Friday, 8 February 2013

Morocco - Part two of six

Day three and we had a long journey in the minibus down off the high Atlas mountains heading for the Dades Valley and eventually later on in the week, east towards to the edge of the Sahara desert.

Unfortunately, one of our party had come on the trip with a really heavy cold. Muggins here had to go and catch it.  Again, unfortunately, this coincided with us staying at the coldest hotel of the whole trip! It was so cold, we had to have our meals in our coats and fleeces. Our hotel room door wouldn't lock properly and the water was also stone cold! Urgh! 
Throughout the whole trip, I was conscious of not wanting to offend any of the locals so there are not many photographs of people. This man seemed in a world of his own, lost in contemplation. We saw many MANY men sitting like this throughout the trip.
This area we were in now was a land of contrasts as I'll show later on at the end of the post. We spent some time birding the desolate looking Tagdilt track. It might look void of any life, but it's there if you look hard enough. 
Once we got our eye in, there were lots of these lovely Fat Sand Rats keeping a wary eye out for their nemesis, the Long-legged Buzzard. 
One of our target birds in this area was the aptly named White-crowned Black Wheatear. This stunning male posed nicely if a little far away! 
The only way to try and get to see some of the birds was to go hiking over this forbidding but beautiful landscape. Here's one of our party, Geoff taking a breather to enjoy the view.
Not all our target birds are stunning to look at, but desirable none the less. The Desert Lark was one such bird! 
Similar to Shore Larks (or Horned Larks as they're called in the US) is the Temminck's Lark. These lack the yellow shading to their plumage, instead displaying lovely black 'horns' on a brilliant white face! 
We had a second day to explore this area of Morocco. Here's a typical town sprawling along the Dades Valley. 
Once again we visited the Tagdilt plain area and found some camels wandering around with no human to keep an eye on them.
Here's another of those Fat Sand Rats! 
Another subtle bird, very similar to the Desert Lark is the Bar-tailed Desert Lark. 
I'll finish today's post with a photo showing the rugged hills and then the lush palm trees at the bottom of the Dades Valley. Quite a weird contrast.
Part three will come shortly.


Roy Norris said...

Hey Jen, did you treat the Camels like you treat Cows.{:))

Kelly said...

This is so interesting and new to me. I love the landscape...and the White-crowned Black Wheatear is a handsome bird. I really enjoyed this post. Now I have to go back and read part 1. :-)

Jenny said...

No way Roy! Didn't go anywhere near them. I didn't want to get spat on! (-:

Hi Kelly, I'm glad you're enjoying the posts so far. It was a wonderful trip. Such a different world to the one I live!

ShySongbird said...

What an experience you had! 'Desolate' and 'forbidding' were both words that sprang to my mind before I even read them but such an adventure. You captured some very interesting birds. I love the White-crowned Black Wheatear and those little Sand Rats are sweet :-)

Jenny said...

Hi Jan, it was desolate and forbidding but at the same time, so different that it was enjoyable. Not sure I'd want to live with it for long though. My favourite day of the whole trip is coming up next! (-:

Pix at Under the Oaks said...

I like the little Sand Rats and the White-crowned Black Wheat Ear is a handsome bird. That one camel was keeping an eye on you as you clicked! Interesting landscape! Looks like El Paso where we lived for 4 years!

Jenny said...

Hi Pix, yes I kept my distance from those camels!!! (-:

Mary said...

You are very good at finding your target species! Love that white headed bird. This is all very interesting and so different.

Jenny said...

Hi Mary, we did a lot of research, finding the right habitats and particular places etc. Plus having 7 other dedicated pairs of eyes helps too! (-: