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Franklin’s Gull at Merzouga Lake, Morocco

A cracking adult Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) photographed at Dayet Srij, a small temporary lake near Merzouga. It was discovered yesterday by Marc Illa, Ivan Maggini and Georg Gruber.

This is the 10th record of this North American species for Morocco. It’s also the first one found far inland, all previous records were found on the coast with the majority on the Atlantic (mainly in Souss region) and one on the Mediterranean.

The Red or Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) is also still present at the lake (first reported there in the end of March), and a hybrid Ferruginous Duck x Common Pochard.

Located at the edge of the Sahara, Merzouga is well known for its great diversity of desert birds. Its small desert lake in the middle of nowhere can also be a real magnet for waterbirds (both common and rare species). Examples of rarities that have been found here include American Wigeon (Mareca americana), Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Greater Sandplover (Charadrius leschenaultia) and White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis).

Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), Merzouga Lake, Morocco, 8 April 2019 (Marc Illa).
Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), Merzouga Lake, Morocco, 8 April 2019 (Marc Illa).
Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), Merzouga Lake, Morocco, 8 April 2019 (Marc Illa).
Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), Merzouga Lake, Morocco, 8 April 2019 (Marc Illa).

Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni)

Two Olive-backed Pipits found at Massa on 6 April 2019 by Richard Moores and Martyn Owen. These would be the 9th and 10th record for Morocco if accepted by the MRBC. A photo posted in Twitter.

Thanks Marc and Richard for the information!

Update:

More African Dunn’s Larks were found at new sites around Merzouga during the last week.

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