Morocco January 3-17 2002

Participants: Andreas Hagerman, Jens Søgaard Hansen, Andreas Bruun Kristensen, Poul Ulrik, Denmark.

Data and photos: Jens Søgaard Hansen,

Text: Andreas Hagerman,

From left: Jens, Poul, Andreas Bruun and Andreas Hagermann at Tagdilt Track freezing our a.... off!


Day 1 (January 3): Copenhagen - Agadir Airport - Agadir - Oued Massa
Day 2 (January 4): Oued Massa - Goulimine - Oued Seyad - Goulimine
Day 3 (January 5): Goulimine - Tan Tan 100 - Tan Tan 60 - Tan Tan 96 - Goulimine
Day 4 (January 5): Goulimine - Taroudannt - Igoudar - Sous Valley - Boumalne
Day 5 (January 7): Boumalne - Tagdilt track - Erfoud - Erg Chebbi/small oasis village (Merzouga)
Day 6 (January 8): Small oasis village - Merzouga - Dayet Srji - Auberge Erg Chebbi - Café du Sud - Small oasis village
Day 7 (January 9): Small oasis village (Merzouga) - Jeep ride - Small oasis village - Erfoud - Midelt
Day 8 (January 10): Midelt - Zeida - Dayet Aoua - Merdja Zerga - "Hassan"
Day 9 (January 11): "Hassan" - Merdja Zerga - Oued Loukos - Assilah - Kenitra
Day 10 (January 12): Kenitra - Sidi Bettache Forest - Sidi Bettache - Marrakech - Oukaimeden - Marrakech
Day 11 (January 13): Marrakech - Agadir - Tamri - Cap Rhir - Oued Sous - Royal Palace - Agadir
Day 12 (January 14): Agadir - Oued Sous - Oued Massa - Goulimine - Oued Seyad - Goulimine
Day 13 (January 15): Goulimine - Goulimine 15 - Tan Tan 99 - Tan Tan 70 - Oued Boukila - Goulimine - Oued Sous - Royal Palace - Agadir
Day 14 (January 16): Agadir - Agadir Harbour - Tamri - Agadir Harbour – Hotel Sud Voyages - Royal Palace - Agadir
Day 15 (January 17): Agadir - Agadir Airport – Copenhagen


Due to lack of snow in the mountains we missed Crimson-winged Finch and Alpine Accentor. Even more disappointing was the total absence of sandgrouse, while Tawny Eagle, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Houbara Bustard and Lesser Crested Tern were more expected dip-outs. However, we got all the other specialities, and even managed to find rarities such as Barbary Falcon, Roseate Tern, Great Black-backed Gull and Richard’s Pipit . The best bird of the trip was the Roseate Tern, with Great Bustard, African Marsh Owl, Thick-billed Lark, (African) Desert Warbler, (Western) Scrub Warbler and Desert Sparrow, all making a good supporting cast. Exactly 200 species were seen.

Two weeks was enough time to cover our rather traditional itinerary, and we actually had some time left which allowed us to visit the southern areas twice. Note, however, that we didn’t spend time doing anything else than birding, and we had no delaying problems with our car.

General Information

Car and car hire

At Karbid Cars we hired a Peugeot 205 with 5 doors for almost 8000 Dirhams, fully insured. Because the people at the company had lost some papers we had to drive to Agadir and wait for several hours to get the car. Andreas Hagerman deposited his Yellow Assurance card  with a promise to get it back upon returning the car.

We drove 4677 km and had no problems, although one of the days the engine kept going out when using the clutch.


Travelling on a low budget we didn’t really meet the best Moroccan cuisine. The traditional cous-cous and the like were generally boring. In Midelt we visited a vegetarian restaurant apparently featuring in Lonely Planet. Here we had one of the best meals of the trip consisting of various vegetables and fruits.

En route it is always possible to buy good oranges and bananas. Several days we ate bread, oranges and bananas and drank water and coke before eating a more proper meal in the evening. It could be hard to find real restaurants and we had to visit McDonalds three times (in Agadir and Kenitra).


There are great differences between the south and the north concerning the locals attitude towards tourists. In the south the people were generally friendly and didn’t charge money all the time. In the north and in the more tourist-filled areas like Agadir some people were sometimes very annoying, as some of the notes may indicate.

We were stopped by the police once for crossing a line when we shouldn’t. The policeman was about to write us a 400 Dirhams fine, but he let us go because we were so nice.

There was heavy UN-activity south of Goulimine but only a few check-points and no problems whatsoever.

Day by day

The following is more or less a copy of our notebooks with some comments on unusual or importent issues. A full species list with bird names in English, Latin and Danish is at the end of the report.

Day 1, January 3:

Agadir airport (12.10-13.00) - 50% sun, 22°, 2-3 m/s:

Kestrel 1, Rock Dove 3, Common Bulbul 5, Swallow 1, Stonechat 1 male, Sardinian Warbler 2, Common Chiffchaff 2.

Arrived around midday. Car hire very complicated indeed, took several frustrating hours.

Oued Massa (17.00-18.10) - 100% sun, 24°, 2-3 m/s:

Little Egret 6, Marbled Duck 30+, Osprey 1, Black-tailed Godwitt +, Eurasian Curlew +, Great Spotted Cuckoo 1, Little Owl 1.

