Friday 21 February 2014

Monday 17 February 2014

Morocco, Oued Massa, ''Bald Ibis'', 3rd & 4th February, 2014

PART 2, of a 5 Day Trip to Morocco,

1st February to 6th February, 2014

Day 3.   Monday, 3rd February.

We headed north out of Guelmin early afternoon, brief stop to eat as we crossed the Anti Atlas Mountains, turning west of the N1 a bit north of Tiznit

to the small town of Zaouit Massa,
c.16.00 hours, later than we had wished for, thus restricting photo opportunities to only an hour + !

In lanes between the many small fields

Black-crowned Tchagra, 2
Common Bulbul, several
Laughing Dove
Moroccan Magpie
Moussier's Redstart
Swallow, several
Little Owl

Black-crowned Tchagra,

Common Bulbul

Small plots of land, surrounded by bunds, for irrigation, used to grow animal fodder, 4 crops per year ! We wander the donkey / moped tracks !   People working in fields, everybody friendly !

Cattle Egret, 100+
Zitting Cisticola, many

Common Buzzard, over
Swallow, several

Cattle Egret

Dusk came, Mick is now driving and we have the problem of finding accommodation and food !
We are trying to find Sidi Wassay, and Mick is ''well just driving'', not having a clue, but guessing where to go ! down narrow lanes, up tracks, where only donkeys have ever been before (without carts), up a couple of dead ends, after what must have been an hour of ''lost'' !

We came out onto a tarmac road, 2 km later we arrive at Sidi Wassay, a Camping site with security guards, barrier's, and about 50 big camper vans, in the middle of nowhere, on the Atlantic coast, a very, very strong wind and the sound of the waves crashing in from the Atlantic, now quite a wild night ! !

Jono dispatched to get us sorted !  10 minutes and he is back

''everything organised'' !

a shop that is open, soap, toothpaste, more bananas and oranges !
2 Hobbit style apartments !
Hot water with good shower facilities !
Evening meal will be served in an hour !
and also a guide is booked for tomorrow 08.00 hours to lead us to Jono's dream see !
''Bald Ibis''

Mick 'chimping' in our Hobbit !

Somebody said it might be Donkey meat Kebab ! I stick to bananas and bread !


Tuesday, 4th February

Up and out before dawn, on the beach, the tide is out a bit, the waves not so pounding, the wind had lessened, around the camp site

Moussier's Redstart
Spotless Starling

08.00 hours, our guide turns up, 10 minutes later and 400 metres up the road, on our left is a restricted area, part of the Sousse-Massa reserve, a large fenced off area, specific set aside to maintain natural habitat, to keep goats out and their destruction of the habitat.

A flock of Bald Ibis, about 150 meters distant, some more just over the ridge, grazing, feeding constantly probing the ground !

The guide invited us to go over the wire and led us, keeping distance, into a position where we had the sun behind us to enable a photography opportunity !

***** Bald Ibis, 100+

Bald Ibis

Just a crazy superb 20 minutes ! !

leaving the enclosed area, on the fence

Thekla Lark

Back in the 4 x 4, the guide is taking us to look for Stone-curlew,

down the road about 10 minutes and we are looking at 60+ Stone-curlew !


Back in the 4 x 4, we head towards the mouth of the Massa

Little Owl

Moroccan Magpie

the Oued Massa is not tidal, it is separated from the sea by a big sand bar

Osprey, 1 on the sandbar, later seen fishing
Flamingo, 1
Moroccan Cormorant, lots
Glossy Ibis, 50+
Grey Heron, 1
Sandwich Tern

Audouin's Gull,
Slender-billed Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull

Audouin's Gull, adults and 1st year, with Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull and 2 Audouin's Gulls

Audouin's Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Not enough time spent here, how ever the light is now harsh, so we move on to the reserve, fanning out, combing the scrub land hoping to find Barbury Partridge, a needle in a haystack ! It's a tough walk, uphill, sand, scrub, I lag behind knowing its less distance walk back to the car.
I missed seeing the 2 Barbury Partridge that Mick said ''flew over my head'' !

We continued our day in the lanes around the Oued Massa seeing

Black-crowned Tchagra
Laughing Dove
Brown-throated Martin
Black-winged Kite
Mousierr's Redstart


We left Massa at c18.00 hours, back on the N1 we headed north for Agadir, we are heading for Anza, where near just north of the Port of Anza are three fish processing factories, situated right on the Atlantic shoreline, attracting lots of Gulls !

As we get towards Agadir, big traffic hold ups, nightmare driving for Jono, we run late, lost, another half hour to find hotel, great evening meal, a very long day over !


Wednesday, 5th February

Our final day sees me up early, I did not have a good night !  (sorry ! I will have earplugs in future)

We are down on the shoreline by 08.00 hours, right next to the 3 fish processing factories !
I had noticed the buses bringing the workers in to work, a lot of people coming to work, these factories process a lot of fish ! !
The smell is indescribable ! the workers process the fish in the factory, the waste just flows out over the beach !  There is people fishing ?  This place is just stinking rotten and filthy !

loafing on the beach, there are about

Lesser Black-backed Gulls, c1000
Yellow-legged Gulls, c1000
and about 50+ Little Egret

Then the fish processing plant went into full production ! a steady stream of waste poured out over the beach, this is unreal, the smell, the chaos,

c2000 Gulls went crazy !

After getting over my initial retching reaction to this place, I made some poor attempts at photographing the Gulls !  Total failure, I retired to the 4 x 4 and binned all my days images !
Mick and Jono enjoyed a couple of hours while I sat in the car with my coat over my head for protection from harsh light and the smell ! !

Leaving Anza around 11.00 hours, Jono stopped for speeding, 2nd time, official payment this time !
We head north on the motorway towards Marrakesh.

We took an hour detour west, off the motorway, into mountainous region to explore, seeing more Black Wheatear and Southern Grey Shrike, returning to near motorway, another ''speeding stop'', this time ''Jono could only speak English'' and he had an empty wallet ! we got let off with a couple of hand shakes, all very good humoured !

back at Marrakesh Airport for the c19.00 flights to Gatwick.

Big thanks to Jono and Mick for a ''superb trip''.