13 Feb 2014

13 Feb 14 - My Favourite Redstart

We left Laayoune city soon after dawn, but only got as far as the river at the Northern city limits before stopping for a short birding break. A good selection of Waterbirds, including an impressive raft of 53 Black-necked Grebes.
Land Rovers: This was one of the most popular vehicles in the Western Sahara & a testament to how they keep going as most were very old
Mercedes taxis: Again a very popular & common taxi in the towns
We were happy once we passed the Western Saharan border as that was the end of the regular police checkpoints. The rest of the drive North through the Anti Atlas hills was fairly uneventful, with few birds seen.
Anti Atlas scenery shot
These trees were common in the Anti Atlas
This plant was also commonly seen
Finally, we reached the excellent birding coastal river valley at Oued Massa around mid afternoon. This is the well known nature reserve which hosts most of the world population of Bald Ibises as well as a good selection of other species.
Oued Massa
It's a pity that they have allowed a football pitch within the nature reserve
Red-necked Nightjar: This was sitting on the entrance track as we were leaving at dusk. The rusty collar & the extensive spotting in the wing coverts separates it from a Nightjar 
Common Bulbul: This is the nominate barbatus subspecies which is found from Morocco to Tunisia
Blackbird: Male of the mauritanicus subspecies which occurs from Morocco to Tunisia
Moussier's Redstart: Male. This stunning Redstart occurs from South Morocco to North Tunisia
Moussier's Redstart: Male
Stonechat: Male of the rubicola subspecies which occurs in West & Southern Europe, North Africa & the Middle East
Spotless Starling: This species occurs from Spain to Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily to North West Africa
Linnet: Male of the mediterranea subspecies
Serin: Male
Serin: Male song flighting
This was a fairly common plant when we reached the coastal dunes