Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

February 20, 2018

Oualidia Lagoon Boat Ride

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 8:42 pm

Oualidia Lagoon Boat Ride

I went for a boat ride this morning at 9am. Luckily the tide was going out so the mud flats were exposed and there were a lot of birds wading.

Slender-billed Gull
Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)

I have been looking for a Slender-billed Gull for ages and finally I found one. tick.

Great Cormarant - race sinensis
Great Cormarant(Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis)

This is the Great Cormorant race sinensis. There are three races in Morocco.
(see http://cormorants.freehostia.com/cormo_abstract/bull4_docs/Veldkamp.htm for reports).

Moroccan Great Cormorant
Moroccan Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo maroccanus)

And the local Moroccan race maroccanus on the right. Phalacrocorax carbo maroccanus is a resident in coastal north-western Africa from Morocco south to Mauritania. The nominate race carbo is on the left.

Black-headed Gull
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

In summer plumage. First time I have seen one with summer plumage. Woot.

Spotless Starling
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)

There were lots of these Spotless Starlings in town.

Eurasian Oystercatcher
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

Black-necked Grebe
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

I think this Black-necked Grebe has a bit of breeding plumage happening.

Eurasian Spoonbill
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

There were a couple of Eurasian Spoonbills with rings on their legs. Will have to send the photos away to find where they come from.

Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

White Stork
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)

Some of these White Storks have nested on top of the town mosque.

Oualidia Bird List

Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)
Moroccan Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo maroccanus)
Great Cormarant(Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)
Common Bulbul
Common Blackbird
Whimbrel
Common Ringed Plover
Little Egret
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Grey Heron
Grey Plover
Eurasian Curlew
Dunlin
Kentish Plover
Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)
Common Kingfisher
Ruddy Turnstone
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
Common Coot
Sardinian Warbler

The Lagoon at Oualidia

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:38 pm

Oualidia Birds

I got to Oulidia yesterday via a shared taxi. It was pretty good value and faster than a bus. Oualidia is on the coast with a big lagoon stretching for miles. In the afternoon I went for a walk down to the lagoon. It did not seem like there was much around but I seemed to get a few birds nevertheless.

Common Whitethroat
Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)

Not seen this bird before.

Lesser Redpoll  or Common Redpoll
Common Linnet (Linaria cannabina)

Edit: got it totally wrong. It is a Common Linnet. doh! Way too south for a redpoll. (Not sure which this is. Will have to get some help with the ID. I do not know European birds. I have seen Redpolls in New Zealand, where they were introduced. I think they may have been introduced in Morocco too, or are vagrant. )

Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)

Thanks to Gustav, Kuzey and crew on the facebook ID group. Pipits are a nightmare for me. And I guess lots of other birders.

Western Cattle Egret
Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

This was the first bird I saw as I stepped out for the afternoon. Scrounging around in a garbage bin. He has got the first flushes of breeding plumage as well.

European Serin
European Serin (Serinus serinus)

Lots of twittering Serin on the hills above the lagoon.

Sardinian Warbler
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)

These are everywhere in Morocco.

Common Kestrel in flight
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Oualidia bird list

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Common Linnet (Linaria cannabina)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) aka Eurasian Blackbird
Eurasian Collared Dove
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
Sardinian Warbler
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Common Kestrel
EURASIAN CURLEW (Numenius arquata)
Spotless Starling

February 18, 2018

Going North in Morocco

Filed under: General,Surfing — Tags: — admin @ 8:51 pm

Immsouane – Essaouira – Safi

Here are some of the tourist photos that I have taken on the way from Immsouane to Safi. There was nothing else to do in Immsouane. It was a small village on the edge of a barren desert-like landscape. There were two beaches and one of them was very protected from the north wind. And excellent for beginners to learn surfing.

Immsouane panorama
The beach at Immsouane.

I was lucky getting from Immsouane. I bumped into some Canadians in the village and we shared a taxi to the highway. We waited five minutes and then a bus came along. My hostel was easy to find but not very nice. I spent most of my time walking around the old city and the fishing harbour.

Trawler going back out.
Trawler going back out.

Grilled sardines were popular with the tourists. I never seen so many white pasty-skinned Europeans.

Grilling sardines
Grilling sardines

All the fishing boats were painted blue. I have no idea how they knew which was which.

A new trawler
A new trawler

A few trawlers were getting a fit-out.

The blue fishing boats
The blue fishing boats

Fixing the nets
Fixing the nets

This guy was repairing the nets while other dudes were unloading fish.

A trawler coming home
A trawler coming home

Surrounded by a cloud of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Surfing some small waves
Surfing some small waves

This morning I caught the bus from Essaouira, glad to escape my horrible hostel. Walked down the road to my luxury hotel with TV and air-conditioning and had a nice hot shower. After that I got a taxi to the beach but the waves were a bit too small. Nevertheless, there were a couple of keen guys out surfing.

