09 January 2012

Heavy cloud, little rain

Week 01 - 07 January 2012, Jahra Pools, Jahra Bay, SAANR and Sulaibikhat Bay

My first day out in this new year and it was a dull and overcast day with enough precipitation to only dirty your car. I was going to start at Pivot Fields to see if the Dotterel was still present, but access was not allowed today, so it was off to Jahra Pools.

Unfortunately a lone shooter had gained access to the reserve and spooked all the birds when he tried to shoot at some Flamingoes. I alerted the guards who soon chased him off - but it is sad that a shooter will disregard the fact that this is a reserve where birds are supposed to be protected. Here the Greater Flamingos taking flight with the adult sporting a broken leg, not sure if this was caused by the shooter.

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

I did find a Greater Spotted Eagle away from where the shooter was with a full crop. Judging by the feathers around it's feet, it was an avain breakfast.

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

Chiffchaff's were abundant in the reedbeds, although light was poor, I caught this one trying to snap a passing gnat and a few others gleening in amongst the reeds

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

After the shooter was chased off, the Tufted Duck that has been around for a week or so, made an appearance from where it was hiding.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Coot numbers have really increased with the stable water conditions

Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)

From here I drove along the coast from Jahra East where I was really surprised to see Macqueens Bustard - I guess this is the first bit of land they find, if they have migrated across the Gulf

Macqueen's Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenie)

I finally got to SAANR, where some light rain started to fall so not too much was seen other than a foraging Greater Hoopoe Lark

Greater Hoopoe Lark (Alaemon alaudipes)

Three species of Wheatear, with Isabelline being the most common

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

A Barn Swallow together with a Common House Martin at Tuhla was checked carefully to make sure it was not Asian House Martin at this time of year - it wasnt, as it had pale not dark underwing coverts!

Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum)

On the way to the gate, a Mauryian Grey Shrike posed obligingly for a photograph, this one taken as a RAW image (my new years resolution is to try and get to grips with RAW)

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahotra)

The last stop on the way home was Sulaibikhat Bay where I found a huge flock of Greater Flamingos (no Lesser lurking amongst them) as well as a big flock of Mallards

Mallard (Anas platyrhnchos)

Common Shelduck

Common Shelduck (Tadoma tadoma)

and on the shores Terek Sandpiper

Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)

Common Greenshank

Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

and large numbers of Common Black-headed Gulls all still in winter plumage

Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

and a few Heuglins Gulls

Heuglins Gull (Lanius f/h heuglini)

and fewer Gull-billed Terns (this one and the next hand-held with the 600mm)

Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)

There was another Tern that I managed to get one image, which I suspect may be Common

Possible Common Tern?

Not too bad a morning overall, despite gloomy conditions, with 42 species recorded

02 January 2012

2011 - The year that was

31 December 2011

Like all good things 2011 has now come and gone and was filled with both high's and low's in all respects, but as time and life is precious we must appreciate it for what it was.

So, we say goodbye to 2011 and look forward to 2012; may it be all that we wish for and more!

2011 - It is not over, until it is over

Week 52 - 30 November 2011, Jahra Pools, SAANR and Pivot Fields

On the 29th (a working day) 9 Red-crested Pochard were found by Bouda at Jahra Pools. The family 'granted' me a pass on the New Years weekend, so at 6:45am I was at the reserve gates with the temperature reading 5 degrees, so it was fresh.

As it was still to early, there was no sign of any life at all on the pool, but as the sun slowly rose birds started appearing.

I was quite surprised to see a large flock of Greater Flamingo fly in, normally these birds are only seen here in one's and two's

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

A Eurasian Sparrowhawk also made a brief appearance

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Finally a flock of ducks was seen at the far end of the pools and these were identified as the flock of 9 Red-crested Pochards, really smart looking ducks. I put the 1.4 extender onto the beast, but they never came close enough for frame filling images. The early morning and distance over water is far from ideal for an extender too, so image quality was a little disappointing for a bird that deserves more. Nevertheless, a great tick for the year.

Male Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)

Male and female Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)

I thought I would try for the Common Cranes at SAANR, but alas had no luck finding them. However, on the way home I received a call from Pekka who had found a single Dotterel at Pivot Fields, so I was able to make the detour to see,  but not photograph the bird.

From a birding perspective, a very rewarding last week of 2011 with 3 new species added to my Kuwait list