Towards Agadir

Thursday Feb 16 we allocated the entire day to search for Bonelli’s Eagle in the mountains south of Guelmim. We had been told about a cliff with nests by Miguel Perea. We went there and sure enough, the cliff had hosted raptors – but none were there. Massive amounts of Wheatears though, mostly Red-tailed and also Desert, Black and Northern.

We lunched below the cliff, spent time, waited and eventually gave up after a couple of hours. Went further on the small mountain road on chance and – dang!

Bonelli's Eagle
Bonelli’s Eagle

A rare bird, according to Collins Bird Guide, approximately 600 pairs exist in the entire region. This one is an adult.

Went north towards the famous NP Oued Massa which is famous for it’s population of the almost extinct Northern Bald Ibis. We sneak-camped at the entrance to the park which had reports of Red-necked Nightjar. Listening in the dark after what has become Mårtens boogie-bird. He has searched for it on numerous occasions to no avail.

The morning of Friday Feb 17 started out with some excellent general birding. The main target was the Black-crowned Tchagra, but we just – birded. Lot’s of common, but nice birds.

Spanish Sparrow (male)
Spanish Sparrow (male)
Spanish Sparrow (female)
Spanish Sparrow (female)
Sardinian Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
European Siskin
European Serin
Subalpine Warbler (ssp Iberiae or Inornata)
Subalpine Warbler (ssp Iberiae or Inornata)
Cirl Bunting (female)
Cirl Bunting (female)
Cirl Bunting (male)
Cirl Bunting (male)

Eventually we also found the Tchagra.

Black-crowned Tchagra
Black-crowned Tchagra

Despite it’s appearance, it has a beautiful – easiliy identified song. Two main targets remained in the area, we started with what we thought was the hardest and also most important, the Ibis. They’re not especially easy to find – they roam the area – which is large. We searched for hours on the “wellknown” spots. While doing so, we saw the goodlooking ssp algeriensis of Southern Grey Shrike. Very dark form.

Souther Grey Shrike (ssp algeriensis)
Southern Grey Shrike (ssp algeriensis)

Again, just spending time on the right spot payed off – a flock of 21 Ibises came flying in.

Northern Bald Ibis
Northern Bald Ibis
Northern Bald Ibis
Northern Bald Ibis

Next target was Brown-throated Martin. According to the Gosney guide, they were nesting close to a bridge, just outside of the NP. We spent some time on the bridge, but no swallow. What often happens when we wait – after a while, everybody just starts to bird. Once you do that, other birds appear. In this case, some common but nevertheless nice birds.

Yellow Wagtail (ssp Iberiae)
Yellow Wagtail (ssp Iberiae)
Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Common Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher

No Martins here, neither in a pool we also visited. We gave up, and went further north towards Agadir and Oued Sous. The Gosney guide suggests to look at a place close the entrance of the Royal Palace. The Martin was there alright. Again, a really good WP species.

Brown-throated Martin
Brown-throated Martin

Now, just the Red-necked Nightjar remained. Birded the river and the forest around while waiting for the dark. Barbary Partridges and Stone Curlews in the forest and lots of gulls on the river.

Little Gull
Little Gull
Mediterranean Gull
Mediterranean Gull

Gosney recommends the area close to the entrance of the Palace for the Nightjar. The king actually lives there, and thus the place is heavily guarded. No chance in hell to enter. Once dark fell, we silently went without lights along the fence, listening attentively in the dark. After an hour or so, Mårten and Erik heard the bird, I didn’t due to age and too many Rock’n Roll concerts. We went further in and finally I heard the bird too … phhhu. We were fantasising about what we should say if the guards saw us in the dark, with what appears to be high-tec gear. Stay back! We’re the idiot-margot-wallström-attack-team .. mmm maybe not.

Anyways – full goddamn cleanup in Sous Massa – feels just great.

 

2 thoughts on “Towards Agadir”

  1. Lovely story! A nice mix of birds, birding and insurgentlike behaviour… Seems like a true thriller to twitch some of the birds!

    All the best!/Lars.

  2. Nice to read your story, after we met you in Aousserd and this afternoon at Oued Massa.
    Good luck for your searching of the birds. Kind regards, Aad van Gelswijk and Dory Abrahamse

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