From the desert to the high Atlas

In February I’ve been to Morocco with 4 hardcore birdwatchers, so not a photography trip, although I came home with more images then I hoped for.

Morocco and Western Sahara have a whole variety of different habitats. You can drive in the plane desert and all of a sudden without any notable difference in vegetation change, you find yourself on 2000 meters with the pointy 4000+ meter peaks of the high Atlas in front of you. We also took our chances for some mammal watching. In Western Sahara there’s the famous Ausserd road where sometimes elusive desert species are seen. We tried spotlighting at night and saw many interesting things such as the Fennec and Rüppels fox, African Savannah hares, jirds and gerbils, Fat sand rat,… but unfortunately we missed our main target: the Sand cat, one of the most beautiful Felid species on earth.

One of the highlights of the trip for me where the Barbary macaques. It was my first primate species I saw, and it was amazing to photograph them! They are very social animals, and you can read the group structure and emotions easier than in any other species. The conditions where not ideal, because it was raining really hard. My 1D had no problems, but the 6D was after a few minutes out of the game because most of the buttons got to much water inside and did not react anymore…

A detailed trip report including species lists, our itinerary and many other details is uploaded on cloud birders. (Thanks to Joachim Bertrands).

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