Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Morocco - 2020 Spring Safari Road-trip

House Bunting getting to grips with a seedhead

Tour date: April 4th to April 12th  8 nights 9 days

"A unique High Atlas Mountain to Sahara Desert experience where you will be accompanied by one of the most experienced bird guides in Morocco".

Boumalne High Atlas Plateau

Day 1.  Arrival day and the group will stay 30 minutes away from the main airport of Marrakech. The gardens are rich in birdlife, so birding begins upon arrival.

Day 2.  We drive over the highest pass in the High Atlas Mountains, stopping at various vantage points to view specialist birds. We will also make a diversion, a loop that re-joins the main road, so we can find some difficult species such as Maghreb Wheatear. We stay overnight in the gateway to the Sahara Desert, the charming town of Ouarzazate.

Our journey through the High Atlas Mountains

Day 3.  We set-off south and will stop at a wadi, here we have great chances of finding elusive migrant birds hard to find elsewhere, before crossing the The Jbel Saghro (or Djebel Sahrho) Mountains. We will follow the Oued Draa and then divert eastwards to our next destination Erg Chebbi and it’s impressive dune complex. Our hotel here is ideally placed to find migrant warblers and some typical desert species.

Deep into the Sahara Desert

Day 4.  A day in the Sahara Desert and chances to see all of our target birds including Desert Sparrow, Egyptian Nightjar, Dunn’s Lark, Cream-coloured Courser, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Lanner Falcon and many more, that will also include Sandgrouse species.

Our favourite desert Lark sp. The Hoopoe Lark.

Day 5.  We travel northwest to the high plateau of Boumalne de Dades. We should add several new species here to our growing bird list, the area is renowned for the site Tagdilt Track, but there are so many other great sites we will also visit.

Red-rumped Wheatear has to be one of the most impressive of wheatears in Morocco

Day 6.  We revisit our hotel in Ouarzazate, before departing we will visit various sites at Boumalne and stop at other sites before we arrive at Ouarzazate. On this occasion we will have time to explore the local lake and surrounds of our last desert location.

Gorges de Dades

Day 7.  Time to head back over the highest pass of The High Atlas Mountains revisiting a few special sites, including a river crossing and wadis. Being a week later we will have the chance to spot later migrants such Ortolan Bunting, Orphean Warbler and possibly both Eastern and Western Olivaceous Warblers etc. We will stay in the garden Riad as of our first night outside of Marrakech.

Emerging on the Atlantic side of the High Atlas Mountains

Day 8.  After birding the gardens before breakfast we will head up high into the High Atlas Mountains to the ski resort of Oukaïmeden. A real departure from our desert experience we will be looking for high mountain species such as Horned Lark, Crimson-winged Finch, Seebohm Wheatear, Alpine Chough and Red-billed Chough, we will also look for good views of Barbary Falcon and Moussier’s Redstart. Dipper and Common Rock Thrush might also be seen here.

Cream-coloured Courser always a favourite

Day 9.  A relaxed start to breakfast, packing and then airport transfers as required. Hopefully everyone will have enjoyed their adventure in an exotic and the unforgettable Morocco.

Sunrise over the Sahara Desert

For further information please email Worldwide Birding Tours at adm.spanish.nature@gmail.com

The highlight of the Sahara, an Egyptian Nightjar