Wednesday, 14 September 2016

More on central Nouakchott

Early yesterday morning I strolled around the Tveragh Zeina district in central Nouakchott looking for good birding spots. It is where I am currently living and is the leafiest part of the city.

However birding is complicated by the fact it has several government buildings and is home to nearly all embassies. I have to exercise great discretion with my camera and binoculars.

I eventually found a new good spot with bushes, piles of recently cut trees and a small rubbish dump near-by. The combination may not look attractive but it is good for birds.

On the way I caught sight of a vitelline masked weaver as it disappeared into someone's garden. Indeed I suspect these well watered gardens are the reason that this weaver is in the city at the furthest north of its range. It was a lifer.

western olivaceous warbler 1

The bushes I chose as my main birding spot had at least three western olivaceous warbler darting in and out as well as at least two willow warbler.

A common redstart was also seen briefly twice but not photographed. There was probably a common nightingale there too but my view was too short to be sure so it won't be counted.

western olivaceous warbler 2

Near the bushes and high up in a garden I heard rose-ringed parakeet screaming. I took photos as I judged they were high enough and far enough away from the house's windows. I am very aware not to invade people's privacy.

rose-ringed parakeet

In adjacent bush to the main set of bushes and trees a pied flycatcher kept making forays.

pied flycatcher

A high leafless tree was used by blue-naped mousebird and afforded me my best views of this bird since arriving in the city.

blue-naped mousebird

Still in the same small spot, laughing dove, African collared dove and European collared dove were dropping down to ground to scrape for food.

I have now realised that both types of collared dove as abundant in the city. This is one of the few places in the world where their ranges overlap so extensively. 

African collared dove

By the shear volume of blue-cheeked bee-eater I have also concluded that the birds I have been seeing are indeed resident. 

blue-cheeked bee-eater

Elsewhere and earlier in the week, I spotted two additions to my country list at work which is on the northern edge of the city.

white-crowned wheatear

Two white-crowned wheatear were around on Tuesday. One was adult and one was a juvenile. I was a little surprised as the distribution map in my first edition of Birds of Western Africa shows them well east in the desert. 

crested lark

The second species was crested lark and this was much more predictable.

Yesterday afternoon I accompanied a work colleague on his flat hunt. It took me to west Nouakchott where I took the opportunity to bird watch after the business was concluded. In the salt lakes near-by were many waders and one was a lifer. I will blog about that next.

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