27 January 2013

Great Desert Birds at Mutla Ridge

Week 04, 22 and 24 January 2012 - Jahra Pools and Mutla Ridge (Click to enlarge image)

Whilst I was away in Saudi, an adult White-crowned Wheatear was found by Rashed in a wadi on Mutla Ridge amongst some other good desert birds.

I started off the morning on 22nd at Jahra Pools that despite ideal conditions was pretty quiet. The Horned Grebes were distant, but still present as were 3 Tufted Ducks

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
A single Western Great Egret was feeding behind the reeds and was flushed by an raptor overhead, calling as it departed

Western Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Two Daurian Shrikes were seen soaking up some sun on what turned out to be a warm day.

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

I then headed to Mutla Ridge and was a little restricted as to where I could go  in my sedan, but found the spot where the Wheatear had been seen - just not today. I did however find Blue Rock Thrush, an inquisitive Eastern Mourning Wheatear

Eastern Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens)

and then 4 very confiding Trumpeter Finches, certainly frame-filling distance.

Male Trumpeter Finch (Bucanetes githagineus)

Female Trumpeter Finch (Bucanetes githagineus)
Later in the week, I spoke with Khaled Al Ghanem who said the Wheatear was still around, but almost 800m away in a different wadi and he kindly took us to the location over this past long weekend. It took some time before we finally found the bird, although it kept it's distance from us - still a great bird to see in adult plumage.

White-crowned Wheatear (Oenanthe leucopyga)

An Eastern Mourning Wheatear was seen foraging quite close to where we were staked out

Eastern Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens)
The site we found was also good for Lillith Owlet that had been seen earlier in the week. Haitham was already there and had seen the birds earlier in the morning. With patience, we were finally rewarded when one of the birds made an appearance at the top of the wadi and allowed us to take a few images before it flew off deeper into the wadi itself. It is a bird I have not seen well in Kuwait, so it was really appreciated by me and my family, who also love Owls. 

Thanks again to Khaled and Haitham for taking the time to show us the location.

Lillith Owlet (Athene n. lilith)

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