Birding in Morocco - 11th - 18th May 2008

Published by Steve Richards (alan.richards19 AT

Participants: Steve Richards, Phil Jones, Richard Sutton and Gerald Brereton



During the Autumn of 2007 Phil Jones, Richard Sutton, Gerald Brereton and I decided upon undertaking a birding holiday in Morocco. It was decided that the best time of year would be May in order to maximise our opportunities with several key species. I had wanted to visit this country for a number of years and had read about and studied many of the exotic species which can be found here since I was young.

We had all birded Mediterranean countries as well as Africa (such as The Gambia and Kenya) in the past, so we had a good idea on what to expect from this extremely diverse and bird rich country. Indeed, the vast array of habitats guaranteed that our trip list was varied and rather substantial for a relatively short trip.

Phil booked our flights via Thomsonfly which equated to around £130.00 each. Car hire was booked via the Internet and subcontracted through Avis and worked out around £75.00 each. No fixed accommodation was booked prior to our trip as we had heard that we would be able to find places to stay easily. This would also give us more flexibility with our rather strict and hectic itinerary.

Months before going, I had extensively studied Dave Gosney’s guides to Morocco as well as numerous trip reports from the Internet. This gave us a good idea on where the hottest birding sites could be found and how to structure our day-to-day travelling. Particularly useful were Richard Bonser’s trip reports, which provided fantastic up-to-date ‘gen’ and extremely accurate details on how to find key sites. We are extremely grateful to Richard for his sound advice which ensured that we could get as much out of our trip as possible.

We found travelling around Morocco very easy, with excellent roads and decent signs. The regular ‘Kilometre’ signs at the side of the road proved invaluable when trying to find certain areas. Food was of a good standard and was easily found. We had heard that the locals can prove to be a little tiresome to say the least and we had a couple of instances where this was true. Nevertheless, most people were fine and left us alone to bird in peace. Although not essential, being a fluent French speaker definitely came very useful in certain circumstances, notably obtaining directions, talking to police when being stopped at check points, and when arriving at hotels/restaurants in the more remote locations.

I have detailed our itinerary as follows to outline the key areas visited and the target species with which we connected. I have also noted where we stayed and ate etc to give a clear idea of what to expect if considering a trip to this fantastic country.

Daily Itinerary

Sunday 11th May

After departing Manchester Airport mid afternoon, we arrived in Marrakech just after 19:00. The first birds to be seen were a couple of Stone Curlews on the grass on the runway from the plane. The passport control here was a complete shambles and took around 3 hours to get through. We eventually got our bags and approached the car hire. After half an hour of pointless discussion, we were eventually given the keys and led to the car. It really felt as if they were trying to squeeze every penny from us for very little indeed. Nevertheless, we (relatively) quickly changed our Sterling into Dirhams in the Airport and were on our way.

Due to the unforeseen delays here, it was decided to find a hotel in Marrakech, get an early night, and get up early ready for our journey towards the coast. With not too much searching we decided upon the Hotel Fashion for around £25 each where we got our heads down for the night.

Monday 12th May

Getting up around 4:45 am we got the car loaded whilst watching and listening to our first Common Bulbul of the trip. After a brief confrontation with a so-called ‘car warden’ we were on the road towards Agadir.

As the light was rising, we started to note various common roadside birds : Moroccan Magpies with their distinctive blue patch beneath the eye were numerous especially near habitation. Doves were also frequent with Collared, Turtle, and Laughing all noted many times. 3 Night Herons flew over and many Cattle Egrets were bold and obvious. Crested Larks regularly flew from the road as we passed and Common Bulbuls heard and seen in most areas with bushes and trees.

By mid morning we had navigated our way around Agadir and had found the famous village of Massa. Laughing Doves were noted here and our first African House Buntings were seen well singing from a few of the buildings. Despite taking a wrong track through the village(when trying to find the well known bridge over the river Massa), we found an excellent site in the middle of the agricultural river side habitat. We hadn’t been out the car for a minute when the first of several Brown-Throated Sand Martins flew right past us. These afforded superb views of which is a very restricted Western Palearctic species. Shortly after, we began enjoying other species showing very well in a small weedy field below the track. These included a family of 3 Moussier’s Redstarts, a few Western Olivaceous Warblers, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starlings, African Chaffinches, Serins, an overhead Peregrine, as well as many Pallid Swifts and Fan-Tailed Warblers.

