08 April 2013

Cover me Porkins, I'm going in

Here's a bit of a Moroccan Brucie Bonus I've been waiting to blog about, one for the Moroccan Rarities Committee too,...

[African] Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne fuligula presaharica [formerly Pale Rock (Crag) Martin P. obsoleta presaharica] confused already?  You may need to click on the image for a slightly larger version but, from this angle, you should be able to note the pale throat; the neatly pale tipped undertail coverts; and the dark underwing coverts near the carpal contrasting with the paler axillaries and inner underwing coverts.

Given the confused picture of this species' status in Morocco, we were concerned not to add another spurious claim and gild the already muddied waters.  As a result, we have been very cautious about the identification of these birds at, what appears to be, a 'new' location. However, thanks to much appreciated input from Messrs. Mullarney and van den Berg, we all feel wonderfully vindicated, ever-so-slightly smug and have now inked in our pencil ticks.  I mean, what else could they have been?  Even at a considerable distance, binoculars in one hand, plate of tajine and salad in the other, they were striking enough to pique our interest; the damn things were powdery grey from crown to uppertail and right across the upperwing coverts, only the contrastingly dull brown remiges and rectrices let the look down a little. [Hello hindsight, my old friend, slayer of doubt nigglers and what-if shoulder monkeys.]

We watched 10+ birds for the best part of an hour near the village of Begaa during the return leg of a slingshot circumnavigation of Erg Chebbi.  The harsh early afternoon sun reflecting off the sand dunes has probably enhanced the warm wash to the underparts but this is supposedly a feature of presaharica.


Lee Dingain said...

"I'm right with you red leader"

Darryl said...

Simply Red, standing by.