Well another eventful year gone by in what feels like a flash and 2012 rushing headlong toward us…
From a birding perspective and being on the migration route, Kuwait had another exciting year with a few 1st records and many other rarities showing up during the course of the year.
I ended the 2011 birding year on a good note with 11 Greylag Geese in Jahra, a bird which I had'nt yet seen in Kuwait, so a lifer for me. 2010 finally took me over 300 to 303 species and for 2012 I finished up on 307 species out of the 387 species recorded in Kuwait.
As KORC (Kuwait Ornithological Rarities Committee) we adjudicate and ratify all vagrants reported in Kuwait to ensure that they are genuine records. Once a species is recorded 15 times, we then review its vagrant status based on frequency of sightings. With more and more birders/photographers reporting their sightings we are getting a better understanding of distribution and status of rare species. A very good example in the 5-years I have been in Kuwait is Black-winged Kite that is now considered an annual but uncommon visitor, when in 2006 it was still considered a vagrant.
On that note, here are the highlights for 2011
1st records – Pied Bushchat, Striated Heron, Pectoral Sandpiper and Masked Wagtail (considered a sub-species of White Wagtail)
2nd records – Mongolian Finch and Red Knot
3rd records – Long-tailed Skua and Grey-necked Bunting
4th records – Humes Leaf Warbler
5th records – Arctic Tern
7th records – Common Crane
8th records – Pale Crag Martin and Ferruginous Duck
9th records – Eversmanns Redstart, Rufous Turtle Dove, Eurasian Golden Plover, Ferruginous Duck and Common Crane
10th records – Spur-winged Plover, Rufous Turtle Dove and Eurasian Golden Plover
11th records – Dead Sea Sparrow
12th records – Dead Sea Sparrow and Black Stork
13th records – Black Stork
14th records – Black Stork
15th records – Crested Honey Buzzard and Black Stork
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Just as I was typing this I get news of a flock of 9 Red-crested Pochard found by a local Kuwaiti birder that if accepted by KORC will be another FIRST for Kuwait' so now a total of 388 species for Kuwait (pending KORC Acceptance of the record)
Now we look forward to the coming Spring migration with migrants returning in preparation for the coming breeding season as well as the winter residents slowly change from non-breeding to breeding plumage in preparation for their departure toward the end of Feb and early March.
Here are a few images of vagrants for the year 2011
Pectoral Sandpiper was a 1st and found at the Pivot Fields during October where it remained for almost a week.
|Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)|
The Red Knot was a 1-day bird found at Jahra East Outfall and the 2nd record for Kuwait
|Red Knot (Calidris canutus)|
The 9th record of Rufous Turtle Dove was found by Brian Foster and I in March at Jahra Farms
|Rufous Turtle Dove (Streptopelia o. meena)|