18 June 2018

Another Mega

Week 49; 09 December 2017 - JPR

After the guiding of last weekend, it was back to helping my son Jaden with his weekly JPR surveys.

Today was a fine winters day in Kuwait - blue sky, crisp temperatures and good winter birds. Following our usual transect, we connected with the Marsh Harrier, actually now one of many

Female European Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Greater Spotted Eagles abound at this time of year

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

And we also had a few Eurasian Sparrowhawks flying by overhead

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

However, as there were still Hirundine flocks about, comprising of more Sand Martin than Barn Swallows we checked these carefully along with some European listers that had come to Kuwait specifically for these birds. The Grey-throated Martin was still present and found in the aerial and fast flying wheeling flock above us - really challenging to photograph and I only managed one poor record image!

Grey-throated Martin (Riparia chinensis); a 1st for Kuwait

However, it was the 2nd mega we were after and this was the 1st Pale Martin for Kuwait found by Neil Tovey and Markus Craig on 26 Nov 17 (2-days after the Grey-throated Martin). We were all delighted that it was still present along with Grey-throated. The challenge was trying to track this fast flying Hirundine in the sky amongst the more common Sand Martins and never coming close enough

Pale Martin (Riparia diluta); another 1st for Kuwait

Here a Sand Martin for the subtle comparative differences, primarily in the more diffuse breast-band of the Pale Martin

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

Barn Swallows are now breeding at JPR, so are also seen through all months of the year. This a Barn Swallow in non-breeding plumage

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

And for me, the jury is still out on this bird - as it doesn't quite seem to fit the non-breeding plumage; however, I'm open to suggestions and opinions on the greyish underparts and flanks (which is not seen on the preceding images where these birds are pure white on the underparts). Unfortunately these are the only images I have.

Possible Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)?

Possible Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)?

After this excitement, we continued on our transect adding a number of passerines. A Daurian Shrike enjoying the warming sun

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

As was this White-throated Kingfisher seen sitting quietly in the reeds

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

Quite a few Caucasian Water Pipits were seen around the pools

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)

Also a Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola)

A Ruff was foraging in the same pool

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

Along with a number of Red-spotted Bluethroat's

Red-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

White-tailed Lapwing's were quite vocal on the way to the beach

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)

On the way back from the beach, we saw this magnificent fulvescens Spotted Eagle come in from over the sea

Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga fulvesces)

So, another enjoyable survey with Jaden with the highlight undoubtedly the Pale and Grey-throated Martin's - both 1st's for Kuwait

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