Over the next hour or so, we ambled around the tracks between the farmland towards the river. Areas of scrub and fields were very fruitful as we began observing more interesting species including Red-Rumped Swallows, Cirl Buntings, Stonechats, a few more Moussier’s Redstarts, Cetti’s Warbler, European Bee-Eaters, Western Black-Eared Wheatears, Iberian(Yellow) Wagtails, Spotted and (presumed) female-type Pied Flycatchers, as well as overhead Purple Heron and Alpine Swift. We were also treated to cracking views of a couple of Rufous Bushchats and a surprise Wood Warbler in a tamarisk whilst taking advantage of the nearby shade. However, pride of place went to the superb Black-Crowned Tchagra which showed very well in the open feeding in a couple of small bushes. The bird was firstly located by its rather loud Willow Warbler-like song and surprisingly gave itself up late morning.

After our bird rich morning, we decided to find somewhere to eat. We found a pleasant little restaurant in the centre of Massa village where we had a delicious tajine and a couple of cold drinks. This set us up for the afternoon, and we began exploring the nearby areas.

We firstly drove into the dry desert-like habitat just outside the village. Unfortunately, it was extremely windy and dusty, making birding very difficult. However, a distant Cream-Coloured Courser and a single Ringed Plover were noted.

Due to the wind we headed for the sheltered area of lagoons and marsh towards the mouth of the Oued Massa. Birds were everywhere here and many species were quickly notched up : Cattle & Little Egrets, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Herons, (Moroccan) Cormorant, 1 Marbled Duck in flight, Black and Little Terns, and several waders including Temminck’s Stint, Ruff, Curlew Sandpipers, Black-Winged Stilts, Common Sandpipers, Dunlins etc. Passerines were also evident with numerous Iberian Wagtails and Fan-Tailed Warblers, Reed Warbler, and a few female-type Pied(?) Flycatchers.

Checking the time, it was best for us to move on. Just before leaving a cracking sub-adult Bonelli’s Eagle came low overhead and soared over the rocky hillside whilst a Black-Crowned Tchagra sang from nearby scrub. We also noted our first Southern Grey Shrike of the trip here.

As the afternoon was drawing to an end, we hastily made our way towards the Oued Sous where we were keen to connect with a couple of special birds. We arrived near the entrance to the Royal Palace early evening and were greeted by a couple of guards. After explaining in French that we were here to watch birds until dusk and having a bit of banter with them, they were quite comfortable in letting us stroll around the estuarine habitat and scrub bordering the Royal Palace wall.

The Sous River here provided us with numerous water birds including Greater Flamingos, Knot, Grey Plovers, Bar-Tailed Godwits, Ringed Plovers, Dunlins, and Whimbrels etc. Sandwich, Gull-Billed, Common and Black Terns were also seen here. The scrub held a few Sardinian Warblers and Moroccan Magpies, whilst a rather tatty Spanish Sparrow fed on seed.

As the light fell, large numbers of Common & Pallid Swifts began to feed around us. Amongst these, a couple of Little Swifts were picked out.

We had walked along the draining ditch a couple of times with no luck and it wasn’t until we got near the palace fence when one of our targets appeared. Two Moroccan(White) Wagtails showed well on the track giving goods views of their very different head patterns. They certainly look distinct to any White-type Wagtails seen in Europe.

As dusk quickly approached, a few Stone Curlews flew over and it wasn’t long before we heard our first Red-Necked Nightjar. With floodlights running down the length of the palace wall we were able to see a couple briefly in flight. However, much better was when one male bird landed near the top of a dead and sang for a couple of minutes perfectly silhouetted. There were a few birds calling here as well as many Mosquitos biting our ankles.

Delighted with the days birding we found the nearby Hotel Pergola (for around £12 each) where we enjoyed a decent meal and a few ‘Speciale’ beers.

Tuesday 13th May

This day was to involve a lot of travelling so we were up and out by 5:00am. We headed South towards the village of Goulimine which would take us a few hours. On driving South many larks were flying over the large expanses of stony and sandy desert habitat whetting our appetites on what was to come.

Around 40km North of Goulimine, we were stopped at one of the many Police checkpoints. Whilst Richard was showing the officer his driving licence the first White-Crowned Black Wheatear of the trip popped up on a roadside rock. Explaining the reason for our visit we were waved goodbye and quickly found Goulimine.

Whilst checking the map in the village, 3 African House Buntings showed very well right next to the car.

