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Thursday 14th April - Thursday 28th April 2011

Nigel Redman

Morocco offers some of the best birding in the Western Palearctic, and this year’s tour excelled in many ways. In just two weeks we managed to see almost all the specialities, plus many migrants and even a few surprises. In terms of numbers, a total of 221 species was recorded on the tour, but of course it’s the quality that counts, and as well as the usual 14 species of lark (including the very secretive Dupont’s Lark), seven species of wheatears and 21 species of warblers (including Tristram’s, Western Desert, and both Eastern and Western Olivaceous), we saw delights such as Northern Bald Ibis, Eleonora’s Falcon, Double-spurred Francolin, four species of Sandgrouse, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Marsh Owl, Egyptian Nightjar during the day (twice), Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker, Moussier’s Redstart, Atlas Flycatcher, Desert Sparrow and Crimson-winged Finch, amongst many other wonderful species. Some of the biggest surprises this year were the discovery of good numbers of White-headed Ducks, literally hundreds of Black-necked Grebes on a single lake, our largest-ever counts of Spotted Sandgrouse, impressive numbers of breeding Trumpeter Finches, and the long-staying Western Reef Egret in precisely the same spot as two years earlier.