29 January 2014

Gulls, Gulls, Gulls.....and something Common

Week 04, 25 January 2014 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City

I was back at Sea City in the south, spending most of the time on a boat exploring the various lagoons in this impressive development. It feels as if we are reaching the tail end of winter, mornings are still brisk, but by lunch the temps are up in the high teens.

At this time of the year, there is a lull between the winter visitors departing and the spring migrants arriving, so not much new to be seen - or so I thought.

The big numbers of large white-headed Gulls appear to have dwindled in the South, although there are still large flocks of the resident Slender-billed Gulls foraging and feeding in the lagoons. I have admitted before that Gulls are not my favourites (so if I have mis-ID's some of them do let me know), but when there is not much else about you have to check them out. I struggled with the camera today, couldn't get into the right position with the boat for the light and couldn't get close enough either, so was rather disappointed with the day's results.

I suspect this is a Heuglin's Gull

Possible Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)
and these are Steppe

Possible Steppe Gull (Larus f. barabensis)

Possible Steppe Gull (Larus f. barabensis)

Possible Steppe Gull (Larus f. barabensis)
and this one, not sure?

Unidentified Gull
But what I was able to find and identify in the mixed flock of Gulls on the beach was a 1st winter Common Gull (a new bird for my Kuwait list) and considered a rare winter visitor in Kuwait.

1st winter Common Gull (Larus canus) and unidentified Gull in the background

1st winter Common Gull (Larus canus)

1st winter Common Gull (Larus canus)

1st winter Common Gull (Larus canus)
Another Gull I was expecting to see and did was Great Black-headed Gull, this was one of two birds that I saw.

Great Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus)
Great Cormorants are still present in large numbers around the project

Male Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
and Western Reef Herons have returned, in both colour forms

Dark form Western Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea), my best pic of the day

Pale form Western Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea)
Once I had finished on the boat, I explored some of the desert area, finding Little Egret (for comparative purposes with pale Western Reef)

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Asian Desert Warbler (in close proximity to a Desert Wheatear, as usual)

Asian Desert Warbler (Sylvia nana)
and Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
Along the coast south of Khiran village, the sea looks like it belongs on a tropical island

Yes, this is Kuwait
Near this area I found a spot with a large flock of mixed shorebirds including; Greater and Lesser Sandplover, Dunlin, Common Greenshank, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Grey Plover and 43 Sanderlings - it appears these may be some early spring migrants

Sanderling (Calidris alba)
and there is a lot of colour in the desert with plants displaying what seems like a carpet of yellow, interspersed with a little purple - very pretty for a desert country.

A splash of colour in the desert

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