15 November 2014

Desert and Sea

Week 41, 07 October 2014 - Al Abraq and Sulaibkhat

I don't seem to get the time to get over the backlog hump and I'm still playing catch-up. This post is already 5-weeks old, but better late than never I guess, plus I did spend a stint in hospital in between.

I almost missed my alarm, so had to hustle to pick up Neil on time for the drive to the west and the Al Abraq Farm by sunrise. On route we had one Steppe Eagle that had spent the night roosting on the desert, but it didn't allow close approach - which is a good thing given the number of shooters still about at this time of year. 

Migrating Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)
We could tell that there was still some migration happening, by the number of shooters acting like hooligans around the perimeter of the farm - it really does get on your nerves and spoils what should be a pleasant day out. As before we opted to first walk while it was still cool and explored an area with mixed habitat picking up some good birds; first up was a couple of Red-breasted Flycatchers, one of my favourites

Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva)

I then picked up a small flock of Common Rosefinch feeding in one of the trees

Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus)
and finally a female Ménétriés’s Warbler 

Female Ménétriés’s Warbler (Sylvia mystacea)
amongst some Lesser and Common Whitethroat's - good start so far..

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Around the agricultural area with some new crops, a Pale Rockfinch was a good addition

Pale Rockfinch (Carpospiza brachydactyla)
We picked up our first White Wagtail of the winter

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) intimidated by a large Bee
and the resident Crested Larks were also present.

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
There were a good number of Accipters flying about, but were challenging as they were never out in the open long enough. I did get onto two of them; the first was a 1st year Asian Shikra

1st year Asian Shikra (Accipiter badius cenchroides)
and a Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Male Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
This was followed by a Long-legged Buzzard against the light..

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)
The shooters spooked a few juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons, but they escaped with their lives by staying high

Adult Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
By now, the temperature had risen, so we had good raptor passage - the predominant raptor being Steppe Eagle

Migrating Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

Followed by a few Black-eared Kites which we now know winter in Kuwait.

Black-eared Kite (Milvus m. lineatus)

In the desert area, some movement on the ground caught my eye; a Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard.

Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard (Acanthodactylus schmidti)
A wounded Steppe Buzzard that was shot for fun, was just left by the shooters

Wounded Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)
We didn't see much on the drive home and after dropping Neil off, I still had some free time, so made a quick stop at Sulaibikhat Bay. At the outfall, a few Caspian Gulls were roosting on the low tide

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)

and the wintering Common Black-headed Gulls had arrived in numbers, I enjoyed their antics trying to pick up and eat whatever was being washed out of the 'grey' water outfall

Wintering Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

Sychronised; Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) and Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)

There were also big numbers of winter plumaged Dunlin present

Part of the Dunlin (Calidris alpinaa) flock

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) and Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Further up the coast I found numbers of Western Reef Heron, both forms.

Pale Form Western Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea)
A pair of feeding Eurasian Spoonbills rounded the day off nicely, especially seeing one of them catching and eating a small fish

Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

Feeding with purpose

Success for one

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