Gosney - Morocco,
This review is from: Finding Birds in Morocco: Coast and Mountains [DVD] (DVD)
Following on from his DVD and book combination for the deserts of Morocco, Dave Gosney has selected some great sites along the coast and nearby mountains in the north of the country. I visited this area twice last year and combined it with a few days in Gibraltar and nearby Tarifa in Spain – using the ferry to reach Tangier in Morocco.
This DVD starts at Larache where we are taken to the town centre to see breeding Little Swifts in the buildings around the square. Nearby are some great marshes at Loukkos with waterbirds including Purple Swamphen and Moustached Warbler. Keep an eye out for European Reed Warblers here – they are non-migratory and have a different song...... a new race or perhaps species yet to be described.
Further south we are taken to Merdja Zerga. This place was once famous as the wintering site for a few Slender-billed Curlews, but they are long gone – but Marsh Owls can still be seen if the local children have not flushed them. A boat trip here gives terrific access to see birds. When I visited last February the numbers of waders was outstanding. For example a flock of 2000 Avocets, next to a flock of 200 Greenshank!
Dave also reveals some out-of-the-way marshes called Khaloufa, Barga and Oulad Sgher. Lac de Sidi Bourhaba is next as we head south and here we are shown close-up views of Red-knobbed Coot, Marbled Duck and White-headed Duck.
For those who value their Western Palearctic lists there is Sidi Yahya where Double-spurred Francolins can be seen with a lot of luck. Dave provides the inside track on where to go. From here we are taken to Oualidia and on to Sidi Moussa and then Zemamra lakes where more waders and wildfowl can be seen in winter.
The town of Essaouira and Wadi Ksob are famous for their Eleonora’s Falcons in summer, at other times there are also chances of Brown-throated Sand Martin (also called Plain Martin), Black-crowned Tchagra and Western Reef Egret. Two more terrific wetlands are Oued Sous and Oued Massa.
Released Bald Ibises can be seen in Spain, but if you want to see the real wild birds then you must visit the Tamri estuary – our next locality. The colonies here at Souss-Massa National Park fledged 148 young in 2013, bringing the total population at the end of the breeding season to 443 birds. How great it is to see a rare bird responding to protection! Nearby at Cap Rhir there is a good seawatching lookout – particularly in spring and autumn.
Finally we head towards the High Atlas mountains looking for Tristram’s Warbler, Levaillant’s Woodpecker and Bonelli’s Eagle. Near to Marrakech there is the ski resort of Oukaimeden where Crimson-winged Finch and Alpine Accentor can be seen with relative ease. In spring there is a chance to see the local seebohmi race of Northern Wheatear. This is not considered a true species by most, but work continues on its plumages and song, with some people referring to it as Seebohm’s Wheatear. We also visit the Middle Atlas mountains where the recently-split Atlas Flycatcher can be found in the pinewoods.
Dave Gosney provides a good commentary throughout the DVD and employs a great combination of practical birding knowledge a familiar friendly approach. The habitat and surroundings are shown for each site, and Dave is often in front of the camera pointing out the local features.