Birds seen on railway journey Tangier-Casablanca-Marrakech. Ibis extremely numerous, Kestrels fairly common & also two larger kinds of hawk or kite, a few solitary crows very similar to the English bird. No storks, tho’ said to exist here. A very few partridges. Goldfinches, apparently identical with the English bird, common in Marrakesh.¹ Saw a man carrying a hare, otherwise no wild quadrupeds at all. There are said to be literally none, except a few hares and jackals, in Fr. Morrocco°. A few camels in Sp. Morocco, but not common till south of Casablanca. In general a camel seems to stand about 18 hands high. All are extremely lean & have calloused patches on all joints. Most are muzzled. Donkies° in Marrakesh slightly less overloaded & slightly less docile than in Tangier.
Dates are now almost ripe. The partially ripe dates are bright yellow & hang in thick clusters on stems of their own just where the crown of the palm joins the trunk. There are generally about 6 clusters per tree & the whole would weigh about 1/2 hundredweight. The fallen date looks just like an acorn without its cup. Apparently there are several varieties of date palm including a dwarf one.
The peppercorns on the pepper trees just about ripe. Apparently these are known as “false peppers”, although it can be used in the ordinary way. Walnuts, evidently local, just ripe. Pears & peaches rather under-ripe. Lemons here are round & green, more like the Indian lime, only larger & thicker skinned. Wine grapes in great profusion & very cheap.
The marine life at Casablanca seemed almost exactly the same as in England. Winkles, limpets, barnacles, land-crabs & one kind of anemone apparently identical. Saw no gulls, however. Forgot to mention that at Tangier there were catches of very large mackerel.
¹ Orwell sometimes writes ‘Marrakech’ and sometimes ‘Marrakesh.’ It is not always clear whether ‘c’ or ‘s’ is intended. The name is given here as Marrakech when there is doubt. Peter Davison