Apologies for the spring posting in mid-summer, but I am slowly getting through my backlog!
We had agreed earlier in the month with the Kuwait Birders to conduct a 48-hour spring census covering as many locations across Kuwait, as was possible. Mid-week the weather was perfect, but as it happens on more than one occasion, the perfect weather turns for the worse on the weekend. And, so it happened with us with wind and blowing dust for the whole weekend. As the census was already planned, we all pushed on.
Day 1 - 10 April 15
Markus Craig, Neil Tovey and I teamed up for the weekend so that we traveled together in one SUV. We had an early start despite the crappy and windy weather and made our first stop in the west at Al Abraq. As it is spring, migrants abound and they attract the shooters like a plague, but the poor weather played in our favour and most shooters didn't stay out too long. We chose to walk the farm first, staying clear of the boundary fence where shooters were patrolling early in the morning. A Red-breasted Flycatcher was welcome as one of the first birds
|Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva)|
|Hume's Whitethroat (Sylvia althaea)|
In the same acacia type tree's we also found Willow Warbler
|Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)|
|Probable Eurasian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)|
|Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)|
We then changed tactics and drove around the farm to the fields; here a car allows you to get closer to some species. We had a very dark streaked Lark that challenged us again - we finally agreed that it was Lesser Short-toed Lark.
|Lesser Short-toed Lark (Alaudala rufescens)|
It wasn't too long after this that another Lark dropped into the field next to us. We could not believe that it was one of the most sought after Lark's in Kuwait and the Region - Dunn's! I was on the wrong side of the car, so could not get an image. Many thanks to Markus Craig for sharing his image for this post.
|The elusive Dunn's Lark (Eremalauda dunni)|
|Pale Rockfinch (Carpospiza brachydactyla)|
|Grey-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. thunbergi)|
|Male South Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus)|
|Male Common Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis)|
|Female White-throated Robin (Irania gutturalis)|
|Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)|
Jahra Pools was next and here the wind seemed to pick up pace again, but birds were still to be seen; Collared Pratincole near the beach
|Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)|
|Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) with young|
|Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)|
|Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana)|
|Paler Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio p. poliocephalus)|
|A pair of Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)|
|Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)|
Here we added many shorebird species to the list that were roosting on the beach.
The final stop was the western boundary of Pivot Fields where the last few birds were added to the list before the sun set; Lesser Kestrel, Black Kite and Greater Short-toed Lark were just some. It was a long day in less than ideal conditions and we were happy with our 100+ tally.
Day 2 - 11 April 15
I had to go to work at 9am for a few hours, but left home earlier and did some birding on route to work. The weather had not improved much and the sky had an orange tinge from the blowing sand - not conducive to photography at all!
My first stop was near Scientific Center to check for Skua's out at sea - no luck, but an obliging White-cheeked Tern flew parallel to the Corniche
|White-cheeked Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)|
|White-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. leucocephala)|
A little further up Gulf Road, I found Yellow-headed Wagtail
|Yellow-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. lutea)|
|Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)|
and Tree Pipit, a new species for the list
|Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)|
|Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)|
Gull-billed Terns were patrolling along the coast and outfall
|Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)|
|Male White-throated Robin (Irania gutturalis)|
|Nesting Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)|
|Nesting Western Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea)|
|Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola)|
|Breeding Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)|
and Gull-billed Terns
|Adult Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)|
|Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)|
|Female European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)|
|Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)|
A Walton's Mudskipper bid us farewell as we walked down the pier to the boat
|Walton's Mudskipper (Periophthalmus waltoni)|
Over the coming days, we consolidated the sightings from all the other participants and ended with a credible 146 species for the 48-hour spring census - which was admirable given the adverse weather for the whole weekend. Thanks to all for participating, it was a fantastic success - same time next year!