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WEATHER: a cold start, but sunshine all day with a strong breeze.

We met up at 6am before sunrise, it was quite cold with a chilly breeze. We walked out of the hotel compound to a wooded area by the river with small, but sheltered cultivated fields.

Overall we were disappointed by the lack of migrant species but there was plenty of activity as the light improved and the temperature rose. We heard several Nightingales and saw a few Bonelli’s Warblers and the odd Subalpine Warbler, also Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow and Sand Martin.

Cirl Bunting - taken by Tony Moore

Cirl Bunting was a new species for our list we also saw Woodvchat Shrike, House Bunting, African Chaffinch, Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Laughing Dove and many Sardinian Warblers.

a nice, colourful male Woodchat Shrike - taken by Tony Moore

After our 7:30am breakfast we drove for 40 minutes to the Gorge at Aoulouz where in past trips we have seen many species. Unfortunately today the river in the gorge was almost dry and very few birds were seen. Moorhen was new for the trip list as was Sedge Warbler but overall the bird life in the river valley was very poor.

The Gorge and the dried-up river, both a disappointment this morning as far as birdlife was concerned

We did see a beautiful male Blue Rock Thrush, also House Buntings, Sardinian Warblers, a Blackcap and a pair of Bonelli’s Eagles circled over the gorge. Other birds of prey seen were Booted Eagle, Common Kestrel and a Black Kite.

Blue Rock Thrush - taken by Tony Moore

Moving on from the gorge we stopped a few kilometers further down the road near the turn-off for a village called Klate. In the scrub we saw more Sardinian & Subalpine Warblers, also Linnets, Crested Larks, Woodchat and Great Grey Shrikes, Hoopoe, Spanish Sparrows (seen by Christopher) and a male Orphean Warbler. We inadvertantly kicked-up a pair of Stone Curlews and we were very lucky to see a Black-winged Kite as it landed on a pylan very near to the bus!

record shot of the Black-winged Kite, taken by Tony Moore

Driving further westward for a couple of hours we reached Taroudant where we sat in a park and ate our lunch. We reached Agadir around 3pm and headed straight for the Oued Sous Estuary. Our timing was perfect as the tide was just turning and heading out. We stayed until dark in the hope of seeing a Red-necked Nightjar.

the heavy rain along coast resulted in a fall of snow on the High Atlas

It was wader fest at the Oued Sous, we saw 16 species, with many other species such as gulls, terns, Flamingos, Spoonbills, Ibis, Herons and Egrets. Very early on we bumped into a Great Spotted Cuckoo, it showed extremely well (later we realised that there was two of them).

Spotted Redshank at Oued Sous

Some of the group split off and walked further inland upriver and found a Bar-tailed Desert Lark. The rest of the group walked down river towards the estuary mouth, we found our target Gull, the Slender-billed Gull, we also saw Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull as well as a nice flock of Gull-billed Terns, Sandwich Terns and a single Common Tern. We had a couple of sightings of Osprey and yet another pair of Bonelli’s Eagles, Booted Eagle and Black Kites also appeared.

 a few of the 42 Slender-billed Gulls seen along the Sous River estaury

Huge numbers of White Storks were present with flocks of Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbills and Greater Flamingos. Grey Herons and Little Egrets made up the numbers with Great & Moroccan Cormorants both present. We saw a couple of Ospreys, one perched eating a fish, also lots of hirundines and swift.

Gull-billed Terns with Oystercatchers

It was a magical time at the Oued Sous, we recorded over 60 species and enjoyed our walks there. The Nightjars failed to perform, we didn’t even hear one.

We were late getting to our hotel, dinner was served after 8pm, we were all very tired so an early night was had by all.