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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) saved from being used in traditional medicine

شاب من مدينة تطوان يعثر على نسر أسمر مجروح ويعتني به أكثر من شهرين إلى أن إسترجع قواه  - المرجو تكملة القصة أسفل الصور
Un joven de Tetuán encuentra un Buitre leonado herido, atendido durante más de dos meses para recuperarse (por favor, lea la historia completa por debajo de las fotos).

GREPOM volunteer Yasmina Fartakh alerted us about a Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) which was seen in a house in a suburb of Tétouan, northern Morocco. After several attempts to locate (owner of) the vulture, we have finally been able to see it today. 

After checking the status of the vulture and disinfecting it from any parasites, we talked about the man who found it to know more about this case. The vulture was found in a scrubland near the coast at Tahaddart south of Tangier by a young man from Tétouan called Abdelhafid Touel on 28 December 2014.

According to Abdelhafid, when found the vulture could not fly and had some injuries on both wings and the leg. Attended by this person for more than two months, the vulture is now in very good condition. As we could see (photos), the vulture probably suffered from a collision with a power line (healed wounds at the tops of both wings). This is one of the dangers facing these vultures that Rachid has written about some months ago in the "Perilous journey of Griffon Vultures in pictures", en Español en el blog de Aves de Marruecos.  

On another case, Abdelhafid said he saw in a garage on the outskirts of Tangier a black-coloured vulture (because he described the Griffon Vulture as a brown-coloured vulture, so he knows the difference between these 2 species). After showing him the Bird Guide, he confirmed that it was a Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus). But we don’t know how it was found and its final destination.

Several people tried to offer him money to buy the Griffon Vulture (surely to be used for the purposes of traditional medicine), but the young man insisted that the only thing that mattered to him is to see the vulture fly again.

Abdelhafid, a young worker deserves our respect for the great work he has done to save the vulture (and for resisting the buying offers) without knowing much about the species. 

The Griffon Vulture will be released next Sunday at Jbel Moussa.

Please read about GREPOM (BirdLife in Morocco) campaign: "We say STOP to poaching, illegal hunting and the use of poison! Fighting these irresponsible actions". Although our case is not related to these illegal actions but it's worth mentioning it here.

The Griffon Vulture is in very good condition after recovering at the house during more than 2 months.
The Griffon Vulture is in very good condition after recovering at the house during more than 2 months.
Rachid disinfecting the Griffon Vulture from possible ectoparasites.
Healed wounds on the right wing.
Healed wounds on the left wing.


شاب من مدينة تطوان يعثر على نسر أسمر مجروح ويعتني به أكثر من شهرين إلى أن إسترجع قواه 

تعود أطوار القصة لأواخر شهر ديسمبر من سنة 2014 حيث كان الشاب المسمى عبد الحفيظ الطويل المنحدر من مدينة تطوان متوجها لعمله بنواحي طنجة قرب قنطرة تهدارت, حيث أثار انتباهه طائر من حجم كبير متوقف بإحدى الغابات المحاذية للشريط 
الساحلي الأمر الذي جعله يقترب منه و يلاحظ بعد ذلك أن الطائر مصاب و لا يقوى على الطيران
  
 مند تلك الفترة و الطائر و هو نسر أسمر أو نسر جريفون (Gyps fulvus) يحظى باهتمام و متابعة من طرف عبد الحفيظ الذي بدل جهدا كبيرا من أجل تعافي الطائر و إعادته إلى البرية 
  
عند علمنا بالحالة و توجهنا لمعاينة الطائر, اتضح لنا أن النسر قد أصيب بماس كهربائي خلال هجرته الخريفية من جنوب أوروبا نحو إفريقيا جنوب الصحراء و سيتم إعادته إلى البرية خلال الأيام المقبلة

حقيقة أن الشاب عبد الحفيظ يعتبر نموذجا للمواطن ألذي يمتلك الحس البيئي رغم المغريات التي قدمت له من طرف أشخاص عديمي الضمير اللذين حاولوا شراء النسر من أجل استعماله في الشعوذة كما صرح لنا عبد الحفيظ, لكن هذا الأخير أبى إلا أن يرى هذا الطائر يحلق في السماء من جديد 

شكر خاص للسيدة ياسمينة الفرطاخ على إشعارنا بمكان تواجد النسر

Un joven de Tetuán encuentra un Buitre leonado herido, atendido durante más de dos meses para recuperarse.


