DAY 2 - TUES FEB 28TH – Moulay Bousselham to Rabat via Lac de Sidi Bourhaba Nature Reserve.
Another beautiful morning with a fantastic sunrise, I took an early morning walk down to the shore of the lake. It was a little chilly but a superb morning, the lake was like a mill-pond, many waders, gulls and terns were on the water and along its shoreline. I added Slender-billed Gull to the list and saw many waders that I listed yesterday. New passerines for the trip list included Pallid Swift, Sand Martin, Common Bubul, Serin and Hoopoe.
After breakfast I packed my things and headed for the motorway in the direction of Rabat. At Kenitre I exited the motorway and drove through the town before turning off towards the Atlantic coastline and the large lagoon at Sidi Bourhaba. Along the way I saw several Black Kites, a couple of Marsh Harriers and my first migrant Booted Eagle of the year!
My first glimpse of the lagoon was from the roadside high above the water, I could see the southern tip and the reed fringed water held quite a few birds. I found Purple Swamphen, Cetti’s Warbler, Little Grebe, White headed Duck, Red-knobbed Coot, Shoveler, Teal and Moorhen.
I made several stops along the lagoon as I headed back northward along the western shoreline. My first Moroccan Magpies were very obliging and I found Marbled Duck, Common Pochard and Common Coot in the water. What a great place, White-headed Duck, Red-knobbed Coot and Marbled Duck all on the same piece of water!!!
Several more Marsh Harriers were in view and one or two were displaying. I found a lovely causeway that led into the reserve proper, from there I added Red-crested Pochard to the tally. Inside the reserve I took a walk and found African Blue Tit, Great Tit, Serin and Goldfinch, a flock of Greater Flamingos and Great Crested Grebes.
I made my way back to the main road via a short-cut that took me an hour(Ernie Parker would laugh at this), but once I was headed in the right direction I relaxed and made a short stop in a cork oak wood where I found African Chaffinch, Eurasian Chiffchaff, Blackcap and I heard a Levaillant’s Woodpecker but it was too distant to track down.
It took the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon to find my next destination near Rabat, I made the mistake of keeping off the motorway and tried to weave my way through Rabat, big mistake, never to be repeated.
Eventually I was watching birds on the coast near Temara. I added Sanderling, Little Ringed Plover and Curlew Sandpiper to my wader list and Mediterranean Gull to my gull list. The rest of the day was spent locating my hotel and paying a visit to the well known site for Double-spurred Francolin. Along the way, via several diversions (many new roads and building sites have appeared since my last visit), I found several roadside pools holding lots of ducks, herons and egrets.
My luck was in and I found a single Francolin as it walk across a forest track in front of the car, wow, that was a relief, the best time to see this species is first thing in the morning, now I can have a lie in, ha!
My mission was accomplished. I had relocated all the sites I wanted to in readiness for my forthcoming tour with clients. So Tomorrow I will drive directly to Tangier and catch a lunch-time ferry back to Spain.