Recent Moroccan rarities: Laughing Gull, Olive-backed Pipits and Kelp Gulls

By MaghrebOrnitho | 23 February 2020

Some recent Moroccan rarities include a Laughing Gull and Olive-backed Pipits in February and Kelp Gulls in the previous month.

Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla)

A Laughing Gull was photographed on 14 February at Essaouira fishing port by Andrzej Kośmicki and Helena Trzeciak.

There are 6 previous known records of this American species in Morocco, so this would be the 7th if accepted by the Moroccan Rare Birds Committee (MRBC).

On 18 February, Benoit Maire visited Essaouira and found the bird still at the same site.

Laughing Gull / Mouette atricille (Larus atricilla), Essaouira, 14 Feb. 2020 (Andrzej Kośmicki).
Laughing Gull / Mouette atricille (Larus atricilla), Essaouira, 14 Feb. 2020 (Andrzej Kośmicki).

Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni)

Two Olive-backed Pipits were photographed on 19 February at Dakhla Bay by Javier Elorriaga.

This would be the 10th Moroccan record for this Asian vagrant.

Javi added this comment in FB:

After more than two weeks of mostly nocturnal spotlighting for mammals, today I was really eager to spend some time of proper early morning birding around the resort where I´m staying in the Bay of Dakhla. The irrigated bushes act here as a real oasis in a very strategic location and I have soon noticed a notable presence of warblers. I was not expecting, however, to come through not one but two Olive-backed Pipits right at the door-step of my room.

Indeed, the vegetation in this area are known to attract regular migrant birds as well as vagrants. Remember the White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis) that stayed there from 28 February until at least mid-April 2017?

Olive-backed Pipit / Pipit à dos olive (Anthus hodgsoni), Dakhla Bay, 19 Feb 2020 (Javi Elorriaga).
Olive-backed Pipit / Pipit à dos olive (Anthus hodgsoni), Dakhla Bay, 19 Feb 2020 (Javi Elorriaga).
Two Olive-backed Pipits (Anthus hodgsoni), Dakhla Bay, 19 Feb 2020 (Javi Elorriaga).
Two Olive-backed Pipits (Anthus hodgsoni), Dakhla Bay, 19 Feb 2020 (Javi Elorriaga).

Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)

Two adult Kelp Gulls observed at Agadir on 8 January 2020 (Jacob Jan de Vries). Another was observed at Khnifiss Lagoon on 30 January (Pitó Andor). The species is more or less regular at the latter site but not at Agadir .

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