We headed South from the village and made a quick stop 16km south. Here, a Long-Legged Buzzard showed well on a pylon and a smart male Red-Rumped Wheatear sat on a rock.

Our main site was 35km South of Goulimine where we were not to be disappointed. We hadn’t been out the car for a couple of minutes when we were chuffed to score with Temminck’s Horned Lark, a couple of Bar-Tailed Desert Larks, Lesser Short-Toed Lark and a pair of Red-Rumped Wheatears. Over the next couple of hours we walked further into the desert noting more birds. Pride of place went to an awesome male Thick-Billed Lark, a bizarre but nonetheless fascinating displaying Hoopoe Lark, 2 Desert Wheatears, Long-Legged Buzzard, as well as more Red-Rumped Wheatears, Temmick’s Horned and Bar-Tailed Desert Larks. On the other side of the road, we also observed at least 6 distant Cream-Coloured Coursers.

We were very pleased to have recorded many of the above in so little time, we began the journey back North along the coast.

We made a brief stop over the Oued Sayed where we noted 2 Red-Rumped Wheatears, European Bee-Eaters, Rufous Bushchat, Sardinian Warblers, but little else in the increasing heat.

We eventually headed North past Agadir and began to navigate the hillier terrain. One particular roadside stop near the village of Lakhssas was rewarded with a pair of Black Wheatears and a male Moussier’s Redstart.

By late afternoon we had reached the village of Tamri where Yellow-Legged Gulls were common along the coast. We then began our search of the clifftop fields to the North and South of the village hoping for one of the main trip targets. In doing this, several Southern Grey Shrikes and a couple of Thekla Larks were seen. Not after too much searching, we found our quarry near the ‘Agadir 43km’ post. 22 Bald Ibis showed very well feeding in the roadside field giving an excellent opportunity to study this extremely rare bird.

Leaving the birds in peace, we drove North towards the town of Essaouira to find accommodation for the night. After nearly running out of petrol, we found a small basic hotel on the edge of the town. After freshening up, we had something decent to eat and a few beers before settling down after the long day.

Wednesday 14th May

This morning we treated ourselves to a ‘lie-in’ but were still up at a half decent hour. After a rather civilised breakfast on the hotel terrace we continued North of Essaouira along the coast.

A random stop just North of the town produced 2 Little Owls, male Moussier’s Redstart, Southern Grey Shrike, and Woodchat. Whilst passing the village of Sebt Gzoula our first 2 White Storks of the trip were noted. These turned out to be very common in the Northern lush areas of Morocco.

After a couple of hours driving, we were driving through some very extensive areas of farmland with lots of setaside fields. A stop just South of Khemis-Ez-Zemamra proved fruitful with several Collared Pratincoles, Marsh Harrier, a couple of singing Quail, and loads of displaying Calandra Larks and Corn Buntings.

Our next main site to visit was the Lac Du Sidi Bourhaba. This meant driving through the town of Kenitra where there were very good numbers of White Storks nesting on whatever chimney, tower, pole etc they could find. On reaching the small causeway at the lake, it was immediately obvious that this was a good site for raptors as several Black Kites, a few Marsh Harriers, male Montagu’s Harrier, & Hobby were all quickly notched up. We also noted several Jackdaws and a couple of Common Ravens overhead. However, it was the waterbirds which were our main focus and almost instantly, we located a group of 5 Marbled Ducks dabbling on the muddy margins giving goods views from the causeway. Shortly after, our other target species was found : an adult Crested Coot with young showed well close to the edge of the lake allowing close inspection of the rather subtle differences.

Whilst generally scanning, other birds were observed including many Great Crested Grebes, Common Coots, 4 Red-Crested Pochards, several Northern Pochards, Greater Flamingos, and Sandwich & Little Terns. However, due to the time of year, very few wader species were seen.

We ventured further down the main body of the lake and parked by the small wardens hut. The trees and bushes here held Serins and Sardinian Warbler, whilst a pair of African(Ultramarine) Blue Tits were seen scolding a Common Kestrel.

Just before leaving another raptor came low overhead, this time a cracking dark morph Eleonora’s Falcon showing its black underwing coverts to great effect in the perfect light.

It was now time to head North yet again, so after working our way through Kenitra we drove towards Merdja Zerga. We found this huge lagoon with ease and with the afternoon coming to a close we headed directly to the Southern end of the lagoon. Whilst driving along the edge of the river a few species were noted including Green Sandpiper, Collared Pratincoles, many Marsh Harriers and a male Montagu’s Harrier.

