Saturday, 2 August 2008

Er-achidia - Ouarzazate April 21st 2008

We pack and leave fairly swiftly, though not before we all opt to use the more western of the two toilets available, and thank our lucky stars the carbon monoxide that the boiler was undoubtedly kicking out hadn't killed us during the night !
Heading back towards Quarzazate we stop at 23KM marker and an interesting looking wadi (to be fair, most of them look interesting, we just don't have time to check them all!) Here we see the usual suspects including more Thick-billed Larks and note 250 Common Swift pushing northwards. Its here that I am found berating and chasing down a Crested Lark with a freshly caught Hawkmoth, which to my amazement it drops and scarpers! I retrieve the broken body of my first Striped Hawkmoth! Further on and another wadi and more larks, where Rob gets down and personal with a pair of Thick-billeds, and whilst bush bashing we come across a pair of Spectacled Warbler.

TBL (Rob Lee)

Our blank run seems to be continuing, until crossing the road , to the other side of the wadi a small, dark, long tailed bird flits between bushes and eventually gives itself up easily as Scrub Warbler and is enticed in even closer, oh to have a DSLR with a lens!
Continuing eastwards we stop briefly at Goulmima to admire the traditional buildings (from afar!) and re-acquaint ourselves with a couple more Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters.
Another stop at the shingley river Oued M'Gotha gets us another sub species target, this time the smart subpersonatta race of White Wagtail.
Late afternoon and we're back in Quartzazate and are able to secure the same digs as on the journey out. We head out across the town towards the marshes, parking next to the (a) rubbish tip and walk across the muddy outer regions of the huge barrage. This area is teeming with birds, feeding and resting on the mud, we tot up Black Tern (100), Wood Sandpiper (30), Ringed Plover (40), Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover (6) LRP (c20) Dunlin (40) Little Stint (2) Greenshank(25) Curlew sandpiper(20) Glossy Ibis, Common Snipe (2) Green Sandpiper (4) Redshank(10) Marbled Duck(20) Little Egret(10), Squacco Heron (4) Blue-cheeked and European Bee-eater, Gull-billed and Whiskered Tern and singles of Red-throated Pipit and a very fresh plumaged Temminck's Stint. This really was one of those stick in the memory moments!

With the sun now setting we decide to head off to the stretch of road just outside of town where we found the dead Egyptian Nightjar, on the off chance that there may be others here but we draw a blank, adding only Spoonbill and Osprey to the days tally. With the night well set in, we head back to our digs where tagine awaits and a well earnt nights sleep!

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