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WEATHER: heavy rain to start, brighter and drier from 9am. Strong westerly breeze.

Our last full day began rather wet, in fact it poured down. We found out later that a deluge of rain had occurred all along the west coast with flooding in parts. My god, this is Morocco not Somerset, UK.

By the time we had driven to the beaches near Taghazout the rain had eased off and the visibility had returned to normal. We did see three very drenched Bald Ibis sitting forlornly on a telephone pole as we left Agadir.

On the first beach we found Sandwich Terns, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls as well as a dozen Audouin’s Gulls. The next beach held the same combination of gulls and terns but we also found Sanderling, Ringed Plover and a few Whimbrel.

a single Audouin's Gull with a bunch of Sandwich Terns

From various view points along the coast we added Northern Gannet to the trip list, we also saw Common Kestrel, Northern Raven, Great Grey Shrike and a few Crested Larks.

Sandwich Terns in flight with an Audouin's Gull watching on

By the time we reached Cape Rhir headland the sky had cleared, we had good visibility for a sea-watch, but we had a strong westerly wind in our faces. The sea was quite rough with huge ‘rollers’ dramatically breaking on the rocks below us. A steady passage of gulls and Gannets headed north, we quickly found a pair of Common Scoter and over an hour’s sea-watching we counted 25+ Cory’s Shearwaters. Other sightings included Razorbill, Whimbrel, Little Egret, Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Kestrel and many Sandwich Terns.

The brown blotches on this Audouin's Gull shows that it is 1st winter bird

Desert scrub stretched out behind us, gently sloping up to the main road and beyond to a high ridge. As we walked back to the bus up the slope we found a Great Grey Shrike, a Desert Wheatear and pair of obliging Stone Curlews. We then continued our journey north along the coast in the bus.

We had a couple of Bald Ibis flyover us and just before Tamri some of the group also saw a couple on the ground. At the large bay at Tamri we searched for warblers, herons and ducks but found it quite barren there. We saw a lovely male Marsh Harrier, a few Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers, a single Ruddy Shelduck, a flyover Bald Ibis and not a lot else, we got very muddy shoes in the process of looking.

We bought lunch in Tamri and ate it on top of the hill that overlooks the bay, the view was magnificent, but it started to rain and we never added any new species, the wind had picked up too.

A herd of tree-climbing goats stopped the bus, most of the group took photographs before we moved on. Our next walk was taken 30 minutes later in an Argan forest sitting pn a large stony plain. Usually on this trip we find several migrant species in this habitat, but today we saw very little. Northern ravens flew over, both Great Grey and Woodchat Shrikes were seen perched on the top of the trees. A Hoopoe flew off ahead of us, Crested Larks sang to us and a couple of Subalpine Warblers were noted in the trees, and that was it!

Our last walk of the day was just south of Essaouira at the Oued (River) Ksob, in past trips many Plain Martins have been seen at this site, so I was optimistic about seeing them today.

The level of the river was quite a bit higher than usual, this was due to the heavy rain of this morning, we could not walk down river as in the past because we had to criss-cross the river several times, it was too high for that. So we walked upriver for a while and then back down river for as far as we could.

There were quite of lot birds on and around the river and its pools, but we never had a sniff of a Martin or any other hirundine for that matter. Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilts, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Grey Heron and Little Egrets were about the gist of the species on show.

Following our failure to find the Martins in that area we boarded the bus and drove down river to the next bridge where we spent a little less time looking for the Martins and more time admiring the Pallid and Common Swifts dashing about. We added Cattle Egret, White-breasted Cormorants, Glossy Ibis, Little Ringed Plovers and we watched several common species.

At 5:30pm we gave up and headed off to the hotel which was in the middle of the walled city, a beautiful, authentic Riad fund in a very narrow and secluded alley-way.