01 August 2015

In search of PLW

Week 16, 17 April 2015 - Various sites

2-days back, Markus Craig had found Kuwait's first Plain Leaf Warbler for Kuwait at Mutla'a Ranch - typically it was on a work day, so I had to wait for the weekend to see if this tiny Phyllos was still around.

Leaving home before sun-up, I detoured up the coast past Sulaibikhat finding a few European Roller's that had roosted in the habitat overnight...

Adult European Roller (Coracias garrulus)
As well as Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
A few 'desert' cricket matches were already in full swing

A serious Desert Cricket match
I got to Mutla'a Ranch just after sunrise and set-up station at the location where the PLW had been seen. It was next to a big plastic water tank whose overflow pipe was dripping continuously. It was this supply of water that attracted a constant stream of birds in the 2-hours I spent here.

It was interesting to watch the different strategies taken to get a drink - a few elected to approach cautiously from through the cover and drink from the pool on the ground and these included; Barred Warbler

Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria)
Common Redstart

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Willow Warbler (not the hoped for PLW)

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
and Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)

Others took the direct route and drank straight from the source; a female Eurasian Blackcap showed the male how to do it!

Female Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

Male Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) watching and learning
House Sparrow - it is actually quite strange that the common House Sparrow is often more nervous and skittish than the migrant species

Male House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

And White-eared Bulbul

White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus l. leucotis)

One of the Lesser Whitethroat's may have been watching these birds going direct to the source and decided to try it for itself, but more Sunbird style

Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)
A Laughing Dove seemed quite undecided on what to do

Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)
This smartly plumaged Daurian Shrike had ulterior motives and used his perch to perhaps launch an attack on an unsuspecting or exhausted bird - it was not lucky in the time I was there, but I'm guessing patience would pay off eventually.

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)
After 2-hours I was wilting in the heat, so checked the rest of the farm finding a Masked Shrike that regurgitated the remnants of a prey item before promptly catching something else to eat

Adult Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)

I'm guessing this pale individual is a young bird

1st year Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)
There were a few Tree Pipits

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)
and Sykes's Wagtails in the fields

Sykes's Wagtail (Motacilla f. beema)

and another Common Redstart around the fringes

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
One last look at the dripping tap and no sign of the PLW, so I called it a day and headed back south stopping at Jahra Pools Reserve (JPR). A few Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were hawking in the drier area

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)
Ferruginous Ducks are still present and are now considered resident and they will be preparing to breed in the coming weeks.

Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)

Grey-headed Swamphen numbers appear to be increasing in the maturing reed habitat

Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio  p. poliocephalus)
A few Western Marsh Harriers continue to harass the reed dwelling birds from above

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
In one of the small pools are few Red-necked Phalarope's were seen spinning 'senselessly' in a coffee coloured pool

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)
This time, Yellow-headed Wagtails were in the mix with the other Yellow Wagtails.

Yellow-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. lutea)
Whilst JPR I got a call from Omar Al Shaheen who said there were a couple of Pacific Golden Plovers at Jahra East Outfall (JEO). This location is not far from JPR, so it wasn't long before I was watching 2 distant PGP - a new Kuwait tick for me, albeit in poor light.

Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)

A Pallid Harrier came by overhead, flushing all of the waders that were roosting on the inter-tidal zone

Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)
A cracking male Pied Wheatear was foraging around the litter on the high tide mark

Male Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)

At this stage, it was time to call it a day. I spotted a Squacco Heron 'wrestling' with a large prey item some distance away - getting my glass onto it I could see that it was our largest mud skipper species Boleophthalmus dussumieri and the Squacco had a sizable meal to get down the hatch.

A distant Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) with an over-sized meal
Not much further on, this Common Kestrel was seen trying to get through it's meal of some unsuspecting migrant - I was able to watch it for some time and it certainly didn't leave any left overs - even the legs and feet went down the hatch!

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) with a take-away lunch

Down the hatch
Although I didn't get the PLW, it was still a productive day out and to enjoy many of the spring migrants.


  1. Those are just amazing!

  2. Superb images!! A very enjoyable post. Thanks for posting, and I hope you have better luck with the Plain Leaf Warbler next time.