Saturday, 16 March 2013

Morocco, the Atlas Mountains, Ourica Valley and Oukaimeden, 5/3/2013

Part 3     Day 6 (final day) of our trip 28/2 - 5/3/2013

We had stayed the night in Ait Ourir, (only 20 miles out of Marrakesh).
Today, we are going about 60 miles, to go up the Ourika Valley, with stops at different altitudes, up to Oukaimeden, a ski resort in the High Atlas Mountains, about 2600 metres              

After the poor weather of yesterday, big hopes for improvement today !

Daybreak, the weather was a bit dull, it was light rain !
Breakfast, packed up all gear except the cameras, last day !    (ready for the evening flight 20.00 hours).
Deadline time set for16.00 hours, to pack cameras and leave for airport.

With so much success in the desert on the memory stick, now today becomes '' got to be right day'' ! !

we head off towards Oukaimeden and in no time we are in the Ourica Valley, its stopped raining, its much brighter, looking good !

We stop off in a lay by, the weather is getting better, the light is reasonable, camels and donkeys pass here, the place is alive with birdsong

       Cirl Bunting
       Grey Wagtail
*** Common Bulbul
       Moussier's Redstart, (brief show)

      Then Jono hears the call of the Levaillant's Woodpecker ! ! ! !

*** Levaillant's Woodpecker

20 minutes, ''STUNNING'', what a start to the day !

We move on climbing higher, now above the treeline, in the mountains now, another stop at a lay by

*** Alpine Accentor, very brief views

we arrive at Oukaimeden around 09.30, it has snowed last night,we are just above the snow line !
There is a bit of grey in the sky, it did snow for a  bit, the wind was strong at intervals, it was an ever changing light exposure day !

We are early, there is very few people, but lots of birds ! ! !

We drove up to the top car park ! !

       Chough, 100+
*** Alpine Chough, 100+
       Raven, 2 + more
*** Crimson-winged Finch, 8+
*** Shore Lark (Atlas), 12+
*** African Chaffinch, 3/4
*** Rock Sparrow, small flock

and Mick found another Levaillant's Woodpecker ! ! !

This is how my day went ! !   (in photograph order)


Crimson-winged Finch

Shore Lark, Atlas

Levailant's Woodpecker


Alpine Chough


Alpine Chough

Crimson-winged Finch

African Chaffinch

Crimson-winged Finch

Shore Lark, Atlas, f

Rock Sparrow

14.00 hours, It's time to move on, we want to have another stop back at this morning's lay by in the Ourika Valley before the dash to the airport !

Back at the lay by, I spend a bit of time with the Common Bulbul

It's basically time to pack up !

I wander back to join the group, they have found the Moussier's Redstart ! ! !

what a superb bird to finish our trip with ! ! !

In the car, depart for airport, flight home, arrive Gatwick 22.30 hours.
A stunning 6 days in Morocco ! !


  1. Great trip report Richard with superb photos. The Last one is my fave. Moussier's Redstart is a smart looking bird.