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WEATHER: once again it was hot and sunny but a stronger wind at the coast.

Most of the group went for a pre-breakfast walk to the Essaouira Port, access was very restricted due to renovation work being carried out. We did see lots of House Buntings, Common Swifts, Collared Doves, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A quick look in the bay across the huge sandy beach produced a few Sandwich Terns and one or two White-breasted Cormorants.

Little Owl

The journey to Marrakech was trouble free, we made one birding stop and one ice-cream stop during the 3 hour journey. Our birding stop was a bit of a disaster because the grassland habitat had been ploughed over and our lark-spotting was reduced to just Crested Larks! We did enjoy good views of Little Owl sitting on some farm buildings and both House Bunting and Moussier’s Redstart were found nearby.

House Buntings on the streets of Essaouira

Our late morning stop was at a roadside restaurant that also served ice-cream, what a joy, we sat beneath mature olive trees with views into an olive grove and watched many birds go about there daily struggle to stay alive.

the iconic Moussier's Redstart

African Chaffinches, Greenfinches, House Buntings, Cirl Buntings, House Sparrows, Blackbirds and Spotless Starling all competed for food in the olive grove. Red-rumped and Barn Swallows dashed about above us and higher up we watched Little Swifts hawking for insects. In the garden behind us several species of butterfly flitted about and in a mature Bottle-brush Tree we saw Blackcaps, Willow Warbler and Western Olivaceous Warbler.

It was a very pleasant couple hours but like all good things time flew by and we had to go. One last species went onto the list, a Common Cuckoo which was seen on a wire during the journey. We finally put away our optics and boarded the bus to the airport. We bid farewell to Idris and Ahmed, they both had been superb as driver and guide, I shall definitely see them again next year.