Wednesday 14 December 2016

Inside the city

Ten days ago, on Sunday afternoon, I went birding locally staying within the city. I made short trips to the fishing port and to North Nouakchott lake.

As is often the case, I went birding for one type of bird and ended up seeing something unexpected.

The trip to the fishing port was a case in point. I failed to see any new birds on the sea or in the made-made lagoons south of the fishing port.

However the tamerisk bushes planted to hold some of the dunes together did give me something interesting.

I came across a group of cricket longtail. What is more they were tolerant to my presence and allowed good photographs.

first cricket longtail

The three pictures are all of different birds.

second cricket longtail

Apparently cricket longtail aggregating in groups of around six birds is typical behaviour outside breeding.

However being in tamerisk is less typical. The literature I have read says they are keen on acacia. Indeed almost all the pictures on-line show them in acacia too.

third cricket longtail

Yet, there was no acacia anywhere near this site.

part of a flock of great white pelican

While seawatching the best I managed this time was a large flock of great white pelican passing through. Of course Caspian tern, lesser black-backed gull and yellow-legged gull were plentiful.

resting sanderling

The lagoons held a collection of waders and medium sized gull notably grey plover, sanderling, black-headed gull and Mediterranean gull.

slender-billed gull

Slender-billed gull is not as common as at similar latitudes in the Gulf where I have most recently worked. Nevertheless a few were swimming in the lagoon this time.

Earlier I had been to north Nouakchott lake. 

marbled duck with moorhen and a coot

I still hope for new ducks there this winter as the cold further north bites. Pintail and shoveller have been present all winter and the much less common marbled duck were all still there.

The next few weeks will tell whether any mallard or tufted duck make it this far south.


A close inspection of the moorhen did not reveal any more exotic relatives.

young moorhen

Likewise a good look at the gulls did allow me to pick out the odd Mediterranean gull from the much larger majority of black-headed gull.

immature Mediterranean gull

All ages of Mediterranean gull could be picked out.

adult Mediterranean gull

Last weekend was a holiday weekend with Moday off work. I took advantage with a long birding trip south to the Kaedi area with Dr. Mohamed Vall. This was highly successful. Indeed I added 20 species to my Mauritanian list. I will produce a series of blogs about our exploits next.

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