20 October 2013

The Season Turns

Week 42, 19 October 2013 - Jahra Pools Reserve

The wind picked up a little yesterday and we had a fantastic full moon, so these conditions can favour both the lingering autumn migrants as well as the returning winter visitors.

Full moon
I was at the JPR gates around 6am on what was a calm, clear, initially cool and very pleasant morning. I must say, JPR is gaining popularity with birders and photographers alike and there were a few times where we had to exercise some patience all trying to photograph the same bird.

I found two Red-breasted Flycatchers, which was a first for me at this site. They really are charismatic little birds, but have a habit of always turning their back to you

Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva)
Other winter arrivals included some distant; Black-necked Grebe's

Winter plumage Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
A couple of Common Black-headed Gulls

Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
White Wagtails which are now outnumbering the few remaining 

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba), a winter visitor

Yellow Wagtails

Sykes Wagtail (Motacilla f. beema)
Duck numbers are increasing, with a large mixed flock of Northern Shoveler and Northern Pintail seen in the large pan.

Mixed flock of Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) and Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Male and Female Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
All 3 species of Kingfisher were seen; White-throated

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
and Common have been around for some time

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

But Pied was a new addition during the week

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)
Great Reed Warbler were having a veritable feast on the swarms of insects around one patch of reeds

Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) gorging itself
There was a small gathering of cars watching this juvenile Little Bittern (they probably bred in JPR this season) hunting along the side of the road. It seemed to favour the bright orange/red dragonflies and we watched it catch 3 in quick succession. I didn't have time to take the extender off my lens, so the images of the last dragonfly being quickly dispatched are almost portraits

Juvenile Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus )

I noticed a juvenile Purple Heron enjoying the less than intense sunshine

Juvenile Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
I caught up with Abdulrahman who was showing 2 new birders around the reserve. Chatting to Markus, we discussed the possibility of Pin-tailed Snipe occurring in Kuwait, since it has been recorded elsewhere in the Region. It is a bird I have also considered and looked for, but with no success. Checking on all the Common Snipes again

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
My heart did skip a beat when I found a much paler Snipe skulking in the reeds, but on structure I guess this is a young Common Snipe - but for sure we will keep searching

Juvenile Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
The White-tailed Lapwings were seen again

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)
As was a distant Black-tailed Godwit; a Near Threatened species

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
and now only a few Spotted Flycatchers are left and should be departing soon.

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
Rashed alerted Omar and I to a pale Greater Spotted Eagle that had landed behind the reeds to drink. After some time, it took off and soon thermaled out of site - this was fulvescens, the more uncommon form of Greater Spotted Eagle and a really smart looking raptor.

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga fulvescens)

Not long after it had departed, a Short-toed Snake Eagle drifted by overhead

Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
Overall, a very pleasant morning out - but over the next week, autumn migrants will have passed through to their summer wintering grounds - no mega's this season, yet!


  1. Great shots!
    Winter is finally approaching! I feel like running shirtless outside in such weather!
    I do miss Ireland in this time of the year though...

  2. Hi

    Great shots! photography is my passion and i love to visit JPR sometime, can you please tell me how to get permits to enter the reserve? is it restricted to only the local nationals?

    Please help.


  3. Smart-looking 'fulvescens'.......

    Laurie -