21 August 2018

Boubyan and Warba Island

Week 14; 06 April 2018 - Boubyan and Warba Island

I arranged a trip with Kuwait Coastguard for the KORC members, so we could get a sense of the numbers of species preparing for the coming breeding season on Boubyan. This is a restricted area and the Kuwait Coastguard kindly offered to take us through some of the Khawr's that snake through Boubyan and their skill and knowledge to navigate these tricky Khawr's is invaluable. It is within these Khawr's that many of the resident species breed.

On the way up, we had Eurasian Curlew fly across bow of the boat - quite a challenge to even find it in the view finder.

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)

A little further, Swift Tern was seen overhead (apparently there is a substantial breeding colony of this species on the island that we need to check on our next visit).

Swift Tern (Sterna bergii)

The first Khawr we traversed had the Gull-billed Tern breeding colony and it is quite something to be surrounded by them

Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)

The next had Slender-billed Gull's and they are quite striking in their breeding plumage with the pink wash to the underparts and the way they extend their necks characteristically in flight when displaying

Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)

The last Khawr was where the majority of Herons breed close to the shoreline on elevated nests - Grey Heron. Here three youngsters on one of the nests - not sure where the fish came from?

Juvenile Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

As well as Indian Reef Heron

Juvenile Indian Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea)

Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea) - dark form

Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea) - pale form

It was whilst watching the adults and young that we saw our only Eurasian Spoonbill fly overhead. It seems the number of breeding pairs has decreased significantly over the past few years - not sure of the reason, but perhaps competition with the Herons for available and suitable nest sites?

Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

We did also see the Crab-plovers, but they were too distant for images

On the way out, we made a stop on Warba Island as this usually produces passerine migrants, even despite the lack of any suitable habitat other than some scraggly shrubs and reeds around the coastguard station, but Eastern Orphean Warbler

Eastern Orphean Warbler (Sylvia crassirostris)

White-throated Robin to add a splash of colour

White-throated Robin (Irania gutturalis)

a few Pied Wheatear's and a Woodchat Shrike were all enjoyed by the team.

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)

Walking back to the boat, the tide was receding, so we enjoyed the 2 species of Mudskipper that occur on Warba; Walton's

Walton's Mudskipper (Periophthalmus waltoni)

and Slender

Slender Mudskipper (Scartelaos tenuis)

Overall a good day and thanks again to the Kuwait Coastguard for their hospitality, skill and patience whilst taking us to the various breeding locations.

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