Searched for a hotel around Massa but failed and had to sleep in the car. Some youngsters approached us twice during the evening, trying hard for us to sleep in their house.

Day 2 (January 4):

Oued Massa (02.45-14.30) - 100% sun, 10-24°, 2-4 m/s E:

Balearic Shearwater 11, Gannet 2, Cattle Egret 4, Little Egret 10+, Glossy Ibis 27, Spoonbill 1, Greater Flamingo 5, Marbled Duck 120+, Long-legged Buzzard 1, Osprey 3, Lanner 2 (pair), Crane 6, Stone Curlew 1 calling, Arctic Skua 6, Great Skua 3, Audouin's Gull 45, Common Tern 2, Little Swift 5, Brown-throated Sand Martin 4, Crag Martin 100+, Common Bulbul 25, Moussier's Redstart 1, Cetti's Warbler +, Zitting Cisticola +, Reed Warbler 3, Black-headed Bush Shrike 3.

Oued Massa - Goulimine (14.30-16.30) - 100% sun, 24°:

White Stork 7, Black Kite 1, Desert Lark sp. 20, Crested Lark 1, Thekla Lark 2, Crested/Thekla Lark 15, Moussier's Redstart 4, Desert Wheatear 3, Red-rumped Wheatear 6, House Bunting 4.

Oued Seyad (8 km south of Goulimine) (17.00-18.00) - 100% sun, 20°:

White Stork 5, Black Kite 2, Red Kite 1, Kestrel 1, Falcon sp. 1, Common Moorhen 6, Green Sandpiper 2, Common Snipe 1, Great Spotted Cuckoo 1 2cy, Hoopoe 1, Short-toed Lark sp. 10, Meadow Pipit 2, White Wagtail 5, Bluethroat 1, Black Redstart 2, Moussier's Redstart 3, Stonechat 6, Spectacled Warbler 1 male, Sardinian Warbler 7, Common Chiffchaff 45, Southern Grey Shrike 3, Linnet 7.

No sign of the much sought-after (Western) Scrub Warbler.

Day 3 (January 5):

Tan Tan 100 (6.55-10.20) - 30% sun, 15-20°, 4-6 m/s E:

Cream-coloured Courser 14, Bar-tailed Desert Lark 8, Desert Lark 1, Hoopoe Lark 8, Thick-billed Lark 2, Lesser Short-toed Lark 13, Short-toed Lark 2, Crested/Thekla Lark 2, Thekla Lark 2, Temminck's Horned Lark 15, White Wagtail 1, Desert Wheatear 5, Red-rumped Wheatear 2, Trumpeter Finch 3.

The famous Tan Tan 100

Tan Tan 100 - Tan Tan 60 - Tan Tan 96 (10.20-12.40) - sandstorm 10% sun, 20°, 5-10 m/s E:

Green Sandpiper 1, Rock Dove 2, Lesser/Short-toed Lark sp. 10, Crested/Thekla Lark 2, White Wagtail 4, Moussier's Redstart 2, Stonechat 1, Desert Wheatear 5, Red-rumped Wheatear 15, Spectacled Warbler 2, Sardinian Warbler 4, Common Chiffchaff 6, Spanish Sparrow 31, Trumpeter Finch 9.

Tan Tan 96 (12.40-12.55) - sandstorm 10% sun, 20°, 10 m/s E:

Bar-tailed/Desert Lark sp. 10, Thick-billed Lark 21, Lesser/Short-toed Lark 14 sp., Trumpeter Finch 1.

One of 21 Thick-billed 
  Larks at Tan Tan 96!

Goulimine - 30 km N of Goulimine (road N12) (15.15-16.40) - 80% sun, 22°, 8 m/s E:

Crag Martin 12, Crested Lark 1, Thekla Lark 3, Moussier's Redstart 3, Black Wheatear 1, Sardinian Warbler 1, Common Chiffchaff 1, Southern Grey Shrike 1, Magpie 9, Spanish Sparrow 4, Chaffinch 5, Rock Bunting 8.

Day 4 (January 6):

Oued Sous, 7 km W of Taroudannt (8.30-9.15) - 75% sun, 16°, 6-7 m/s E:

Little Egret 3, Hoopoe 1, Rock Dove 18, Collared Dove 2, Meadow Pipit 1, Yellow Wagtail 300+, White Wagtail 150+, Common Bulbul 5, Moussier's Redstart  2, Song Thrush 2, Blackcap 10, Sardinian Warbler 3, Common Chiffchaff 6, Southern Grey Shrike 2, Spanish Sparrow 3, Cirl Bunting 1 male.

At least some of the yellow wagtails were quite similar to thunbergi but with a different and more feldegg-like call (cinereocapilla).

Taroudannt - Igoudar (9.15-11.15) - 25% sun, 18°, 5-6 m/s E:

Little Egret 1, White Stork 41, Black-winged Kite 1, Kestrel 1, Falcon sp. 2 (probably lanners), Rock Dove 45, Wood Pigeon  60, Common Bulbul 8, Swallow 7, Crested/Thekla Lark 11, Yellow Wagtail 2, Moussier's Redstart  2, Stonechat 6, Sardinian Warbler 4, Southern Grey Shrike 4, House Sparrow 110, Greenfinch 3, Goldfinch 3, Cirl Bunting 2 (pair).

