14 March 2013

Desert birding around Merzouga: 14 March

A fantastic day birding the sandy desert around Merzouga. After sorting through large numbers of House Sparrows at the auberges and camel trains around Erg Chebbi (the largest dune system in Morocco) we eventually caught up with one of our target birds - Desert Sparrow, with amazing views of 4+ at a temporary berber camp at Kemkemia. Also with the help of other local berbers we found 2 superb roosting Egyptian Nightjars and 42+ Spotted Sandgrouse at Rissani, with 1 'African' Desert Warbler, 2 Greater Hoopoe Lark, 2 'Desert' Grey Shrike and several White-crowned Black Wheatear logged along the way.

White-crowned Black Wheatear, Kemkemia

'Desert' Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor elegans, Kemkemia

Erg Chebbi

Erg Chebbi at Kemkemia

Jaffa, Darryl and Pete looking for Desert Sparrows

The berber camp at Kemkemia

Migratory Locust Locusta migratoria, Kemkemia

Northbound migrants seen around Erg Chebbi included 1 Hoopoe, 1f Subalpine Warbler, 1 Woodchat Shrike, 1m Black-eared Wheatear at Hotel Kasbah, 1 White Wagtail, 5 Short-toed Lark at Auberge L'Etoile des Dunes, and 1 Western Olivaceous Warbler, a few Western Bonelli's Warbler, 1+ Woodchat Shrike, several Subalpine Warbler, lots of Willow Warbler and Common Chaffchaff, 2 Short-toed Lark and 2 Red-rumped Swallow at Auberge Yasmina.

Migrant Short-toed Lark, Yasmina

Migrant White Wagtail

Subalpine Warbler taking water from a dripping tap at Hotel Kasbah

Willow Warbler, Auberge Yasmina

A stop at the Oued Ziz produced 2 Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, 1 'Moroccan' Wagtail (Motacilla alba subpersonata), 1 Western Bonelli's Warbler, 2 Greenfinch, 2 Trumpeter Finch and 2 White-crowned Black Wheatear visiting our picnic table!

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater at Oued Ziz

White-crowned Black Wheatear eyeing up the olives on our picnic table at Oued Ziz

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