Monday, 6 July 2015

Morocco in June Part 2 Agadir to Essaouira

It was always my intention that birding would take a back seat on this holiday and so it was. I loaded my photo gear in the back seat of our hire car 'just in case" an opportunity should arrive.
We had hired a car for three days initially and our chosen first venue was the drive from Agadir to Essaouira further north up the coast. Once you leave Agadir you are soon out on open roads and the scenery for a first timer is quite stunning in it's own different way. ( Note the heavy sea mist that clung to the coast too)
Where there is water there is plenty of vegetation but even the hillsides have lots of trees on them.
and the roads are excellent with very little traffic outside the main cities.
The coast has lots of near empty beaches and huge Atlantic rollers crashing in. Perfect for surfing I would imagine.
MoroccoI had ignored most bird sightings but when I saw these Woodchat Shrike I asked Claire if I could stop. Permission granted I wandered in to the field adjoining the road to try for some shots.
Woodchat Shrike   Morocco
The adult wasn't as obliging as the juvenile!
Woodchat Shrike juvenile   Morocco
and a nearby Crested Lark offered a quick shot too.
Crested Lark  Morocco
Crested Lark were one of the most commonly seen birds but I had yet to get a decent image.
Not wanting to spend too long I returned to the car but as I walked back there was a surprise in store. A working Camel and his owner was approaching along the road. Claire was out with her iPad to get a shot but the owner insisted I should be in it too.
Camel encounter  Morocco
I was instructed to hold the reins but every time I attempted to do so the Camel turned it's head towards me baring a huge set of teeth. I decided not to tempt fate.
Claire's turn to pose and she was a reluctant model...and can you blame her , here you can see what I was describing!
Camel encounter  Morocco
A small donation was requested and happily given but we declined the invitation for tea and a smoke on the grounds that it might render me incapable of driving!
Onwards we went stopping just once for another avian encounter when I spotted this Black Kite
Black Kite   Morocco
circling with this 
2015-06-03 at 12-08-42
I'm not sure if it's an Eagle or a Buzzard.
Suggestions welcome!
We made Essaouira in time for a late lunch and foolishly allowed the man in the car park to kid us that we would have difficulty finding somewhere open unless we headed to a restaurant straight away. He insisted on leading us to a good one... of course the most expensive in town and no doubt he got a kick back on every gullible tourist he took in there! You live in learn!
After lunch we wandered the quaint streets of the walled town noting all the eating places were still open and surprisingly cheap too!
Essaouira   Morocco
before a quick look at the fishing harbour and all the gulls it attracted.
Essaouira   Morocco
The gulls showed no fear in stealing fish as it was loaded in to ice filled boxes.
Essaouira   Morocco
It had been a very pleasant day but there was one surprise still left.
A policeman hiding in a bush with a radar gun.
Ironically I had hardly broken the speed limit all day, in fact I was well below it most of the time as we were enjoying the views. It was a typical speed trap designed to raise money rather than prevent accidents. Ah well, £20 wasn't going to break the bank and was worth it for the experience of being flagged down further down the road and asked for my passport... which I didn't have. I had my driving licence but being an old one it doesn't have photo ID and the policeman looked bemused that it was an actual legal document. Never mind it was the money that mattered and I got a certificate to prove I had paid it too.
My first speeding ticket in 25 years, they wouldn't get me twice!!

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