TRANSFER FROM MERZOUGA TO TALIOUINE
WEATHER; all day sunshine, temp 30+C
We bid a sad farewell to Hotel Yasmina, we all had really enjoyed our 3-day stay, the birding was superb and the ringing team made our visit even more interesting. We said goodbye to them this morning as a Northern Wheatear was being processed by them.
Our journey was long but not too tedious the stunning landscapes whizzed by as we made our way steadily in a south-westerly direction. We saw lots of birds as we passed through open countryside, mountainous terrain and rocky gorges. We saw Blue-checked Bee-eaters as we passed through Rissani and we counted 35 White-crowned Wheatears by the time we made our first stop just west of Alnif.
a typical landscape - viewed through the window of the bus
We stopped to look at a Western Marsh Harrier as it circled on the thermals and a toilet stop led to a short walk where we listed a few migrant species such as Black-eared Wheatear, Common Redstart, Subalpine Warbler and Sedge Warbler, we also noted Trumpeter Finch, Crested Lark, White-crowned Wheatear and we saw a Praying Mantis.
During our lunch stop near Adgz we saw more Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, a Western Olivaceous Warbler and a couple of Laughing Doves. An hour later we walking across a large expanse of scrubland looking for Sandgrouse. We found Desert Wheatear, Desert Lark, Hoopoe Lark, Cream-coloured Courser, Woodchat Shrike and a small party of Black-bellied Sandgrouse.
the stoney plain where we walked searching for Sandgrouse
We arrived at our hotel in Taliouine at 5pm, we had spent 9hrs on the road so we were raring to go for a walk. A small cultivated area with scattered trees, fruit trees, almond & wall nut tress spread down to a dry river bed. It was heaving with birds and we enjoyed a superb hour picking out many species.
Orphean Warbler found by Beatrice
Our top birds were: a male Orphean Warbler, Common Nightingale, Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, Cirl Bunting, Hawfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Laughing Dove, European Be-eater (H), Serin and Thekla Lark. Several common species were also seen including our first Goldfinches.
We ate dinner at 7:30pm and went for a short owl-prowl afterwards, we discovered a roosting site for a pair of Tawny Owls, shown to us by the hotel owner, the birds were not present, so we shall look in the morning, watch this space.