12 October 2015

A mix bag of autumn migrants

Week 38, 19 September 2015 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City

There were no opportunities for birding elsewhere in Kuwait this month, so again I was back in the south at the impressive Sea City project.

Starting along the urban desert area after the obligatory McDonald's breakfast on-route, I had my first Desert Wheatear of this autumn

Female Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
around 3 Isabelline Wheatears

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
A couple of Western Yellow Wagtails were found foraging in one of the cut-off trenches. In autumn they are pretty tough to assign to race, but this may be Beema

Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flava)
A 1st year Turkestan Shrike perched in the reeds

Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)
Some slight movement, also in the reeds, alerted me to a Common Kingfisher patiently perched on a reed; waiting to ambush it's next meal

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
shortly afterwards a Montagu's Harrier caught me by surprise, flying low past my car. Again the auto-focus of the 1DM4 impressed me by locking on for one sharp image before the Harrier disappeared across the desert.

Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)
Once out on the boat, not many shorebirds were to be seen - although I did find a Purple Heron that had roosted overnight on the beach

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
It was joined by a Common Greenshank - two's company?

Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Elsewhere I had a pale form Western Reef Heron foraging along the waters edge

Pale form Western Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea)
and a Mauryan Grey Shrike

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahtora pallidirostris)
A couple of wintering Gulls have already returned to Kuwait, I suspect this tatty moulting individual is Heuglin's

Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)
I was then back in the car on route to a productive coastal spit, first finding a Lesser Grey Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)
then Northern Wheatear

Female Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Western Marsh Harrier

Female Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
and a small flock of Greater Short-toed Larks

Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla)
Once at the coastal spit, there was a good mix of shorebirds present; 

Part of the mixed shorebird flock; Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) and Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
another Purple Heron

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
A couple of Ruff

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
A few Grey Plover

Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
and this was one of many in the big flock of Dunlin

Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
While photographing the Dunlin, I noted a small wader amongst them. Knock me down if it didn't decide to forage and feed along the waters edge and 'inadvertently' come closer and closer to me. I was already sitting low in the sand and for what must rate as the best views I have ever had of a Broad-billed Sandpiper. This sighting closed out a pretty good day!

Broad-billed Sandpiper (Limicola falcinellus)

10 October 2015

A smattering of migrants in the South

Week 37, 12 September 2015 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City

I had a morning at Sea City in the south of Kuwait and had expectations of some good autumn passage migrants.

Sadly this was not to be the case today with only a handful of migrants seen.

Common Whitethroat was the most prevalent and this was the first time I saw one raise a 'crest' when it appear to be agitated over something nearby

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)

A Great Reed Warbler was seen nearby

Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
As was a Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
A Tree Pipit was found 'hiding' in the shade

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)
Elsewhere, I recorded a single Ortolan Bunting

Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)
As well as a probable Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (Iduna pallida)
And a Mauryan Grey Shrike in some desert area

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahtora pallidirostris)
And a Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Along the lagoon beaches there were Grey Plover

Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
and a single Sanderling

Sanderling (Calidris alba)
And a pair of Ruddy Turnstone which I haven't seen in the south for some time

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Whilst a few lingering Lesser Crested Terns were found roosting on the off-shore buoys

Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)