I was pleased to see a pied avocet there almost on my arrival.
It spent much of its time sleeping. I took this as an indication that it had travelled some distance very recently.
sleeping pied avocet
Terns have been very scarse in the past six weeks or so. It was good to see a couple of Caspian tern also present.
resting Audouin's gull
Once again I was looking for exceptions. One was a resting Audouin's gull.
Among the waders, grey plover have been present all winter alongside sanderling and little stint.
I had not seen a curlew sandpiper at the site for over two months until Saturday.
They are generally more easy to separate from dunlin in Mauritania than those in the Gulf. This is partly because the predominant sub-species of dunlin that passes down through West Africa is relatively short billed.
Birding the lagoon and ocean was halted for a short time when I saw a lark on a bush. Crested lark rarely sits on bushes but thekla lark does more often. Since there have been a few reports of the latter around the fishing port over the years, I investigated. A quick look at the paucity of streaking on the upper breast and the shape of the crest (peaked not fanned) and I gave up interest in this bird being other than a crested lark. I am still a little cynical about the thekla lark sightings but I would love to be proved wrong.
western reef heron
A western reef heron, two grey heron and twenty-five cattle egret in near-by scrub were the members of the heron family observed on Sunday. Indeed I don't recall seeing any other heron species at this site since I started visiting.
great white pelican
Two great white pelican flew along the coast briefly. These are another regular observation.
gulls on the beach
Given the larger number of gulls on land than usual, I searched those on the beach thoroughly for any exceptions. I don't particularly enjoy this type of birding. I probably don't enjoy it because I have yet to find a rare gull among the many seen so far in Mauritania. A grey-hooded gull must be the most likely at this coastal setting but it hasn't happened yet.
black-headed gull on the beach
Despite the sighting of the pied avocet I left the fishing port area slightly disappointed. It was made worse by my usual in-town driver not making the pick-up point.
I elected to take the long walk home. Things have improved even since.
First I found that West Nouakchott pools, en route home, had not dried up since the end of the rainy season (four months ago) as I had presummed. These salty pools were full of waders and will be well worth more prolonged looks especially with a scope in the coming weeks.
common redshank and other waders
Things improved more dramatically when I went to North Nouakchott lake mid-week after work. I will blog about what I saw next.