Birding in Morocco- Mount Atlas Mountains, Ouarzazate to Merzouga

Driving along Mount Atlas Mountains was not easy at all, especially with so many hours of twirls and curls through mountains! But whenever there’s an area to pull over and take a break from the treacherous driving, I savored those opportunities to look into trees and scrubs and one of my best catch was the Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker. 🙂 Other findings include Cirl Bunting, and European Goldfinch!

European Goldfinch and Levaillant's Green Woodpecker

European Goldfinch and Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker

Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting

The drive from Ouarzazate to Merzouga Desert along N9 highway was pretty straightforward! Along the way, there were nomads with their herd of sheep, camels and of course there were birds around those large patch of desert scrubs! Woodchat Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Streaked Scrub Warbler, Spectacled Warbler were some of the birds seen!

Woodchat Shrike and Great Grey Shrike

Woodchat Shrike and Great Grey Shrike

Spectacled Warbler and Streaked Scrub Warbler

Spectacled Warbler and Streaked Scrub Warbler

A small flock of Fulvous Babbler, also known as Fulvous Chatterer  gave away their hiding spot easily by their noisy calls! But at the same patch, another lark, later identified as Bar-tailed Lark (note the black band at tail end) was seen! 🙂  Amongst the Crested Larks seen wandering around, there was one in particular with a longer bill, the Long-billed Crested Lark. Will there be a split soon? 🙂

Fulvous Chatterer or Fulvous Babbler

Fulvous Chatterer or Fulvous Babbler

Bar-tailed Lark

Bar-tailed Lark

long-billed crested lark (right) and crested lark (left) comparison

long-billed crested lark (right) and crested lark (left) comparison

At Ouarzazate, there is a barrage at Mansour Eddahbi known for waders and ducks. But I didn’t see much- just Ruddy Shelducks, Moroccan Wagtail and Collared Pratincole!

Right to left- collared pratincole, ruddy shelduck, Moroccan wagtail

Right to left-collared pratincole, ruddy shelduck, Moroccan wagtail

Birding in Morocco- Oukaimeden, Marrakech 观鸟在摩洛哥

Probably to many British and European birders, Morocco is a place where they could just visit and bird for the weekend. Coming from Asia, Morocco is a totally new place to me. I am enthralled by the idea of seeing flying carpets and Aladdin (maybe I watched too many Disney movies?) 😛 I am not sure why my brain relates that to Morocco! But for a place to be close to the Sahara desert, certainly heightened my determination to tramp there (of course with the hope to see some flying carpets!!!)

My Itinerary

Marrakech -Oukaimeden, Boulmain area, Mount Atlas mountains and the Sahara desert

My first stop was Oukaimeden! Situated about 75km out of Marrakech, the drive was about 2.5 hours from the airport! Despite treacherous road conditions, my driver was very experienced, and I got to enjoy the breathtaking views of the mountains that undulated before me as we” twirled” up the peak!

Needless to say, one of the highlights of my trip was to see my “devil” bird- Horned Lark (see those devilish horns? :)) At the peak of Oukaimeden, I was immediately greeted by the Horned Lark, Crimson-Winged Finch, Rock Sparrow…and how could I forget the Seebohm’s Wheatear ? >.<” I had to ford streams just to get a record shot of it!

Rock Sparrow and Horned Lark

Rock Sparrow and Horned Lark

crimson winged rosefinch

crimson winged rosefinch

Seebon's wheatear

Seebon’s wheatear

The accommodation we spent the night had a great patio!! As the three of us (guide, driver and me) had breakfast (breakfast was just bread and jam…cough),  we were greeted by a load of House Buntings, that flew in and out of the hotel… (hence its name I think!!). They seemed very familiar with the place and they roosted in comfort on their favourite perch- couch, cushion, shelves, etc.!  Other birds seen at the hotel area were blackbirds and Cirl Buntings and also Common Bulbuls (not common to me…XD)!

Common Bulbul

Common Bulbul

house bunting

house bunting

house bunting  on treasure box!

house bunting on treasure box!