SOUSS MASSA NP, NORTHERN BALD IBIS ON THE RECORD

Souss Massa NP is a national park located 60 km south of Agadir.This coastline area stretches between Oued Massa and Oued Souss rivers.The park was established to preserve the endangered Northern Bald Ibis which breeds on its rocky cliffs.

The park is also an important birding area, with many seabirds, waders and waterfowl.Some of the most remarkable birds are Marble Duck, European Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Ruddy Shelduck, Greater Flamingo, Booted Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Barbary Falcon, Red-necked Nightjar, Tristram’s Wabler, Moussier’s Redstart, Cream-coloured Courser, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Thick-billed Lark, Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Black-headed Tchagra.March and April are the best months to spot birdlife.

Some of the mammals that are found here are Algerian Hedgehog, Wild Boar, Egyptian Mongoose,African Wildcat and Barbary Ground Squirrel.It’s also possible to see some rare ungulates like Dama and Dorcas Gazelle, Addax and Scimitar Horned Oryx although kept in large enclosures.

To get there firstly i traveled to Agadir by bus.This busy city is a touristy destination that didn’t appeal me very much.From there i hired a taxi to bring me to the colony of Northern Bald Ibis that is found in Tamri.

I started my trip early afternoon.It took me about an hour to reach the colony area.Once there,i took a short walk to the dunes where i could see the first individuals flying near the coast, see picture on top of the post.Afterwards another one approached near the dunes, where i could take those sequenced shots.

A local guide wanted to bring me to the colony but i was already pleased with the great views that i got of this magnificent bird.

Next morning i decided to visit Oued Massa area, in the southern part of Souss Massa NP.I got into a bus from Agadir to Inezgane and then another bus that dropped me to the little town of Sidi R’bat.From there, i accessed to the park’s gate, where i hired a guide for 20 euros.We walked on a trail that  follows Massa river.

Black-headed Tchagra was a nice bird that we saw moving on the bushes that were on the right side of the trail.This bird likes to hunt insects and other small invertebrates from branches or on the ground.

Moussier’s Redstart was another excellent bird that we spotted in this bushy area.This colourful bird is easy to recognise by its conspicuous orange belly and throat, black head with white stripes above its eyes and neck and black wings with a white patch.It’s without doubt one of my favourite Moroccan birds.

Crested Lark was a common bird seen on the ground near the trail.

This area was also quite prolific in raptors.Bonelli’s Eagle, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Western Marsh Harrier, Barbary and Peregrine Falcon were seen flying the clear skies above the Massa river.

Along the river we spotted Marble Duck, Eurasian Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Ruddy Shelduck and Eurasian Coot among others.

Near the river mouth we could find Audouin’s Gull, Caspian Tern and Gull-billed Tern in good numbers.Around this area i had great views of a Little Owl perched on a post.The bird allowed me to approach close enough to take these beautiful shots.

Afterwards,we went uphill across the dunes where we could see Barbary Partridges running among the bushes.

It was another great day accompanied by my feathered friends, very satisfied of the birds i saw and the shots i took !!

Next post i will talk about Rock Bunting, a beautiful bird found in Morocco’s towns.

See you soon my friends !!

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