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WEATHER: perfect!! All day sunshine, a light breeze. Temp lower to mid 20’s.

This is my favourite day of the tour, a full day at Souss Massa National Park. It is an hour’s drive south from Agadir, we arrived at the entrance track around 8:30am. The sun was shining and the birds were singing, the light was fantastic and I knew we were in for a great day’s birding.

The sky was full of Swifts, hundreds of them, Common Swifts with one or two Little Swifts, plenty of Barn Swallows, House & Sand Martins too. We walked along the raised track which overlooks the Souss River, we had scrub habitat below us and rocky cliffs above us and the river had birds dotted all over it, I can’t tell you how perfect the setting was, the group were blown away with the sight presented before their eyes.

two views from the approach track to Sous Massa National Park

Egrets, Herons, Spoonbills, ducks, grebes and waders littered the river they all looked fantastic in the morning light. We added Common Snipe, our only new wader, to the list but we had superb views of Ruff, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Green & Common Sandpipers, Redshank, Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed and Greater Ringed Plovers and Little Grebes.

two Turtle Doves one a nest in the bushes below the track - taken by Tony Moore

Zitting Cisticola - a common bird along the track - taken by Tony Moore

In the scrub and bushes below us a good selection of  Warblers were feeding, we added Melodious Warbler to our list, but also saw Blackcap, Olivaceous, Subalpine, Willow and Bonelli’s Warblers. Lots of Zitting Cisticola’s were zitting about, as well as Thekla’s and Crested Larks, House & Corn Buntings, a lovely female Blue Rock Thrush, Moussier’s Redstarts, Woodchat and Great Grey Shrikes, the list goes on!

Moussier's Redstart - by Tony Moore

Common Stonecat - by Tony Moore

We boarded the bus and drove to the actual entrance to the National park and started another walk in similar habitats. We heard our first Black-crowned Tchagra but never found it. We added Serin, Linnet, Greenfinch and Turtle Dove to the day list and a couple of raptors grabbed our attention. We saw our first Short-toed Eagle and our third Lanner Falcon. We also had much better views of Glossy Ibis, Shoveler, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Teal, Common Coot, Moorhen, both Great and White-breasted Cormorants. We added Kingfisher to the list when Dave found one up ahead of us.

Western Orpheasn Warbler - Tony Moore

A few butterflies were on the wing we saw Greenish Black-tip, Plain Tiger, Western Dappled White and a couple of other small whites which were not identified.

Basrbary Partridge in the cacti scrub - Tony Moore

Finally we got to see out first Black-crowned Tchagra, it posed well whilst singing but the photographers were unhappy with the light. Our return walk produced much of the same, it was a delightful morning’s birding, I loved it!

The Black-crowned Tchagra did not show very well this morning - Tony Moore

After picking up lunch supplies in town we drove to the bridge over the river and sat down to eat. We had very close views of some Yellow wagtails, there were obvious Spanish ‘iberiae’ also Central Europe  ‘flava’ and the Italian version - Ashy-headed Wagtail, we also saw the subspecies found in the UK, ‘flavissima’. We scanned the hirundines for Plain Martin but never found one.

After lunch we drove up over the hill to Sidi Wassay where there is a good chance of seeing Bald Ibis. Along the way eagle-eyed Dave spotted a Little Owl deep inside a bush by the roadside, we stopped to admire the owl and the sighting.

Blue-headed Wagtail - 'flava'

Ashy-headed Wagtail - 'cinereocapilla' 

I think we saw 11 Bald Ibis but none of them close, a group of 4, a group of 6 and a single bird flying along the shoreline cliffs. We never got close to Ibis as we viewed them from the bus, so I don’t think there are any pictures for this blog.

we had more great sightings of Turtle Doves - picture by Tony Moore

Whilst watching the group of four Bald Ibis flying over the plains we saw three Cream-coloured Coursers fly up, disturbed by the Ibis. We also saw great Grey Shrike and a Short-toed Eagle dived down onto the ground and caught a lizard.

Back near the river we took our final; walk of the day in search of the Plain Martin. It was fairly quiet, being mid-afternoon but we saw enough to keep us happy. We criss-crossed a large area of farmland, the main crop was Alfalfa and where this had just been cropped was the best place for birding.

this Eurasian Spoonbill came very close to us at the bridge - picture by Tony Moore

We saw dozens of larks both Crested and Thekla’s, lots of Common Bulbuls, Moussier’s Redstarts, European bee-eaters, Barn Swallows and the usual common migrant warblers.

We also had great views of Turtle Doves, Laughing Doves, House Buntings, Yellow Wagtails, we saw a single Tree Pipit a very confiding pair of Black-crowned Tchagrason the ground and we constantly scanned the sky for over the fields for Plain Martin which never showed up.

female Blue Rock Thrush seen this morning - picture by Tony Moore

We were back at the bus before 5pm and one last look from the bridge produced more Yellow Wagtails, Eurasian Spoonbills, Moorhens, Little Grebes, Common Sandpiper and lots of Barn Swallows.


Our journey back to Agadir went uneventful and we arrived at 6pm, dinner was taken at 8pm after our bird-log. We now have 183 on our list with 1 ½ days to go.