19 November 2013

From the pools to the escarpment

Week 45, 08 November 2013 - Jahra Pools and Jal Al Zor

I hosted Bouke and Anneke, keen birders who hail from Germany and are in Kuwait creating and sculpting the impressive sand sculptures that will be on display at Kuwait International Fair in January 2014.

We met pretty early and were at the Jahra Pool Reserve gates just on sunrise (an interesting 'pattern' on the sun), which is now much later than it is in the summer.

Sunrise over Jahra Bay
A Common Kingfisher provided a creative moment with the backdrop of the rising sun

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) in pre-dawn light
The flock of Greater Flamingo's had returned with just one adult bird in the flock.

1st year Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

A single Eurasian Teal came paddling by in the soft early morning light.

Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
There were at least 4 European Robins heard and seen along the fringes of the reeds next to the road, but not easy to get a clean view for a photograph

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
A small group of Eurasian Spoonbills with one adult have discovered the Pools and have been present for around 10-days. This is the first time that I have seen this away from coastal habitat in Kuwait.

Feeding Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

A Western Great Egret was also seen, but this one kept some cover between itself and the birders

Western Great Egret (Ardea alba)
There was still quite a number of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters about, but I'm sure these will all head south in the coming week.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)
These aerial hunters were joined by a number of Pallid Swifts

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
There had been reports of Penduline Tit and Dead Sea Sparrow (one of my favourite Sparrows) in the past week and we were fortunate to find a few of these great little sparrows feeding at point blank range next to the road. No time to back up or change lenses - so had to make the most of a good situation.

Male Dead Sea Sparrow (Passer moabiticus)

A few other passerines were seen including; Water Pipits which have arrived in numbers

Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)
increasing numbers of Spanish Sparrows

Female Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)
and a female Caspian Stonechat

Female Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)

Along the fence line of the large pool, another Common Kingfisher

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
and a Daurian Shrike

1st year Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)
The only raptors seen were the semi-resident Western Marsh Harriers

Hunting Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
and an Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
By now we had exhausted Jahra Pools, so made a quick trip to Jal Al Zor to see if we could relocate the 7th Pallid Scops Owl that Bouke had found in one of the wadi's yesterday. No luck on the Owl, but we did get a bonus in the form of Red-tailed Wheatear.

Wintering Red-tailed Wheatear (Oenanthe chrysopygia)
We searched the wadi's for other species, but only added Desert and Mourning Wheatear's to the day's tally.


  1. The close up of the sparrow is simply outstanding!

  2. WOW - that's some sunrise Mike, i wonder whether that's a sunspot or something 'transitting'? A really nice set of photos, i particularly like the symmetry of the Teal with reflection, a good capture of the Pallid Swift as well - looks like you had excellent light......

    Laurie -