Monday 18 December 2017

More wintering at the waste water site

The very day before I flew out to Bamako, Mali I had one last birding session in the Nouakchott area. I went to my most regular spot which is the waste water site just north of the city.

The highlight was undoubtedly a great spotted cuckoo but try as I might I couldn't get a picture. I saw it twice and then not again. There is so much cover at the site that birds can lose themselves if they choose not to flush.

With the exception of this bird, a common redstart and some blue-cheeked bee-eater the other birds could stay all winter in this area.

female sardinian warbler 1

Sardinian warbler is one of those species that can winter here. On the last visit, I photographed male birds. This time I made the effort to seek out females.

sardinian warbler 2

Of all the warblers regularly visiting the waste water site, this one spends the most time near or on the ground.

sardinian warbler 3

There were quite a few chiffchaff around. However, the big problem is working out which ones are common chiffchaff and which ones are Iberian chiffchaff. As best as I could tell there were about equal numbers of both.

possible Iberian chiffchaff 1

As always I was looking for slightly longer wings, a long supercilium with a yellow front end, pale belly with yellower hues underneath and paler legs as well as no greyness on the head or back for an Iberian chiffchaff.

possible Iberian chiffchaff 2

The strength of the supercilium on the featured bird is best seen in the bottom picture as well as the paler belly.

possible Iberian chiffchaff 3

As I mentioned earlier in the blog, there were common redstart on site. Nouakchott is very slightly north of their wintering range.

common redstart

The situation is slightly different with yellow wagtail. A few of sub-species iberiae will stay.

male yellow wagtail (iberiae) 1

They breed the furthest south of all the yellow wagtail that pass through amd on average probably winter the furthest north. In otherwords they are leap-frogged by the other sub-species.

male yellow wagtail (iberiae 2)

The beginning of December last year was when all the summer breeding and migrant blue-cheeked bee-eater disappeared. I fully expect to see none on site when I next visit.

blue-cheeked bee-eater

Both house sparrow and Sudanese golden sparrow were present. They mix to a certain extent too.

male Sudanese golden sparrow

The only shrike I am likely to see at this time of year is southern grey shrike.

southern grey shrike

Once again I didn't visit the main water body until an hour or more into the session. There is much that can be missed if one goes directly there. This is not just a water site.

little ringed plover

Little ringed plover are not commonly seen compared with ringed plover in the Noaukchott area.


All the dunlin are now in full winter plumage.

greenshank and ruff

Of the larger waders, ruff in particular like this place.


There have consistantly been ducks here for the past two months. Once again this was true.The bad news is that I could find but one species.

Eurasian teal 

The slightly better news is that there were sixteen of them.

Eurasian teal take flight

Mauritania has much less bird shooting than any of the Gulf countries I have birded in. Yet these birds were still easily flushed. I suspect this is learned behaviour from elsewhere in their life cycles.

Eurasian teal in the air

I was feeling slightly jaded after birding so much in the Nouakchott area recently without variation and with the passage almost gone.

That all changed within a couple of days. I flew out to Bamako, Mali on December 4th. Despite the security issues there, I added eight birds to my life list and also good practice at identifiying birds I could find (but haven't so far) in southern Mauritania.

My next series of blogs will look my birding in Mali.

Waste water site December 3rd
Eurasian Teal  
Spur-winged Lapwing  
Common Ringed Plover  
Little Ringed Plover  
Little Stint  
Common Snipe  
Green Sandpiper  
Common Greenshank  
Wood Sandpiper  
Laughing Dove  
Namaqua Dove  
Great Spotted Cuckoo  
Eurasian Hoopoe  
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater  
Common Kestrel (Common)  
Southern Grey Shrike  
Crested Lark  
Common Chiffchaff  
Iberian Chiffchaff      
Sardinian Warbler  
Spectacled Warbler  
Common Redstart  
Northern Wheatear  
Western Yellow Wagtail 
White Wagtail 
House Sparrow
Sudan Golden Sparrow  

No comments:

Post a Comment