Sunday, February 24, 2013


 Moussier's Redstart, a speciality of Morocco © John N Murphy

Saturday 16th February and we departed Dublin at 15.30 in the afternoon for our four hour flight  to Agadir.  I had visited North Africa about 20 years previous taking in Tunisia and the Sahara.  This trip I was hoping to add a few species to my list that I did not catch up with the last time I visited this region.

Agadir © John N Murphy

For the first few days, birding took a back seat as a bit of R&R was done.  On Monday 18th seabirds were very evident along the shore and bay of Agadir, where there was one Manx Shearwater, one Audoiun's and Slender-billed Gulls, one Arctic Skua, 20-30 European Storm Petrels and a Wilson's Storm Petrel that I picked out feeding on the waves in the middle of Agadir Bay.

 Slender-billed Gull at Agadir © John N Murphy

On Tuesday a trip to Marrakech brought us over the Atlas Mountains and onto the high plateaus where there were lots of Black and White-crowned Black Wheatears.  Also on route were many larks and few pipits.  In Marrakech there were Pallid Swifts, Black Kites, White Storks, Laughing Dove and many small passerines in the parks and groves around this region.

 Spotless Starlings © John N Murphy
Crested Lark © John N Murphy
Laughing Dove © John N Murphy
Common Bulbul © John N Murphy

On the 21st & 22nd February I hired a car and spent a day in the Sous Massa National Park about one hour south of Agadir.  Here there were lots of good birds including many Moussier's Redstarts, Yellow Wagtails, Tree Pipit, Cetti's, Fan-tailed, Reed, Subalpine, Sardinian, Wood and Willow Warblers, Plain Martins, Spanish Sparrows, Firecrest and many more.  Here I also got to catch up with the Black-crowned Tchagra, a species new to me along with the M Redstart.

Sous Massa © John N Murphy
 Moussier's Redstarts © John N Murphy
 Yellow Wagtail © John N Murphy
White Wagtail © John N Murphy
Male Sardinian Warbler © John N Murphy
Black-crowned Tchagra © John N Murphy
Common Sandpiper at Sous River © John N Murphy
Lesser Short-toed Lark © John N Murphy
Thekla Lark © John N Murphy
Spoonbills migrating North © John N Murphy
Raven & Black Kite © John N Murphy
 Southern Grey Shrike © John N Murphy
The coast near Cape Rhir, Morocco © John N Murphy

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Red Squirrel

I stopped for a few minutes this morning at the Curraghchase in Limerick on my way to work to see could I get a few shots of the Hawfinches.  One bird was present in the trees around the car park of the Curraghchase, but I was delighted to get a few snaps of the Red Squirrels that were feeding on the ground in the same area where the finches were coming down to feed.

Red Squirrels at the Curraghchase © John N Murphy

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Glaucous-winged Gull

After recent debate about the possible Glaucous-winged Gull in Cromane, County Kerry, I was asked to put up a few shots of first-year birds that I photographed on Vancouver Island in September 2010.  Attached are a few shots that I had to hand.  Notice the strong bulk and structure of all the birds below.  The Kerry bird lacked this strong shape and large shape of GWG's.  Any comments?

Glaucous-winged Gulls, Vancouver © John N Murphy

Friday, February 8, 2013

Kumlien's Iceland Gull

I went to Cromane in County Kerry late this afternoon to see the controversial white-winged gull that was identified as a possible Glaucous-winged Gull.  The shape, size, structure and overall colour was in my opinion not right for GWG and looked more like a Kumlien's Iceland Gull.  I am open to correction from any experts that might think differently, but from my limited exposure to Glaucous-winged Gulls in the North West of the US and Canada, I believe this bird not to be a Glaucous-winged Gull?  Any comments would be more than welcome.

Kumlien's Iceland Gull, Cromane, Kerry © John N Murphy