Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Day 2 - 19th April - High Atlas Mountains

Next morning we were up at 5:30am for an early dawn walk up into the High Atlas Mountains. Packing up our gear early on and grabbing a quick moroccan coffee, a few slices of bread and honey, it was all we needed to keep us going for the day. Leaving the french hostel we headed on up the valley; parking the car at the bottom of the valley. Several hours were spent stopping and starting picking up various birds along the way..

Our targets here were the atlas specialities, which soon followed one by one. Atlas Shore Lark were numerous whilst Seebohm's Wheatear were even more numerous. A Male Spectacled Warbler burst into song infront of us; a bird we weren't expecting to get to grips with until later on in the trip but a very welcome bird all the same.

Plenty of Red-Billed and Alpine Chough fed on the lower slopes, but I had to save the best bird until last and this wasn't until we were heading back down the valley when a couple of Crimson -Winged Finch flew past and landed nearby! Cracking little birds and our main target for this visit. Rock Sparrows and a couple of unexpected Dippers were seen on our way down alongside the river.

Successfully getting to grips with all our target species here, we headed on down from the High Atlas Mountains and headed in the direction of Boumalne Dades, stopping en-route at the Tizi-n-Tichka pass. Stopping for a pair of Rollers on nearby wires was well worth it as this has to be the best view of Roller I have ever had.

We were now in the deserts and after several failed attempts we managed to locate the 'Le Soleil Bleu' Hotel - our destination for the night. An exceptionally delicious meal was enjoyed by all and with Soup, Tajin, followed by orange slices dipped in Cinnamon and 3 beers - it was time to get our heads down for the night.

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