13 April 2018 – Trip from Marrakech to Boumalne du Dadès

Info from the recent Sound Approach trip from Marrakech to Boumalne and back in first week of April 2018 : ‘(We went) from Marrakech via Ouarzazate to Boumalne and back to collect additional sounds of larks and wheatears for the Sound Approach.

We came across usual Moroccan specialties like more than 60 African Crimson-winged Finches (Rhodopechys alienus), more than 50 Atlas Horned Larks (Eremophila atlas), and 4 male Seebohm’s Wheatears (Oenanthe seebohmi) at Oukaimeden on 2 & 8 April; several singing Tristram’s Warblers (Sylvia deserticola) at two sites; a total of five singing Levaillant’s Woodpeckers (Picus vaillantii); a total of nine (non-singing) Thick-billed Larks (Ramphocoris clotbey) at four sites; more than 50 Maghreb Larks (Galerida macrorhyncha) at Ouarzazate; a few Maghreb Wheatears (Oenanthe halophila) at Amerzgane, etc.

Furthermore, we had a flock of 320 Ruddy Shelducks (Tadorna ferruginea) and 11 Marbled Ducks (Marmaronetta angustirostris) at Barrage Mansour Eddahbi on 7 April; a second calendar-year Barbary Falcon (Falco pelegrinoides) at Tagdilt Track on 6 April; flocks of 32 and 45 Gull-billed Terns (Gelochelidon nilotica) at two sites of Barrage Mansour Eddahbi on 6/7 April; a high total of 10 Seebohm’s Wheatears and a Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) at the Tichka pass on 7 April; and seven singing Saharan Olivaceous Warblers (Iduna pallida reiseri) at two sites along the Barrage Mansour Eddahbi shore on 4/7 April.

More unexpected sightings included up to two Spotted Crakes (Porzana porzana) at the Asif Iriri river west of Ouarzazate on 3 & 7 April; two males and a female Little Crake (Zapornia parva) at Iriri on 3 April; a (new) nest with young of Pharaoh Eagle Owl (Bubo ascalaphus) along the road from Boumalne to Imider; a total of 59 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (Pterocles alchata) along Tagdilt Track on 4 April; and two Marsh Sandpipers (Tringa stagnatilis) together with, eg, c 50 Greenshanks (T. nebularia) at Barrage Mansour Eddahbi on 7 April’

(Arnoud van den Berg, Killian Mullarney et al.)

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