We then got ourselves in position overlooking the nearby area of juncus hoping for the African Marsh Owls to appear. Unfortunately, our visit here was hampered by a pair of extremely tiresome idiots who insisted on showing us the owls and their nest. We made it clear that we were in no way interested and drove further down the track. By doing this, we managed to see a few more species including Shelduck, a few Night Herons, Greenshank, Ringed Plovers, Black-Winged Stilts and a Gull-Billed Tern. Yet again, our new ‘friends’ latched on to us. After a couple of hours, the polite ‘non merci’ was turned more into ‘**** off mate!’

Very disappointingly, the owls failed to show, but it was hardly a surprise given the amount of disturbance that the some of the locals put on these poor birds.

As the sun set, we left disappointed and drove South, but glad to get away from the annoying imbeciles that plagued our visit. We eventually reached Kenitra where we found the Hotel De La Poste which was extremely cheap and just about acceptable for a nights sleep. By getting to bed fairly early, we were in fine form and charged up for the next day, which would prove to be the best day of the trip.

Thursday 15th May

After a good nights sleep, we were up fairly early and quickly driving South East towards the Middle Atlas Mountains towards the town of Ifrane. We traversed quite a variety of habitats here and gradually gained in altitude.

Just before the turning to Meknes, we were treated to our first good bird of the day : a smart Black-Shouldered Kite sat on a roadside telegraph post. Shortly after, a Long-Legged Buzzard was noted near the village of El Hajeb.

Before long, we were driving through an extensive area of oak woodland between Azrou and Ifrane. This proved to be an exceptional area with many key species observed. At a random stop in the woodland, we very quickly located a couple of singing male Atlas Pied Flycatchers. These birds showed very well and allowed close inspection of the large white forehead patch, large amount of white in the wing etc. This species must be relatively common in this area as another 2 males were easily encountered at another inpromtu stop.

Another target species notched up was Levaillant’s Woodpecker. At least three birds were seen very well and heard regularly calling. There was also plenty more to keep us occupied with 4+ Hawfinchs, imm male Golden Oriole, 4 Rollers, pale morph Booted Eagle, 2 Short-Toed Treecreepers, and several Ultramarine Blue Tits. A few different races were also seen including those of Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, and Mistle Thrush.

Thrilled with our bounty of good birds, we headed towards the lake at Dayet Aoua. Very shortly after, we came to a halt as a pair of Barbary Macaques sat in the road.

Upon the leaving the woodland, the habitat turned into a rather open stoney plateau. It was here where we saw our first Seebohm’s Wheatears. In fact 3 birds gave great views certainly looking very different from Northern Wheatear. Also of note here were a Short-Toed Eagle perched up, Western Black-Eared Wheatear, and a few African Chaffinchs.

Upon reaching the lake, we couldn’t believe our eyes seeing that it was completely dry. However, a quick walk around a few of the buildings here produced Rock Sparrow, Hoopoe, Roller, Serins, African Chaffinchs, and Spotless Starlings.

Given the success we had in the woodland, we thought our luck was in for the day so continued to drive South East across the Middle Atlas making stops when necessary. In a rather stony desert-like habitat, a few Short-Toed Larks were seen and not far from the village of Boulajoul, we were treated to good views of at least 3 Rock Sparrows and 2 male Seebohm’s Wheatears.

After a couple of hours, we reached our next port of call to the South East of Midelt. This site was described superbly in Richards Bonser’s 2005 report. After barely 10 minutes of walking down the valley here, we located a cracking pair of Tristram’s Warblers which showed very well in the limited area of bushes and scrub. The birds were clearly paired up and called regularly whilst showing in the open. We found the male to be a stunning bird and certainly better than that portrayed in the field guides. Also of note here were a male Moussier’s Redstart and a Spotted Flycatcher.

After scoring quickly with all of the target birds of the day, it was decided to head further South East towards the town of Erfoud where we would stay for the night.

Gradually, the habitat became dryer and barren until we reached the stunning viewpoint overlooking the Ziz Valley where the palm trees and lush vegetation bordering the river seemed to continue for miles.

A couple of stops en route produced some interesting birds including Hoopoe, 2 Melodious Warblers, Blue Rock Thrush, Nighingale, and our first 2 Brown-Necked Ravens of the trip.