Igoudar (11.15-11.50) - 25% sun, 18°, 5-6 m/s E:

Black-winged Kite 1, Wood Pigeon 3, Crag Martin 2, Common Bulbul 5, Cirl Bunting 1 male.

Igoudar - Ouarzazate (11.50-16.35) - 50% sun, 16-18°, 3-5 m/s E:

White Stork 45, Desert Lark 11, Thick-billed Lark 1 (fly-over), Crested/Thekla Lark 16, Temminck's Horned Lark 3, Red-rumped Wheatear 2, Black Wheatear 18, White-crowned Black Wheatear 3, Blue Rock Thrush 1, Common Chiffchaff 6, Southern Grey Shrike 3.

Temminck's Horned Lark

10 km E of Ouarzazate (16.35-17.10) - 50% sun, 16°, 2-3 m/s E:

Black Redstart 2, Mourning Wheatear 1 2cy male, White-crowned Black Wheatear 4.

Day 5 (January 7):

Tagdilt Track (7.00-9.45) - 0% sun, 2-3°, 5-7 m/s E:

Desert Lark 4, Crested/Thekla Lark 3 sing, Meadow Pipit 1, Red-rumped Wheatear 3.

Tagdilt Track was a big dissapointment and very cold!

74 km W of Erfoud  (11.10-11.20) - 0% sun, 10, 1-2 m/s E:

Bonelli's Eagle 2 ad., Kestrel sp. 1, Desert Lark 2.

74 km W of Erfoud - 38 km W of Erfoud (11.20-12.05) - 75% sun, 10-18°, 1-2 m/s E:

Kestrel 1, Lesser/Short-toed Lark sp. 9, White Wagtail 1, White-crowned Black Wheatear 13, Blue Rock Thrush 1, Southern Grey Shrike 1.

38 km W of Erfoud (12.05-12.30) - 100% sun, 19°, 1-2 m/s E:

Bar-tailed Desert Lark 1, Desert Lark 6, Crested/Thekla Lark 1, Mourning Wheatear 1 2cy male, Desert Wheatear 1 male, White-crowned Black Wheatear 2, Moussier's Redstart 1 female.

Mourning Wheatear

38 km W of Erfoud - 8 km W of Erfoud (12.30-13.05) - 100% sun, 21°, 1-2 m/s E:

Kestrel 1, Collared Dove 2,  Rock Dove 15, Bar-tailed Desert Lark 1, Desert Lark 3, Desert Wheatear 1, White-crowned Black Wheatear 9, House Sparrow 30.

8 km W of Erfoud (13.05-14.30) - 100% sun, 22°, 1-2 m/s E:

Desert Lark 2, Crested/Thekla Lark 2, White-crowned Black Wheatear 2, Tristram's Warbler 6, Sardinian Warbler 2, Common Chiffchaff 5, Moussier's Redstart 1 male.

Small oasis village just N of Merzouga (16.30-18.00) - 100% sun, 10-18°, 2-3 m/s E:

Kestrel 1, Hoopoe Lark 1, White-crowned Black Wheatear 2, Tristram's Warbler 1, Common Chiffchaff 2, Fulvous Babbler 5, House Sparrow 30.

Fulvous Babbler in the small oasis village just N of Merzouga

We insisted on doing the drive from Erfoud to Merzouga in our Peugeot 205, but faced with sudden impenetrable sand dunes covering the road we didn’t know what to do. A local guy appeared out of nowhere and convinced us that we couldn’t find the village our selves and that he knew an ”alternative route” through the desert. Because he had no more fuel on his scooter he had to sit in our car – and furthermore – he had to drive it, since an experienced driver was needed for driving through the sometimes very sandy tracks. After half an hour of Paris-Dakar-like driving with 5 people and lots of gear in the small car we felt lucky to be alive when we arrived in the village beautifully situated on the edge of the enormous sand dunes. We had agreed on paying our driver 80 Dirhams, but we felt cheated anyhow and didn’t want to stay in his proposed hotel. Auberge Kasbah des Dunes was perfectly okay, and the owner was nice, although he persuaded us to hire a 4-wheeler (”quatre-quatre”) for a day just to search in vain for Houbara Bustard (simply called ”houbara”, said vith a french accent).

The smashing scenery of Merzouga and its surroundings is definitely worth more than just a ’hit and run’-maneuvre to get the Desert Sparrow. We liked the tranquility of the place and stayed two nights and were awarded with some of the best birds of the trip.

Day 6 (January 8):

Lake Merzouga (7.40-10.15) - 100% sun, 5-18°, 1-3 m/s E:

Long-legged Buzzard 1, Hoopoe Lark 4, Bar-tailed Desert Lark 17, Desert Lark 3, Thick-billed Lark 2, Crested Lark 1, Crested/Thekla Lark 2, Richard's Pipit 1, Desert Wheatear 4, White-crowned Black Wheatear 5, Spectacled/Tristram's Warbler 1, Spectacled Warbler 5, (African) Desert Warbler 1, Southern Grey Shrike 1, Brown-necked Raven 4, Trumpeter Finch 20.

The (African) Desert Warbler was associating with 8 Bar-tailed Desert Larks, feeding on the ground just like the larks. The Richard’s Pipit was on show for 30 minutes before we left it.

