24 February 2013

Jahra Delivers

Week 07, 18 February 2013 - Jahra Pools and Farms (Click to enlarge image)

We had a perfect clear and calm morning and I needed to get out of the apartment as options were limited, I headed to Jahra Pools hoping to see one new species and get better views of another.

I headed to the area where I had previously glimpsed Afghan Babbler, but after some patient waiting had no luck, nearby however I did find a cracking male Little Crake skulking around the reed base of one of the smaller pools.

Male Little Crake (Porzana parva)
I enjoyed a male Graceful Prinia singing and displaying his heart with lots of tail wagging and posturing in an attempt to attract a seemingly disinterested female.

Displaying male Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)

Checking the bigger pool I noted a mixed flock of Ducks, consisting of Gadwall, Mallard and Shoveler but they were too far off for an image. A slow drive to the bigger and more open western pool produced a number of Common Chiffchaff

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
A pair of White-tailed Lapwings were sitting quietly on the side of the road

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)
followed by an obliging Common Kingfisher..

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
A Harrier flushed a few ducks from this pool and I was able to get a grab image of a pair of Ferruginous Ducks (10th record for Kuwait) flying overhead. 

Male and female Ferruginous Ducks (Aythya nyroca)
There were good numbers of young Green Toad's (not more than `1.5 cm in length) hopping around on the road and around the reeds

Young Green Toad (Bufo viridis)
Whilst driving slowly around on a 2nd loop, I was talking to my late Dad as if he was sitting in the passenger seat next to me and comparing the Pied Crow I used to have as a pet growing up to the Mesopotamiam Crow that has been seen at JPR on a number of occasions - when all of a sudden, a shadow passed over my car and I got a brief glimpse of the Crow flying over. It landed in some distant trees and I was able to get a distant view before it dropped into the cover of the tree. Not much later it came flying out with something in it's beak and landed on a mound a little closer this time, but into the sun. It seemed to be a young bird (sparrow) that it had perhaps pulled out of a nest in the tree. These are just record images and I hope to get better images if I can get closer next time.

Mesopotamiam Crow (Corvus c. capellanus)

Thanks Dad and I continued driving to the Babbler location, again without luck. There was a rather large explosion from where the workers were working on the trench for the pipeline that put up many birds, including 4 White-tailed Lapwings. 

Two of the four White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)
I found where they had landed and just as I was watching them, a single Western Cattle Egret landed in front of me and this bird is synonymous with my late dad and was his way of confirming that he was with me this morning when I was talking to him.

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
I really felt great and thought it was a good time to leave, but stopped to chat to Khaled Al Ghanem at the gate of the reserve. We had just started chatting when I saw out of the corner of my eye the Afghan Babbler drop off the roof of the office into some shrubs - we both grabbed our camera's and enjoyed the next 15-minutes having this amazing bird hopping about 5m in front of us....we couldn't have asked for better views of what is a relatively difficult bird to see up close.

Afghan Babbler (Turdoides c. huttoni)

While we were watching the Babbler, a Libyan Jird popped out of it's burrow amongst some flowers. Abdulrahman confirmed that it is Libyan Jird as it is the only species with dark claws. The dark colouring and banding threw me off a little, but we concluded it may be moulting.

Libyan Jird (Meriones libycus)
Before heading home, I popped into Jahra Farms to check for early spring arrivals, but instead found a single male Hypocolius feeding quietly and quite cryptically on what appeared to be the last date palm with any dates left. 

Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)
Today turned out to be quite spiritual morning and with some great birds seen, so I drove home with a warm feeling in my heart.

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