By late afternoon we had made excellent time and had reached the town of Erfoud. We therefore got our bearings, left the tarmac roads, and headed towards the Auberge Kasbah Dakaoua on the sandy and stony pistes across the desert.

With relative ease, we arrived at the lovely Auberge and were greeted by a Lanner right at the side of the track. A few White-Crowned Black Wheatears were also showing well around the Auberge walls. It was very relaxing seeing the lovely rooms and dining area etc after a long day in the field. Value for money was excellent here with luxury accommodation, evening meal and breakfast all for £40.

On talking to the Auberge Manager, he mentioned that some Finnish birders had scored with Egyptian Nightjar the week before. I’ve always held this species in a mythical status and after reading several negative reports did I ever think we would connect. He suggested two main areas to search. We walked outside the main entrance and turned left. After waiting until nearly dark, nothing showed at all. We therefore decided to wait near the pool(the 2nd area) for half an hour before having something to eat. After 10 minutes, I walked all of ten yards to look over the nearby wall. I couldn’t believe it when Phil shouted ‘HERE’S ONE!’ The other three had seen it as it flew low over the pool. After another minute desperation set in until all of a sudden the Egyptian Nightjar re-appeared low over the pool coming closer to us, almost curious with our presence. This time Richard managed to get his torch on it giving brilliant views of the sandy plumage. The bird made one final pass at close range before disappearing into the darkness.

We were absolutely thrilled with the birds we had seen this day and celebrated with a few beers and some good food.

Friday 16th May

After a great rest, we had a leisurely breakfast on the hotel and a pleasant walk around the Auberge grounds.

The lack of cover for miles around ensures that many passerines and migrants gather here. Species observed included Blackcap, Chiffchaff, at least 2 Great Reed Warblers, several Reed Warblers, Western Olivaceous Warbler, a few Melodious Warblers, Woodchat, Bee-Eater, several White-Crowned Black-Wheatears(including an incredibly tame one on the tables at breakfast), several Spotted Flycatchers, and a Peregrine. Richard and Gerald also luckily managed to connect with a pair of Fulvous Babblers. These were very mobile and Phil & I didn’t manage to locate them.

Due to the nature of driving across the desert and getting lost, we decided that it would be beneficial to hire a 4X4. At only £12 each for the morning this would save us time and give us peace of mind.

Before no time at all, we had reached the Café Caravanne which is situated close the famous Café Yasmina. We quickly located the outhouse near the café and quietly waited. Very shortly after, the female and then the superb male Desert Sparrow appeared, regularly attending the nest giving excellent views. This species was a major target for us and it was a great relief to connect so quickly. Also here were numerous White-Crowned Black Wheatears and around 30 Brown-Necked Ravens, some of which gave good close views of their subtle differences.

On driving slowly back to the Auberge, we made few stops and were rewarded with very close views of 3 Cream-Coloured Coursers and 3 impressive Hoopoe Larks.

It was now time to continue on our journey and head West towards Ouarzazate. We made a quick stop in Erfoud to get supplies and money(whilst noting another House Bunting) before driving swiftly on.

After reading a few trip reports, it was clear that areas around the Er-Rachidia could prove particularly lucrative. We easily found the site described by Richard Bonser which is 43Km to the West of the town. Indeed, the obvious low scrub looked particularly attractive to various species.
We had only been out the car a minute, when the scolding calls alerted us to a family party of at least 5 Spectacled Warblers on the other side of the road. The birds showed very well on tops of the scrub regularly calling to each other.

By exploring the main area of scrub, it didn’t take us long to locate one of main targets here – Scrub Warbler. The first bird showed well constantly flitting Wren-like amongst the bushes and calling, whilst the second individual was seen lying almost flat spreading its wings trying to cool down.

Further searching on the bushes revealed a Southern Grey Shrike, and a few Melodious Warblers and Spotted Flycatchers. The more open desert areas were also very productive with at least 2 Thick-Billed Larks and a few Bar-Tailed Desert Larks. The last bird of note here was a pale morph Booted Eagle which showed impeccably as it soared very low overhead.

As the afternoon drew on, we decided it was best to head towards the town of Ouarzazate where we would be spending the night. We made good time heading West but still noted a few good birds including several Trumpeter Finches, 2 Stone Curlews, and 2 Thick-Billed Larks around 55Km to the East of Ouarzazate.

We easily found an Ibis Hotel in the town which was very convenient. A few beers were had along with a very average meal in the hotel restaurant before we settled down to sleep.