Avisados por la voluntaria de GREPOM Yasmina Fartakh sobre un Buitre leonado (Gyps fulvus) visto en una casa en un barrio en las afueras de Tetuan, y después de varios intentos de localizar el (dueño) del Buitre, por fin hoy nos hemos quedado para verlo.

Después de revisar el estado del Buitre y desinfectarle de los parásitos, resulta que el Buitre ha sido encontrado por el joven Abdelhafid Touel el día 28 de Diciembre de 2014 al sur de Tanger (Tahaddart) en un bosque de matorral cerca de la costa. Según Abdelhafid el Buitre no podía volar y tenía algunas heridas en las alas y una pata.

Atendido por esta persona durante más de 2 meses, el Buitre se encuentra en muy buen estado. Según observamos el Buitre probablemente sofrió una colisión contra una línea eléctrica (heridas curadas en las partes superiores de las dos alas).

En otro caso, Abdelhafid afirma haber visto en un garaje en las afueras de Tanger a un Buitre de color negro. Después de enseñarle la guía de aves confirmaba de que era un Buitre negro (Aegypius monachus) donde desconoce las causas de cómo se encontró y cual fuera su destino final.

Varias personas intentaron ofrecerle dinero para comprar al Buitre (sin duda para ser utilizado para fines de la medicina tradicional), pero el joven insistía en que lo único que le importaba es ver al Buitre volar de nuevo. 

Abdelhafid, un joven obrero merece todo nuestro respeto por el gran trabajo que ha hecho para salvar al Buitre sin conocer mucho sobre la especie.

El Buitre leonado será liberado el próximo domingo en Jbel Moussa. 

Rachid & Mohamed 


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Leucistic Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) becomes much whiter after moult

Can a non-marked wader be relocated months after first sighting? Well, this is possible in some few cases including when the bird is leucistic and is alone in the region (so easily identifiable). 

This is the case of a leucistic Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) photographed for the first time in the intertidal zone between El Jadida and Sidi Bouzid by Ruth García Gorria on 17 October 2014.


On 13 February 2015, Ruth relocated the leucistic bird again and took the photographs below (click on the pictures for more details). Ruth also commented that “the plumage is much whiter now” (compare the pictures below with those taken in October 2014 by clicking the link above). 


On the other hand, the partially leucistic Common Coot (Fulica atra) is always present in Sidi Moussa lagoon where it was first observed and photographed in October and November 2014 by Ruth.


Oiseaux leucistique: Courlis corlieu et Foulque macroule


Le Courlis corlieu (Numenius phaeopus) leucistique photographié pour la première fois dans la zone intertidale à la sortie d’El Jadida vers Sidi Bouzid par Ruth García Gorria le 17 octobre 2014 a été revu le 13 février 2015 dans le même endroit (photos ci-dessous). Ruth a aussi commentée que "le plumage est beaucoup plus blanc maintenant" (comparer les photos ci-dessous avec celle d'octobre 2014 en cliquant sur le lien ci-dessus).

D'autre part, la Foulque macroule (Fulica atra) partiellement leucistique est toujours présente à la lagune de Sidi Moussa où elle a été observée et photographiée pour la première en octobre et novembre 2014 par Ruth.


Gracias Ruth!

leucistic Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Leucistic Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), El Jadida, 13 February 2015.
(photo: Ruth García Gorria).
Leucistic Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), El Jadida, 13 February 2015.
(photo: Ruth García Gorria).
Leucistic Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), El Jadida, 13 February 2015.
(photo: Ruth García Gorria).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) breeding in Tangier

Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) breeding at Tangier -  La Conure veuve se reproduit à Tanger.

The story began when Alfonso Escajadillo O Connor, a naturalist and ornithologist from Peru, during his visit to Tangier on 12 February 2015 observed 6 individuals of Monk Parakeet nest building in a Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis).

Then Alfonso alerted Rachid of the presence of these Monk Parakeets when they met each other last week.

So this afternoon (24 Feb), we headed to Tangier in order to locate the site and to found out more about this breeding event. After our arrival, we searched around some parks and private residences for about 30 minutes before finally heard the song or chatter of the Monk Parakeets. Although we have never heard them before, but their exotic chatting was easy to distinguish from the familiar songs of the native birds present in the parks. Soon after we observed 5 individuals, and then groups of 2, 3 birds and some hours later we saw a pair on a palm tree (all these seen from the road).

