Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Limosa tour to Morocco November 2014

Some photographs from Morocco. Please view earlier entry on the discovery of a Great Knot in Morocco.

Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita)

Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita)

Desert Little Owl (Athene noctua glaux)

Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii)

Scopoli's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)

House Bunting (Emberiza sahari)

House Bunting (Emberiza sahari)

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis)

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis)

Thick-billed Lark (Rhamphocoris clotbey)
Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Some recent scarce birds from Norfolk & Suffolk

There has been a run of Desert Wheatears with three in Norfolk & Suffolk this autumn. Plus a few Shrikes and a Hoopoe.
Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
at Winterton 8th December 2014

Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
at Gorleston-on-Sea November 2014

Steppe Grey Shrike (Lanius pallidirostris) Burnham Norton
Norfolk October 2014

Hoopoe (Upupa epops) Kessingland
Suffolk October 2014
Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) Lowestoft Suffolk October 2014

Monday, 10 November 2014

Limosa Tour to Morocco November 2014

On the recent Limosa Tour to Morocco I found a Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris) at the Oued Souss on the last day of the tour 8th November 2014. It was associating with Red Knots (Calidris canutus). It was only the second record for Morocco. 

The most obvious features that struck me when scanning through the group of Red Knot were the dark breast and large spotted flanks. Although I knew immediately deep down that it was a Great Knot I couldn't quite believe it. They are just so rare in Africa (and Europe). Could it just be an aberrant Knot? Afterall the bird was in fairly poor light and quite distant (aren't they always). However with closer scrutiny the slightly larger size and longer bill were apparent. 

From photographs other features could be seen. The black tail contrasting with the white rump and uppertail coverts in flight, marginally broader wings and the less contrasting dark wingtips in which the primaries only gradually turn black towards the tip. It is thought to be a first winter bird due to the darkness of the mantle and coverts feathers.

Arnoud van den Berg who was also leading the tour quickly got on to the bird and began documenting the sighting including taking some photos of the bird feeding with his telescope that gave far greater magnification than my (and his) telephoto lens. There were nine other birdwatchers in the Limosa tour group and they all saw the bird. 

The bird is second bird from the right on top photo and second from left on the bottom one.