21 March 2013

The road to the pode: 21 March

Another day of travel today but with some good stops along the way adding several species to the trip list.

Over breakfast of egg on biscuit at our B&B at Moulay Bousselham c250 Linnet were logged heading northwards along the coast in small flocks, and a couple of stops along the northern and eastern sides of the vast Merja Zerga estuary and wetland (famous as the last regular wintering site of Slender-billed Curlew) produced 2+ Slender-billed Gulls, 2 Curlew, 2 Northern Lapwing, a 1st year Mediterranean gull, 4 Caspian Tern, many Sandwich Terns, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Marsh Harrier and 2 Little Owl.

Our next stop, 280 km to the south-west at El Jadida, added many Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstone to the list and 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Redshank, 1-2 White Wagtails, 2 1st year Mediterranean Gulls and an impressive gathering of c1000 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also noted.

The coast road between El Jadida and the small town of Oualidia is very scenic, with tiny fields flanking the sides of a low rocky ridge running parallel to the coast, and miles of lagoons, salt pans and salt marsh created by longshore drift of sand along the coast. A few stops at the lagoons and salt pans produced a good of waders including 3 Ruff, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1-2 Knot, 3+ Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 5 Redshank, 1 Whimbrel, 6 Little Stint, Ringed Plover, numerous Dunlin, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover and Black-winged Stilt and c100 Avocet. 1 Turtle Dove, 3 Slender-billed Gull, 1 Peregrine and a few Yellow Wagtails (including an 'Spanish' Wagtail M. f. iberiae) were also noted.

The pools at Oualidia were buzzing with migrants with 20 Yellow Wagtails (19 iberiae and a single male flavissima), 2 Willow Warblers, 10 Common Chiffchaffs and numerous Barn Swallow in the reeds and poolside vegetation. 1 Spotted Redshank, 3+ Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper and 2 Marbled Duck were the best of the rest on the pools.

'Spanish' Wagtail Motacilla flava iberiae. One of 19 at the pools at Oualidia this evening.

Willow Warbler, Oualidia

Common Chiffchaff, Oualidia

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Merja Zerga & SBC. Now that brings back some memories!!!