Sunday, 12 November 2017

Cansado bushes

On Saturday afternoon three weeks ago, Mohamed Vall and I were in the middle of our visit to Nouadhibou.

We tried to reach Cap Blanc by car for some seawatching. However the route was impassable without a 4x4.


Indeed we saw hardly any birds at all on the way and before we had to turn back. An osprey was the main exception.

As an alternative to Cap Blanc we went to a spot we knew from before. It is a large set of bushes and trees surrounding fresh ground water. This is just to the east of Cansado.

It was good last time and made excellent birding this time. There is no other fresh water source we know of in the peninsula and so it is an obvious migrant trap.

Things started very well. As we walked to the first visible ground water, we flushed a drinking pharaoh eagle owl

We traced it a second time and got excellent views.

pharaoh eagle owl 1

It finally flew into a near-by tree and fell asleep. I am very pleased we did not wake it up for all of the rest of the time we were on site. We wandered near-by for another 90 minutes without disturbing it. However it was nice to look up at it every now and again to realise it was still there.

This was my first pharaoh eagle owl in Mauritania.

It wasn't the only bird of prey on site. Two black kite drifted over from time to time though they spent more time at Cansado's small rubbish dump near-by. A marsh harrier was seen briefly.

pharaoh eagle owl 2

Being the only fresh water for a long way was probably the reason a glossy ibis was seen at such a small site.

glossy ibis

There were several white wagtail and the numbers got higher as we headed towards dusk.

white wagtail

In the bushes were different types of warbler. Two sedge warbler were observed as well as a reed warbler near the water. Bluethroat were in the same areas.  Common chiffchaff and willow warbler were also present but were more wide ranging as you might expect.

tree pipit

At one stage we saw a samll eclectic group of an ortolan bunting, tree pipit and yellow wagtail grazing in a shaded area. However, some people walked by and disturbed this odd group.

In one corner of the site, the fresh water gives way to a deeper salt water pool.

common redshank

Not unexpectedly, a small number of waders were seen there. There was a single common redshank.

common sandpiper

A common sandpiper showed and was bobbing its rear end endlessly as usual.

ruff (right)

Two ruff joined the common redshank at one stage. I couldn't make the female into anything more exotic like a vagrant buff-breasted sandpiper. Although I am always on the look-out. Mauritania sticks out well into the Atlantic and American vagrants are here to be had.

spotted flycatcher

One of the last birds seen was a spotted flycatcher helping to prove they get almost everywhere in Mauritania in October.

The next day, Mohamed Vall and I took all day to head home to Nouakchott allowing some birding on the way. I will blog about this next.

Birds seen at Cansado
Cattle Egret  
Glossy Ibis  
Western Marsh Harrier  
Black Kite  
Common Sandpiper  
Common Redshank  
European Turtle Dove  
Pharaoh Eagle Owl  
Willow Warbler  
Common Chiffchaff  
Sedge Warbler  
Eurasian Reed Warbler  
Spotted Flycatcher  
European Pied Flycatcher  
Common Redstart  
Western Yellow Wagtail  
White Wagtail (alba)  
Ortolan Bunting  
House Sparrow  

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