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Don't take your scope to Morocco (1 Viewer)

Acrocephalus

Well-known member
I think this is most likely a misunderstanding, and does not stem from official law or similar as suggested by some in twitter. This happens now and then, but they are isolated cases. E.g. it happened to the Swedish birders of the Big Year WP 2017 at the Rabat Airport (I don't agree with them about the reason this happened).
 

jogresh

Registered nutjob
That is a bit worrying to be honest. I love Morocco, been 3 times and am planning on another visit before too long.
Recently found out that Jordan also confiscates scopes, had been thinking about a birding holiday there but that leaves one less destination to choose from.
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
The WP group also reported that Marsh Owl at Merga Zerga was ‘hard to flush’ perhaps people like them are the reason:C

I had no problem with my one sighting - i did spend 2 days/3 nights just mooching around and looking. It’s called patience and fieldcraft...

Laurie -
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
The WP group also reported that Marsh Owl at Merga Zerga was ‘hard to flush’ perhaps people like them are the reason:C

I had no problem with my one sighting - i did spend 2 days/3 nights just mooching around and looking. It’s called patience and fieldcraft...

Laurie -

Tough to see when I did it but that was down to the fact that it didn't become active until it was just about dark This is probably the reason that they tried to flush it before it was ready to start hunting?
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
Honestly, if this ever happens to me, I am gonna turn around on the spot and redirect my trip into a country that is being grateful for people visiting it. So far, I had no problems in neither Morocco nor Jordan.

Misunderstanding my ass. There is nothing to understand here, "language barrier" is not an excuse for behavior that is blatantly absurd without speaking a word out.
 

Jon Turner

Well-known member
The WP group also reported that Marsh Owl at Merga Zerga was ‘hard to flush’ perhaps people like them are the reason:C

I had no problem with my one sighting - i did spend 2 days/3 nights just mooching around and looking. It’s called patience and fieldcraft...

Laurie -

Or hiring a decent guide, as I did. I carefully avoided all those saying they could show me Slender-billed Curlew.....
 

Peewit

Once a bird lover ... always a bird lover
Just seen this tweet:

https://twitter.com/wildalmeria/status/1167805447530844165?s=19

Be wary of travelling with your telescope to Morocco. It could be confiscated at the border.

That is one disappointment for you and your group :-C:-C

My partner and I decided a while ago that there are places in this world that we are prepared to visit due to the culture or anything related in any way that could harm us (let alone having our optics taken from us) -simply not worth it.

I had a discussion about this with a group of birders I was with this year and they could not understand why I felt that way - in my own mindset I feel that we are both in our 60's are feeling self preservation is most important to us now.

Years ago, I remember forgetting a small knife I had in my hand luggage at one of the airports in Spain and I was taken aside by a young woman with a gun holder and I was mortified and was let off eventually.

This year during our visit to Spain, my partner was shouted (in full blown Spanish) at by an airport offical, that he had a suspicious belt (drugs??????) around his middle (it was just a leather belt). My OH was treated like a criminal, (he does not speak fluent Spanish), and he was rather upset because the whole airport could hear him being abused by the airport staff. The official was told to be quiet by one of his work mates - and we got no apology at all!!!

We have been going to Spain for many years, and to be treated in this manner made me feel very angry - we are visiting their country and my partner is treated like dirt for no reason at all.

What is this sad world coming to.... paranoid or what :-C
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
This year during our visit to Spain, my partner was shouted (in full blown Spanish) at by an airport offical, that he had a suspicious belt (drugs??????) around his middle

What is this sad world coming to.... paranoid or what :-C

How would you like a Spanish official in Spain to shout? Full blown English?
 

Peewit

Once a bird lover ... always a bird lover
How would you like a Spanish official in Spain to shout? Full blown English?

LOL - all I know is that my partner and the official did not understand each other - maybe my partner looked Spanish in appearance - no not really. We never understood what the issue was in the first place and still are none the wiser.

