03 February 2019

A beach stroll and a MEGA

Week 04; 25 January 2019 - Abu Hassania Beach and JPR

After an enjoyable game of tennis in the early morning, I decided to have a casual stroll along my local Abu Hassania beach, as the weather had warmed up a little and we had blue skies.

Many resident birds are common around the urban areas adjoining the beaches, here a Laughing Dove enjoying some shade.

Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)

I walked along the beach, but as it was high tide, no waders to be seen, but there were a few Gull about. These two remained long enough to get an image, but then flew off with the rest of the flock

Heuglin's (Larus f. heuglini) and Steppe (Larus f. barabensis) Gull

I guess these are 1st year Gull's, but ID eludes me

Gull sp

Gull sp.

Surprisingly, there was a single Lesser Crested Tern, head-scratching as it flew off with the Gulls

Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)

The flower show continues following the excessive winter rain in December, so I explored the carpets of yellow Nowair flowers looking for invertebrates. The Painted Lady 'invasion' is still in full force and it is amazing how many of these butterflies are seen all around Kuwait.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) in the bed of Nowair flowers

I also found a couple of Moths that were feeding from the flowers along with the butterflies. There is not much literature on Moths of Kuwait, so I haven't been able to ID these

Moth sp.

Moth sp.

I also flushed a couple of large Grasshoppers whilst walking around.

Grasshopper sp.

There was not much else to be seen, so I headed back to my apartment. I was just about to get out the car when we received a WhatsApp message from Abdulrahman who was leading a group of Irish and British birders - "Black-throated Diver at JPR, NOW!" This is a 1st for Kuwait and the GCC, so I just put my car into reverse and then headed directly to JPR.

The water crossing at the reserve was a bit too deep for my car, so I had to wait for Humoud and Aziz to arrive, so I could jump in their SUV to get down to the beach.

Whilst anxiously waiting, I checked out the Outfall, where there were good numbers of Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

As well as a couple of Continental Great Cormorants swimming/foraging in the Outfall

Continental Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sinensis)

Once Humoud and Aziz arrived, we headed to the beach where the visiting birders and Abdulrahman were still present. By now the Loon had drifted further out on the high tide and it took quite some effort to get scope views as it was continuously diving (as you would expect). Eventually we all got satisfactory views, but it was too distant for us to get any images. 

Black-throated Loon is a fantastic and quite bizarre record for the region, although I'm sure our visiting birders would have preferred to add a new tick to their list, rather than a bird that is relatively common where they come from. But having your names in the records for a National 1st, is also pretty good in my opinion.

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