02 March 2015

A Mega in the South

Week 08, 21 February 2015 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City

I was back down in the south of Kuwait with the sniff of Spring in the air becoming more noticeable, despite the severe and violent dust storm we had last night. I stop for breakfast at McDonald's twice every month and you would think by now the staff who recognise me, would know my standard order....not yet!

Although the wind had died down completely, there was still hanging dust in the air that filtered the early morning light, at the reedbed where I spent an hour. Like yesterday, Byzantine Stonechat's were also in the south in small numbers

Male Byzantine Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus) in the remnants of the dust storm

A smart Turkestan Shrike was also present, patrolling up and down the reeds

Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)
Again, I picked up a single Common Snipe, but was secretly hoping it would be a different species

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

A few early Willow Warblers were heard calling in the reeds, but only small numbers of Common Chiffchaff were seen foraging in the reeds

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
A flock of Hirundines passed by and included Barn Swallow, Common House Martin and 3 Red-rumped Swallows

Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) in the fine hanging dust, heavily edited in PS

And 3 Little Stint dropped in (the 3rd is out of frame)

Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Once on the boat out on the lagoons it was evident that Great Cormorant numbers had reduced, as had the large white-headed Gulls. I did find small numbers of Caspian Gull

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)
and Heuglin's Gull

Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)
as well as a single Common Black-headed Gull now starting to sport breeding plumage

Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Just near the Khiran marina I saw a small Heron dart low across the water and land on one of the artificial groins. This in an area that I predicted over a year ago that would be good for Striated Heron in the south of Kuwait. So, confirming this was rather satisfying. I have seen this species many times in UAE, Qatar and South Africa, so I knew immediately what it was before I managed to locate it skulking on the rocks of the groin. This was the 4th record for Kuwait

4th Striated Heron (Butorides striata) for Kuwait

Along the shoreline, I found hunting Western Reef Heron who was so focused, it was oblivious to me. However, this time it was the prey that outsmarted the predator

Pale form Western Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea)
Still good flocks of mixed shorebirds made up of predominantly Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers

Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)

Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius atrifrons)
Eurasian Oystercatcher are uncommon in the south, this was one was roosting with the Eurasian Curlews and departed long before I got near close enough

Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
And a few early summer breeders in the form of Lesser Crested Terns had arrived

Early Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)
Back out in the desert, Wheatear diversity had improved. Along with Isabelline

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
Eastern Mourning Wheatear were now present

Eastern Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens)
and my first Pied for the spring

Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)
A few Eurasian Penduline Tits were still present in the area I had previously seen them

Male Eurasian Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus)
As well as another Byzantine Stonechat

Male Byzantine Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus)

The masses of the diminutive Desert Blue Iris were still in flower

Desert Blue Iris (Gynandriris sisyrinchium)
By now it was time to head home and I found Common Kestrel on the overhead lines.

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
A last stop back at the reeds where I was first thing this morning had a few late winter visitors; Water Pipit transitioning to its breeding plumage

Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta )
along with White Wagtail

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
A pair of Little Ringed Plovers had also dropped in whilst a Green Sandpiper passed by overhead.

Male Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
The Turkestan Shrike was now photographed in more favourable light

Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)
and with some patience, the Red-spotted Bluethroat eventually showed itself.

Red-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)
In the next 6-weeks, migrants will arrive in numbers, so a great time to be in Kuwait, if you are a birder.


  1. thank you for the info.... only i couldnt find the nuwaiseeb birding location

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