Tuesday, 6 December 2016

North Bay, Nouadhibou

The area north of the airport in Nouadhibou has water bodies close to the sea just as the area south does. However these aren't refilled with every tide. The water is separated from the sea by sandbanks. This creates a difference in the two habitats.

Furthermore there is a large rubbish dump with organic waste next to the water's edge.  These factors meant the mix of species at the two locations was significantly different when visited a week ago Monday morning.

red-rumped swallow

Indeed in the rubbish dump, I added two species to my Mauritanian country list. Several red-rumped swallow were hawking for flies.

two red-rumped swallow

There were so many flies the swallows soon had time to rest. The bird on the left is an adult while the one on the right is a juvenile bird.

house martin

Not to be outdone a smaller number of house martin were hawking an adjacent part of the same rubbish dump. Occasionally the two species would overlap their flight paths. The house martin rested less often. Thanks are due to Mohamed Vall for noticing the one above.

The dump also held several white wagtail and a couple of northern wheatear. The presence of two yellow wagtail so far north surprised me.

Two Audouin's gull

Elsewhere we continued our search in Nouadhibou for rare gulls. Sadly the best we managed once again were a few Audouin's gull. There was no sign of common gull or little gull for example.

Audouin's gull

The Audouin's gull were usually easy to pick out as they mostly rested at the edge of the main groups of lesser white headed gulls.

red knot and bar-tailed godwit

There were less waders than in central bay the day before.However (at the near-by coast) we came across a nice mixed group of red knot and bar-tailed godwit. The mixing of the two knot species with the two godwit species is a well known phenomenon but it was still good to see up close with one each of the knots and godwits.

three pintail

We were still on the look out for anything different. Three pintail were the only ones seen on the trip.


A solitary ruff was the only one of that species seen just before we finished birding.

The trip to Nouadhibou had been a success. If we had had more time or in a futrue visit, the allotments and Cap Blanc would be obvious additional places to go to. The allotments might have held elusive wintering northern passerines.

I am grateful for Mohamed Vall's company and the generosity of his network of friends in Nouadhibou. 


  1. Hi Rob,
    Very nice blog.
    I think that the Meditteranean Gulls in the pictures above are in fact Audouin's gull.
    Look forward to read more

    1. You are most definitely right. I have changed the text. I am still getting used to gulls from Western Europe. Rob