Friday, 26 May 2017

The coast in mid May

Two weeks ago, Mohamed Vall and I went on to the coast having first birded the waste water site. 

The lagoons south of the fishing port had the least number of birds since I first started visiting. However they weren't without interest.

Audouin gull 1

It has become apparent to me that it is not uncommon for immature Audouin gull to over-summer near Nouakchott.

Audouin gull 2

It is a well-known phenomenon that many immature slender-billed gull over summer to the south of their breeding range from west to east.

slender-billed gull

Although some black-headed gull and a few lesser black-backed gull are doing the same, in those cases they look in poor condition. In other words it appears involuntatry for those species.Yet the Audouin gull and slender-billed gull usually look in good condition.

sanderling 1

That day there were very few waders. I had a few identification issues separating a sanderling from dunlin. For some reason there are very few dunlin here in winter. It is only really a passage bird here. The bird above and below has a particularly long bill but is a sanderling. Thanks to Bram Piot for noticing the lack of a hind toe and suggesting that all dunlin would have some black plumage blow by now.

sanderling 2

The number of black tern passing through along the coast is seemingly endless.

black tern

After finishing at the lagoons, we moved down the coast two kilomteres to the old wharf where we can bird watch 300 metres out into the ocean.

great white pelican 1

One of the best sights from the wharf was two flocks of great white pelican flying over. They breed in the Senegal River Delta and on Banc d'Arguin which are south and north of Nouakchott. Mohamed Vall says it is well known that they regularly fly between the two places.

great white pelican 2

Once again black tern were numerous around the wharf. Other terns were mostly Caspian tern and royal tern. My hopes of seeing a bridled tern were dashed again.

royal tern

A couple of lesser black-backed gull were the only gulls seen until the very end of our session. Then another gull turned up. I believe it was an Audouin gull.

probable Audouin gull

The following weekend, I visited the same spots again plus two extra water bodies on the way to coast. In contrast to this visit, the coast and the other water bodies were busy again and it was a different mix. I will blog about this soon.

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