Wednesday, 15 November 2017

European golden plover ends a good day

Ten days ago, Mohamed Vall and I stayed near the city of Nouakchott to go birding. However, instead of visiting the waste water site as has become usual, we went south and west.

We went to the water treatment plant south of Riyadh district followed by a western journey a few kilometres to the old wharf and finally further up the coast to just south of the fishing port.

This triangular journey bought some good birds. However, none was as good as one at the final leg of the journey near the fishing port.

In the artifical lagoons here, there was a European golden plover.

European golden plover

It stood out. It was not mixing with the five grey plover also present. Instead, if anything it was showing an affinity to be with the two red knot on site.

golden plover (left) and red knot (right)

European golden plover is rare in West Africa. It is seen occasionally in winter in Banc d'Arguin as well as the odd one in the Nouakchott area but certainly not every winter. Indeed Nouakchott is the furthest south in the continent of Africa that European golden plover is not a vagrant.

European golden plover from the rear

A list of all the other species seen in the lagoons or near-by is given at the end of the blog.

Four hours earlier we had started out at the water purification plant in Riyadh district.

We were very happy to see that the water mass there had more than doubled since our last visit. A fresh water site the size it now is should start to attract more and more birds. On the other hand it is also attracting more camels and cattle as well as picnickers.

Highlights including a sudden flight into the air of two European scops owl seemingly fighting over space in a small but heavily leafed tree.

They were lucky that the lanner falcon seen later was not around at that time.

speckled pigeon at the water purification plant

Laughing dove and Namaqua dove are always present but this may have been a first for speckled pigeon.

Temminck's stint

The waders proved to be a non-standard mix. This was only the second time in 15 months that I have seen a Temminck's stint in the Nouakchott area.

western reef heron

Despite the apparent contrast of dark legs with yellow feet, the three white birds were western reef heron rather than little egret.

spotted redshank 1

This fresh water environment was a good home for a passage spotted redshank. This is far less common than the aptly named common redshank.

spotted redshank 2

The second leg of the triangle was the area near and on the old wharf.

blue-naped mousebird

One of the types of bush in the coastal scrub was in berry and was a magnet for several birds. These included blue-naped mousebird and Sudanese golden sparrow.

Sudanese golden sparrow

The best bird from on  the wharf itself was a young northern gannet. The wharf extends 250 metres into the sea and promise more than it has so far delievered.

young northern gannet

Last weekend, I returned to the usual birding spot at the waste water site. An addition to my Mauritanian list was made from an unexpected quarter. I will blog about that next.

Species at the water plant
Eurasian Teal  
Western Reef-Heron  
Temminck's Stint  
Spotted Redshank  
Common Greenshank  
Wood Sandpiper  
Speckled Pigeon  
Laughing Dove  
Namaqua Dove  
European Scops Owl  
Little Swift  
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater  
Lanner Falcon  
Southern Grey Shrike  
Crested Lark  
Northern Wheatear  
House Sparrow  
Sudan Golden Sparrow  

Species at the old wharf
Northern Gannet  
Great Cormorant  
Lesser Black-backed Gull  
Caspian Tern  
Common Tern  
Sandwich Tern  
House Sparrow

In coastal scrub near-by
Blue-naped Mousebird
Sudanese  Golden Sparrow
Garden Warbler

Species south of the fishing port
Grey Heron (Grey)  
Cattle Egret  
Grey Plover  
European Golden Plover  
Common Ringed Plover  
Ruddy Turnstone  
Red Knot  
Mediterranean Gull  
Audouin's Gull  
Yellow-legged Gull  
Lesser Black-backed Gull  
Caspian Tern  
Common Tern  
Sandwich Tern  
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater  
Southern Grey Shrike  
Crested Lark  
Spectacled Warbler  
Northern Wheatear  

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