Sunday, 3 December 2017

Winter species at the waste water site

The day after visiting F-Nord lake I went to the waste water site the day after. By mid and late November much but not all of the autumn passage has gone through.

One of the sights of winter is the arrival of sardinian warbler. When many species of warbler have gone through, it arrives late and generally stays.

Sardinian warbler

On this visit to the waste water site, I counted no less than six of them having seen my first one that day on immediate arrival and very near the parked car.

Sardinian warbler 2

Of all the warblers that visit the site, this one is mostly likely to be seen on the ground or in very low bushes.


On this visit, I was with Mohamed Vall who spotted the first kestrel. By the end of the session we had seen at least five.

We soon walked over to the main water body.

young yellow wagtail

At the grassy southern edge, there have been several white wagtail for weeks. Some times there are also small numbers of pipits and yellow wagtail.

I have yet to see a grey wagtail in Mauritania. Some young yellow wagtail and grey wagtail are hard to separate. Despite its yellow vent, the bird above is a yellow wagtail. It's tail is too short and there are signs of olive tones in the mantle.

small ruff 1

We spent a long time looking at one particular wader. It was foraging ever closer to us and came within two metres as we stood dead-still. We thought it was too small to be a ruff and were prepared to consider American vagrants.

small ruff 2

Analysis of the pictures when we returned home proved it was only a ruff. However it's behaviour was strange and it's size was at the extreme small end of the range. 

blue-cheeked bee-eater

On this visit, there were apparently no wave of migrant blue-cheeked bee-eater. There were just the five or six of them present that have been local since July. 

common redstart

Some common redstart were still passing through. Actually Nouakchott is close to their wintering grounds which basically start about 150 kilometres south.

Sudanese golden sparrow

We see more Sudanese golden sparrow around the city and its outskirts in winter than at other times of year. They are starting to appear regularly at the waste water site now.

African silverbill

The site is the furtherest north in Mauritania, I have seen African silverbill. They are not seen every week though, so it can't be easily said whether they are dispersive or local birds.

Iberian chiffchaff

On our walk around the site, we eventually came to the area with low bushes next to shallow water where a small minority of the truckers dump their used waste water. This has been good for passerines for weeks.

This time it held Iberian chiffchaff, common chiffchaff and blackcap as well as one very late passage garden warbler. The first three warblers can winter here.

young Namaqua dove

Though the site is very good for migrants, a very young Namaqua dove was a reminder that some breeding does occur here.

Species at the waste water site
Northern Pintail  
Eurasian Teal  
Grey Heron (Grey)  
Eurasian Spoonbill 
Common Moorhen  
Spur-winged Lapwing  
Kentish Plover  
Common Ringed Plover  
Little Stint  
Common Snipe  
Common Sandpiper  
Green Sandpiper  
Wood Sandpiper  
Laughing Dove  
Namaqua Dove  
European Scops Owl  
Little Swift  
Eurasian Hoopoe  
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater  
Common Kestrel (Common)  
Southern Grey Shrike  
Brown-necked Raven  
Crested Lark  
Common Chiffchaff  
Iberian Chiffchaff      
Eurasian Blackcap  
Garden Warbler  
Sardinian Warbler   
Common Redstart  
Northern Wheatear  
Western Yellow Wagtail  
White Wagtail (alba)  
Tree Pipit  
House Sparrow  
Sudan Golden Sparrow  

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