Auberge Erg-Chebbi - 100% sun, 20°, 1-3 m/s E:

Temminck's Horned Lark 2, White-crowned Black Wheatear 1, Southern Grey Shrike 1 (elegans), House Sparrow 60, Desert Sparrow 20.

Desert Sparrow

Etoile du Sud - 100% sun, 20°, 1-3 m/s E:

Hoopoe Lark 2, Bar-tailed Desert Lark 1, White-crowned Black Wheatear 1, Brown-necked Raven 8, Desert Sparrow 2, Trumpeter Finch 5.

Small oasis village N of Merzouga (12.40-17.45) - 100% sun, 20°, 1-3 m/s E:

Long-legged Buzzard 1, Barbary Falcon 1 ad. male, Rock Dove 4, Laughing Dove 7, Hoopoe Lark 1, Bar-tailed Desert Lark 1, Swallow 1, White Wagtail 8, Black Redstart 1, Stonechat 1, White-crowned Black Wheatear 7, Blackbird 5, Tristram's Warbler 5, Spectacled Warbler 1, Sardinian Warbler 5, Common Chiffchaff 14, Fulvous Babbler 4, House Sparrow 100+, House Bunting 3.

Looking for Tristram's Warbler

The falcon appeared during our evening birding session performed from the roof of the hotel (a cave-like building made of clay). It landed in a palm tree at the edge of the town and we raced out by car to get better looks. Satisfying views were obtained before it flew off.

Day 7 (January 9):

Jeep ride and birding around Erg Chebbi (7.05-14.00) - 100% sun, 6-20°, 1-3 m/s E:

Possible Barbary Falcon 1 ad., Hoopoe Lark 4, Bar-tailed Desert Lark 2, Desert Lark 3, Crested Lark 1, Desert Wheatear 1, White-crowned Black Wheatear 7, Blue Rock Thrush 1, Tristram's Warbler 6, Brown-necked Raven 10, House Sparrow 300+, Desert Sparrow 5.

Near the Algerian border in search for Houbara Bustard

We hired a Land Rover to drive us around the Erg Chebbi (the big sand ’mountain’) and search for our dream bird, Houbara Bustard, near the Algerian border. Sadly, our driver and guide were totally worthless and not very well spoken either. As our hopes were low down we suddenly met a rich saudi-arab looking man with binoculars and a mobile phone. He spoke no french so had to communicate through our doubtfull guide. Apparently he knew a lot about the Houbara in the area, and he promised to show us around. We followed his high-tech jeep into some really good looking habitat, which raised our spirits markedly. The arab actually showed us foot-prints from the bustard, but we didn’t get it this time. We were so close that we could almost smell the bird… There are very few bustards left, but the arab claimed to have seen it recently, and the foot-prints certainly looked convincing. If you go for the bustard a good guide is probably essential.

Merzouga - Erfoud - Midelt (14.10-19.05) - 100% sun, 18-10°, 1-3 m/s E:

Pintail 3, Common Moorhen 1, Desert Lark 2, Crested/Thekla Lark 6, Crag Martin 8, White Wagtail 7, Common Bulbul 6, Stonechat 4, Moussier's Redstart 2, White-crowned Black Wheatear 26, Desert Wheatear 1, Blue Rock Thrush 4, Blackbird 2, Mourning Wheatear 1 2cy female, Sardinian Warbler 3, Spectacled Warbler 1, Common Chiffchaff 2, Southern Grey Shrike 2, Trumpeter Finch 11.

We feared the drive out of Merzouga, but it was actually very easy and we realised that we had indeed been cheated on the way in. Just follow the telegraph poles.

Day 8 (January 10):

Zeida (06.00-07.30): Dupont’s Lark 1 or 2 singing.

Zeida – Forêt de Cedres: Raven 10, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Rock Sparrow 1, Ruddy Shelduck 92 (on alpine meadow near the road).

Forêt de Cedres (09.00-10.00): Firecrest 2, Short-toed Treecreeper 4, Levaillent’s Green Woodpecker 1 male.

Dayet Aouo (10.55-11.15): Rock Sparrow 15, Levaillent’s Green Woodpecker 1 female, Ring Ouzel 4, Cirl Bunting 1.

Dayet Aouo – Merja Zerga: Black-shouldered kite 3, Hen Harrier 2, Cattle Egret 250.

Merja Zerga (15.00-18.00): Greater Flamingo 65, Spoonbill 16, Osprey 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Peregrine 1, Avocet 15, Ringed Plover 200, Grey Plover 200, Dunlin 3000, Little Stint 200, Redshank 150, Greenshank 100,  Black-tailed Godwitt 300, Curlew 50, Whimbrel 1, wader sp 10000, Black-headed Gull 30, Slender-billed Gull 1, African Marsh Owl 15 (came out from their Camping site day roost at 17.36-17.52), Meadow Pipit 50, Grey Wagtail 1, Stonechat 6.

At the birders pub we met the friendly Hassan. We stayed at his place over night for the price of a hotel stay. He had no water or electricity in his modest house and the floor on which we tried to sleep was road hard. Anyway it felt good to support the rare local bird enthusiast. Perhaps he will be able to raise a bird observatory some day. In the morning he served strong coffee with a piece of bread and showed us some old photos of Slender-billed Curlew and many fancy stickers from various European birding clubs.

