09 May 2016

Migrants heading north

Week 15, 09 April 2016 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City

In comparison to last year, this spring migration has been low in both abundance and diversity with no plausible explanation; but perhaps the hazards of migration (increased trapping and killing/shooting together with the other natural hazards) are now starting to manifest with less birds being seen during migration. Only next year will we be able to confirm if this is indeed the case, when we can look back and compare stats.

Nevertheless, I was on site just after sunrise and enjoyed watching a few Squacco Herons that were still roosting in the reed bed.

Squaccon Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
A single Ortolan Bunting dropped in for a drink, but didn't stay long. I had a glimmer of hope that it might be something else, as typically this species is part of a larger flock - but not so today!

Male Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)
Two Common Sandpiper were seen perched uncharacteristically on top of a sand mound

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
I found a few Common Redstart's in some trees alongside the road

Female Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Like the last 3 visits to the south, I was rewarded with good views of Desert Finch - perhaps they may be preparing to breed, as I have recorded them in the same tree on a number of occasions

Male Desert Finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta)

Eurasian Wryneck was still present

Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
As was a male Semi-collared Flycatcher

Male Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata)
However, a real surprise was a Song Thrush, which is typically a wintering species in Kuwait - so this guy has stayed on to enjoy the warmer weather. It is these surprises that keep birding interesting, as everytime you are out you see or discover something new about birds - just fantastic!

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
The Bottlebrush shrubs have come into flower and the Lesser Whitethroat's

Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)
and Eurasian Blackcap's are the two species that really enjoy the distinctive red flowers

Male Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Woodchat Shrikes were still present, this one with a 'kill' nearby

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)

Woodchat 'take-away lunch'
But have now been joined by Turkestan Shrikes

Possible Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)

Definite Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)
And a fleeting glimpse of a Masked Shrike

Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)
The only raptor seen today was a Eurasian Sparrowhawk that passed by overhead in a flash of an eye - this a record 'grab' shot..

Female Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)


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