02 December 2019

Full House

Week 47; 23 November 2019 - Pivot Fields

I spent a morning back at the Pivot Fields and arrived just as the sun was rising spreading a red carpet across the morning sky just after 6am.

Glorious sunrise on route to the Pivots

It took a little time for the sun's rays to creep across the farm, but found this Crested Lark catching the first rays

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

I searched for Larks in the fields, but there were only a few Skylarks present today

Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

I had a small flock of Spanish Sparrow's feeding in the maize field

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)

I then spent quite a bit of time at the marsh where many of the birds seem to concentrate; Common Chiffchaff were calling and foraging in the reeds - this one has some grey in the upperparts

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

A Streaked Weaver (Cat E species) was also calling from the reeds

Streaked Weaver (Ploceus manyar)

There were a few Stonechat's present, some with a lot of visible white in the tail which are Caspian Stonechat. I spent at least an hour with this individual trying to get flight images to show that diagnostic tail pattern and this proved to be quite challenging

Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)

and others with no visible white in the tail, which will remain as Eastern for now (but could be Armenian/Variegatus)

Eastern Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

Female Eastern Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

Walking part of the marsh, many Common Snipe were seen. The search for Pin-tailed continues unsuccessfully.........

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

as well as Jack Snipe - swinging a big piece of prime glass was not easy for the flight images

Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)

There were even a few Marsh Sandpipers which are pretty late

Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)

In the grasses and short fields next to the marsh, Pallid Swifts were seen overhead

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)

With a surprise Red-rumped Swallow which could be of eastern origin - or just a late autumn migrant?

Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica)

Today I managed a clean sweep (Full House) of all 5 Lapwing species found in Kuwait and all at this location - I believe this is a first! Excuse the poor quality of some of the images, but I did manage to photograph all 5 as well

At the marsh, I had White-tailed Lapwing

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)

and Spur-winged Lapwing

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)

In one of the newly ploughed fields, a single Sociable Lapwing with the many Northern's

Sociable (Vanellus gregarius) and Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

and lastly, perhaps the more difficult,  I had 7 Red-wattled Lapwings in a field with quite long grass and contended with heat haze from water evaporating from the field

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

Raptors were well represented with Eastern Imperial

Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)

A Western Osprey over the marsh was unexpected

Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Good numbers of Black Kite

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)

The resident Common Kestrel

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

And wintering Long-legged Buzzard

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

A last drive around the farm, I had quite big numbers of Namaqua Dove on the overhead lines

Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)

Along with a Meadow Pipit that I checked quite carefully - since we haven't had a Buff-bellied for quite some time

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)

Another great morning's birding at this location, but now it was time for a late breakfast

Long time, no see!

Week 47; 22 November 2019 - Jahra Pools Reserve (JPR)

It was great to visit JPR again for a few hours in the afternoon, with the onset of winter it is amazing how quickly the light fades and sunset creeps closer to 5pm.

I spent some time with a female Eastern Stonechat in gorgeous golden light, complimented by the diffused brown of the Sabkha bushes in the background

Eastern Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

The star of the afternoon was this cracking adult Ring Ouzel that flushed from the side of the road and luckily for me, landed in a tree where it remained for 5-minutes. As much as I would have liked to get a little closer, I didn't try as Turdus species are notoriously skittish in Kuwait. It has been over 10-years since I last saw one in Kuwait, so a common bird it is not!

Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus)

JPR is still the place to see Greater Spotted Eagles in winter

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

A couple of Western Marsh Harriers seem to overwinter at JPR, more females than males

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

I took a drive down to the outfall and saw this Jack Snipe in the open, pretending to be anything but a bird

Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)

At one of the pools, I had this Common Snipe at the waters edge with glorious reflection in the water

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

By now the sun was almost gone, so headed back to the gate and got a bit creative with Common Chiffchaff's foraging on the boundary fence of the reserve

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

There were clouds in the sky and these were reflecting on one of the pools

Winter reflections

Followed by an afterglow as the sun set on another mild winters day in Kuwait

JPR Sunset

24 November 2019

Surprises at the Pivots

Week 46; 16 November 2019 - Pivot Fields and Sulaibikhat Bay

Debbie Barnes was back in Kuwait on business again and joined Paul Scott and I at the Pivots for an enjoyable winter mornings birding. At this time of year, we have welcome clouds, so the sunrises are enjoyable to watch and appreciate

Pivot Field Sunrise

Slowly driving around the farm as the sun rose, we found the Indian Roller, but it was not at all obliging. We did get a single Corn Bunting on the pivot in pre-dawn gloom

Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra)

Water Pipit and White Wagtail numbers seem to grow week-on-week

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

A few Sociable Lapwings are still present in the growing flock of Northern Lapwing

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

We had both Long-legged and Steppe Buzzard with the latter being a little more accommodating

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)

We spent some time at the marsh, where there were numerous Red-spotted Bluethroat

Red-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

As well as Stonechat's, which will remain as Eastern type's for now

Eastern Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

A Eurasian Sparrowhawk passed by overhead

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

As did some Pallid Swift

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)

a 'dirty' Sand Martin against the light had me going for awhile

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

A couple of White-tailed Lapwing's did a fly past

White-tailed Laping (Vanellus leucurus)

Checking the other side of the marsh, we found a small flock of Eurasian Siskin

Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)

We continued driving, flushing two Eastern Imperial Eagle from a field

Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)

We also stopped to see both Greater Spotted Eagles perched together on a pivot

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila fulvescens and Aquila clanga)

And whilst checking out some Greater Short-toed Lark's, this one popped up into view - by best and closest sighting ever of Bimaculated Lark!

Bimaculated Lark (Melanocorypha bimaculata)

Earlier we had seen a couple of Mauryan Grey Shrikes, but this one sitting on the overhead wire was distinctly more grey below and appeared to be slate grey above - a good candidate for Arabian Grey that will need to be submitted to KORC for adjudication

Possible Arabian Grey Shrike (Lanius aucheri)

As time was passing and the tide would be favourable, we drove to Sulaibikhat Bay for the Flamingo flock and to check if our 'pink lady' was still present - she was!

Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)

Again, the Greater Flamingo's were quite entertaining and quite tolerant of our approach

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

I caught one of them doing its 'man with a semafor flag' impersonation, but have often seen quite a number in the flock doing the same thing. The appear to stand upright and erect and then suddenly and deliberately snap open both wings and hold this pose for 10-seconds. This is repeated a few times. I guess it is some kind of display, but it seems odd in winter when breeding is still a few months away?

Displaying Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)