Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris
Morocco was probably among the best countries to have been able to observe this species with the last acceptable records being submitted in February 1998. Unconfirmed reports, subsequent to 1998, refer to the area Merja Zerga and whilst probable, these records have not been officially accepted. During the later part of 2008 Birdlife International, and other notable organisations, launched an appeal for all birdwatchers to search for Slender-billed Curlews. It seems to us to be very appropriate that we lead our launch of Moroccan Birds with the main feature focusing on this incredibly rare bird.
Winter Birding in Morocco
watching in Morocco. A winter’s birding tour in Morocco with the Andalucia Bird Society, the society’s first overseas tour! With 15 members, we toured the marshland habitats of the northwestern Atlantic coast of Morocco and sampled not only the varied birdlife of Morocco, but also to some extent gave ourselves a taste of this wonderful country. We were based in Asilah and made excursions to the Oued Tahadart flood plains, the lower Loukos marshes near Larache and ventured south to Moulay Bousselham and the large marsh and lagoon of Merja Zerga. The society were also on a mission to spread the word for the necessity of locals to keep a watch for Slender-billed Curlew and to this end the society donated a telescope to the local guide and guardian at the marshland of Merja Zerga. In all around 111 species were seen during the trip. It was an enormously successful and enjoyable tour.
One Bird at a Time - The Sahara
Our most recent tour to Morocco’s Deep South was something different and special. Quite apart from the wildlife, we also concentrated on the Spanish Nature initiative of helping children understand their nature and also visiting a women’s cooperative to handout our goodies! We have been working in association with the Audubon Society and the Andalucia Bird Society to develop an education programme that focuses on birds, we have called it ‘A Bird a Week’, it is placed-based learning that encourages children to gain knowledge of the local environment, thus empowering them to take an active role and interest in protecting it. We were able to produce, distribute and explain our new field guide to various schools and their teachers, a total of over 2,000 field guides were given to these educational establishments! Of course we managed some birding too, with several species successfully targeted including Desert Sparrow and both Lanner and Barbary Falcon, to name just a few.
Bird Slicers - See the Video
For most of our birds, and particularly raptors, using the migration flyway through Spain and crossing to Morocco, life is a constant challenge. In more recent times they are faced with the additional and deadly obstacle of wind farms. These wind farms also compound the risk for these birds when they return to Europe each spring. For whatever reason, many birds do not recognise these large swathes of turbines as a threat.
Peter Jones writes... I have now led 15 tours to Morocco and counting the times I have done recce and personal trips, then hopefully I have gained a fair bit of experience on the country and its birds. For me it is an opportunity and a challenge to be involved with compiling a web site dedicated to Morocco, more especially with the birds of this exotic destination. It is a remarkable country to visit and the more remarkable for its close proximity to mainland Europe, only 12 kilometres from Andalucia in Spain. Travellers from Europe or North America do not require a visa, so a visit is easy to plan and achieve. Birds, culture, scenery and great culinary delights await the more adventurous of those birding colleagues who love to visit somewhere different.
I am very fortunate to be associated with Spanish Nature; the philosophy of the company is not just about encouraging people to travel with them, but also sharing knowledge. The web site is work in progress and as it evolves I hope to provide specific information on some top birding areas. So keep an eye on this site for further details.
If you want to share some sites in Morocco, which you believe might be useful to include here, then please send us the information via the contact us facility on the main menu bar.
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A brief introduction
Working in various countries we pay particular attention to details such as using local companies, local guides and wherever possible local produce. In Morocco we are introducing an educational programme to local schools focusing on nature and we are also helping cooperatives whose aim is to improve the quality of life for marginalized women and children.
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