I could hardly spew any words when the magnificent clutch of sand dunes laid before my eyes as my car hurtled towards it! The view was more than breath-taking but on a second thought, it was very hard to imagine how birds survived in the desert! I was told that it wasn’t easy to find the desert sparrow and desert warbler in the desert, as scrubs were scarce and with the dominating population of house sparrows, these desert birds were pushed further deeper into the desert making them harder to find!
To beat the blazing heat, birding started as early as 0700! Driving on sand dunes was just as challenging as walking on them with gear. For almost an hour or so, I didn’t see anything, not even a desert beetle! It was not until I sauntered towards a stone house about 20 miles away that both the Desert Sparrow and Desert Warbler were sighted!
At Merzouga, another must-see bird is the Egyptian Nightjar. A Berber family actually looked after these nightjars, making sure they were not disturbed. To see them, just offer a tip and they would guide you to the place they roost. 🙂 Other birds to look out for include the Little Owl, Lesser Kestrel and the Spotted Sandgrouse, where the former roosted on an old clay house with Lesser Kestrel taking a break from the blazing heat in the same building, and the Spotted Sandgrouse was found when a flock was sighted off road! 🙂
At the clutter of accommodation in the desert, House Sparrow, Brown Necked Raven and Bee eater were commonly seen roosting near the water tanks!
Other birding places within Merzouga, include the Merzouga lake! Perhaps I have seen flamingos at a much closer distance in West India- Little Rann of Kutch , it was a bit of a dismay to see them so far…
Even at the lake, nomads came out of nowhere and tried to sell souvenirs such as stones. I bought one, not because I find it pretty…but nomads lead a poor, basic life…a souvenir didn’t cost much, but it would support the livelihood of a nomad and his family. 😛