I started the day just after sunrise at Jahra Farm checking for Thrush and Pipit species, given that UAE had a few Buff-bellied and Olive-backed this past week. No luck at all, but I did have a Masked Shrike and Western Cattle Egret
|Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)|
I then headed across the freeway to JPR, blissfully unaware how the morning was to unfold.I stopped at the big pool and watched a male Western Marsh Harrier hunting over the reeds.
|Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)|
The Gadwall were nervous and took flight frequently
|Gadwall (Anas strepera)|
The Black-necked Grebes were a long way off, not so for the many Little Grebes
|Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)|
On the way to the beach, a White-throated Kingfisher sat patiently in a dead tree waiting for breakfast
|White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)|
Not far off, a Greater Spotted Eagle with a bulging crop rested in a tree, while a few others were circling overhead
|Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)|
Down at the beach, there were small flocks of Spanish Sparrows
|Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)|
and a Daurian Shrike
|Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)|
The tide was really far out, so not much to be seen in the inter-tidal zone
Deciding to do a last circuit of the reserve, I took a road that is bordered by tall reeds on either side on the way back to the big pool. Driving slowly as I approached the junction of a road that is closed with warning tape, I saw a dark medium size bird standing motionless on a pool of water, facing away from me. Moorhen was the obvious thought as they are a dime a dozen, but the bill was just too long. As I stopped, it turned to face me and all I saw was white cheeks and underparts - White-breasted frigging Waterhen (I have seen them plenty times in India and Sri Lanka). It is a species we have long considered should be found in Kuwait, as it has been recorded in UAE and Oman. But, this record is especially special as it is a 1st for Kuwait AND the WP!
|1st White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) for Kuwait and WP|
As I stopped, it darted out of the pool and into cover and I only managed to get off one frame. The only strategy was to sit and wait while I put out the news to the birders on our WhatsApp group who all changed what they had planned for the day and made their way to JPR.
|White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)|
Fortunately it stayed in the area and most were able to connect with it over the course of the day and the following day.
It was still present on 17/12/19 for a visiting international birder and should hopefully stay, as quite a few more international birders have planned to arrive in the coming days!