A group of Finish birders recorded the first Sudan Golden Sparrows (Passer luteus) in 2014 at Oued Jenna, Aousserd. Two birds, an adult male and female or 2cy male, were photographed by the group (Jari Pitkäkoski, Kalle Larsson, Seppo Järvinen and Kari Haataja) on 1 February. This is the third Moroccan record of this species.
On 10 February 2014, Simon West relocated 3 birds before alerting his birding companions John Sadler, Mark Hows and Mike Richardson of their presence. Later that evening, they informed another group of birders they knew were in the area of their presence, and on the 11th February they found that there were in fact 4 birds present.
Simon commented: “The Sudan Golden Sparrows were amongst a large flock of Desert Sparrows and could be found in the grass and trees on each side of the Aousserd road. Locate the sparrow flock and you will be rewarded with great views of the birds”.
It seems that once they are in the area, they can be found with some efforts and chance. If you are near the region, hurry up to see this little bird while still present around at the “River of the Heaven” (this is what ‘Oued Jenna’ literally means). Or you can think about a birding trip to the region in the near future.
With a rich breeding avifauna (Cricket Warbler, African Dunn’s Lark, Black-crowned Sparrow-lark …) plus the regular rarities coming from the Sahel, the Aousserd region is confirming itself as real hotspot for Western Palearctic birding.
1) Oued Jenna
Two Sudan Golden Sparrows (male and female) were seen at Oued Jenna by a group of Dutch birders (Jorrit Vlot et al.) on 4 March 2014 (photo 3).
2) South of Aousserd:
Three birds were found on Acacia trees at about 20 km south of the town of Aousserd on 13 April 2014 by a group of Moroccan and resident birders (Benoît Maire et al.).
This latter observation, plus those in 2009 at 86 Km west of Aousserd (a flock of 7 birds: first Moroccan record) and in 2013 at a well located some 17 Km southwest of Aousserd (second Moroccan record), remind us that these birds can be seen in a much larger area in the Aousserd region and not just at the famous Oued Jenna.
3) North-west of Aousserd:
Two birds were photographed at a wadi along the Dakhla-Aousserd road on 20 April. And on 1 May, two birds were found at another wadi some 90 km north-west of the town of Aousserd. See this post for both these observations: Sudan Golden Sparrows near the Aousserd road.
Thanks for all the birders for sending the news and the photographs.