23 May 2018

Guiding - Day 1

Week 14; 07 April 2017 - Abraq, Dairy Farm, Al Shallal Farm and Jahra

I had the pleasure of guiding Peter Gluth and Peter Colston for the first 2-days of their weeks trip to Kuwait for the spring migration.

It was an early morning pickup from their hotel and the long drive west to Al Abraq with great conversation that really shortened the journey. Once at the farm it was a little cloudy and gloomy, so we drove around to check the various habitats finding a dark form Booted Eagle

Dark form Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata)
followed by a Montagu's Harrier passing by on the boundary of the farm

Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)
We then parked the car and walked, finding and getting great views of the many passerine migrants on passage, some quite confiding and obliging. I had hoped to find Shikra, but as it turned out there were very few sightings of this species this spring. We did flush a few Eurasian Sparrowhawks and one clutching a hapless European Bee-eater in its talons

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) with European Bee-eater

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Overhead, we did have a few Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)
We encountered an Upcher's Warbler and spent quite a bit of time with this bird.

Upcher's Warbler (Hippolais languida)

There were a number of Mauryan Grey Shrikes in the more open areas and we also found a small flock of Hypocolius that did their typical vertical ascend after being disturbed - not a great sighting, but one of the main target species found.

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahtora pallidirostris)
A last drive around the farm gave us a female Semi-collared Flycatcher

Female Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata)
After working the farm well, we headed a little further south to the Diary Farm Pivots to look for some desert species and had an Eastern Imperial Eagle overhead on the drive. 

Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)
At the Pivots, we came across a flock of Collared Pratincoles roosting nearby some standing water on the edge of the Pivots

Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)

Walking the pivots, again many species, but no Bimac Larks. However, we did find a Dark-winged Groundling, my first for Kuwait

Dark-winged Groundling (Brachythemis fuscopalliata)
And walking back across the desert to the car, a Arabian Toad-headed Agama that after running away, then buried itself in the sand and almost disappeared from sight.

Arabian Toad-headed Agama (Phrynocephalus arabicus)

A quick stop at Jahra Farm didn't produce anything new, although there were many Western Yellow Wagtails in the fields.

Grey-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. thunbergi)

And a European Bee-eater overhead

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Over the highway to Jahra Pools (Kuwait's premier birding location) where the first birds seen were the Pygmy Cormorants, the 4th record for Kuwait that had been found a few days prior.

Pygmy Cormorant (Microcarbo pygmeus)

Again new species were added to the list as we worked our way around the reserve and then to the beach to check for sea and shorebirds before calling it a day after sunset.

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