Thursday, 15 June 2017

50%

0900 - 1200 sunny, warm to hot, some cloud gathering

Met up with DH for a wander....seems a while since been to site....so good to get out.  Hoping for both Hobby and Turtle Dove......but only achieved 50%....

Nice to find these....

Bee Orchid

They are growing in the same place as last year, as far as I'm aware that's only the second time they have been present in five years of watching the site....

And....I think...

Pyrmidal Orchid

Many of the usual suspects around today....Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler....Spitfire....Chaffinch, Goldfinch,, Linnet, Bullfinch, Kingfisher, Mallard, Coot, Mute Swan, Herring Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Common Tern....and highlight.....a Hobby....

There was a few 'suits' around on site today, hopefully only a lookaround and nothing more untoward.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Morocco....report and some awful photos...

27 May - 3 June

A friend had already warned me...'watch out for cars and motorbikes without lights on the wrong side of the road coming toward you..and cyclists....and roundabouts can be interesting....'

Its probably best said that its a driving experience.  Oddly they rarely seem to speed, keeping to the speed limit or less....the Police being hot on speeding but...er...not seeming to care if anyone drives in the wrong direction....hmmm...

With all that in mind I was hoping to get to the place we were staying before it got dark....of course this didn't work out and yes, after leaving the airport in the hire car I hadn't got far before there was a cyclist coming toward me, no lights....once you get used to these little foibles everything is ok.  Just join in!!

We had a house north of Agadir....on the beach at Tamraght.  Once you are off the main road though, don't expect tarmac.  Dirt roads were mostly the order of the day to a lot of houses.

Too far north for some birds....hmmm...so...its make of it what I will....

Lets start with what was in the garden.....hard to be unimpressed with a Southern Grey Shrike that came in to drink from the pool, as did many birds...

Southern Grey Shrike

And a Black-crowned Tchagra too.....

Black-crowned Tchagra

A visitor to the breakfast table for crumbs was this Common Bulbul....
Common Bulbul

Common Bulbul

An almost Spotless Starling...

Spotless Starling

Relaxing by the pool....regular visitors were the local House Sparrows...

House Sparrow

Birding was limited as usual by the 'family holiday' label.  But I did manage to get out most mornings and a few evenings locally.  I also did a couple of early morning trips to the Oued Sous.

The local spot was a dry river bed with quite reasonable habitat either side.  A short walk and it was possible to climb some of the hills inland.  On one occasion I came across a Wild Boar. 

One of the first birds I came across along the river bed...

Woodchat Shrike...!

This was the only siting I had, which was a bit of a shame....a life tick for me over in a few seconds...but birds are birds...

Upstream, if there was a stream to be up, lorries filled with water to deliver to houses....plenty of spillage provided a watering hole for many birds and was a good spot to watch for a while...one bird I heard just about everywhere I went and saw plenty of....

Turtle Dove

A local breeding bird that I could watch from the roof terrace was this rather fabulous Stone Curlew...a walk out one evening past their nesting spot and up on to the nearest hi
 
Stone Curlew

A trip out the Paradise Falls, which weren't falling too much but did provide a rather marvellous splash pool opportunity.  It was freeeeeeezing cold water though....!  Unlike the pool and the sea which was much better!

Whilst there I came across this year tick...

Spotted Flycatcher

As some people know I'm rather fond of Wheatears....having added Black Wheatear last year I was hoping to add another species this year....being too far north for Dessert Wheatear....the magnificent bird that eventually showed was this....

Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

A bird I found local to the houses around where we lived was the colourful...

House Bunting

Laughing Dove....once you hear them their name becomes pretty obvious...a little elusive around the local houses but would occasionally turn up....and coloured beautifully which, sadly, isn't done that  much justice by my photo....

Laughing Dove

A couple of early morning trips to the Oued Sous certainly paid off....but a word of warning...be prepared for the smell....they discharge straight in to the river and sea in places....and its rather smelly...

Its also easy to get to by car which was a bonus.  Lots of birders seem to head toward the area for Stone Curlew by the Royal Palace....but my experience showed that they are around, I saw them in several places.

The easier way, rather than approaching along the Agadir seafront, is to head along the N10 and look out for the Golf du Soleil sign in the Inezgane area....then just follow the road till you come to the barrier where there are some guards, theres a large parking area on the left at this point and you can wander along the river to the sea....though if you ask the guards will tell you not to encroach toward the palace....as they have guns I wouldn't argue with them either....!!

The two trips provided different birds and both excursions to the river was well worth it...

Heres a bird that turns up here in the UK on occasion and in reality you only have to day trip tot he Calais area to see them....but along the river....I came across at least 50 and more spread along the river......

Black-winged Stilt

...I reckon they look great, one of the most handsome of waders....

Magpie....no...not just a Magpie....these guys were numerous along the river but hard to find in other areas....

