Monday, 5 December 2016

Central Bay, Nouadhibou

The single largest concentration of birds on Mohamed Vall's and my trip to Nouadhibou was undoubtably at central bay. The area is just south of the airport and just north of the fish factories.

There were literally thousands of birds. Mohamed said it reminded him of Banc d'Arguin National Park.

view of central bay

There were several hundred large white headed gulls. The proportion of yellow-legged gull to lesser black-backed gull was much higher than in the Nouakchott area, hundreds of kilometres south.

Despite an intensive look at the gulls no rarities were found.


There were nearly 100 Caspian tern present too which rested neatly adjacent to the gulls but hardly mixed with them at all.

some Caspian tern

A dozen great white pelican were a good sighting.

great white pelican

One bird was much more orange-pink than the others but it is not a pink-backed pelican which is actually a greyer bird. It bill colour didn't match either.

two great white pelican

They stayed in the bay all morning though they moved position regularly.

great white pelican

The waders were also looked at thoroughly though we regret not having a scope with us.

sanderling with a whimbrel

Little stint and common ringed plover were the most numerous waders.

bar-tailed godwit with grey plover (r)

Significant numbers of sanderlingdunlin and grey plover were present too. A few bar-tailed godwit and kentish plover were easily seen.


The inlet provided a few duck. All were northern shoveller except one common teal.

common teal

The inlet was the only place we came across black-winged stilt as well.

red knot

The mix of waders was quite different in front of the fish factories. A single red knot was seen along with several sanderling and many ruddy turnstone.

sanderling with ruddy turnstone

However it wasn't the waders that fascinated me in the fish factory area.

ruddy turnstone

Instead it was six sand martin which kept endlessly foraging for flies. I don't know whether they will winter this far north but the track they kept flying down had among the highest fly concentration I have ever experienced in my life. Birding doesn't always take you to scenic and fragrant places.

record shot of a sand martin

Ironically, central bay had the highest number of birds seen on the trip but it was the one place when I didn't add to my country list.

There are more bays north of the airport which collectively I describe as north bay. We visited there last Monday morning. Here two birds were indeed added to the list. I will blog about there next.

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