Thursday, 9 February 2017

Fishing port keeps delivering

I went to the area just south of the fishing port once again last Saturday. It gave me an addition to my Mauritanian list proving there are still new birds for me to see in the Nouakchott area if I put in the effort. More about the new species will be later in the blog.

However the big prizes will only come when I take another trip to the south of the country.

At fishing port, there is usually a very smelly large pile of waste which can attract a cross section of birds. It's normally my start point when I visit this port. I get the worst over first.

This time the waste had attracted plenty of cattle egret, a northern wheatear, several white wagtail and a dozen or so little ringed plover. All but one of the little ringed plover were in adult breeding plumage. However, one was not. This is shown below.

non-breeding little ringed plover

I moved over to the artificial lagoon next. 


It had been a couple of months since I last saw a whimbrel there.

three ringed slender-billed gull

The same mix of gulls were present at the lagoon as in the past 10 weeks. That is a large number of black-headed gull and black-backed gull with lesser numbers of slender-billed gull, yellow-legged gull, Audouin's gull and Mediterranean gull. At one stage three ringed slender-billed gull were clustered closely together. By their rings, all are from southern Spain.

Six Caspian tern mingled with the gulls at times.

red knot

I had a longer species day list at the fishing port than at any time since late September which might be an early indication of birds on the move. Six red knot were the most I have seen there at any time.

ringed Audouin's gull

As ever I scan all gulls for rarities when I visit the lagoons. I still haven't been successful but I will one day. While scanning I noticed that one of Audouin's gull also had a ring and it was also from southern Spain.

A pale looking immature Mediterranean gull stood out but that was because it was the only one of its age group present.

Mediterranean gull

A single pied avocet was observed. It may well be the same bird as seen two weeks ago.

pied avocet

It's short walk from the centre of the lagoon to the Ocean's edge but the scrub on the way can be productive.

hoopoe lark

An inquisitive hoopoe lark was observed.

tawny pipit 1

A tame tawny pipit give very good views.

tawny pipit

Th coast was a little rougher than usual but it never gets very rough. So the chances of petrels, storm petrels and shearwaters coming in close to land are very low. This means the chance of seeing such birds from land are low too. It doesn't stop me trying but so far with no success.

western reef heron

A dark morph western reef heron was once again present as were three 'pallid heron'. There had never given me close views before. I had to rely on one at west Nouakchott pools for that.

grey heron of sub species Monicae a.k.a pallid heron

Large birds were also seen out to sea. Two great white pelican stayed in the area all the time I was there though they kept their distance.

great white pelican

A single great cormorant flew by once at speed not to be seen again.

great cormorant

However the prize bird of the day was a white-winged tern which flew repeatedly backwards and forwards over the coast where the lagoon empties out into the sea, shallow diving regularly.

white-winged tern 1

The white rump ruled out whiskered tern. The lack of a black shoulder band ruled out black tern. It fits a first winter white-winged tern well as was verified on birdforum.

white-winged tern 2

It has been two weeks since the last addition to my list. This had been the longest time since I arrived here.

As it happens another species was added the next day when Mohamed Vall and I visited Amzela. I will blog about that trip next.

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