12 October 2018

Eid birding

Week 34; 21 August 2018 - Mutla'a Ranch and Jahra Pools Reserve

My family is arriving for a 2-week visit tomorrow, so Neil Tovey and I had another morning out together starting off again at Mutla'a just after sunrise.

A single European Roller was seen on the overhead line of the way to the Warbler patch

European Roller (oracias garrulus)

Again, we were on the search for any unusual Warblers, as a few Blythe's had been recorded in UAE in the past week and there is no reason why they shouldn't be found in Kuwait more frequently. We checked the field where we found the Paddyfield and there were some Warblers about; Indian Reed Warbler

Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. brunnescens)

Marsh Warbler

Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)

and Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)

There was one Warbler that we were unsure of, as it responded quite quickly to Blythe's call. It seems to have features of both Blythe's and Olivaceous - so at this point we are still not 100% sure of the ID. Some comments I have received are given below and if anyone has strong opinions on the ID, please drop me a mail;

Emargination's on P3 and P4 rule out Reed and Marsh, but are good for Blythe's
however, P1 length also rules out Blythe's!
The undertail covert length is good for a small acro
Overall olive tone to the plumage, apparent lack of white in the outer web of the outermost tail feather, lack of pale panel in the secondaries and rather robust bill are features at odds with Olivaceous
Although short claws and lead grey legs are pro Olivaceous features
Strong contrast in upper wing between very grey GC and very dark remiges and PC is another feature not in favour of Blythe's

Warbler tbc

Many Asian Grass Blue's were present in the same patch

Female Asian Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra)

As well as this pretty colourful wasp species

Wasp sp.

We then headed to JPR for a quick stop and checked the area where we had the Egyptian Nightjar last week, finding between 8-10 more

Egyptian Nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius)

A lone Western White Stork was seen down near the beach

Western White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)

After which we called it a day, as I had a couple of things to take care of before the family arrived in the early hours tomorrow morning

A dose of green

Week 34; 20 August 2018 - Pivot Fields

On the first day of Eid, Neil Tovey and I enjoyed a great morning in the Pivot Fields, arriving just after sunrise. Just on the way in we had Caspian Plovers, Collared Pratincoles and Black-crowned Sparrow Larks in the first open fields - but they were too distant for any images.

We really just drove around enjoying the birds this site has to offer, finding quite a few Harriers

Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)

two Buzzard species; a moulting Steppe

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)

and Long-legged putting up all the Sparrows

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

We flushed a small flock of Garganey that had dropped in to drink at a small pool

Garganey (Anas querquedula)

However, it was at the large pond where Neil got onto a small phylloscopus that dropped down out of the tree to grab an insect on the ground. It had a distinct super and a faint wingbar and we nailed it down as a Green Warbler, a scarce and probably annual, but over-looked migrant in Kuwait.

Green Warbler (Phylloscopus nitidus)

A great bird to end an enjoyable morning's birding

As the sun sets

Week 33; 17 August 2018 - Jahra Pools Reserve

Neil Tovey and I had a few hours at JPR in the late afternoon and were pleased to see that water had again been restored and the pools that were dry on the last visit, were now full again. It was still pretty hot and birds were still in cover.

However, we did find a roosting Egyptian Nightjar and later quite a few more (around 17 birds in the end) which was the highlight of the afternoon

Egyptian Nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius)

On the way to the beach, we found a juvenile Little Bittern (definitely class of 2018 from JPR)

Juvenile Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)

At the beach, quite a few waders about with this Bar-tailed Godwit being the closest.

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

Driving back from the beach, we surprised an Arabian Red Fox that looked quite magnificent in the late afternoon sun

Arabian Red Fox (Vulpes v. arabica)

At the outfall, we enjoyed the Little Egrets

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

and Black-crowned Night Herons coming in to roost. Again quite a few Class of 2018 youngsters amongst the adults.

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Migrants trickling in

Week 32; 11 August 2018 - Al Abraq and Diary Farm Pivots

Neil Tovey and I met way before sunrise for the drive west to Al Abraq. Migration is now kicking off and we dreaded the shooters that would be at the farm. We weren't disappointed, as the slaughter of migrants continues unabated, despite legislation being in place to prohibit it. We confronted them, took some images of the registration plates to report to the Environmental Police, in the outside hope that some action would be taken.

We explored other parts of the farm, to avoid them spoiling the rest of our morning. Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters had arrived and these are one of the species targeted by the shooters

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus) in the early morning light

A couple of Eurasian Hoopoe's were seen foraging around the farm

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler in the trees

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (Iduna pallida)

As well as an Upcher's Warbler

Upcher's Warbler (Hippolais languida)

A small flock of 1st year Rose-coloured Starlings looked like they were coming in to land, but aborted at the last minute and continued heading south

Rose-coloured Starling (Pastor roseus)

Clouded Yellow's have also arrived and were enjoying the flowering alfalfa. There seems to be some variability in colour with this species, with some more yellowish and a few quite pale green

Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus)

Together with Asian Grass Blues

Asian Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra)

It was starting to heat up which is when the shooters also leave, so one last drive around before deciding to head to Dairy Farm Pivots. We were pleasantly surprised to find two Black-winged Kites. These used to be national rarities, but are now seen annually in many locations

Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus vociferus)

A single Glossy Ibis was also found foraging in the fields and then alighting on the pivot (I added some warmth to spice up the dull silhouette)

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

There were Western Yellow Wagtails along with a single Citrine Wagtail in the alfalfa field.

Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola)

An unexpected surprise was a Long-eared Hedgehog that came out from the fields and really sprinted across the open and exposed desert area before it disappeared into the base of some hay bales

Long-eared Hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus)

Again the temperature had suddenly ratcheted up and this was a good time to call it a day

Very quiet over the ridge

Week 32; 06 August 2018 - Mutla'a Ridge and Jahra Farm

I was back at Mutla'a Ranch just after sunrise to see if I could relocate the Paddyfield and get some better images. It is amazing how abundance and diversity radically changes over such a short period

No luck at all and this morning there were very few Warblers around, other than this Upcher's Warbler.

Upcher's Warbler (Hippolais languida) actively swaying and fanning it's tail

And a Caspian Reed Warbler

Caspian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. fuscus)

It was actually pretty birdless, so I checked for invertebrates finding Green-striped White

Green-striped White (Euchloe bulimia) in flight

Asian Grass Blue

Asian Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra)

and a Lederer's Cupid/Small Desert Blue, a butterfly I first discovered at Mutla'a Ranch and haven't seen for ages

Lederer's Cupid (Chilades galba)

I then headed to Jahra Farm which was even quieter, resorting to photograph a Laughing Dove coming in to land

Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)

and finding number of this moth species which I need to identify

Moth sp

The only option after this was Egg McMuffin and back home