21 August 2013

What am I?

Week 33, 15 August 2013 - JPR and SAANR (Click to enlarge image)

It was thrilling to discover that after almost a year, we were again able to access the awesome Sabah Al Ahmad Natural Reserve - it almost felt like Christmas in August for me.

On the 14th, Kuwait's first Striolated Bunting was discovered at Tuhla and I was able to briefly see (twitch) it, but not photograph it due to a problem between photographer and camera. 

On the drive home, this lead me to the question - What am I - a birder first or a photographer first? I was frustrated that I was not able to capture this bird in pixels (which was a first and a one-day bird) or just enjoy it through my binoculars and hope that my aging memory will remember what it looked like in a year's time. I certainly want to try and photograph birds that I encounter as best as I can in the time that I have whilst in the field. I understand, that if you really want that perfect image, you need to spend hours in a hide in the best available light - but in these days of juggling limited time, it is hard to achieve - so I guess I'm a little of a hip-shooter, taking the best advantage of what is presented to you at the time. 

Of course, I will generally chase rarities but both in the hope of seeing and photographing them. The photographs can be shared with a much wider community, whereas just looking through the bins it is only pleasurable to yourself and then difficult to share with others.

In light of this dilemma  I coined these two words that could possibly combine both passions - "Photograbirder" or "Birdographer" - now I need to choose which is appropriate!

But, I digress - back to the birding..I made a brief stop at Jahra Pools, more as a last ditch attempt at the Pygmy Cormorant which hadnt been seen for a few days - no Pygmy (again), but I did get my first Mauryan Grey Shrike of this Autumn

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahotra pallidirostris)
Driving into SAANR was wonderful and of course there were a number of birders/photographers at Tuhla, all looking and waiting to see if the Striolated Bunting was going to make a return. I put in a 7-hour stretch without success, but while waiting did enjoy some other species that came in to drink at the pool. Two Black-headed Buntings sat in the Acacia for sometime, before quietly coming down to drink

Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala)
A Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin was quite animated and entertained us with its display

Displaying Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Erythropygia galactotes)
There were quite a few Common Whitethroat's coming to drink

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
As well as some Warblers, this is Upcher's

Upcher's Warbler (Hippolais languida)
The jury is still out on this Warbler, but Booted Warbler is being considered as one of the possibilities.

Possible Booted Warbler (Hippolais caligata)

A single Green Sandpiper seemed out of place this far in the desert

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
On the edges of the pool, Crested Larks were deploying their heat prevention strategies, keeping their profiles low and out of the wind that was blowing

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata) keeping low out of the wind
Greater Hoopoe-lark's did the same thing, although this one was not in a scrape, but still trying to reduce it's overall size by hunkering down and keeping low.

Greater Hoopoe-lark (Alaemon alaudipes)
Again, Dragonflies were prolific and active around the pool, but only after the flock of European Bee-eaters had passed.



  1. Nice stuff, as usual - Presumably you got into birding and then started photographing so birder first and foremost who likes photographing them?

    Laurie -

  2. Thanks Laurie, that is true. But now, I generally now reach for my camera first, before my binny's, as my preference is to document and share what I have seen.

  3. Mr. Mike choosing to be a photographer or birdwatcher is very interesting post if not the most interesting post that you ever wrote with respect to all your post you made, I admit that i enjoy every post you wrote in the past, However this post pushed me hard to elaborate briefly as the below :

    You are a great photographer and we are honored to have an expert class one birdwatcher to record and document our birds in Kuwait.
    Haitham Al-Ghareeb

  4. Thank you for your kind words Haitham and I'm proud to be a part of the small dedicated and passionate group of birders/photographers that we have in Kuwait.

    This group all has the same drive which is to highlight, educate and bring awareness about the amazing bird life that we have in Kuwait to all the people who aren't aware of this national treasure and heritage on their doorsteps!