By the way I meant to say this was on the journey back from a trip with a Birding Company for a week to Extremadura, but as we where on our way home so we had said our goodbyes to them.
 

Simon Wates

Well-known member
I think this is most likely a misunderstanding, and does not stem from official law or similar as suggested by some in twitter. This happens now and then, but they are isolated cases. E.g. it happened to the Swedish birders of the Big Year WP 2017 at the Rabat Airport (I don't agree with them about the reason this happened).

I hope you are right, its been a good few years since I visited Morocco and I'm missing dearly the beautiful place it is. I always remember, in the wilds of the Atlas, setting up my scope one evening for some children and their Mothers so they could see the moon. They were so thankful. Such lovely people and an unforgettable experience for me.

All the same, maybe Morroco's Birdlife partner could write a letter to the customs authority so they can identify people with scopes as "the right kind of tourist" ie; not crooks ;)

Unfortunately it does seem that customs around the world are tending to be more bad mannered.
 
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opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
It’s just a false alarm. Birding in Morocco is business as usual!

For anyone truly interested, please see this blog-post (and read it until the end): http://www.magornitho.org/2019/09/birding-optics-morocco/

No, it is not a false alarm, since it happened! Why are you so invested in marginalising this issue? Instead of running around the forums and trying to convince birders that nothing is happening, you should be running around your own country, trying to change the absurd practices of the customs. Those people are public servants and you are the bloody public.
 

temmie

Well-known member
No, it is not a false alarm, since it happened! Why are you so invested in marginalising this issue? Instead of running around the forums and trying to convince birders that nothing is happening, you should be running around your own country, trying to change the absurd practices of the customs. Those people are public servants and you are the bloody public.

It's not a false alarm, but by what I read in that blog, it is marginal.
Acrocephalus can't help if there is an overzealous customs officer.

It seems like the cases of confiscated scopes were either because of suspicion of using stuff for journalism / professional filming or for selling.

I am pretty sure anyone that can explain he is entering the country as a tourist and birdwatcher will be fine.
 

DMW

Well-known member
How would you like a Spanish official in Spain to shout? Full blown English?

Well if he was dealing with an English person who isn't fluent in Spanish, and actually wanted to do his job rather just shout at a powerless foreign tourist for his own gratification, it would make a lot more sense to shout in English, wouldn't it?
 

Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
Europe
Well if he was dealing with an English person who isn't fluent in Spanish, and actually wanted to do his job rather just shout at a powerless foreign tourist for his own gratification, it would make a lot more sense to shout in English, wouldn't it?

Hmm, granted the official didn’t sound like a particularly nice person, but would for example, an Italian person be spoken to in Italian by such an official in a UK airport in a similar situation ?;)
 

DMW

Well-known member
Hmm, granted the official didn’t sound like a particularly nice person, but would for example, an Italian person be spoken to in Italian by such an official in a UK airport in a similar situation ?;)

No, of course not, mon ami, but Italian is hardly the world's lingua franca 3:), and to be fair I have flown in and out of UK airports hundreds of times, and have never seen anybody being shouted at by airport personnel in any language. The point is that shouting at anybody in a language in which they are not reasonably fluent is simply pointless.

Funnily enough, I worked at St Helier port for a couple of Summers, mostly dealing with French day-trippers. We used to shout at them in French!
 

Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
Europe
No, of course not, mon ami, but Italian is hardly the world's lingua franca 3:), and to be fair I have flown in and out of UK airports hundreds of times, and have never seen anybody being shouted at by airport personnel in any language. The point is that shouting at anybody in a language in which they are not reasonably fluent is simply pointless.

Funnily enough, I worked at St Helier port for a couple of Summers, mostly dealing with French day-trippers. We used to shout at them in French!

Quite right too :t:
 

Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
Europe
Mostly we were shouting "calmez-vous". For some reason, it never seemed to work! ;)

If my experience with our little nieces out here is anything to go by, they learn to pay no attention to ´calmez- vous’ at a very young âge;)
Anyway, enough of this thread hijacking, I don’t approve!
 
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