TRANSFER FROM ESSAOUIRA TO MARRAKECH AIRPORT A FEW STOPS TO LOOK FOR LARKS
WEATHER: Hazy sunshine to start, then cloudless sun all day, no breeze. Temp 28C
This was our bonus birding day because there are now also evening flights from Marrakech to London which we booked so we had this whole extra day to make our way back to the airport.
We arranged to meet for breakfast at 7am and at 8am our first official walk started, we set off to the fishing port area, we worked our way through the narrow streets and alley-ways of Essaouira passing the empty, silent Souk a stark contrast to the vibrant, noisy chaos of last night.
quiet streets this morning
We noted many House Buntings feeding in the streets and lots of Common and Pallid Swifts dashing between the buildings. At the docks it looked like the full fishing fleet was in port, it was an amazing sight to so many empty boats together, with bright blue livery they looked somehow, sinister, even ghostly in the morning mist. As usual the port area was crowded with Gulls, hundreds of them, both Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed. On the rocky shoreline we found Grey Plover and our first Ruddy Turnstones.
some of the fishing fleet in the harbour
After a lovely breakfast, with crêpes and the best coffee of the tour, we set off for the journey to Marrakech. We were about an hour along the road when we stopped for our first walk, Calandra, Sky and Lesser Short-toed Larks were targets as well as Spanish Sparrow.
After a short walk we logged Great Grey Shrike (algeriensis), Black-eared Wheatear, Crested Lark, Spectacled Warbler and a very distant Cream Coloured Courser, we walked further and searched for the Courser but found Stone Curlew, several Calandra Larks, Skylarks and a small flock of Greater Short-toed Larks.
We picked up lunch supplies in one of the towns that we passed through and ate whilst we travelled. It was around 3pm when we reached the airport. But we were only dropping off Cindy and Joe who were taking an earlier flight than the rest of the group. We still had 4 hours to kill so we decided to visit the large man-made reservoir just south west of Marrakech near a town called Lalla Takerkoust some 40 minutes from the airport.
The water level of the reservoir was extremely low and as a result no birds were seen on the water at all! However, a walk in the surrounding cultivated areas produced some very nice sightings. Craig found his and the groups second Wryneck of the trip and soon afterwards we were watching Hawfinch, Common Nightingale, Eurasian Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Night Heron, Serins, Red-rumped Swallows, Common Redstart, several Common Cuckoos (all calling) it was like a May spring morning in the UK with all the bird song.
Soon it was time to go, Ahmed and Driss got us back to the airport at 5:45 in good time for our 21:15 flight. They had both done an incredible job driving us all over Central Morocco, we said our goodbye and went to check-in.
Our trip total finished on 186, not including birds only heard or the subspecies; Moroccan Wagtail & African Chaffinch. We missed a few species during this wonderful trip, but it wouldn’t be fun if everything turned up on cue.
If you like the sound of this tour then contact me and book your place for the next one