Franklin’s Gull at Merzouga Lake, Morocco

Merzouga is not only known for its great variety of desert birds, but also by its small lake known as Dayet Srij. This desert lake in the middle of nowhere can be a real magnet for both common as well as rare waterbirds. Examples of rarities that have been found here include American Wigeon (Mareca americana), Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Greater Sandplover (Charadrius leschenaultia) and White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis).

A cracking adult Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) observed at this lake yesterday afternoon by Marc Illa, Ivan Maggini and Georg Gruber.

This is the 10th record of this North American species for Morocco. It’s also the first one found far inland, all previous records were found on the coast with the majority on the Atlantic (mainly in Souss region) and one on the Mediterranean.

The Red or Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) is also still present at the lake (first reported there in the end of March), and a hybrid Ferruginous Duck x Common Pochard.

Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), Merzouga Lake, Morocco, 8 April 2019 (Marc Illa).
Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), Merzouga Lake, Morocco, 8 April 2019 (Marc Illa).
Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), Merzouga Lake, Morocco, 8 April 2019 (Marc Illa).
Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), Merzouga Lake, Morocco, 8 April 2019 (Marc Illa).

Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni)

Two Olive-backed Pipits found at Massa on 6 April 2019 by Richard Moores and Martyn Owen. These would be the 9th and 10th record for Morocco if accepted by the MRBC. A photo posted in Twitter.

Thanks Marc and Richard for the information!

Update:

More African Dunn’s Larks were found at new sites around Merzouga during the last week.

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