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Southern Morocco, Feb 2010

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Old Saturday 6th March 2010, 20:56   #1
dbradnum
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Southern Morocco, Feb 2010

Hi all

I made my first visit to Morocco a couple of weeks ago, and had a fantastic time. Awesome scenery, friendly people, and some cracking birds. I ended up adding about 25-28 birds to my Western Pal list, depending on taxonomy used - we dipped very little.

In eight days, we took a fairly lengthy tour as follows: Marrakech > Oukaimeden > Ourzazate > Boumalnes (& Tagdilt) > Erfoud / Rissani / Merzouga > Er Rachidia > all the way out to Agadir > Tamri > Oueds Souss & Massa > Marrakech

All the details (plus an I-Spy guide to driving in Morocco!) are available on my blog, here: http://braddersbirding.blogspot.com/...d-drivers.html - many thanks to HV for writing this all up so quickly!

I'm going to produce a short document listing and rating the hotels we used in the next couple of weeks as well.

Hope this turns out to be useful and an enjoyable read - drop me a line if anyone wants further details on anything.
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Old Sunday 7th March 2010, 13:46   #2
Motmot
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Hmmm... I've been working for a few days last February in S Morocco. On the 22 we had some free time and birded the Tadglit area for a few hours. Met three british birders there, I guess it was you guys!! Good to see you survived the packs of mangy dogs!
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Old Sunday 7th March 2010, 16:14   #3
Acrocephalus
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Originally Posted by dbradnum View Post
Hi all

I made my first visit to Morocco a couple of weeks ago, and had a fantastic time. Awesome scenery, friendly people, and some cracking birds. I ended up adding about 25-28 birds to my Western Pal list, depending on taxonomy used - we dipped very little.

All the details (plus an I-Spy guide to driving in Morocco!) are available on my blog, here: http://braddersbirding.blogspot.com/...d-drivers.html - many thanks to HV for writing this all up so quickly!
Hi,

Awesome indeed! I liked your “I-Spy Book of Moroccan Highways and Byways”, and your scoring system. Thank you for your objectivity in the description. The trip report was also good with some fantastic pictures; you managed to see all “good birds” and good number of lifers too.
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Old Sunday 7th March 2010, 19:41   #4
dbradnum
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Hmmm... I've been working for a few days last February in S Morocco. On the 22 we had some free time and birded the Tadglit area for a few hours. Met three british birders there, I guess it was you guys!! Good to see you survived the packs of mangy dogs!
Yep, I guess you'd be one of the two Spanish birders!

Tagdilt is an amazing place to go birding, such an amazingly vast expanse of habitat to search, but such great birds make it worthwhile. We could have easily spent much more time there, and it was only the lure of other great areas that pulled us away.
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Old Sunday 7th March 2010, 19:42   #5
dbradnum
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Hi,

Awesome indeed! I liked your “I-Spy Book of Moroccan Highways and Byways”, and your scoring system. Thank you for your objectivity in the description. The trip report was also good with some fantastic pictures; you managed to see all “good birds” and good number of lifers too.
Thanks Mohamed - glad you enjoyed these.
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 22:51   #6
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Nice report and great photos!

One slight remark — the Long-legged Buzzard on page 44 is actually a juvenile Bonelli's Eagle. Note that it has six fingers (the outermost is a bit difficult to see) which are barred (uniformly dark on LLB). Also note that the carpal area is pale and that the head is dark.
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 19:04   #7
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Top class report !! Stunning photos too.
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 19:45   #8
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Nice report and great photos!

One slight remark — the Long-legged Buzzard on page 44 is actually a juvenile Bonelli's Eagle. Note that it has six fingers (the outermost is a bit difficult to see) which are barred (uniformly dark on LLB). Also note that the carpal area is pale and that the head is dark.
Agree, check also those big feet. Good bird!
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 20:36   #9
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Nice report and great photos!

One slight remark — the Long-legged Buzzard on page 44 is actually a juvenile Bonelli's Eagle. Note that it has six fingers (the outermost is a bit difficult to see) which are barred (uniformly dark on LLB). Also note that the carpal area is pale and that the head is dark.
Oops! You're absolutely right, as usual - I'll make an edit to the caption.

When the bird first appeared, two of us actually called it as "Eagle!"... but then changed our minds when we couldn't figure out an eagle sp that would fit. None of us have seen many Bonelli's, and the earlier birds in the week had been significantly darker. The local guide also seemed happy with LLB as well, but we obviously didn't look hard enough.