Saturday 17th May

We had a leisurely breakfast at a very reasonable hour before setting off to explore the desert habitat to the East of Ouarzazate. Our main target here was Western Mourning Wheatear, but unfortunately we had no luck. The habitat and road has undergone considerable development this year and presumably moved the wheatears elsewhere.

Nevertheless, a couple of hours searching the roadside areas 29Km to the East of Ouarzazate was very fruitful. The main species noted being 4 Desert Larks, 3 Short-Toed Larks, at least 5 Desert Wheatears, several White-Crowned Black Wheatars, a few Cream-Coloured Coursers, and a dark morph Booted Eagle. However, the main highlight was a cracking family of 3 Thick-Billed Larks affording excellent views. It is very evident that this has been a great year for this species as we connected with ease at numerous locations.

With our minds set on mountain species, we drove North towards Marrakech. Numerous Trumpeter Finches were noted at a couple of brief stops, as well as several Black Wheatears and Crag Martins as we gained elevation.

After a couple of hours we had reached the High Atlas Mountains where the scenery was stunning. Unfortunately, there was a lot of fog restricting viewing. Also, the shorts, t-shirts, and caps were soon replaced with trousers, fleeces, and woolly hats. The change of climate was incredible.

We had a good half hour birding at the Tiz-N-Tichka Pass where our viewing was slightly hampered by drizzle. However, we still managed to note large numbers of Alpine & Red-Billed Choughs, Raven, 2 Rock Buntings, and 3 Nightingales singing from streamside vegetation.

As the afternoon wore on, we navigated our way through the windy mountain roads and eventually reached the small mountain village of Oukaimeden. We had one key species to find here which would be one of the main targets for the trip : Crimson-Winged Finch. On searching the mountain sides around the sky lift base and the car parks, we noted many good species including many Shorelarks and Rock Sparrows, 2 Woodlarks, male Blue Rock Thrush, male Rock Thrush, around 5 Black Redstarts, and several Mistle Thrushes. Unfortunately, the snow began to fall and it didn’t stop. We got completed drenched and viewing was nearly impossible making our search for the finches hopeless.

By means of good luck, we managed to find the Hotel ‘Chez Juju’ only a few hundred yards away. This meant that we didn’t have to drive back down the mountains in the dreadful conditions, and could get dry and changed quickly.

After a quick change, we descended to the bar where a very welcome hot 3 course meal was had with a few beers. We managed to scour the log book left by visiting birders and were pleased to see that the finches had been seen very recently in the areas very close to the hotel. We therefore got to bed early ready for the next day.

Sunday 18th May

We rose at first light and by 5:30 were birding the areas around the base of the sky lift and the carparks. The sun still hasn’t fully risen making it extremely cold and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, by 7:00 the sun had emerged and all of the snow and ice began to melt. In fact, it was an absolutely stunning morning. We continued our search and quickly noted many birds around areas of broken & melting ice.

At least 6 Rock Thrushes(including 5 stunning males together), a few Blue Rock Thrushes, many Black Redstarts, a few Seebohm’s Wheatars, loads of Shorelarks, Woodlarks and Rock Sparrows all showed extremely well, but still no finches. Therefore at 8:00, we returned to the hotel and had a very welcome breakfast and hot coffee.

With our batteries recharged, we headed out of the hotel again noting the same species as above as well as numerous Alpine Choughs giving great views. The weather was getting increasingly warm and pleasant with light conditions fantastic. After walking only a hundred yards or so from the hotel, we all froze as 3 Crimson-Winged Finches appeared right in front of us on the roadside. They showed very well in perfect light making the male look particularly attractive. This was a brilliant way to end the last day and made all of the effort very worthwhile.

In good spirits, we had a walk to the radar station noting many of the same species, as well as a Little Owl, Rock Bunting, and a few Moussier’s Redstarts.

By around Midday, it was time for us to head back towards Marrakech to get our return flight. As the weather had improved considerably, travelling back was rather pleasant and we enjoyed much of the decent scenery on offer.

Heading back in the lower climbs towards the airport, we observed our last few species with a pale morph Booted Eagle, Little Swift, numerous Pallid Swifts and a few lovely Moussier’s Redstarts.

We reached the airport in good time where we able to relax and talk about some of the fantastic birds seen during the week. Amusingly, whilst waiting to board, two male House Buntings were seen in the confines of the terminal building. The flight went very well and we arrived back in the UK in the early hours of the morning.