Under the cliff
Under the cliff

I walked about a kilometer and got a taxi back to my hotel, had a quarter chicken for dinner and am now sorting out all my photos, watching French TV.

February 16, 2018

Atlantic Morocco Coast Birds

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 6:21 pm

Birds of Immsouane

I mainly walked along the seashore at Imsouane and the rock shelf near the harbour. I was lucky to spot a Northern Bald Ibis on a lamp post just near the market. But it is a terrible photo.

Northern Bald Ibis
Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita)

Northern Bald Ibis, hermit ibis, or waldrapp (Geronticus eremita). “The northern bald ibis was once widespread across the Middle East, northern Africa, southern and central Europe, with a fossil record dating back at least 1.8 million years. It disappeared from Europe over 300 years ago, and is now considered critically endangered. There are believed to be about 500 wild birds remaining in southern Morocco.” (wiki).

Little Egret
LIttle Egret

This one seems to be in breeding plumage.

maybe Heuglin's Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) – third winter

I have to get an ID of this one. Edit: thanks to Olle for the ID. “Medium grey back and long slender wings look good for Larus fuscus. A third-winter bird.”

Not sure, id please
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)

This one had a ring on it. I have to get a proper ID on it. Edit: Thanks to Tim Swain for the ID. This bird was ringed in France on 01/07/2017.

Ring band on gull
Ring on the gull

This is the ring on the gull above.

Sandwich tern
Sandwich tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

There were about 15 of them on the rock shelf hanging about in a mob.

Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone juvenile having a bath.

Little Stint
Little Stint

Southern Grey Shrike
Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis algeriensis)

Imsouane Birds

Little Egret
Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita)
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
Common Chaffinch
Great Cormorant
Yellow-legged Gull
Little Stint
Southern Grey Shrike
Sandwich tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Ruddy Turnstone
Lesser Black-backed Gull

Surfing Two Bays

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 5:27 pm

Surfing at Imsouane.

Imsouane has two bays that are suitable for sufing. The one to the north gets bigger waves and is suitable for more experienced surfers. The other one to the south is more protected, with gentler waves and is very good for beginners.

Coming in and going out
Coming in and going out

This fishing boat was coming out of the harbour just as a set was coming through.

Going over the wave
Going over the wave

They just made it over.

SUP, dude
SUP, dude

In the northern bay, I think they call it Cathedral, the bigger waves were coming through.

Wipe out
Wipe out

Below the desert
Below the desert

The land around here is very dry.

Coming off the lip
Coming off the lip

Dav 2 at Imsouane was a bit bigger and the tide was out for most of the morning so it was a great day for surfing.

Going left
Going left

Shooting into the sun.

Carving
Carving

Fishermen coming in
Fishermen coming in

Luckily this boat made it in without getting swamped.

Left
Left

Shooting into the sun made the waves glisten nicely.

February 13, 2018

Taghazout to Cap Ghir

Filed under: Birds,Surfing — Tags: — admin @ 4:33 pm

Boiler Point Excursion.

This morning after breakfast I walked up the hill from the Taghazout village to the highway roundabout and caught the 33 bus which goes to Thamri. I got off at the end of Cap Ghir. I did not know there was a surfing spot there. It is called Boiler Point.

Early wave at Boiler Point
Early wave at Boiler Point

The tide was coming in fast so there were not many waves. When I came back later no-one was out because the waves were not even breaking any more. There were a heap of fishing boats out to sea.

Fishing Boats
Fishing Boats

And quite a few rock fishermen trying their luck. I only saw them catch one fish.

rock fishermen
Rock fishermen

unknown, id please
blue rock thrush (Monticola solitarius) – female

I took a photo of this bird but I have no idea what it is or where to start. Edit: Thanks to Gustav Erikson for the ID.

Anchor Point at sunset
Anchor Point at sunset

This is a bonus photo from yesterday afternoon, just above the village of Anchor Point. It was low tide at this stage.

Cap Ghir birds

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Yellow-legged Gull
House Sparrow
European Stonechat
blue rock thrush (Monticola solitarius)

February 12, 2018

Anchor Point Surfing and Birds

Filed under: Birds,Surfing — Tags: — admin @ 8:38 pm

Taghazout Birds and Surfing.

I set off early from Mirleft after having breakfast and saying an emotional goodbye to my French friends. I have met some really nice people in Morocco. I got a shared taxi from Mirleft to Tiznit. Then I got a really old Mercedes Grand Taxi and was squashed up in the back, my foot went to sleep and it was so dead I could not move it. When I got to Agadir I got a taxi all to myself for only 60 Dirhams and arrived about mid-day or so.

