Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Morocco, Algeria, Tunesia, Libya, Egypt, Sinai

Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Postby miguel santos » Wed Sep 24, 2014 4:44 pm

Here is my report from a very nice trip I did with my family to the south of Morocco last July.
After visiting in the past ( non herping trips ) the north of Morroco I headed this time to the south of Agadir and the Atlas mountains. Because it was July I arranged the trip in a way that we were never too far from the coast fo avoid exteme heat and to provide my kids with some beach pleasure.
As it turned out, July turned out to be much cooler than normal, and a few nights were also quite windy. It was my first experince in this type of environment but I think that I missed some nocturnal species because of the wind. Because of the distances I had to drive ( and got lost ), I missed the perfect timing to see species like Uromastyx because it was to cool, and in the High Atlas I missed some species because I was there underway during the warmest period of the day.
It was a good learning experience though, as a family trip is was fantastic and we all want to go back. The combination family/herp trip it is a lot harder in Marocco than in other places I’ve been in Europe.
Still, we saw a lot of wildlife from birds, mammals, herps to insects and took a good number on pictures.

We visited the Souss-Massa National Park and went with a good guide to the north of the Park. While you can walk freely along the coast and close to the villages, you are not allowed without a guide in 3 main areas: close to the richer and most sensitive area with fauna along the Massa river ; in the North where they breed big mammals for reintruduction and where the military have a base and shooting range. We saw Park rangers in two ocasions, with the guide we were allowed to go ( no money paid ) but on our own we had to turn back but were friendely informed of where we were allowed to walk.

We also vizited the area of Tiznit were the ladnscape is at places very dry and at places covered with argan trees.

We stayed close to Guelmim where we had a-typical cloudy and windy weather. I was finding frogs and toads at night instead of snakes, in July!!!! During daytime I saw no snake in the oasis that I vasited. I had expected Natrix mauras to be rather common.

We moved to the area of Mirleft and Sidi Ifni. Sun and Fog were both present but also lots of small mammals.

On the way to the Atlas mountains we found few animals along the road exepr agama’s. they are everywhere.

The northen flanks of the Atlas gave us more animals ( specially birds) and the only snake of the trip. The High Atlas gave us in a couple hours a few new species. But not all. In fact it took us quite some time to get there. Next time I need to find a B&B closer by and go up there before breakfast is served.

Any comments or corrections are welcome
All the best,
Miguel
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Adult Acanthodactylus aureus N.P. Souss-Massa
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sub adult A. aureus NP Souss-Massa
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juvenile A. aureus
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habitat of A. aureus Nationap Park Souss-Massa
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female acanthodacthylus pardallis in Sidi R'bat
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male acanthodactylus pardalis Sidi R'bat
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mauremys leprosa saharica on the river Massa. We saw them in quite some oasis and water bassins
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blue eyes
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agama impalearis on a Argan tree near Tiznit
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tarentola mauritanica juliae
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landscape in the Tiznit area
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Near Guelmim at the end of the afternoon a chalcides polylepis in its burrow
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on a windy night no snakes but frogs next to a village nearby Guelmim
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is this an animal? yes it is a ptyodactylus oudrii in the firsf hours of the day.
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better view
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went to the east of Guelmim but the weather is rather mild ca.24 degrees. Only saw mesalina guttulata and a chalcis ocellatus (not on picture)
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mesalina guttulata female?
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saw several acanthodactylus boskianus to the east of Guelmim
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a nice male agama impalearis in the sun
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finally it got warm and we saw this Trapelus boehmei asleep next to the stone road. I even reversed and he did not move. I even thought it saw dead. But it was not
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detail of the head
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Habitat not far from Guelmim
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South of Sidi Ifni saw something small crossing in front of the car. A juvenile Trapelus boehmei
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here he goes
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found waking next to the beach south of Sidi Ifni
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habitat south of Sidi Ifni
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East of Taroudant found a pound with lots of Pelophylax saharicus. some rather big specimens were found
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one other shade of green
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chalcides mionecton found next to the road in th sothern flanks of the Atlas.
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habitat of the c. mionecton 1000m as we crossed the Atlas to the East of Taroudant
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again chalcides polylepis, now at 1200m of aftitude
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We stayed in Ouirgane (1200m and saw this little blanus mettetali (looks like any other blanus to me) escaping from the gardners cutting the grass at out B&B. I think they thought it was a worm and I saved him. I only took this pic because he was quite stressed by the handeling from the gerdeners.
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these mauremys leprosa have a "normal eye"
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Ouirgane at 1200m we also found Amietophrynus mauritanicus
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the only snake in 12 days found at night just outside our room in Ouirgane at 1200m
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Northern flanks of the Atlas at 1200m
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one of the few podarcis vaucheri seen at about 2500m in the High Atlas
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one of two scelaris perspicillata seen
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day gecko (quedenfeldtia trachyblepharus were seen in good nunbers
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Hyla meridionalis in a habitat without trees or bushes
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Habitat in the High Atlas
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miguel santos
 
