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WEATHER: misty start, sunshine all day Temp 25-30C

Today we travelled northwards along the Atlantic coast passing through some beautiful scenery and dramatic landscapes. The huge surf-waves thundered against coastal rocky shorelines forming a tremendous backdrop to the sandstone cliffs and sandy beaches.

We made one or two stops on beaches where clusters of gulls were loafing about, there we found our first Audouin’s Gull of the trip along with many Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls. One of the clusters held many Sandwich Terns too.

Audouin's Gull in the foreground

At Cape Rhir we walked down to the edge of the cliffs and spent a very enjoyable hour sea-watching, a nice cooling breeze came in from the sea. Northern Gannets we passing continuously with lots of gulls. A flock of about 50 Oystercatchers was quickly followed by a similar number of Avocets.

sea-watching at Cape Rhir

We found about 10 Razorbills sitting on the water and a couple of small groups of Common Scoter headed north. Our most prized bird was a Cory’s Shearwater, unfortunately only 2-3 of the group got onto it.

this Whimbrel was on the rocks below us at Cape Rhir we also saw Ruddy Turnstone

Moving on we stopped at the large coastal brackish lagoon at Tamri where we spent an hour or so scanning the water and reedbeds. Usually at this stage I am frantically looking for Bald Ibis as this used to be the spot to find them, however, yesterday we saw many and so we could relax a bit. We did, in fact, see several groups of the Bald Ibis fly over the bay.

We heard Reed Warbler singing but did not find it, we saw Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers, a single Eurasian Coot and not much else. In the scrub and on the rocky cliffs we note Black-eared Wheatear, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers.

the brackish lagoon at Tamri

We picked up lunch supplies in Tamri and drove a mile out of town to sit on the high slopes above the lagoon. Facing a spectacular backdrop we ate our lunch watching butterflies and the odd Black-eared Wheatear and a couple of Common Kestrels.

the view from our picnic spot

As we pulled away, Idris our driver, pointed out a large bird of prey in the distance. After a quick look through the bus window I thought he had found a species of vulture, so I stopped the bus and we all jumped out.

a Common Scoter at Cape Rhir

The colours were all wrong for any vulture species of this region, so a large eagle it must have been. The bird disappeared all too quickly, it was very distant, but I think that was one that got away! Very disappointing because it could have been something very rare and special.

Little Ringed Plover

Our last stop of the day was at Oued Ksob just south of Essaouira, it was 4pm when we got there, a lovely breeze greeted us as we got off the bus and the afternoon sunlight was superb. We spent over 2 ½ hours walking along the side of the river on a stony bed and te birding was tremendous. We saw so many species it was so enjoyable, a relaxed stroll wit plenty to see.

Spotless Starlings at Oued Ksob

Highlights included: many waders, good close views of Redshank, Greenshank, Black-winged Stilts, Little Ringed Plover, Green and Common Sandpipers and a Dunlin. Herons, Ibis, egrets, moorhens, and Little Grebes were also present. We added Purple Heron to our list as well as Reed Warbler and Gerry saw a Pied Flycatcher.

beauty and the beast? Collared and Turtle Doves

Other species seen were:- both Yellow & White Wagtails, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Olivaceous Warbler, Spotless Starling, Turtle and Laughing Doves. It was a great end to our last official birding excursion. We may stop once or twice on the way to the airport tomorrow, depending on the time.

Glossy Ibis

Our last day produced several new sightings and our list now stands at 186.