While travelling from Meknes to Fes in Morocco our guide asked the bus driver to stop briefly on the side of the road so we could take some photos. This was near the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis. I’ll show photos of birds seen there in the coming days.
Across the road from our bus a farmer was ploughing his field using two donkeys to pull the plough. Donkeys were a common sight in both Morocco and Ethiopia. As the ground was tilled, several Cattle Egrets followed along, taking the opportunity to feast on worms and beetles and insects disturbed by the implement.
During our tour of Meknes in Morocco we visited a beautiful golf course inside a fortress in the heart of the city. There was a large pond as a part of the landscaping of the golf course. I saw a few ducks on this pond, including several Mallards.
This was one species I didn’t see all that often in Morocco, but that probably just reflects the fact that our tour didn’t take us to many places where there was suitable habitat. Ours was more of a cultural tour; any birding was merely incidental. One day I hope to return and do more of an environmental tour, taking in natural habitats where the bird life is more prevalent.
There was another species of duck present, but I couldn’t identify it.
One of the frustrating things about touring another country, one quite foreign to one’s home base, is not being able to quickly identify the birds you see. I get that even here in Australia, especially when I visit family in Sydney, two day’s drive from home. At home it is a different matter as I can generally ID a species merely by call. It’s even fun sleeping in, making a list of species in the dawn chorus.
On our two week tour of Morocco I was primarily a tourist, taking in all the sights, sounds, smells and cultural differences. Birding was low on my priorities, and photos – like those shown today – were taken on the run and often at extreme zoom.
I have really puzzled over the bird shown in today’s photos, which I took in Meknes. The best I can say is that I think it might be a Western Jackdaw. The general appearance seems to fit this species, as does the habitat – a large square with many people with several dozen of these birds present.
If any of my readers can throw a more positive light on it, please let me know. UPDATE: one of my readers has confirmed that the bird is indeed a Western Jackdaw. Thank you.
In Meknes we walked past this rectangular reservoir in the heart of the city. When I saw the water I was eager with anticipation at seeing some of the water birds of Morocco. I was disappointed.
On a structure way out in the middle was a solitary Grey heron accompanied by one unidentified duck. Grey Herons are widespread in Africa, Europe and Asia but don’t occur here in Australia, so this one bird was a new species for me. I never saw another one on our trip. Birding can be like that; exciting one day, disappointing the next.
The photos are disappointing too, but it was not surprising because the birds were over one hundred metres away so I was really stretching the capabilities of the zoom lens.
One of the common bird species I saw on our two week tour of Morocco was the White Stork.
In the photo above they lined the top of an ancient wall and made quite a sight. I’m not absolutely certain but I think this was taken in the city of Meknes.
Below I have included another photo of this species taken elsewhere. It seems that this species spends a great deal of time perched on a high vantage point overlooking everyone, and giving them a birds eye view of the city. Either that, or they prefer the penthouse view.