Tuesday 30 May 2017

Westward walk again

I am pretty much confined to Nouakchott during Ramadan as it is too tiring for my Muslim friends to take me long distance by car.

This means I am birding a few sites in the city more intensely than ever. Actually some of my best finds have been when I have been restricted to a few places over a prolonged period. I hope this holds true over the next month.

It is now also usually hot though temperatures vary considerably from day to day.

On Saturday I started out early to avoid as much heat as possible. I walked out west towards the coast on a now well-used birding route for me.

The first stop was the central lake. This is a natural lake which has been landscaped and extra water pumped in from elsewhere. However the rising water level and increased salinity, presummably of the pumped water, has destroyed the reed beds.

This is bound to effect the diversity of birds there adversely.

There were still many hirundines flying over. Red-rumped swallow were the most numerous though there were nearly as many barn swallow as well as house martin and sand martin.

white wagtail

The flat area with its patches of water next to the lake was interesting. One bird here was a white wagtail. This bird is very late for migration.

kittlitz's plover

Near one of the small pools was a kittlitz's plover. The lake itself housed only a few black-winged stilt and black-headed gull this time.

Next, I moved on to the west Nouakchott pools. Here, I finally found evidence that Kentish plover breed in Nouakchott with a chick sighted.

Kentish plover with chick

In the few scattered bushes at the one side of the pools was a mixed flock of house sparrow and Sudanese golden sparrow. It also contained at least one red-billed quelea.

red-billed quelea (front)

No matter where you are in Mauritania it is always worth looking hard at these sparrow/finch/weaver flocks. They are often multi-species and a rarity can turn up.

young house sparrow (bottom)

There are many young house sparrow around at the moment.

ruddy turnstone

The larger waders at the pools were spur-winged lapwing, ruddy turnstone and a single black-tailed godwit.

black-tailed godwit 1

I had seen a single one here a week before. This may be the same bird.

black-tailed godwit 2

From certain angles, the bird looked a little thin and that may be the reason it has stayed if it is the same bird.


Plenty of sanderling are still in Nouakchott and are only just started to adopt summer plumage.

I eventually moved on westward from the pools. I saw a couple of barn swallow on the wires between the pools and the coast.

barn swallow

It was still morning when I reached the coastal lagoon south of the fishing port.

Unfortunately it was a disappointment. Whereas the weekend before there had been large numbers and varied gulls, terns and waders, this time it was almost empty.  

audouin gull

Four Audouin gull, a few sanderling and a common ringed plover was all that met me. I think the low numbers were because the water supply through the pipes at the far end was very low and as a result the water levels in the lagoon were very low too.

To compensate for the lack of birds at the lagoon, I investigated the scrub further south. I don't do this regularly.

fulvous babbler

I was rewarded with the sight of two young fulvous babbler which were continually calling to each other.

second fulvous babbler

The one bird was hampered by being tail-less.

Looking out to sea I could see some large white headed gull which were more than likely lesser black-backed gull. One Caspian tern was also seen.

slender-billed gull

Having finished with the scrub, I returned to the lagoon and noticed the water level had risen as the water supply through the pipes had increased. It was too soon for many birds to have returned but there were more than when I first arrived. Some slender-billed gull were now there and two black tern had also arrived.

It now getting hot and I had a long walk back. It was a shame as I suspected more birds were going to return.

hoopoe lark

There was still some birding near the fishing port to be done. Hoopoe lark were easy to see. The usual rubbish dump of fish waste gave me many cattle egret, crested lark and two late yellow wagtail.

Overall it had been a satisfactory but not spectacular birding session.

No comments:

Post a Comment