Information gathered from several witnesses (guards of different residences, a shop owner and a passers-by from the neighbourhood) all indicated that the Monk Parakeets started to breed in this area since at least 3 years. The birds were nesting in at least two different places. And according to the guards, there were at least 16 birds in one property and at least one pair in the second place. One of the guards allowed us to see the nests for a brief time but he requested not using the camera and binoculars once we are inside. We respected his request and all the photographs we have were taken from the road (outside the property).

We should point out that the first breeding of this invasive species in Northwest Africa was recorded at the city of Melilla in 2012 (3 pairs building nests in Eucalyptus trees were observed by Diego Jerez Abad). After one year (2013), the species has already started to expand in the same city (8 individuals in 3 new colonial nests observed also by Diego).

We will go back to Tangier when time allow, and these observations will be forwarded to the Moroccan Rare Birds Committee (MRBC) for the record.


Gracias Alfonso!

Rachid & Mohamed



Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) breeding at Tangier
Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) at Tangier, 24 February 2015 (photo: Rachid El Khamlichi)


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sudan Golden Sparrows (Passer luteus) still at Bir Anzarane (6 February)

Sudan Golden Sparrows (Passer luteus) still at Bir Anzaran and in good numbers. Member of the Association 'Nature Initiative' Mohamed Lamine Samlali who was with Btissam El Jafalli and a group of Belgian students took these pictures on 6 February.

Can anyone count how many Sudan Golden Sparrows in these photos?

M. L. Samlali can be reached by email, Facebook or twitter through this page about the association.



Sudan Golden Sparrows and Desert Sparrows, Bir Anzarane, 6 February 2015 (Mohamed Lamine Samlali /Association 'Nature Initiative')
Sudan Golden Sparrows and Desert Sparrows, Bir Anzarane, 6 February 2015 (Mohamed Lamine Samlali /Association 'Nature Initiative')

Sudan Golden Sparrows and Desert Sparrow, Bir Anzarane, 6 February 2015 (Mohamed Lamine Samlali /Association 'Nature Initiative').
Sudan Golden Sparrows and Desert Sparrows, Bir Anzarane, 6 February 2015 (Mohamed Lamine Samlali /Association 'Nature Initiative')

Mohamed Lamine Samlali (with the car) and the Belgian students having lunch
(
Btissam El Jafalli).

Monday, February 2, 2015

28 Sudan Golden Sparrows (Passer luteus) at Bir Anzarane (2 Feb 2015)

A minimum of 28 Sudan Golden Sparrows (Passer luteus) seen today by Mohamed Lamine Samlali (a member of the Association ‘Nature Initiative’) who was with a group of British birders including Stephen Menzie who took the pictures below. This comes after the observation of one Sudan Golden Sparrow on 30 January near Bir Anzarane by A. Qninba and the team of the Association ‘Nature Initiative’. 

Enjoy some photographs of other wildlife including reptiles, scorpions and an African savanna hare (Lepus microtis) in the Facebook page of the Association ‘Nature Initiative’ here.

Possibility of breeding?? 

Can we think now about the possibility that these golden sparrows may have bred in the region instead of visiting from it's traditional breeding area in the Sahel? Or the possibility of breeding in the near future? I have already written about this possibility last year (see this blog-post: "Sudan Golden Sparrows still at Oued Jenna, is breeding next?" and the comments under it).
Your comments are very welcome.


28 Sudan Golden Sparrows (Passer luteus), Bir Anzarane, southern Morocco, 2 February 2015
Part of a minimum 28 Sudan Golden Sparrows (Passer luteus), Bir Anzarane, 2 February 2015. (photo: Stephen Menzie)
Sudan Golden Sparrow (Passer luteus), Bir Anzarane, southern Morocco, 2 February 2015
Sudan Golden Sparrow (Passer luteus), Bir Anzarane, 2 February 2015.
(photo: Stephen Menzie)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sudan Golden Sparrow (Passer luteus) at Bir Anzarane

Sudan Golden Sparrow (Passer luteus) seen yesterday at Bir Anzarane (about 80 Km NE of Dakhla, Oued Dahab region) by my colleagues Abdeljebbar Qninba, Abdelaziz Benhoussa, Mohamed Ibn Tattou, Mohamed Laghdaf Khayya, Hicham El Brini, Btissam El Jafalli and Mohamed Mediani during a scientific trip organised by the Dakhla-based Association ‘Nature Initiative’. The bird was with a group of Desert Sparrow at an artificial water point near Bir Anzarane. This is the northernmost record for this Western Palearctic mega-rarity, until now all records were around Aousserd: at Oued Jenna in the north, and at similar habitats as Oued Jenna between 10 and 20 Km in the south-west.

