Monday 17 October 2016

Another Sunday near the fishing port

I normally do domestic chores on Sunday morning but get restless to bird by the afternoon. However it is still too hot to bird watch in most areas in the afternoon. One exception is on the coast itself where the sea breeze ameliorates.

So for the third Sunday running I wnet to the coast just south of the fish market.

Also since I thought that the birds might not have changed much around the artifical lagoons in the past week, I elected to do some sea watching for the first time.

It isn't easy as there is not headland jutting out into the sea. However the results weren't bad.

immature northern gannet

One success was the sighitng of an immature northern gannet flying north.

white-breasted cormorant

Another was a great cormorant of the sub-species lucidus flewing south. This sub-species is often called white-breasted cormorant.

white-breasted cormorant 2

Both the gannet and the cormorant were new to my Mauritanian list and so justified my decision to look seaward.

gulls in the ocean 1

My seawatching into the distant open coean was less successful. I was looking in particular whether any gulls other than yellow-legged gull or lesser black-backed gull was resting on the surface.

The zoom on my camera is actaully greater than the zoom on my binoculars so a review of my photos was needed before I was sure that nothing unusual was captured this time.

gulls in the ocean 2

I concentrated on the browner looking birds which on review appear all to be immature large white headed gulls. Though I can't really explain why their impression is so brown.

yellow-legged gull

In comparison (see above)  you can see how grey they typically appear close up.

I am sure future sea watching will bring more rewards.

After sea-watching I went inland to where many gulls and terns had been resting in previous weeks. The pools they had been resting in have all dried up and been replaced with a layer of salt.

Yet many of the same birds were still parked on the same space. Others had more back just a few metres onto to earthen ground.

Audouin's gull

This week there was no sign of royal tern or lesser crested tern but Caspian tern numbers were much higher.

terns and gulls

Next I looked at the lagoons. As expected there were no new species though I managed good photos of several birds.


A whimbrel put on a good display preening.


Dunlin were highly variable not just because of the possible sub-species but also because a few were not yet fully in winter plumage.

red knot

Red knot numbers have increased once again both in the lagoon and along the beach.

black-eared wheatear

Finally I walked in some scrub back to my lift. Two birds were most noticeable. One was a pale throated black-eared wheatear.

The other was a cricket warbler. It was too fast and small for me this time. It reminded me in structure and behaviour of graceful prinia, common in the Gulf, but with a longer tail.

This was another lifer and a good end to the session.