Despite a very wet winter the amount of ground water was very low and the snow on the mountains was
surprising lacking which was a contrast to the last couple of years at this time. This year’s rains had been
followed by a hot, dry spell and consequently reduced the chances of finding the usually easy, high atlas,
species. We also failed to find a couple of the desert species, no bustard nor any sandgrouse. Migrants were
virtually non-existent with no visible raptor passage and only sparse scatterings of migrant warblers.
The group enjoyed great views of Tristram’s Warbler, Desert Warbler and after some hard leg work Scrub
Warbler. We had several sightings of Egyptian Nightjar including a daytime roosting bird and several birds
coming to a pool to drink just after dusk. The Pharaoh Eagle Owl showed well as did Levaillant’s
Woodpeckers, Thick-billed Lark, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater and the newly named Magreb Wheatear.
However, for me, the most impressive sight was the sheer number of birds on the seasonal lake at Merzouga,
seeing a flotilla of over 1,000 Marbled Duck was a sight never to be forgotten.
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