03 March 2013

A Gluttony of Gulls

Week 08, 21 February 2013 - Sabah Al Ahamd Sea City (Click to enlarge image)

I spent a morning in the south of Kuwait at the impressive Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City out on the lagoons and a little off-shore. Just before the small Khiran Harbour, we stopped to check out a mixed flock of roosting Gulls, finding a single Great Black-headed (truly an impressive Gull)

Mixed flock with Great Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus)

Great Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus)

As well as a few Heuglin's

Heuglins Gull (Larus f. heuglini)
This a creative backlit image of a Gull coming in to land

Backlit Gull
Nearer the Harbour, another Heuglins on a signpost

Heuglins Gull (Larus f. heuglini)
And a single Common Black-headed Gull. It is interesting that these Gulls are much more abundant from Salmiya northward and we have only a handful of records from the south

Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) changing into summer /breeding plumage
Something in the water must have caught the eye's of the ever watching and Gulls and soon there was a bit of mayhem as each tried to pull this gross morsel out of the water....First a few Caspian Gulls who were successful in snatching the main gross prize

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)

Grubs up
Followed by some Heuglins who were successful in getting the leftover prize (for what it was worth)

Heuglins Gull (Larus f. heuglini)

Just off-shore, I found a Socotra Cormorant that had over-wintered, I'm hoping that it's plumage will change to black as summer approaches

Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)

In the lagoons near to the desalination plant, I found 3 Great Black-headed Gulls, two of which were in pristine plumage and about the only Gull I really enjoy

Magnificent Great Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus)

The 3rd was still in transition plumage

A small flock of Black-winged Stilts near the plant were quite picturesque against the turquoise water

Black-winged Stilts (Himantopus himantopus)
Once we had finished on the boat, I explored some of the desert areas which still have a lot of colour. A male Caspian Stonechat with it's Wheatear like tail, proved quite difficult to get close to.

Male Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus)
A single Corn Bunting was cooperative long enough to be captured in pixels before disappearing

Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra)
Often it is easier to get closer to birds using your vehicle as a moving hide. On foot, I played hide and seek with a small flock of Meadow Pipits that always seemed to be under or behind a bit of scrub

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
On road 278, I found this deceased Common Quail, in this instance probably a collision with the overhead powerline.

Deceased Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)
Not so lucky was this Pigeon, that was probably used by Falconers and got entangled on the powerline and had a long slow death.

The dark side of Falconry


  1. I wonder what's the ISO and shutter speed(s) in those gull shots?

  2. What race/subspecies is that Cormorant in the first shot?

    Laurie -

  3. It is a male Great Cormorant now in full summer/breeding plumage in readiness for their imminent departure from Kuwait as they head north soon.

  4. Thanks, i did'nt realise 'continental' birds Wintered in your area but i don't suppose it is that far for the Southern birds...

    Laurie -