Blue-cheeked Magpie

A fabulous sight  was that of round 60 or so Greater Flamingos flying over, wheeling round and then heading back up river....I found them on the second visit feeding further up stream.....


I only came across Bee-eaters on two occasions, this first occasion was on the opposite bank of the river, quite distant....the second time, on another day and different location, when I found 2 birds...

Bee-eater

Terns....6 species recorded over the two visits....very exciting....

Gull-billed Tern on the left, Sandwich Terns right

Gull-billed Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern

 Heres a river view or two..


The tide was out....way out...


The last species I recorded along the river....Osprey....

Osprey

I did make the visit to Tamri, further north, for Bald Ibis, but failed to find them north of the village.  The other bird I really wanted but failed on was Moussiers Redstart.  This species seems to be just anywhere, some reports say look in certain habitats, other people have seen them on Agadir seafront.  Maybe next time.....

Heres the full list of birds I saw....it could have been much longer if it had been a birding holiday....but there are plenty of life (in blue) and year ticks (purple) to be going on with.....

Kestrel (first bird seen once I got off the plane) (common), Feral Pigeon (common),

Spotless Starling (common), House Sparrow (common), Collared Dove (common),

Turtle Dove(common), Blackbird, Barn Swallow, Black-crowned Tchagra, Stone Curlew,

Southern Grey Shrike, Common Bulbul (common), Yellow-legged Gull, Pallid Swift,

White-breasted Cormorant, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Crested Lark (common),

Little Swift (common), Blue-cheeked Magpie, House Martin, House Bunting, 

Olivaceous Warbler, Great Tit, Spotted Flycatcher, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Grey Wagtail,

Thekla Lark, Audouins Gull, Laughing Dove, Black-eared Wheatear, Black-winged Stilt,

Mallard, Sandwich Tern (common), Slender-billed Gull, Whimbrel, Curlew, Zitting Cisticola,

Mediterranean Gull, European Bee-eater, Common Tern, Sanderling, Dunlin, Grey Heron,

Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Marbled Duck, White Wagtail, Little Egret,

Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Black-tailed Godwit, Cattle Egret, Avocet,

Lesser-crested Tern, Osprey

Lastly....

To go or not to go....they are an extremely friendly people.....they have loads going for them.  I couldn't find any kids with 'attitude' issues, unlike in the western world. If you are on the beach someone will try to sell you something...just say no and they go away.  Loads of birds you wont see here or will find difficult to find here will be on your doorstep...and I didn't manage to get time to go to the parks either ie Soud Massa etc....as long as you are not a timid driver you will be fine...if you don't speak French learn a few basic lines though they will speak English, mostly reasonable to good.  If you can learn a few basic words of Arabic they see this is a good sign...as-salamu alaykam (peace be upon you) and shukraan (thank you) will get you through.  Visit the Souk, its an amazing experience...and haggle like mad....but first go to Uniprix fixed price shop so you know what you don't want to pay for anything. 

Against...four things....the rubbish....is everywhere....probably cant be helped, when you are poor I suppose the last thing on your mind is recycling and being tidy.  The beaches vary, the high impact ones, ie in Agadir, are clean.  The smaller ones that are clean tend to be where the tourists mainly go.  Small beaches are easy to find and space is not a problem, I guess at the height of the season it might be different.
Dogs....there are loads of wild dogs everywhere....interestingly they aren't a problem in terms of coming up to you, they bark a bit but usually go away. 
Cats....another animal issue.  If you go out to any restaurant to eat there will be cats around, some places provide a squeezy bottle of water to fend them off, which usually moves them on...other places feed them away from the premises.  It reminded me of Rome many years ago which was infested with cats, though when I went a month or so ago they have clearly done the business with them.
Discharging poo in to the river was a smelly experience...and it hummed...they seem fine with it but for the visitor it can be a bit potent....and if you don't like mosquitos....the only place I found them was at the river.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Clock Moving

0600 - 0800 bright, clear, cool NW f2

...return to site....not early...but still....got off the plane some time around midnight and not home and in bed till around 2am....mad Moroccan flight time back and also that clock forwards and backwards time zone thing...report on birds seen in Morocco to follow...

With daytime working this week coming its gotta see whats around on site, even if its a brief visit...

A wander there and back produced....

Woodpigeon, Magpie, Starling, Robin, Collared Dove, Whitethroat, Chaffinch, Crow, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Feral Pigeon, Dunnock, Linnet, Willow Warbler, Skylark, Wren, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Grey Heron, Blue Tit, 66 Greylag Geese, 13 Canada Geese, Mallard, Green Woodpecker, Coot, Mute Swan pair with 4 cygnets, Cettis Warbler, 1 Herring Gull, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, Sedge Warbler, Bullfinch, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Yellowhammer, Garden Warbler.....

Highlights...

2 Mandarin, 1 Grey Wagtail, 25 Swift

What didn't it produce....

Hobby and Turtle Dove....