Should have paid more attention to it in the field and trusted our instincts, but we were searching for Tchagra!

thanks - glad you enjoyed the report.
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 20:43   #10
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hmmm, quite a few ticks there, and you made it sound so easy!!! I guess they have had the rain like that in Andalucia (which is still falling). I was in Morocco last feb for a couple of days and it was very wet then too. But I've not been south yet! Reports like this make me think it's about time I did!

Good stuff! Wish I could take pics like that!

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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 20:53   #11
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hmmm, quite a few ticks there, and you made it sound so easy!!! I guess they have had the rain like that in Andalucia (which is still falling). I was in Morocco last feb for a couple of days and it was very wet then too. But I've not been south yet! Reports like this make me think it's about time I did!
It really is that easy if you don't mind driving the distances involved - I will undoubtedly go back and do this again!

The beauty of it was that we basically saw no other birders, for the entire week: everything was self-found, albeit with help from the Gosney and Bergier books and a few trip reports. It was also great not to need pre-booked accommodation, so we could be flexible about when to drive and when to go birding.... though I guess this might be a different story later in the spring, with more tourists about.
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Old Wednesday 10th March 2010, 16:35   #12
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Great trip report and a good, fun read and the I-Spy book is truly hilarious. Thanks for that!
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Old Thursday 11th March 2010, 00:19   #13
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Great trip report and liked the I-spy.I believe the fines for traffic offences have risen from 400dhm to 1000dhm from 1st march.
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Old Thursday 11th March 2010, 07:50   #14
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Thanks a great read and have now put the place on my list of places to go.
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Old Thursday 11th March 2010, 09:02   #15
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Cripes! I think we'd have scored quite highly on the driving guide. Do we get any extra points for actually seeing a donkey collapse under the weight of its load? And anything for this happening on a main road?

Anything for hitting 140km/h on a road that then just stopped yards after we'd slowed to look at a raptor?
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Old Thursday 11th March 2010, 09:35   #16
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Morocco is great! Nice report, a few birds like the Long-billed Lark I wasn't even aware of before ...

On the I-spy guide, obviously it could be expanded into a whole interactive website or book even ....

A few additions, not sure how many points, could be;

Observing a 3 lorry overtake on a blind summit.

Driving through a sandstorm
Getting stuck in sand drifts
Getting stuck in sand drifts but carrying on anyway

Getting lost in the desert

Observing recent major accident
(Extra points for vehicle(s) being on their side or roof and being obviously overladen.)

Stone Curlew in the middle of the road at night in town centres.

etc
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Old Friday 12th March 2010, 21:37   #17
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Do we get any extra points for actually seeing a donkey collapse under the weight of its load? And anything for this happening on a main road??
Definitely some serious bonus points for collapsing beasts of burden.... we kept expecting to see it, but never witnessed any evidence. Photos?!

No further bonus points for the main road add-on though - they seem to have just as many random hazards as any other route!
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Old Saturday 20th March 2010, 17:14   #18
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Originally Posted by dbradnum View Post
Hi all

I made my first visit to Morocco a couple of weeks ago, and had a fantastic time. Awesome scenery, friendly people, and some cracking birds. I ended up adding about 25-28 birds to my Western Pal list, depending on taxonomy used - we dipped very little.

In eight days, we took a fairly lengthy tour as follows: Marrakech > Oukaimeden > Ourzazate > Boumalnes (& Tagdilt) > Erfoud / Rissani / Merzouga > Er Rachidia > all the way out to Agadir > Tamri > Oueds Souss & Massa > Marrakech

All the details (plus an I-Spy guide to driving in Morocco!) are available on my blog, here: http://braddersbirding.blogspot.com/...d-drivers.html - many thanks to HV for writing this all up so quickly!

I'm going to produce a short document listing and rating the hotels we used in the next couple of weeks as well.

Hope this turns out to be useful and an enjoyable read - drop me a line if anyone wants further details on anything.
Glad you enjoyed Morrocco I have spent 3 Spring holidays in Essouaria,Taroundant and Ouarzazate respectivly.
Don't tend to do much travelling from the towns but have many happy memories of the birds and the scenery.
Late March early April outstanding when migration in full swing.If I had to choose my favourite it would be Ouarzazate.
There is a nearby resevoir and behind the hotel a river.Incredible numbers of migrating and local birds.
I used to go with Panorama now part of Thomas Cook who sadly don't tend to do these itinaruies anymore.
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Old Wednesday 24th March 2010, 14:34   #19
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I haven't seen the blog (restrictions on certain types of data/sites here) but I'll certainly have a look when I get home.

Would this be worth anything? ...

http://avengerpenguins.com/gallery2/...2_itemId=21303

The orangey stuff is, obviously, oranges. The driver seemed to be seriously contemplating how he might get them all back in the truck. We decided not to stop and offer assistance.
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