06 November 2016

An afternoon at Kubbar Island

Week 38, 17 September 2016 - Kubbar Island

We enjoyed an afternoon on the boat in the warm waters around Kubbar Island with our good friends George and Michelle.

On the way out, you do have to pass a few large tankers waiting their turn to head to the oil terminal - these are truly impressively large ships!

Impressive Oil Tanker
The summer breeding season was over, but there were still a number of 1st year Terns (probably White-cheeked) seen on and flying around the island.

I had a short walk along the island, flushing a Common Kestrel

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
and seeing a few waders, the most predominant being Ruddy Turnstones.

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Unfortunately, not many birds around - so we enjoyed some snorkeling, catching a few rays and good conversation. The trip back to the Marina against the backdrop of the setting sun is pretty cool and tranquil after an enjoyable day!

On golden pond


The sun sets on an enjoyable day

Crex crex in the house

Week 38, 12 September 2016 - JPR

We had a brief visit to JPR in the late afternoon with our good friends the Lodges, following which we headed to our favourite small Thai restaurant at the end of the 4th Ring Road.

Almost one of the first birds seen was a Corn Crake, but it proved difficult to photograph as it tried to skulk away into the reeds

Corn Crake (Crex crex)
In the same reeds, a Common Snipe remained very still, trying to be invisible and unobtrusive

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
Over the pools, a number of Caspian Terns were seen hunting

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)
And in the reeds; White-throated Kingfisher

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
And a Turkestan Shrike were seen..

Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)
The colours in the reserve are slowly changing with the end of autumn not far off and these were complimented by the late afternoon light, as the sun slowly headed for the horizon

Autumn colours in Jahra
Time to head off for some Thai Green Curry! 

An record pod of Pelicans

Week 37, 10 September 2016 - JPR

Yesterday, a large flock of Great White Pelicans were seen soaring over Jahra Pools Reserve. It was estimated that there were around 68 birds. The last time a flock this size was seen in Kuwait, was when 100 birds were seen in April 1922 - so this was a significant record!

I was at the reserve gate when it opened and drove down to the seaside where around 37 birds has roosted overnight on the beach. Along with a number of local birders we enjoyed these impressive birds that were quite some distance away on the low tide, for quite some time. This was also a Kuwait tick for me, so this made the early start a little more special!

Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) panorama

 Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) panorama
On the way in, I did stop for a Grey Heron in the reeds

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) portrait
And a White-tailed Lapwing in a roadside pool

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)
When it warmed up, the flock took off and we thought that they would find a thermal and be off, but to our surprise they flew into the reserve, landing in one of the bigger pools where they preened and fished for another hour. 

Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)

The remind me of an A380 when they take off and soar - power and elegance!

Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)

There were a few Slender-billed Gulls in the same pool and they were completely dwarfed by the Pelicans

Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)
After I had soaked it all up, I had a quick drive around the reserve and added a few more shorebirds/waders to the days count; European Black-tailed Godwit is always a good wader to see

European Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa l. limosa)
A few Green Sandpipers had arrived

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

As well as Little Ringed Plover

Juvenile Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)
There are quite a few Black-crowned Night Herons at the Reserve the past few visits

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
A Mauryan Grey Shrike was on the boundary fence

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahtora pallidirostris)
And an early Sykes's Wagtail was seen along the reedbed

Sykes's Wagtail (Motacilla f. beema)
Overall, quite a satisfying morning enjoying these great birds

A bevy of Buzzards

Week 37, 09 September 2016 - Khuwaisat and Liyah

Time has got the better of me again, but a few late and belated posts are too follow.

The Honey Buzzard migration normally precedes the main raptor migration and the majority of these Buzzards pass through over a few days, so it is easy to miss.

As I can only get out on the weekends, I did miss the peak during the week, but with a sense of hope, I was at the site just after sunrise on the first day of the weekend. My enthusiasm waned a little, when I didn't find any raptors roosting on the deck. However, a shooter, inadvertently put up a small kettle of Buzzards that were roosting in the trees. This small flock had a mix of both Eurasian and Crested Honey Buzzards and a possible hybrid (but this will need to be confirmed). 

One of the bigger birds was a Crested Honey Buzzard

Crested Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)
Whilst the others were all possible European Honey Buzzards, but 2 are lacking the yellow eye, so it does create some doubt?

European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus)

I suspect this one may be a hybrid and am still awaiting confirmation from an expert

Possible Hybrid Honey Buzzard?
It didn't take long for this small flock to disappear from view, so I drove around the desert, eventually finding 2 Honey Buzzards that had roosted on the desert. They were quite obliging (read exhausted), as long as you didn't pressure the birds by trying to get to close. I just love the yellow eye's...

European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus)

As it warmed up, I also had a Western Marsh Harrier fly by

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

A couple of early Steppe Buzzards

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)
Followed by a single and early Steppe Eagle

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

As there were no further raptors, I headed north over Mutla Ridge to Liyah - no further raptors, but I did get a few other migrant species. First up was a single Greater Short-toed Lark which was later joined by at least 20 more birds

Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla)

A few Common Quail were also seen scurrying quickly between the trees

Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)
And my first Tawny Pipit of the autumn dropped in

Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
On the northern side of the reserve, I added Greater Hoopoe Lark

Greater Hoopoe-Lark (Alaemon alaudipes)

followed by Ortolan Bunting

Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)
and a Mauryan Grey Shrike

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahtora pallidirostris)
As can be seen, Liyah is a KISR Reserve..

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahtora pallidirostris)