Monday 30 October 2017

Nouadhibou allotments

Google earth shows a green area in the north of Nouadhibou right on the border with Western Sahara. Zooming in, you can see that it is a set of allotments.

I am not sure any one has birded there before but we gave it a try last Saturday morning before moving on to more tradtional sites.

The birding wasn't brilliant but that, in part, was because the best allotments were generally the ones with the highest walls. However birds don't totally respect walls.

young turtle dove

Given that Nouadhibou is in a desert zone, any greenery is bound to encourage birds. One such species attracted to this site is European turtle dove.

adult turtle dove

There were at least eight birds scattered around the allotments. However this is unlikely to be their final wintering grounds.


One early identification headache was this highy streaked bird found half asleep when we first arrived. It was eventually identified as a whinchat though its unusual pose didn't help.

There were warblers as expected. Most were willow warbler though there were small numbers of chiffchaff, reed warbler and western olivaceous warbler too.

I suspect this is a good site for rare northern passerines in mid-winter such spainsh sparrow, stonechat and black redstart. They don't have much choice of habitat if they take this most westerly route.

Unfortunately we didn't see any rarities but we kept adding species to the site list as we went round.

greater short-toed lark

One greater short-toed lark in a garden was the only lark we saw on the whole peninsula. Apparently this is the most accessible place for thekla lark in Mauritania though we saw none.


A wryneck was a good bird and shows the potential of the place.

European pied flycatcher

Otherwise we had to make good with house sparrow and a common trio of migrants at the moment: common redstart, spotted flycatcher and European pied flycatcher.

A final short walk outside the allotments gave me a pair of white-crowned wheatear.

After the allotments, Mohamed Vall and I moved on to site we had visited before. This is the sea inlet just east of the airport. This had many hundreds of birds and is an obvious hotpsot. One species was an addition to my country list. The birding there was very satisfying and I will blog about this next.

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