Sunday 8 April 2018

Western Sahara - part two

We decided we should get Royal Tern out of the way first so the next morning we headed northwards out of Dahkla reaching a beachfrount resort called 'Dahkla Attitude' where we figured we might get some resting Terns on the beach as high tide approached. In short, that never happened but we did have some good birds from the carpark of the beach resort that morning. Top-billing was this Lanner that swooped in a snatched an unfortunate House Sparrow and then sat on the sand enjoying it's mid-morning snack.

Lanner - Dahkla Bay, 29th March 2018
The local birds around the carpark were also pretty good too!

Male Black Wheatear - the female was never too far away

Thekla Lark - ever present around buildings and human habitation!
And what was to become one of the most numerous migrants during the course of the week - Western Subalpine Warbler.

Male Western Subalpine Warbler

Male Western Subalpine Warbler
Another Grasshopper Warbler was present plus several Chiffchaffs.
From there we continued along the road out of Dahkla passing through the main check-point along the way. We checked a site for Scrub Warbler which didn't have any Scrub Warbler but did surprisingly have this Short-eared Owl.

Short-eared Owl - a notable record for Western Sahara??
We stopped off at another wadi along the road that looked promising for migrants and in here we really had a good couple of hours. I flushed what turned out to be a Scops Owl (a two Owl day in WS!)

Otus Scops!
We also had wonderful views of singing Desert Wheatear.

Desert Wheatear
Also present in this area were Great Grey Shrike (elegans) and I believe I had a small flock of Temminck's Larks but regretfully I never managed to catch up with them later on.
From there we moved on to the 'famous' water tower at Tachaktant. This is a just a small area with a water tower, some pools (puddles really), Tamarisks and other scrubby desert bushes but we visited several times during our trip here and it always had plenty of great birds.

The wonderful water tower at Tachaktant - a migrant magnet

On that first visit we had Green Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Spotted Crake and Greenshank mooching around the puddles. On the passerine migrant front we had several Bluethroats, more Tree Pipits, Yellow Wagtail, Wryneck, Sedge and Reed Warblers and plenty of Willows and Chiffs.


 Yellow Wagtail

 Yellow Wagtail

 Yellow Wagtail

Bathing Tree Pipit

Bathing Tree Pipit
It was here also that we bumped into a group of four Dutch birders that we were to cross-paths with frequently over the next few days. It was very useful to share information with them as it turned out. They gave us some 'gen' for Royal Terns back at Dahkla so with our 'boots filled' at the water tower spot we decided to give that a go. We drove back to Dahkla and checked the cliff edges along by the 22 km marker on the road. However, Royal Tern frustratingly eluded us yet again but we did have a Black-crowned Night Heron and two Western Bonelli's Warblers moving along the cliff edge.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Western Bonelli's Warbler
Then it was time for dinner and bed!

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