Thursday, 29 September 2016

Cinquieme district

Last Saturday I visited Cinquieme gardens in Nouakchott. It is unusual as it is a permenant wetland with fresh water rather than the saline pools seen throughout the rest of the city. I am not sure what geological phenomena has caused this.

Trees and bushes have grown through the fresh water and next to it. No house can be built so it has become a gardens by default.

However before I left for the gardens, I spotted my first speckled pigeon in the city next to my lodgings. I could hardly miss it with the very loud call it was making.

speckled pigeon

Cinquieme Gardens has great potential. However as soon as I arrived people were coming up to me to say the place was dangerous. After 45 minutes my confidence had waned so much I had to leave. Nevertheless my time there was interesting.

Cinquieme Gardens

One of the first birds I saw I could not identify. I thought it too large to be a female house sparrow which it quite closely resembles.

unidentified bird 1

I placed the bird on the birdforum website for identification. However for the first time since I started posting there a few years ago, no one attempted an identification.

unidentified bird 2

The wetter areas of the garden had large numbers of waders. There was also a little egret which was the first one I had seen in the city.

little stint

There were three species of wader there which were new to my Mauritanian list. As well as little stint, there were a few Temminck's stint. The latter bird was an addition to the list.

Temminck's stint

I had not observed green sandpiper either until then.

green sandpiper

While the most common wader on site was wood sandpiper.

wood sandpiper

The third addition was little ringed plover.

little ringed plover

What all three additions have in common is a lesser preference for saline water than their relatives.

I firmly beileve that Cinquieme gardens will have some special birds given its unique habitat. I am looking at ways to ensure I can visit there comfortably in the future.

After leaving the gardens I walked a short distance north to an area of west Nouakchott I had been to before. This area has several large saline lakes.

greater flamingo

Some of the lakes are deep enough for flamingo though they are mostly characterised by shallow water bodies.

blue-naped mousebird

Some the land birds were interesting too. I spotted blue-naped mousebird in a better viewing position than usual. Migrants in the scattered bushes included willow warbler and a common redstart.

ringed pied flycatcher

There are still plenty of pied flycatcher in the city. One I observed on this walk had a ring which I believe to be British.


In this salty waters I had a fourth additon to my country list. Several ruff were seen where none had been two weeks before.

On Sunday I ventured out to the northern edge of the city again. The cast had changed and I was happy with what I saw. I will blog about that next.

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