05 February 2012

2-days Guiding

Week 03 - 20 and 21 January 2012 - various sites in Kuwait

I had the pleasure of guiding David Fisher from the UK for 2-days and to find a few specific species he was after.

This winter has been one of the more dismal years for Hypcolius, for unknown reasons and of course this was David's key target bird.

After picking David up from the Ibis we headed straight to Green Island, Jahra Farm and back to Green Island for this enigmatic species. The fruiting trees they normally feed on in winter had already lost their fruit, so we check all other trees and palms that may have fruit - but to no avail.

We did find White-eared Bulbul, one of the easier target species

White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus l. leucotis)

Of interest the male Ruppells Weaver (present last year) was in the process of nest building in full breeding plumage. There is no reason why this species should not establish a sustainable breeding population over the coming years
Ruppells Weaver (Ploceus galbula)
Since we had no luck with the key bird, we headed off stopping at Sharq Harbour and finding a stunning Great Black-headed Gull

Great Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus)

No luck at all with Crab Plover in Sulaibikhat or Doha Spur, but a Long-legged Buzzard was a consolation

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)
We then headed to Jahra Pools finding many Pallid Swift hawking over the ponds

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
together with Barn Swallows - it appears some may have over-wintered in Kuwait
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Along the Jahra coast we were very fortunate with an obliging Macqueen's Bustard and the best views I have had since arriving in Kuwait in 2006 and a great bird to wrap up the first day's birding.
Macqueen’s Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii)

 Saturday brought bitterly cold weather and the mercury didnt get into double figures the whole day. We headed to Pivot Fields, but could not get access today. As it was still early, we headed a long way south just past Khiran and were successful in finding Red-tailed Wheatear, in fact this was the only bird we found at this site.

Red-tailed Wheatear (Oenanthe chrysopygia)

Although a long drive, it was worth it for David. Now it was back up to Green Island in time for the gates to be opened. A Red-vented Bulbul was of no interest
Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)
I had talked to Pekka who described where only one bird was seen earlier in the week (although I had already checked this place carefully yesterday). David and I agreed to stay in this place for as long as possible and would you know, we were rewarded with a single male bird that flew in. Very quickly it dropped down to feed briefly on some dates lying on the floor before disappearing. It re-appeared later to quickly feed and then was not seen again - but David was elated, as was I.

Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)
We stopped again at Sharq harbour finding another Great Black-headed Gull

Great Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus)
and many Common Black-headed Gulls

Winter plumage Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

together with a few Caspian Gulls

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)
Again no Crab Plovers at Sulaibikhat, but we did find around 137 Pied Avocets

Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
A brief stop in SAANR didnt produce to much with birds doing their best to stay out of the cold, although we did find a male Desert Wheatear to wrap up the 2-days birding. For David, bird of the trip was undoubtable the Hypocolius with a few other highlights in what was an enjoyable 2-days birding.

Male Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

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