks and pair of Hobbies mating.
13th May. Zaer: four Black Storks. Casablanca: one Lesser Crested Tern migrating north.
Also seen on tour but site details withheld were Pharaoh Eagle Owl (pair with one young), Lanner Falcon (pair with two young), Red-necked Nightjar, plus all the usual expected species.
Mark Beevers (Rockjumper Birding Tours)