Tuesday 12 May 2009

Morocco – Sous National Park and further south – 31st March 2009

Undoubtedly this is the best site we visited and well worth a second day. We headed back to the village of Arhbalou but this time went straight through to pick up a track to the right. Once again here you can drive as slowly as you like and no one bothers you, the road sides are full of Thekla Lark and the occasional Northern Wheatear, we also saw Spectacled Warbler and Laughing Dove (which are local to this particular area). We soon reached the river where numerous Coots were loitering along with Little Grebe and we could hear Water Rail. Two Purple Herons fished for a while before moving deeper into the reed bed, then a Hirundlinidae flew over and was immediately identified as a Plain Martin. In the trees around there were also Moussiers Redstart, Serin and Chaffinch, commuting around in the reeds were a few warblers but we only managed to positively identify Reed Warbler. We drove back to the village the way we had come but turned south to head in to more hilly areas. The road follows the river in some places and here Turtle Dove were evident and appeared not as illusive as normal. Up on the hill side we come across two Little Owls and they allow a prolonged close view. Eventually heading back before joining the main road we stop to take in the terrain and to finish the day we find a small colony of Bar-tailed Lark scurrying around the scrub not far from the road side, a Lesser Kestrel on a wire and two very confiding Woodchat Shrikes. T’end Life bird count: 387 Year bird count: 188 Month bird count: 137

Monday 4 May 2009

Morocco – Paradise Valley and the foothills of the High Atlas – 30th March 2009

Our plan for this day was to do the trip carried out on day one in reverse, thus allowing us to give more attention to the Paradise Valley area going up to the village of Imouzzer. The beauty of this valley should not be understated, steep sides dotted with trees and vegetation, running water and plenty of scope to pull over and take it all in.
The whole trip was alive with Bulbuls and Nightingales calling from deep in the foliage. In places we also found House Buntings, Great Tits and Moussier’s Redstart. As we gained height Black-eared Wheatear and Crested Lark become more prevalent and we saw Barbary Partridge take flight from the rock face. Alas no raptors today. As we dropped back down to the coast it was evident that an off shore wind had really picked up and there was a large passage of Lesser Back-backed Gull and Yellow-legged Gull moving north. To be continued..... Life bird count: 384 Year bird count: 185 Month bird count: 132