29 April 2014

We can chum together

Week 15, 05 April 2014 - Umm Al Maradim Island

It had been some time in the planning, but finally I managed to arrange a round-trip to Umm Al Maradim Island for a pelagic and cetacean survey. Umm Al Maradim is one of the smaller islands in the south of Kuwait'. I had visited all of the other 8 off-shore islands of Kuwait, except for this last one and the one whose name means the "mother of boulders"

We departed from Khiran in great weather and flat seas and with the coast still in sight encountered two probably Arctic Skuas, but they were flying low and away from us, so almost impossible to clinch the id. As we got into deeper water and away from the coast, the number of Bridled Terns who are returning for the summer breeding season started increasing.

Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus)
The Bridled Terns were by far the majority when we finally reached the island.

Umm Al Maradim Island
We did a slow cruise around the island and headed back to Khiran. On route we came across a big school of predatory fish that were hammering some smaller fish.

Predatory Fish
Only 1 Lesser Crested Tern showed some interest in the scraps left behind once the shoal sounded.

Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)
We made a stop near Mina Al Zour where we chummed the water with some smelly and oily chum to see if we could attract any birds. Unfortunately the current was too strong and as we had moored the chum was soon out of sight (in hindsight we should have drifted with the chum slick). Nevertheless, the smell did attract a single first year Socotra Cormorant, so all was not lost.

Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)

1 comment:

  1. Another theory says that the island is named like that because it's rich with a bird named "mardam" or "mirdam" locally (plural: maradim) ... which is probably one of the birds you've shot here.
    I always wished to visit the other islands, specifically Miskan north of Failaka; but I've been told that it is now a military zone just like Boubyan. Alas, guess I have to take some fresh air from Failaka all the time then.