03 February 2015

Winter species increase

Week 47, 22 November 2014 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City

So much for my resolution of clearing my backlog; slowly, slowly catchy monkey! 

I was back down in the south and split my birding time between a boat and my SUV.

As winter approaches, so do the large white-headed Gulls and each year it feels like I am learning again from scratch; especially at the beginning of the winter when they are moulting. I made the first attempt at ID and was pleased to have achieved 60% and thanks to Yoav who assisted with the balance and confirmed my attempts.

The mix today was Heuglin's and Steppe and not always straight forward to separate - here is one of the easier Heuglin's

Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)

Followed by some Steppe

Steppe Gull (Larus f. barabensis)

Obviously along with the Gulls, Great Cormorants have also arrived for the winter.

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) flying over Steppe Gull

When I checked off-shore, I found a small number of Socotra Cormorants that appear all set to over-winter again.

Over-wintering Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)
Along the coast there was a large flock of the resident Slender-billed Gulls with a few Common Black-headed Gulls were interspersed in the flock

Roosting Slender-billed Gulls (Chroicocephalus genei)

A good mix of shorebirds were present

Mixed Shorebirds; Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Grey Plover, Dunlin
Here 3 species of Plover take to the air

Greater Sand (Charadrius leschenaultii), Lesser Sand (Charadrius atrifrons) and Kentish (Charadrius alexandrinus)
And a little later, a few Eurasian Curlew

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
The Grey Plover seemed reluctant to fly off

Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
After a few hours on the boat, I explored the desert area. I watched a Common Greenshank employ a feeding tactic I had not seen before. Essentially, it 'ran' up stream with it's bill open - just like a Skimmer would. Within 5-minutes I saw it catch and swallow 3 small fish; so a good return for the effort.

Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) feeding

In the same area a Common Redshank carried on as normal

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
I was delighted to find a small flock of Eurasian Penduline Tits feeding on the flowering flora and probing through spider nests - certainly my first encounter with this species in the south of the country

Eurasian Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus)

Daurian Shrikes appear to be prevalent in small numbers during the winter months

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)
As are Spanish Sparrows - this male feeding on the flowers that attracted the 3rd Purple Sunbird for Kuwait the week before.

Male Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)
Out in the open desert, Isabelline Wheatears are present

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
and in an area with big piles of builders rubble I picked up a Red-tailed Wheatear

Red-tailed Wheatear (Oenanthe chrysopygia)
Water Pipit numbers seem reduced this winter, compared to previous years.

Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)
Sadly, hunters are found all over the country and still kill birds like this Grey Heron for fun! I still cant understand the pleasure some seem to get in this senseless killing of the biodiversity of Kuwait and sadly this is the note we have to end on for this post!

The one that didn't get away; Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

1 comment:

  1. I'm hoping that they are serious about collecting arms by law force. At least this is what I see discussed in some newspapers.