From Snow to the Sand – Birding Morocco in Early Spring
Hoffman Room, The San Diego Foundation – Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Presented by Gary Nunn, Pacific Beach, San Diego County.
The country of Morocco, perched at the northwest corner of Africa, offers birders amazing landscapes, exciting cultural sights, and knockout birding! Morocco is home to many sought after birds, like the enigmatic and endangered Northern Bald Ibis, and the desert dwelling Greater Hoopoe-lark and African Desert Warbler. But recognizing allopatric bird forms increases the avian diversity further still with such choice and difficult to find species as “Maghreb” Wheatear and “Atlas” Tawny Owl to be found. Add to this the welcoming people of Morocco, the exotic “souks” or markets, and the amazing food, and you will see why this is altogether a must-go destination for the birding traveler! Gary Nunn, and a team of other birders and guides, chased birds from snow-capped high mountains to desert sand dunes for 12 days in February 2017. Crossing the Atlas, and Anti-Atlas Mountains, we explored what is generally known as “The Maghreb” finding many of the treasured bird species from this area.
Gary Nunn hails from England originally, where he grew up birding from a young age chasing rarities in the crucible of twitching – the county of Norfolk. He holds a BSc. in Biological Sciences, and PhD. in Genetics, both from the University of Nottingham, England. Gary completed research into the evolution and phylogeny of seabirds while he was a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, and a Molecular Evolution Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution. He is now a professional scientist working in the life sciences industry in San Diego, California. He has traveled to more than thirty countries worldwide birding but also has a great interest in “patch birding”. Gary currently resides with his wife and young family in Pacific Beach, San Diego County, California which, he notes, is exactly halfway between his two favorite birding patches Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery and Point La Jolla.