Apparantly Hassan once had a wife and used to study chemistry. Now he is divorced, devoting his life to the birds. We had heard many stories about people claiming to be the true Hassan, but perhaps since the Slender-billed Curlews are gone, that problem doesn’t exist anymore.

If you want to meet Hassan you should just turn up in one of the pubs or restaurants with your binoculars, then he will appear sooner or later..

Day 9 (January 11):

Merja Zerga (07.30-12.15) (two different watch points): Grey Heron 80, Greater Flamingo 100, Teal 2500, Pintail 1000, Mallard 150, Shoveler 500, Marbled Duck 2, Marsh Harrier 8, Montague’s Harrier 1 (1st-winter),  Peregrine 2, Coot 2000, Kentish Plover 1,  Avocet 1200, Black-winged Stilt 30, Grey Plover 200, Golden Plover 30, Black-tailed Godwitt 500, Bar-tailed Godwitt 400, Green Sandpiper 2, Ruff 4, Common Snipe 25, Curlew 100, Wader sp 5000, Slender-billed Gull 15, Sandwich Tern 40, Caspian Tern 4, Whiskered Tern 1, Kingfisher 1, Skylark 10,  Yellow Wagtail 200, Great Spotted Cuckoo 1, Reed Bunting 1, Corn Bunting 5.

At the site for Slender-billed Curlew a crowd of children harassed us, and some kind of nature guide tried to charge money from us but we jumped into the car and drove on. The next site was more adjacant, so not as crowded. A guide desperately wanted to show us the birds and we just couldn’t get rid of him despite telling him to go away several times. I explicitly explained to him twice that he would get no money from us. When we left the area he had been following us for about 1,5 hours. At last one of us couldn’t bare leaving him empty-handed and gave him 20 Dirhams.

Merja Zerga – Oued Loukos (12.15-13.10): Black-shouldered Kite 1, Jackdaw 9.

Oued Loukos (13.10-14.15): Glossy Ibis 50, Squacco Heron 5, Coot 30, Crested Coot 1305, Purple Swamp Hen 2, Kentish Plover 20, Little Ringed Plover 5, Lapwing 50, Black-winged Stilt 50, Spotted Redshank 5, Marsh Sandpiper 2, Ruff 180, Yellow-legged Gull 40, Lesser Black-backed Gull 30, Caspian Tern 3, Whiskered Tern 2, Kingfisher 1, Yellow Wagtail 100 (iberiae).

A boy was shooting at the Crested Coots with a home-made weapon. Chocked as we were, we considered disarming him, but eventually we binned the idea. Perhaps pathetically, I told him that he should save the birds, not kill them…

Oued Loukos – Assilah (14.20-15.20): Caspian Tern 1, Mediterranean Gull 1 ad.

Assilah (15.20-15.50): Common Crane 100, Great Bustard 12, Calandra Lark 30, Black-shouldered Kite 1, Long-legged Buzzard 1.

Assilah Beach (16.10-16.45): Gannet 10, Black-souldered Kite 1, Black-headed Gull 40, Razorbill 1.

Down town Kenitra, (night): Barn Owl 1 (fly-over).

Day 10 (January 12):

Sidi Bettache forest (7.00-8.25) - 100% sun, 12°, 1-3 m/s E:

Double-spurred Francolin 5, Marsh Harrier 1, possible Bonelli's Eagle 1, Woodcock 1, Rock Dove 3, Stock Dove 81 (migrating through), Wood Pigeon 290, Woodlark 6, Crested Lark 2, White Wagtail 1, Common Bulbul 3, Robin 20, Stonechat 1, Blackbird 7, Mistle Thrush 1, Sardinian Warbler 18, Common Chiffchaff 12, Great Tit 1, Black-headed Bush Shrike 2, Starling sp. 34, Chaffinch 4, Serin 5, Greenfinch 3, Goldfinch 2, Linnet 7.

Sidi Bettache forest - Sidi Bettache (8.25-9.35) - 100% sun, 15°, 1-3 m/s E:

Cattle Egret 120, White Stork 2, Marsh Harrier 1, Long-legged Buzzard 2, Golden Plover 200, Greenshank 3, Stock Dove 17, Woodlark 4, Crested Lark 11, Crested/Thekla Lark 10, White Wagtail 3, Robin 7, Sardinian Warbler 7, Common Chiffchaff 7, Blue Tit 2, Southern Grey Shrike 1, Magpie 1, Raven 8, Linnet 10, Corn Bunting 2.

Sidi Bettache - Marrakech (9.35-15.00) - 100% sun, 17°, 1-3 m/s E:

Cattle Egret 150+, Little Egret 1, White Stork 25, Sparrowhawk 1, Long-legged Buzzard 2, Kestrel 3, Stone Curlew 75+, Golden Plover 200, Great Spotted Cuckoo 1, Crested/Thekla Lark 11, Swallow 1, White Wagtail 5, Common Bulbul 3, Black Redstart 1, Stonechat 17, Blackbird 5, Goldfinch 50.

Marrakech - Oukaimeden (15.00-16.15) - 0% sun, 15-5°, 1-3 m/s E:

Cattle Egret 8, Wood Pigeon 2, Crag Martin 13, Common Bulbul 3, Red-billed Chough 65, House Sparrow 35+.

