05 August 2015

Feathers and scales

Week 23, 06 June 2015 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City

This was my last outing before heading back to South Africa for a 2-week summer holiday.

After picking up the obligatory breakfast on route, I stopped as usual at the reed habitat on the road to the Khiran Holiday resort. Summer has kicked in and almost all migrants have passed through, although a lone Red-backed Shrike was still present in the reed habitat.

Female Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)
I have encountered a pair of wary and skittish Common Moorhens in this reed habitat which has some ground water at it's base, so was thrilled to see that they had successfully bred this season when I found this juvenile.

Juvenile Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
In the desert habitat near the reeds, a Spiny-tailed Lizard has it's burrow - he is not quite used to me yet, so doesn't allow close approach

Arabian Spiny-tailed Lizard (Uromastyx aegyptia microlepis)

A little further along Road 278, I found this male Namaqua Dove, awesome colours up close

Male Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)
In the same area a Blue-throated/Blanford's Agama was also standing proud on an elevated piece of ground.

Blue-throated (Blanford's) Agamid
On the way to the marina, I went to check on a Wheatear I had seen and found a pair of Desert Finches foraging on some ground vegetation instead. While I was watching, they actually stripped and ate all the leaves on these small desert plants

Female Desert Finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta)

Male Desert Finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta)
I then spent some time on the boat checking the lagoons, finding more signs of breeding with a few recently fledged Kentish Plover seen feeding on the beach

Recently fledged Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
I suspect this 1st year Tern is a Little

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons)
Checking off-shore, a few Lesser Crested Terns were seen

Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)

But the biggest surprise of all, was finding that a Bridled Tern had nested on the off-shore buoy and was watching over a recently hatched chick. This species breeds on the off-shore islands of Kuwait during our summers; so this is a very unusual breeding record in terms of using a man-made structure, in my opinion.

Adult Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus) with chick

After the boat, the temps were now getting oppressive, but I checked some elevated habitat and too my surprise discovered a single Spotted Toad-headed Agama in Kuwait. This rare reptile species was thought to be lost in the south, so it is fantastic to find out that there may be a small isolated population in this particular area.

Arabian Toad-headed Agama (Phrynocephalus maculatus) - note the curly tail

In the same area, a few more Spiny-tailed Lizards were seen cooling themselves on the elevated areas.

Arabian Spiny-tailed Lizard (Uromastyx aegyptia microlepis)