Sunday 9 October 2016

Before Mederdra

My big birding event this weekend was a long day trip south east to Mederdra. Mederdra is about 70 kilometres north east of Rosso as the crow flies. 

The next blog will be about Mederdra where the birding proved to be very good.

This blog covers all the other birding I did this weekend starting on Friday afternoon and including an enforced stop on the way to Mederdra on Saturday morning. Sunday was simply too hot to do any meaningful birding at all.

grey plover

On Friday afternoon I walked once again directly north out of my house towards the desert through the F Nord district of the city.

The scrub on the edge of the city has held various migrants on other vists but this time it was virtually clean. This doesn't mean the best passage is over because passage can be very patchy depending where the windfalls have taken place before sunrise.

Into the desert a short way and one comes across a set of saline pools. They had a good selection of waders and waterbirds: flamingo, little stint, ringed plover, dunlin being the main ones. My intensive scanning paid off as I spotted a single grey plover. This is an addition to my Mauritania list albeit not an exciting one. This was species 114.

Kittlitz's plover

Another single wader observed was a Kittlitz's plover. This is still a relatively new bird to me haivng been a lifer here three weeks ago.

blue-cheeked bee-eater

Also in the area where several of the resident blue-cheeked bee-eater.


On the walk back I checked the scrub and bushes more exetensively. I did find a very few migrants. I counted two willow warbler and a whinchat.

On Saturday morning Dr Mohamed Vall drove us to Mederdra which means taking the very poor quality road (N2) towards Rosso for part of the way.

Almost evitably we got a flat tyre and it was ironically very close to Amzela where we birded the weekend before. While the tyre was being replaced it was suggested I bird for a few minutes. This was done in the poor light of the early morning.

I wasted some of my time chasing a wheatear which spooked every time from about 40 metres away. I know it was most likely a western black-eared wheatear but I cound not rule out northern wheatear from such a distant moving target. A black-eared wheatear would heve added to my country list. Elsewhere I found white-throated bee-eater which had been present in the area the week before.

white-throated bee-eater

In the remaining time I tracked a huge flock of Sudanese golden sparrow.

some of the Sudanese golden sparrow

Separation from non-breeding Vitelline masked weaver is a bit tricky especially as the flock contained no obvious adult birds what so ever. I have meet this phenomenon before where I tracked a 200 strong flock of house sparrow near Riyadh which also contained no adults. It was also in October.

The birding around Mederdra had many positive components. For example I got nine extra birds on my country list including three lifers. I also had very good views and photographs of breeding and non-breeding Sudanese golden sparrow and Vitelline masked weaver. The next blog will cover all the happenings there including pictures showing the subtle differences between these birds.

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