Oukaimeden (16.15-18.15) - 10% sun, 5°, 1-3 m/s E:

Shore Lark 250, Barbary Partridge 4, White Wagtail 2, Black Redstart 1, Black Wheatear 1, Blackbird 1, Mistle Thrush 1, Alpine Chough 350+, Red-billed Chough 13, Raven 4.

Disappointed with no Crimson-winged Finches or Alpine Accentors we drove back to Marrakech to stay overnight. Traffic was terrible, so try to avoid driving through the medina of Marrakech… stay out of Marrakech. After almost an hour of exhausting driving around in the centre of the town and a few near-death experiences as well we finally found a parking lot. That said, experiencing Marrakech by night was probably the cultural highlight of the trip.

Day 11 (January 13):

Agadir - Tamri (9.00-10.30) - 100% sun, 20°, 1-3 m/s E:

Kestrel 1, Arctic Skua 4, Mediterranean Gull 1 2cy., Audouin's Gull 39, Yellow-legged Gull 460, Sandwich Tern 41, Laughing Dove 2, Collared Dove 6, Little Swift 4, Crag Martin 10, Swallow 4, Crested/Thekla Lark 6, Common Bulbul 12, Moussier's Redstart 3, Stonechat 9, Blue Rock Thrush 1, Cetti's Warbler 2, Sardinian Warbler  4, Black-headed Bush Shrike 1, Southern Grey Shrike 1.

Tamri and surroundings (10.30-13.30) - 100% sun, 24°, 2-4 m/s SE:

Cormorant 5, Little Egret 8, Bald Ibis 21 7 km N of Tamri, Barbary Partridge 3, Common Sandpiper 1, Audouin's Gull 23, Lesser Black-backed Gull 800, Yellow-legged Gull 30, Razorbill 1, Little Owl 1, Crested/Thekla Lark 5, Crested Lark 1, Meadow Pipit 1, White Wagtail 18, Common Bulbul 6, Moussier's Redstart 8, Stonechat 6, Black Wheatear 1, Blue Rock Thrush 1, Sardinian Warbler 35, Spectacled Warbler 2, Blackcap 2, Southern Grey Shrike 1, Raven 3, Greenfinch 2.

Cap Rhir (14.20-15.35) - 100% sun, 24°, 2-4 m/s SE:

Northern Gannet 115 N, possible Balearic Shearwater 16 N, Barbary Partridge 1, Lesser Black-backed Gull 500, Yellow-legged Gull +, Sandwich Tern 20+, Razorbill 1 N, Crested Lark 5, Crested/Thekla Lark 3, Moussier's Redstart 6, Black Wheatear 2, Sardinian Warbler 8, Blackcap 1, Common Chiffchaff 3, Raven 2, Greenfinch 2, Linnet 6, House Bunting 2.

Oued Sous and the Royal Palace (16.55-19.15): Wader sp 1000, Black-headed Gull 1000, Gull-billed Tern 1, Mediterranean Gull 15, Lesser Black-backed Gull/Yellow-legged Gull 2000, Red-necked Nightjar 1, Red-throated Pipit 1.

The nightjar appeared briefly twice but was only seen by three of us. One must be very alert to see it in the light from the lamps surrounding the Palace.

Day 12 (January 14):

Oued Sous (07.30-08.55): Common Crane 1, Eurasian Wigeon 9, Sanderling 20, Knot 2, Common Gull 2 (1st-winter + ad), Water Pipit 1, Moroccan White Wagtail 1.

Moroccan White Wagtail

This locality looks good for rare waders and gulls.

Oued Massa (11.30-14.30): Red-rumped Swallow 2, Brown-throated Sand Martin 4, Crag Martin 80, Black-crowned Bush-shrike 2, Great Spotted Cuckoo 1, Hobby 1, Common Crane 37, Greylag Goose 2.

Our schedule allowed us to drive south once again to try and recover (Western) Scrub Warbler and possibly Tawny Eagle.

Goulemine (15 km S) (17.15-18.00): Great Spotted Cuckoo 1, Barbary Partridge 3, Spanish Sparrow 120.

Day 13 (January 15):

Goulemine (15 km S) 08.00-08.45: Barbary Partridge 1, Fulvous Babbler 1, (Western) Scrub Warbler 2.

Scrub Warbler one of two!

Finally! Leaving Morocco without this distinctive bird would have been a disaster. Feel free to send an e-mail if you want the GPS coordinates for the exact locality.

34-60 km south of Goulemine (the green fields) (09.30-13.00): Northern Wheatear 2, Cream-coloured Courser 38, Thick-billed Lark 30, Lesser Short-toed Lark 500, Short-toed Lark 5, Hoopoe Lark 3, Desert Lark 1, Bar-tailed Desert Lark 5, Temminck’s Horned lark 3, Lanner Falcon 1, Long-legged Buzzard 4, dark raptor sp 1 (very distant, Black Kite?).

The green fields (about 37 km south of G) were filled with larks, wheatears and Cream-coloured Coursers. Much better than the freezing cold and almost bird-empty Tagdilt Track.

Oued Sous (15.45-19.30): Knot 6, Common Gull 4, Mediterranean Gull 16.

