28 September 2018

Blaze of Glory

Week 19; 12 May 2018 - Jahra Pools and Jahra Farm

Our birding colleague and friend Markus Craig will be departing Kuwait in the coming week, so we had a day out together in not the best weather. The wind howled all through the night and was still really strong from the east when I picked up Markus before sunrise. We debated on where to go and Jahra was the obvious choice as we know that inclement weather can push birds off course.

We had a quick walk around Jahra Farm - no sign of the Flycatcher or the River Warbler that were seen last week, but we did have a few Ortolan Bunting.

Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)

Across the road to JPR, where we had an obliging Icterine Warbler feeding along the reeds out of the howling wind. It has been quite some time since I last saw this species.

Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina)

Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were roosting on the ground to keep out of the wind

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)

A Corncrake skulking in the undergrowth next to the road was a bonus

Corncrake (Crex crex)

In the pools, we had Common Redshank

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

And a Temminck's Stint

Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii)

We then headed for the beach where Sanderling were feeding on the inter-tidal zone.

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

A Eurasian Whimbrel flew by and was certainly very pale, but not good enough views to see if it was a possible Steppe Whimbrel

Eurasian Whimbrel (Numenius p. phaeopus)

And Slender-billed Gull's that were feeding in a similar manner as a Skimmer - except they were literally running in the water with their beaks open, up and down the inter-tidal zone

Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)

As the wind was still blowing hard from the east, sea-watching was the obvious thing to do and we soon found Arctic Skua in the distance. Shortly after, I picked up a smaller all dark bird and immediately got Markus onto it - it was flying in big arcs above the sea we both shouted that it was a Petrel.We spent about 15-minutes while it was still visible taking in as many features as possible and agree that it was probably Jouanin's. We put out the message, but it was not located again, despite intensive searching along the coast together with Omar - very exciting for sure and confirmation is still pending with experts before we submit to Rarity Committee for adjudication.

Whilst looking for the Petrel up the coast, we got a call for the 2nd Pied Stonechat for Kuwait found by Dr Aref in exactly the same place where the Collared Flycatcher was found and where Markus and I had checked earlier this morning. So, it was an abrupt turnaround and at speed to Jahra Farms where a small and excited group of birders enjoyed the cracking male.

Male Pied Stonechat (Saxicola caprata), 2nd for Kuwait

Innovative farm worker at Jahra - this is how you push two wheel barrow's!

Jahra Worker

Whilst at Jahra, we got news that the Little Gull was still at JPR (it wasn't earlier when we were at the beach) and this was a lifer for me. 

A quick photograph of a Spotted Flycatcher and we headed back across the road.

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

And down to the beach - it took some time, but with the scope Markus was able to find it and my 2nd lifer for the day.

Distant record image of Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus), 8th record for Kuwait

So, despite the inclement weather - a Blaze of Glory it certainly was!

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