07 March 2012

A hint of Spring in the West and South

Week 09, 28 February 2012 - Al Abraq and Khiran

Daniele and I spent the day together exploring the oasis farm of Al Abraq and later in the day some rubbish dumps in the south near Khiran, not a great setting - but it produced a good bird.

After a 5:30 start, we headed to Al Abraq, finding a Steppe Eagle that had roosted on the berm overnight, just as we turned off the tar into the desert

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)
Sadly, not much further on we found another that had been killed as target practise by the shooters that recklessly roam around the desert looking for anything to shoot and kill

What a waste of a magnificent raptor
A lone car outside the farm, spoilt part of the morning as it raced up and down the fence trying to shoot something, sadly we had to turn a blind eye and deaf ear and try enjoy our birding and photography. Although it was still around 8 degrees, there was a feel of spring in the air with a good count of early Spring migrants that had started to arrive (hence the shooters too!). We were surprised to see a single Hypocolius at the big pond as we drove it, but it didnt stay too long.

Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)
Many Chiffchaff were found feeding and foraging at the pond

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
A Song Thrush was a little more accomodating

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
As was a Blue Rock Thrush still all fluffed up from the cold night

Male Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius)
As usual, we drove slowly around the farm, as generally birds seem more obliging from the car; we again had large numbers of Stonechats with the majority being Caspian

Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus)

We also had both Common Redstart

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
and a cracking male Western Black Redstart

Male Western Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
at the far end of the farm, we sat patiently near one of the small fields that was getting water from the water truck and were rewarded with some good and confiding birds; Water Pipit

Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)

Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
and the real bonus, an unexpected Buff-bellied Pipit

Buff-bellied Pipit (Anthus r. japonicus)

As well as a few White Wagtails

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
and the returning Black-headed Wagtails which will soon replace the Whites as their departure is imminent

Black-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. feldegg)
A lone Skylark seemed out of place with the Pipits and Wagtails

Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Continuing our drive, we found Squacco Heron

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
More Pied Wheatears, here a female posing and leaving

Female Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)

And a smart looking Eastern Black-eared Wheatear

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe h. melanoleuca)
and finally a greyish looking Tawny Pipit, after which we decided to head to Khiran

Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
It was a long drive (by Kuwait standards) from Al Abraq to road 290 in the south, but when we arrived it didnt take long to find our target species - Red-tailed Wheatear, in fact we found 2 birds

Red-tailed Wheatear (Oenanthe chrysopygia)
On the way to exploring a different area, we came across some large patches of spectacular Desert Lilies, which spring up in certain areas after the rain.

Desert Lillies

Exploring one of the jebels (basically an exposed rocky outcrop), we came acrossing a displaying male Red-tailed Wheatear which rounded off a great days birding and photography quite satisfactorily

Male Red-tailed Wheatear (Oenanthe chrysopygia)

1 comment:

  1. Really Good Number of Bird Species.
    My Self Yogeesh, Interested in Birding and Bird Photography.
    Please Share the location map it will useful for us to go around for birding.