In a second attempt for Red-necked Nightjar a rude and somewhat confused guard told us (in the local language) to leave. We tried to explain that we were birdwatching, which he did not understand since it was completely dark. Poul needed the nightjar so we didn’t leave untill the guard actually started throwing small rocks at us.

Day 14 (January 16):

Agadir Harbour (07.55-09.40): Manx Shearwater 9, Balearic Shearwater 40, Arctic Skua 1, Great Black-backed Gull 1 (1st-winter), Razorbill 8.

Tamri (11.20-15.00): Roseate Tern 1 adult, fouraging in the river mouth. Bald Ibis 7, Barbary Partridge 3, Blue Rock Thrush 1,  Spectacled Warbler 2. After we had been watching the Roseate Tern a young lad approached us babbling about Bald Ibis. After so many times of polightly saying "non" and turning away, and still high on adrenalin after the excitement of the tern, I pushed him away.

Roseate Tern

Agadir Harbour (15.30-17.00): Gannet 25, Storm Petrel 1, Balearic Shearwater 10, Common Gull 1, Turnstone 2.

Don’t bring photografic equipment when visiting the harbour. Several times we had to explain to the guards that we were just enjoying the birds – which didn’t make sense to them. I told one of them ”on cherche les oiseaux” (we are searching for birds), and he replied ”aah, pour les chasser?” (oh I see, to hunt them?).

Hotel Sud Voyages, Agadir, (17.10-17.57): Plain Swift 2, flying to roost in the big palm tree, Pallid Swifts 10, Little Swift 2-3.

Day 15 (January 17):

Agadir: Moroccan White Wagtail 1, at the Mariane super market parking lot.

Flight out of Agadir. When we returned the car the deposited Yellow Assurance card was gone, of course. After some quarreling the chief of the bureau showed up and handed it over.

Descriptions of the Roseate Tern, Richard’s Pipit, Barbary Falcon, Great Black-backed Gull, Manx Shearwaters, and Plain Swifts, have all been sent to the Moroccan Rarity Committe.