Anchor Point wide shot
Anchor Point wide shot

After a shower and a shave I headed out to the beach and followed the coast out to Anchor Point. The surf was totally flat, the tide was going out and there were only a few guys out.

Lucky to get one
Lucky to get one.

Not many waves were coming in, so the guys were lucky to latch on to anything coming in.

do not hit the rocks
Don’t hit the rocks!

The waves were breaking a bit close to the rocks. I was expecting someone to wipe out and smash into the rocks but it did not happen. I also took some photos of birds along the way. I was lucky to get a few new races of species already photographed.

Southern Grey Shrike - race algeriensis
Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis algeriensis)

This one is Southern Grey Shrike, race algeriensis, seen along the coast of Morocco. Race elegans is seen inland near the deserts.

African Chaffinch
African Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs africana)

Most properly called Common Chaffinch, race africana.

Taghazout Bird List
Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis algeriensis)
African Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs africana) (Common Chaffinch)
Sardinian Warbler
Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Bulbul
House Sparrow

February 9, 2018

South-west Morocco Birds Day 4

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 8:32 pm

Mirleft – South-west Morocco Coast.

This afternoon’s mission was to go out and photograph a male Moussier’s Redstart. Mission accomplished. I walked up the street and stopped near a half-completed building and there on the ground was a very nice bird just standing up on rocks posing for me. I was very happy.

Moussier's Redstart   - male
Moussier’s Redstart (Phoenicurus moussieri) – male

I had photographed the female earlier in the week.

Moussier's Redstart   - female
Moussier’s Redstart (Phoenicurus moussieri) – female

Sardinian Warbler
Sardinian Warbler ( Sylvia melanocephala)

At first I thought this was a female but now I am not so sure. The Sardinian Warbler female is generally duller with a grey head and red eye ring. She has a white throat and upper parts are more brownish.

Iberian Chiffchaff
Iberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus)

I stopped near a garbage skip and photographed the Iberian Chiffchaffs.

Thekla Lark
Thekla Lark ( Galerida theklae)

These guys are very common around here.

House Bunting
House Bunting (Emberiza sahari)

Mirleft Bird List

Moussier’s Redstart (Phoenicurus moussieri)
Thekla Lark ( Galerida theklae)
House Bunting (Emberiza sahari)
European Stonechat
Sardinian Warbler ( Sylvia melanocephala) female
Iberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus)

February 6, 2018

South-west Morocco Birds 3

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 7:23 pm

Mirleft Day 3

Once again, more rain this morning. I spent most of the day indoors, waiting for the sun to come out. This afternoon it finally made an appearance, so I went for a walk. I was mainly looking for a male Moussier’s Redstart. I had seen one on the way to the shop earlier but to no avail. 🙁

Black Wheatear  - male
Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura) male

At least I got a decent shot of a male Black Wheatear. The females seem to be more approachable and numerous.

European Stonechat - male
European Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

I thought this was a Siberian Stonechat at first but it is more likely to be a European Stonechat, aka Common Stonechat.

Iberian Chiffchaff
Iberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus)

A few of these were in a drain coming out of a yuppy walled french enclave.

Green Sandpiper
common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Seen in a drain going down to the ocean.

Common Bulbul
Common Bulbul

Inside the walled city of rich French aristocrat layabouts. “off with their heads!”

Mirleft Bird List

Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
Iberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus)
common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura) male
Common Bulbul
Common or European Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

February 5, 2018

South-west Morocco Birding Numero Dos

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 10:05 pm

Mirleft – South-west Morocco

It rained all day today on and off. Finally I got out late in the afternoon and went for a walk up to the shop to buy some coffee and look for the Spotless Starlings. I got the coffee but not the starlings. But read on, dear readers.

Iberian Chiffchaff
Iberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus)

I was at my wit’s end trying to identify this little barmaid. I think it is right. And it is always a chiffchaff when I am looking for fancy warblers.

Spotless Starling
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)

“The spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor) is a passerine bird in the starling family, Sturnidae. It is closely related to the common starling Sturnus vulgaris, but has a much more restricted range, confined to the Iberian Peninsula, northwest Africa, southernmost France, and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica.” (wiki).

 Blue Rock Thrush
Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius)

It was getting so dark with a big rain cloud coming over just before sunset. So, crap photo, but it’s a #recordshot.

Moroccan Wagtail
Moroccan Wagtail (Motacilla alba subpersonata)

This is supposed to be the local race, but I have my doubts. Maybe it is a young one and the black around the face has not fully formed yet. I dunno.

House Bunting
House Bunting

Popped up on the wall. Could not resist it.

Black Wheatear
Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura)

And then it started to rain, just on sundown. Back to the hostel.

Mirleft Birds List

Iberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
Moroccan Wagtail (Motacilla alba subpersonata) ???
Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius)
Thekla Lark
Black Wheatear
House Bunting
Common Bulbul

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