2013 exceeded the average with 6 new species added, including the magical milestone of the 400th species. Fittingly this bird, a Streak-throated Swallow, seen in the last month of the year was a true vagrant and only the 2nd record for the Western Palearctic.
So, below is a month-by-month blow of some of the highlights of what was a great birding year for Kuwait.
The 2nd Horned Grebe found at Jahra Pools Reserve
|Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)|
|White-crowned Wheatear (Oenanthe leucopyga)|
The 3rd Ashy Drongo that was in Fahaheel Park for a few days
|Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)|
|Mesopotamian Crow (Corvus c. capellanus)|
The 3rd Masked Wagtail arrived at Jahra Pools Reserve
|Masked Wagtail (Motacilla a. personata)|
The 1st Collared Flycatcher, European Greenfinch and Taiga Flycatcher all found at the oasis farm of Al Abraq - unfortunately I couldn't connect with any of these vagrants.
I found the 18th Black Stork soaring over Jahra Pools Reserve
|Adult Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)|
|First clutch of Ferruginious Duck (Aythya nyroca) ducklings at Jahra Pools Reserve|
|White-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia s. cyanecula)|
|Caucasian Bluethroat (Luscinia s. magna)|
The 5th Grey Phalarope was found at Jahra East Outfall
No vagrants or rarities were recorded in the hottest month of the year
The 17th Black-winged Kite (2 birds) were resident at Jahra Pools Reserve for around a week
|1st year Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)|
|Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii) in breeding plumage|
The 1st Striolated Bunting was seen at Tahla in SAANR and also only stayed a day. I managed to see the bird, but had a photographic lapse of memory, so missed capturing the bird on pixels.
The 4th Booted Warbler was seen again at Tahla in SAANR, almost a year to the date of the 3rd record in the same location
|Booted Warbler (Iduna caligata)|
Numerous records of Crested Honey Buzzard during the autumn raptor passage migration
The 11th Sooty Falcon was seen at Khuwaisat
The 13th Spur-winged Plover (2 birds) as seen at Jahra East Outfall
The 7th Pallid Scops Owl as seen at Jahra Pools Reserve (late Oct) and Jal Al Zor (and early Nov; we suspect the two records may be of the same bird). This image courtesy of my friend Bouke Atema who found the Jal Al Zor bird
|Pallid Scops Owl (Otus brucei)|
The 10th Eversmann's Redstart at Al Abraq - a cracking and obliging male bird
|Male Eversmann's Redstart (Phoenicurus erythronotus)|
|Female Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)|
|Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)|
The 1st and 400th bird for the Kuwait Checklist, a Streak-throated Swallow was discovered in a mixed Hirundine flock at Jahra Pools and sadly was a one-day bird
|Streak-throated Swallow (Petrochelidon fluvicola) and 400th bird for Kuwait|
|Taiga Flycatcher (Ficedula albicilla)|
|Desert Finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta)|
|Female Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)|
As you can see, another pretty good year for both vagrants and rarities in Kuwait.
In terms of personal highlights, I was able to connect with 4 of the 6 vagrants (but dipped on the Collared Fly and Greenfinch) and finished off the year with 250 species (out of the 400). Plus, there were a number of species recorded during the year that I didn't catch-up with, although I had seen these in previous years.
Some of the notable omissions or species not recorded during the year (as far as I am aware) include;
Great Crested Grebe, Common and Demoiselle Crane, Red-wattled Lapwing, Eurasian Golden Plover, no Sandgrouse (other than those killed by shooters in the north), Rufous Turtle Dove, Indian Roller, Bimaculated Lark, Dunn's Lark, Oriental Skylark, Ring Ouzel, Mistle Thrush (in fact another poor year for Thrushes in general), Kurdistan, Humes and Hooded Wheatear, Richards Pipit and Cinereous Bunting.
We trust that with the growing interest in birding and numbers of new birders and photographers joining the more experienced birders that 2014 will be another bumper year in Kuwait