As I like to do with trips abroad day one stayed a walking day. The obvious focal point was the castle or kasbah on a high hill just to the north of Agadir’s tourist district, my base. Panoramic views over the city may be enjoyed from the top, and I had seen an Ornitholidays schedule that said good birds could be found there.
As dawn broke at 6:30am a definitely new (to me) bird sound was issuing from the garden trees below my hotel window. These loud songsters revealed themselves to be Common Bulbul, the first trip lifer. Almost thrush-sized, long-tailed and of rather plain appearence, it was clear by the afternoon this is a common resident all over the tourist district. They are noisy, flighty and to my mind rather chaotic in their behaviour, though also quite charming.
Below the kasbah hill is a complex road junction with two oval shaped islands containing structures that must be rainwater reservoirs after the wet season. I went to investigate some dark looking birds in one of them, finding them to be Black Wheatear the day’s second lifer. This was a welcome find as this species eluded me on all my trips to the Iberian peninsula. Then I began the zig-zag ascent of the rocky and scrubby slopes of what is a very imposing hill.
The next bird of note was a Southern Grey Shrike that on Africa’s north-west coast are of a larger sub-species algeriensis than those found in the Canary Islands. Near the top of the hill I heard another new and piping song and picked up three Fulvous Babbler buzzing about the slope just below the kasbah itself. These are very attractive birds of similar size to the Bulbuls and also long-tailed. “Were all my trip targets going to be this easy to find?” I thought at this point. Two Northern Wheatear were also active here,
Once at the top the kasbah itself had the air of a rather tired tourist trap, with a few weary camel owners, their disinterested beasts and irritating “fossil” sellers trying to eke a living out of the low season. Inside the ruins I found the trip’s first House Bunting, a common resident in Agadir. So that was four lifers on day one, taking my life list past the 400 land mark.
A Moroccan who had stopped me on the walk out said there was nothing to see at the kasbah and I should go to the market. He clearly wasn’t into wildlife because if you are there is always something to see and I knew exactly where I was going and why.
I’m not expecting much in the way of butterflies though. The most frequent species today was predictably Greenish Black-tip, a common winter species across north Africa. I also crossed paths with a few darter dragonflies and two larger species that I couldn’t PI. Grasshoppers were everywhere, escaping my footfall in their dozens in places. Walking back downhill again after midday, things had become much less birdy, though the Babblers put in another fly-past suggesting they could be a resident family group at the site.