03 September 2012

First of Autumn

Week 35, 01 September 2012 - JPR, SAANR and Jahra Farm (Click to enlarge image)

South of the equator we used to celebrate the 1st day of Spring with a swim after the cold winter, however north of the equator we enjoyed the first day of Autumn and the imminent arrival and increasing numbers and diversity of migrants.

I was at Jahra Pool Reserve early to enjoy the good light, but an early wind which grew stronger through the morning put a little bit of a damper on seeing some of the birds. Sadly it appeared that some shooters had also gained access to the reserve and were shooting inside the reserve. This is an ongoing challenge for the guards to chase and keep them out, sometimes assisted by the contractors of the pipeline. We really hope that once the pipeline work is finished, the fence will be closed by the contractore and access will only be through the gate at the main entrance for authorised visitors.

At one of the small pools just after the entrance gate, I enjoyed a number of waders that were foraging in and around the pool. Numbers of Wood Sandpiper had increased

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
A single 1cy White-tailed Lapwing was seen, but was a little skittish due to the shooting

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)
I was pleased to locate a dainty Temminck’s Stint that I saw again later in the morning

Temminck’s Stint (Calidris temminckii)

There was a large number of Purple Herons that appeared to have roosted in the reeds overnight, but these were put up by the continuous shooting.

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
The shooting grew quite intensive, so I decided to investigate and found the shooters just off a road in the reeds inside the reserve. I stopped my car in a cloud of dust and shouted that this was unacceptable and not allowed in the reserve and that the police had been informed; they hurriedly gathered themselves and made a hasty departure. At the same time, another local birder/photographer came on the scene and explained in their language that this was illegal and that they should not return. So, they took their booty (two Garganey) and left the reserve - at least for today?

Shooters departing the reserve

Whilst waiting to shoot ducks, they had shot and severely wounded this young Glossy Ibis for fun. I had to despatch of it, as I could not bear to see it suffer any longer.

Severely wounded Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Once my blood had returned to normal pressure I continued to enjoy what JPR had to offer. Rashed had seen the 2nd record of Eastern Bonelli's Warbler yesterday and after ensuring the shooters left, showed me the general area where he had seen it.

Initially I only saw very yellow Willow Warblers

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

When suddenly a much paler, colder plumaged birds came gleening through some scrub showing yellow tinges to the primaries  - yes, that was the bird and I was able to get a few decent images before it disappeared

Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler (Phylloscopus orientalis)

A big flock of 40+ Black-tailed Godwits were seen across a few pools, certainly the biggest number I have seen in Kuwait

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

The first Western Marsh Harrier of this Autumn came in low over the reeds, scattering everything below it

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

More waders were enjoyed, including Marsh Sandpiper

Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)
Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
 Little Stint

Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
And Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
A last drive around the perimeter gave Sykes’s Wagtail (beema)

Sykes's Wagtail (Motacilla f. beema)
a first 1cy Daurian Shrike (amongst the many other Shrikes seen)

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)
Collared Praticole (probably the same two seen previously)

Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)
and lastly a Common Kingfisher surveying its domain from the safety of the reeds.

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
In anticipation of some raptors arriving on the gusting wind, I headed to SAANR finding two Greater Short-toed Larks on route to Tuhla.

Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla)
Many of the local birders were at Tuhla, all waiting/hoping for raptors to arrive - but not so today. There were a few Hoopoes sheltering from the wind

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) sheltering from the wind
A Spotted Flycatcher hanging on tight with eyes closed to keep the dust out

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
and a Eurasian Wryneck in one of the Acacia trees

Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
Not much else was seen, as conditions were not really ideal

My last stop was Jahra Farms at the wrong time of the day, finding only Common Whitethroat panting in the heat

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
and another cryptic Eurasian Wryneck before heading home for a good lunch

Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)


  1. Buenas y variadas capturas.Saludos desde España

  2. Well done for confronting the shooters. Not sure I would have been so brave