Saturday, 20 May 2017

0345

Yes....0345 exists....bleary eyed somewhat....but it exists....!

0345 - 0635 Foggy, clearing to misty, dull, dark (obviously) becoming brighter (more obviously)

So...here it is....a proper Nightingale survey....a proper time for the little birdies to be singing on their own before anything else joins in.....out the car....and....Cuckoo...!  Cuckoo....the first bird is Cuckoo....Tawny Owl....eh....Tawny Owl....never had one of them around here before even at this time of day....

Hang on....have I been here this time of day before...?  Er....probably yes...or very close to it...and last spring ish I would guess....no complaints, its my first Tawny Owl of the year anyway....so a good start...

Nightingale comes in third on the noise front....worth the wait, not that I waited too long, possibly a minute or less....

DH was already booting up when I got there...very impressive....I thought I was going to be waiting around for a while....so that showed me....

Having suspected 13 Nightingale on site for a couple of weeks todays song proved thus....13....fabulous....though I do have one place to try for another but I think that could be the one that has now moved way out west.

Its not easy being all over the site at once....with them spread out from just about as far east as I go to just about as far west that I go....but today I made it round hearing all of them.  At one point I left DH to clock up a few minutes of listening to one in particular whilst I rounded up a few more through the undergrowth that is now in your face.

Managed to pick up the 10 Willow Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats (hard to find on site now, don't think theres 5 any more) and 2 Garden Warblers.  Plenty of Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs.

Initially we found 2 Mandarin Ducks on island pit in the gloom, male and female....later we found 3 males on the puddles area with some Mallards.  Plenty of male Mallards around, with a group of 11 on island pit.

Heres the list in order of appearance:

Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Nightingale, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Crow, Woodpigeon, Wren, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Skylark, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Yellowhammer, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Mallard, Mandarin Duck, Garden Warbler, Coot, Sedge Warbler, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Blue Tit, Moorhen, Bullfinch, Long Tail Tit, Goldcrest, Linnet, Starling, Collared Dove, Magpie

Thursday, 18 May 2017

3 sites

Time for a trip out to the nether regions....sometimes called Sussex....across the border...with 3 species in mind....

First stop....Broadwater Warren for Tree Pipit.....and failed....however...there were plenty of Willow Warblers around as well as....

Woodlark

There can be no complaints...although hearing the liquid trickle of Willow Warbler is a fabulous thing...the....er.....liquid trickle of a Woodlark....is supreme....as someone sang...what a beautiful noise....

A good number of Yellowhammers were present as well....a Garden Warbler and a Stonechat were of note.

Time being tight it was moving on o'clock.....Withyham church....MG had a Flycatcher there last week....so...a brief stop was in order....

To no avail....the Flycatcher was not Spotted....nor Pied nor anything else....however....a nice venue to stop....a pair of Mistle Thrushes chased a Kestrel....a Sparrowhawk went over....a Garden Warbler was singing a way away...Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff....sunshine....nice...

Last....Old Lodge.....with zero target birds listed....could I possibly get at least one!  Eventually....yes....Common Redstart....though it took a while and was only a fleeting glimpse....heard plenty of song though.  Whilst I was there I scored a second on the list....Tree Pipit...huzzah....

By this time it was on/off rain....so I offed home....


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Thats wet

0430 - 0545 some cloud, bright, cool

Sun does rise....

So I turned the alarm off at 0357, awake before it had gone off....surely I deserve to lay here for a couple of minutes.....I woke up at 0415....doh!  Not bad I suppose, done this before and not woken up for a couple of hours...still...it was probably enough time to miss a Nightingale or two.....

On site for 0430....im not surprised Brits become obsessed with talking about the weather....the past few weeks have provided cold, hail, frost, hot, somewhere in between and the past few days...rain....after yesterdays downpour it was very wet round the pits....and with the undergrowth aiming to become overgrowth it was rather a wet experience.....

Still, with the re-appearance of the puddles near the quarry 3 Mandarin Ducks were happily sitting around with 3 Mallards....another Mandarin was on island pit.

The aim of this mornings effort was counting Nightingales.....11......it was a very quick whizz round and quite bit of the site was covered....though one or two Nightingales weren't available this morning....ahhhh...the problem of ever earlier daylight times....

Cettis Warbler, 5 Willow Warbler, 3 Garden Warblers, Cuckoo....

Home....

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Another Turtle Dove

0900 - 1115 Sunny, warm, SW f1-3

A wander round to see if I could re-find some warblers.....Nightingales were quiet apart from one bird and another that was st-st-stuttering......

8 Willow Warblers, 4 GardenWarbler,, 3 Lesser Whitethroats......and at least 20 Whitethroats

Whilst I was waiting for a warbler to sing....this shield bug made an appearance....

Ceraleptus lividus

Highlight was a Turtle Dove sitting out on the lines again..

The plan is an early visit later this week to count Nightingales....its a plan....