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Re: Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Postby Peter Oefinger » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:54 am

Very nice, Miguel,
looks like an impressive trip. I also want to go there someday...
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Re: Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Postby Paul Lambourne » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:20 am

Miguel

Great report and an ambitious trip to do with a young family :D Like Peter, the Atlas is on my list of places to visit.. great to see peophylax saharicus , along with the vipers, it would be one of my main reasons for going!

Thanks for posting

Paul
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Re: Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Postby miguel santos » Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:34 pm

It is funny that almost everybody we speak thinks it is ambitious to travel in Morocco with kids (12 and 14).We are used to travel and as I an Portugese we are used to a warmer climate than in the Netherlands (were we live). We wanted to see Morocco as a whole so we had to decide everyday of the journy depending on the weather and of the experiences of the day before. I speak fluently French and that helps a lot in a coutry where you meet lots of friendly people and some others that want to "help you" for money.
The food is great, the roads are good and the sand/stone tracks are OK in the summer. You need to have enough water and Petrol in your car but both can be bought easily.
What is some times tyiring and frustrating is herping close to settelments; 99% of all sounds and movements you see on the ground when you walk are plastic bags....
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Re: Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Postby Bobby Bok » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:08 pm

You saw chameleons, must have been a great trip :D Without joking, really hope to go there next year (where not?), Morocco seems to be a fantastic destination with a really interesting array of species.
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Re: Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Postby miguel santos » Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:55 pm

Yep, we saw two of them with the same coloration. But some 300km from each other. The other one we saw crossing a road. I stoped on time before I could hit him and what did he do? he crawled up my wheel and I had to go and get him out before I could drive again. I was at a dangerous bend and had to look out for traffic before going under the car. In fact I saw 3 times lizards under the car I think they were looking for shade..
It is indeed a fantastic country to go herping. You will like it a lot and judging by your previous reports I think you will find a lot of herps there.
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Re: Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Postby Mario Schweiger » Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:25 am

nice collection on Morocco herps :!: :!:
But I think, your female A. pardalis/busacki from Sidi R'bat is a male too (base of tail)
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Re: Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Postby miguel santos » Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:34 pm

It is true what you say. One other male. I think this pardalis/busacki for is quite variable even within the same population. They really cracked my head when I was down there, and they still do. I was looking to what I thought to be a less colorfull specimen and took for granted that it was a female.

Thanks Mario
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Re: Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Postby miguel santos » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:57 pm

Here are a few more pics (most non herp. related) of what else you can see down there.

I
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DORCAS GAZELLE MASSA
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SCIMITAR ORIX
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SAND RAT
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barbary ground squirrel
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horseshoe whipe snake ? i think
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house bunting
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common bulbul
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turtle dove
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bald ibis Massa
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cream-coloured courser Sidi r'bat
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Southern grey shrike
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white-crowned wheater Guelmim
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booted eagle East of Taroudant
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audouins gull south of Sidi Ifni
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gray flycatcher Atlas 1200m
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short-toed snake eagle Atlas 1200m
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levaillant's woodpecker atlas 1200m
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red-billed chough and alpine choough in the High Atlas
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I have to find the name of this one...
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sphodromantis viridis
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Re: Atlas and south Morocco July 2014

Postby Mario Schweiger » Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:48 am

nice birds!
the "unknown" grasshopper is Acrida turrita, the only Acrida sp. in the Maghreb

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