Wild Warbler blog and news





23rd March:Tamri and Souss – Massa National Park
24th  March: Souss – Massa National Park and stops on the way to Taliouine
25th March: Taliouine - Ouarzazate
26th March: Boumalne du Dades (Tagdilt Track and Dades Gorge)
27th March: Todra Gorge - Erfoud
28th March: Erfoud – Merzouga via Rissani
29th March: Day with local guide in Erg Chebbi / Rissani area
30th March: Travelling back to the High Atlas
31st  March: Oukaimeden

This was my second trip to Morocco within the last 18 months. The last was in December 2016 when we spent our time mostly in the desert region and the High Atlas. The trip in March 2018 was to check out areas on the coast not previously visited and try and connect with species that are not present in mid-winter. All in all it was an excellent trip with most target birds seen as well as lots of migrants making their way back to Europe after spending the winter in sub-Saharahan Africa.

Blad Ibis Bald Ibis Stone Curlew

Audoun's Gull, Morocco Moroccan Magpie Moussier's Redstart

Western Olivaceous Warbler Sardinian Warbler Massa Estuary flowers

The focus for us on the coast was finding Bald Ibis and a stop overlooking the river mouth at Tamri soon produced the goods along with a self-imposed guide. There were also plenty of gulls resting here including several Audouin's Gulls amongst masses of Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. We also came across a couple of Stone Curlews that showed well initially. We moved south of Agadir to the Souss - Massa National Park where we found a good selection of wader, terns and even a Red-neked Nightjar at dusk. From left to right above: Bald Ibis, Stone Curlew, Audouin's Gull, Moroccan Magpie (surely a full species), Moussier's Redstart, Western Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler and path-side flowers at the Massa River.

Black-eared Wheatear Blue-headed Wagtail Gull-billed Tern

Little Crake Western Bonelli's Warbler Night Heron

As we moved inland the habitat became very dry apart from around water courses which were a magnet to migrant birds. Some of these were alive and buzzing with excitement of birds feeding up before continuing north. One spot held all of the birds above plus many more: from top left - Black-eared Wheatear, Blue-headed Wagtail, Gull-billed Tern, Little Crake, Bonelli's Warbler and Night Heron. Typical migrants included lots of Nightingales, Redstarts, Tree Pipits etc. which were seen anywhere there was a bit of cover and water.

Thick-billed Lark Desert Wheatear Red-rumped Wheatear

Tagdilt Track Short-toed Lark Hoopoe Lark

Bonelli's Eagle Todra Gorge Southern Grey Shrike

Cream-coloured Courser lizard, Morocco female Red-rumped Wheatear

As you head inland you enter a high desert plateau and near Boulmane du Dades you find the famous Tagdilt Track; a well known area to catch up with various desert bird species. In the same area is the impressive Todra Gorge which should really be on everyones itinerary even if just for the scenery but also with the chance of picking up Bonelli's Eagle. From top left: Thick-billed Lark, male Desert Wheatear, male Red-rumped Wheatear, the Tagdilt Track, Short-toed Lark, Hoopoe Lark, Bonelli's Eagle, Todra Gorge, Southern Grey Shrike, Cream-coloured Courser, lizard and female Red-rumped Wheatear.

Crowned Sandgrouse Crowned and Spotted Sandgrouse Desert Hyacinth

Egyptian Nightjar Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Bar-tailed Lark

Desert Sparrow Desert Sparrow Erg Chebbi

desert flower Spotted Sandgrouse Pharaoh Eagle Owl

Trumpeter Finch fossils, Morocco White-crowned Black Wheatear

In the far south-east of Morocco we reach the edge of the Sahara and the birdlife consists of some very hardy, specialised species. Top left: Crowned Sandgrouse, Spotted and Crowned Sandgrouse, Desert Hyacinth, Egyptian Nightjar, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Bar-tailed Lark, Desert Sparrow, Desert Warbler, Erg Chebbi, desert flower, male Spotted Sandgrouse, PharaohEagle Owl, Trumpeter Finch, fossils and White-crowned Black Wheatear.

Oukaimeden, Morocco Atlas Horned Lark Crimson-winged Finch

Levaillant's Green Woodpecker Crocus, Morocco male Seebohm's Wheatear

Rock Sparrow lower Atlas mountains Alpine Chough

Our last stop was in the Atlas Mountains which was a great contrast to the desert regions. It also supports some very specialised wildlife and indeed some endemic species. From top left: Oukaimeden, Atlas Horned Lark, Crimson-winged Finch, Levaillant's Woodpecker, crocus species, Seebohm's Wheatear, Rock Sparrow, lower Atlas valley, Alpine Chough.

Morocco flora Morocco flora Moroccan flower

Morocco flora Moroccan flora Morocco flowers

Moroccan desert shrub Moroccan flowers desert Moroccan shrub

The nice thing about visiting in the spring is the number and variety of flowers that you can find along the coast, in the mountains and even in the desert.

If you fancy a birding and wildlife tour of southern Morocco next March then please register your interest with me at: steveduffield70@gmail.com