Just to refresh the memory:

- 1st record was at Aousserd in April 2009.

2nd record was at 17 Km SW of Aousserd in January 2013.

- Then came 2014 when several Sudan Golden Sparrows were recorded by several birders, both north (at Oued Jenna) and south of Aousserd between 1 February and 13 April.

Thanks to all naturalists and to the Association 'Nature Initiative', and good luck for next birders.


Update: 28 Sudan Golden Sparrows seen and photographed in the same area on 2 February.


Sudan Golden Sparrow (Passer luteus), Bir Anzarane, Oued Dahab region, 30 January 2015. (Abdeljebbar Qninba / Association ‘Nature Initiative').
Passer luteus + Passer simplexBir Anzarane, Oued Dahab region, 30 January 2015. (Abdeljebbar Qninba / Association ‘Nature Initiative').
Passer luteus + Passer simplexBir Anzarane, Oued Dahab region, 30 January 2015. (Abdeljebbar Qninba / Association ‘Nature Initiative').
Passer luteus + Passer simplex, Bir Anzarane (Mohamed Laghdaf Khayya / Association ‘Nature Initiative’)
Sudan Golden Sparrow (Passer luteus), Bir Anzarane (Mohamed Ibn Tattou / Association ‘Nature Initiative’)
Passer luteus + Passer simplex, Bir Anzarane (Mohamed Laghdaf Khayya / Association ‘Nature Initiative’)


Friday, January 30, 2015

Request for help: ringed Osprey near Azemmour

Update: 

Great news about the ‘7H’ Osprey. The bird is alive and well and it’s still at its winter quarter at Azemmour in the Atlantic coast of Morocco.  Pip Rowe and Vic Paine who were on holiday in Morocco at the time went to Azemmour to found out more about the bird. After searching around they have found the bird and took several pictures of it including its Blue 7H ring. Please read the whole story in the ‘Kielder Osprey blog’.

The most important is that the story of this Osprey shows that trackers can fail but this doesn't mean necessarily that something bad (like shooting or the like) had happened to the bird in question. Some people (including Moroccans) already started to say that maybe it was killed, but this story proved that this was not the case. It’s true that bad guys are out there in every land (and Morocco is not an exception, you can read a few stories about these bad hunters in this blog) but luckily they constitute a marginal group among the hunting community. 

Thanks to Pip and Vic for their efforts in the field and for sharing their experiences.


                                --------------------------------

This is a request for help from birdwatchers in or near Azemmour (received this morning from Joanna Dailey of the 'Kielder Osprey Project').

An English juvenile Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) fitted with a satellite tracker has been overwintering near Azemmour since her arrival there on 23 September 2014. Data is downloaded via the cell phone network and none has been received since 22 January. The osprey has a Blue ring '7H' on her right leg and the aerial is visible on her back. There are more maps of her range on the Kielder Osprey blog. If anyone in the area sees her please could they reply to this message? Thank you.


Demande de l'aide: Balbuzard pêcheur prés d’Azemmour

Un Balbuzard pêcheur juvénile (Pandion haliaetus) équipé d’un transmetteur satellitaire en Angleterre a été en hivernage près d’Azemmour depuis son arrivée le 23 septembre 2014. Les données sont téléchargées via le réseau de la téléphonie mobile et aucune n'a été reçue depuis le 22 janvier. Le Balbuzard a une bague Bleu '7H' sur sa tarse droite et l'antenne est visible sur son dos. Plus de cartes sur leur mouvement prés d’Azemmour son disponible dans le blog de Kielder Osprey Project. Si quelqu'un dans la zone la voit, s'il vous plaît pourriez-vous répondre à ce message ? Merci.

Winter range of the Kielder osprey '7H' at the mouth of Oued Oum er-Rbia
 and surrounding areas near Azemmour (
Kielder Osprey Project).

Kielder osprey '7H' in England, note the Blue Ring (Kielder Osprey Project).