15 June 2018

Guiding - Day 1 and a Mega

Week 48; 01 December 2017 - Sulaibikhat, JEO, Jahra Farm, JPR

I had 2 enjoyable days guiding Canadian David McCorquodale; Dean of Science and Technology from Cape Breyton University in Sydney who was interested in both the birds and desert habitat of Kuwait.

We had a not too early start, as sunrise is a little later in winter and our first stop was the outfall at KISR where the Hypocolius was the target and successfully found. A real surprise was a brief glimpse of a Water Rail at the base of one of the degraded mangroves. Another expected bird was Armenian Gull and I managed to locate a single bird amongst the other large white-headed Gulls

Armenian Gull (Larus armenicus)

At the 'Manchester Club' outfall in Sulaibikhat we had Gull-billed 

Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)

And Whiskered Terns feeding above the outfall providing great photo opportunities for Dave

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida)

A little further on, there were massive numbers of shorebirds on the low tide mud flats that were quite spectacular when they took off on mass with some Greater Flamingo's in the foreground

Impressive Wader flock

At Jahra East Outfall we added a couple of Wheatear and a good number of other species along with Siberian Stonechat

Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus)

Next stop was Jahra Farm, where many new birds were added to the list - Common Kestrel overhead. I changed this to B+W as it was photographed against the light
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Meadow Pipits foraging in the fields

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)

Just across the freeway is Jahra Pools Reserve where we bumped into Markus Craig who had found the mega and 1st Grey-throated Martin for Kuwait on the 24th November and that had been present yesterday. We split up to try and relocate it which I did, but not where it had been seen previously. It was still associating with a mixed flock of Sand Martins and Barn Swallows and feeding fairly high above the reedbed on the western side of the reserve. Markus joined us and for around 30-minutes we watched the flock trying to get images of the bird which is really challenging for a small fast flying Martin that is unpredictable in flight. David was really pleased to have seen a species that is a 1st for Kuwait

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

Here a few Sand Martin's also present

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

As the daylight hours are a lot shorter in winter, we made our last stop at the Pivot Fields boundary fence and continued to add more species to the day's list including an impressive adult Imperial Eagle to close out an enjoyable day.

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