Species List

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) Lille Lappedykker

Manx Shearwater(Puffinus puffinus) Almindelig Skråpe

Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus) Balearerskråpe

Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) Lille Stormsvale

Gannet (Morus bassanus) Sule

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) Skarv

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) Tophejre

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) Kohejre

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) Silkehejre

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) Fiskehejre

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) Hvid Stork

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) Sort Ibis

Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) Eremitibis

Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) Skestork

Greater Flamingo(Phoenicopterus ruber) Europæisk Flamingo

Greylag Goose(Anser anser) Grågås

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna) ferruginea Rustand

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) Gravand

Wigeon (Anas penelope) Pibeand

Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) Krikand

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) Gråand

Pintail (Anas acuta) Spidsand

Shoveler (Anas clypeata) Skeand

Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris) Marmorand

Pochard (Aythya ferina) Taffeland

Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus) Blå Glente

Black Kite(Milvus migrans) Sort Glente

Red Kite(Milvus milvus) Rød Glente

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) Rørhøg

Hen Harrier(Circus cyaneus) Blå Kærhøg

Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus) Hedehøg

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) Spurvehøg

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus) Ørnevåge

Bonelli's Eagle(Hieraaetus fasciatus) Høgeørn

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) Fiskeørn

Kestrel(Falco tinnunculus) Tårnfalk

Hobby (Falco subbuteo) Lærkefalk

Lanner (Falco biarmicus) Lannerfalk

Peregrine(Falco peregrinus) Vandrefalk

Barbary Falcon(Falco pelegrinoides) Berberfalk

Barbary Partridge(Alectoris barbara) Berberhøne

Double-spurred Francolin (Francolinus bicalcaratus) Stribet Frankolin

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) Grønbenet Rørhøne

Purple Swamp-hen (Porphyrio porphyrio) Sultanhøne

Coot (Fulica atra) Blishøne

Crested Coot (Fulica cristata) Kamblishøne

Crane (Grus grus) Trane

Great Bustard (Otis tarda) Stortrappe

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) Strandskade

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) Stylteløber

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) Klyde

Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) Triel

Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor) Ørkenløber

Little Ringed Plover(Charadrius dubius) Lille Præstekrave

Ringed Plover(Charadrius hiaticula) Stor Præstekrave

Kentish Plover(Charadrius alexandrinus) Hvidbrystet Præstekrave

Golden Plover(Pluvialis apricaria) Hjejle

Grey Plover(Pluvialis squatarola) Strandhjejle

Lapwing(Vanellus vanellus) Vibe

Knot (Calidris canutus) Islandsk Ryle

Sanderling(Calidris alba) Sandløber

Little Stint (Calidris minuta) Dværgryle

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) Almindelig Ryle

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) Brushane

Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) Dobbeltbekkasin

Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) Skovsneppe

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) Stor Kobbersneppe

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) Lille Kobbersneppe

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) Småspove

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) Storspove

Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus) Sortklire

Redshank (Tringa tetanus) Rødben

Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) Damklire

Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) Hvidklire

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) Svaleklire

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) Tinksmed

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) Mudderklire

Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) Stenvender

Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) Almindelig Kjove

Great Skua (Catharacta skua) Storkjove

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus) Sorthovedet Måge

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) Hættemåge

Slender-billed Gull(Larus genei) Tyndnæbbet Måge

Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii) Audouin's Måge

Common Gull (Larus canus) Stormmåge

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) Sildemåge

Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) Middelhavsmåge

Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) Svartbag

Gull-billed Tern (Sterna nilotica) Sandterne

Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia) Rovterne

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis) Splitterne

Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) Rosenterne

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) Fjordterne

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus) Hvidskægget Terne

Razorbill (Alca torda) Alk

Rock Dove (Columba livia) Klippedue

Stock Dove (Columba oenas) Huldue

Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) Ringdue

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) Tyrkerdue

Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis) Palmedue

Great Spotted (Cuckoo Clamator glandarius) Skadegøg

Barn Owl (Tyto alba) Slørugle

Little Owl (Athene noctua) Kirkeugle

Marsh Owl (Asio capensis) Kapugle

Red-necked Nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis) Rødhalset Natravn

Plain Swift (Apus unicolor) Ensfarvet Sejler

Pallid Swift(Apus pallidus) Gråsejler

Little Swift (Apus affinis) Lille Sejler

Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) Isfugl

Hoopoe (Upupa epops) Hærfugl

Levaillant's Green Woodpecker (Picus vaillantii) Berbergrønspætte

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) Stor Flagspætte

Bar-tailed Desert Lark (Ammomanes cincturus) Lille Ørkenlærke

Desert Lark(Ammomanes deserti) Ørkenlærke

Hoopoe Lark(Alaemon alaudipes) Hærfuglelærke

Dupont's Lark (Chersophilus duponti) Duponts Lærke

Thick-billed Lark (Ramphocoris clotbey) Tyknæbbet Lærke

Calandra Lark(Melanocorypha calandra) Kalanderlærke

Short-toed Lark(Calandrella brachydactyla) Korttået Lærke

Lesser Short-toed Lark(Calandrella rufescens) Dværglærke

Crested Lark(Galerida cristata) Toplærke

Thekla Lark(Galerida theklae) Theklalærke

Woodlark(Lullula arborea) Hedelærke

Skylark(Alauda arvensis) Sanglærke

Shore Lark (Eremophila alpestris) Bjerglærke

Temminck's Horned Lark (Eremophila bilopha) Temmincks Bjerglærke

Brown-throated Sand Martin (Riparia paludicola) Brunstrubet Digesvale

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) Digesvale

Crag Martin(Ptyonoprogne rupestris) Klippesvale

Swallow (Hirundo rustica) Landsvale

Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica) Rødrygget Svale

House Martin (Delichon urbica) Bysvale

Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi) Storpiber

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) Engpiber

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus) Rødstrubet Piber

Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta) Bjergpiber

Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) Gul Vipstjert

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) Bjergvipsjert

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) Hvid Vipstjert

Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus) Vestlig Bulbul

Robin (Erithacus rubecula) Rødhals

Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) Blåhals

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) Husrødstjert

Moussier's Redstart (Phoenicurus moussieri) Diademrødstjert

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) Sortstrubet Bynkefugl

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) Stenpikker

Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti) Ørkenstenpikker

Red-rumped Wheatear (Oenanthe moesta) Berberstenpikker

Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens) Klippestenpikker

White-crowned Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucopyga) Hvidkronet Stenpikker

Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura) Sørgestenpikker

Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius) Blådrossel

Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) Ringdrossel

Blackbird (Turdus merula) Solsort

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) Sangdrossel

Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) Misteldrossel

Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti) Cettisanger

Fan-tailed Warbler (Cisticola juncidis) Cistussanger

Scrub Warbler (Scotocerca inquieta) Kratsanger

Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) Rørsanger

Tristram's Warbler (Sylvia deserticola) Berbersanger

Spectacled Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata) Brillesanger

Sardinian Warbler(Sylvia melanocephala) Sorthovedet Sanger

Desert Warbler(Sylvia nana) Ørkensanger

Blackcap(Sylvia atricapilla) Munk

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) Gransanger

Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus) Rødtoppet Fuglekonge

Fulvous Babbler (Turdoides fulvus) Gulbrun Larmdrossel

Coal Tit (Parus ater) Sortmejse

Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) Blåmejse

Great Tit (Parus major) Musvit

Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) Spætmejse

Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla) Korttået Træløber

Black-headed Bush Shrike (Tchagra senegala) Sortbrynet Kratskade

Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis) Sydlig Stor Tornskade

Magpie (Pica pica) Husskade

Alpine Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus) Alpeallike

Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) Alpekrage

Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) Allike

Brown-necked Raven (Corvus ruficollis) Ørkenravn

Raven (Corvus corax) Ravn

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) Stær

Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor) Ensfarvet Stær

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Gråspurv

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis) Spansk Spurv

Desert Sparrow (Passer simplex) Ørkenspurv

Rock Sparrow (Petronia petronia) Stenpurv

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) Bogfinke

Serin (Serinus serinus) Gulirisk

Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris) Grønirisk

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Stillits

Siskin (Carduelis spinus) Grønsisken

Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) Tornirisk

Trumpeter Finch (Bucanetes) githagineus Ørkendompap

Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus) Gærdeværling

Rock Bunting(Emberiza cia) Klippeværling

House Bunting (Emberiza striolata) Stribet Værling

Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) Rørspurv

Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra) Bomlærke

Total of 200 species.