26 January 2021

Home Sweet Home

09 December 2020 - Kyalami Estate, Midrand

I am now back home in South Africa and re-united with my family after almost a year due to the Covid restrictions.

My birding adventures in Kuwait have sadly come to an end, but will for sure continue in South Africa and wherever else we may go..

For those who enjoyed this and my previous Blog for Kuwait which I started in 2007, I sincerely hope you will continue the birding adventures with me in South Africa on my new Blog below. 

Mike Pope Photography

Looking forward to staying in touch.....

My home in Midrand, South Africa





06 December 2020

Au Revoir Kuwait

Week 49; 04 December 2020 - Pivot Fields

This would indeed be my last outing in Kuwait and this morning met up with Neil Tovey and Matt Nottingham at the Pivots at 6:30am. Like yesterday, it was gloomy, overcast and drizzly - but we had a great time chatting and reminiscing at the marsh whilst enjoying a welcome birders breakfast.  Again, this was a day for record images, as ISO really had to be cranked up. Later John Gurnett also joined up with us..

During this time we were entertained by a couple of Spotted Crake

Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana)


as well as a Water Rail, which was not quite as confiding as the Crake

Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)


A Chiffchaff dropped in

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)


We then had a drive around the farm, I had a good few Bluethroat, both European and Caspian Stonechat and this damp Steppe Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike (Lanius e. lahtora)


Just off the main road, there was a lot of standing water from the rain, which attracted the Black-winged Stilts, along with a Bar-tailed Godwit and a cracking male Eurasian Teal

Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) amongst the Stilts


On the exposed mud flats, there were a few Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)


Nearby the flock of Indian Silverbill were in the same place as last week

Indian Silverbill (Lonchura malabarica)


Sitting amongst them on the overhead line was this probable Arabian Grey Shrike

Probable Great Grey Shrike (Lanius e. aucheri)


In the fields, there were many Water Pipits feeding on erupting insects.

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)


I was checking all the Pipit's carefully in the hope of finding one last special. But, it was not to be - however I did uncover a few Meadow Pipits

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)


A little later, a flock of Spanish Sparrow and the only decent image of the morning, as the sun briefly made an appearance

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)


It was then time bid farewell to this amazing location and I was treated to an Indian Roller flyby, as my last bird for Kuwait

Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)




From here it was back to my apartment as there is a lot of admin and many other tasks to be done, before you can officially wind-up. So, still much to do before I can fly - including the PCR test, 72-hours before my flight which should be negative!






Soggy JPR

Week 49; 03 December 2020 - Jahra Pools Reserve and Jahra Farm

I met up with Omar AlShaheen for one last nostalgic drive around Jahra Pools reserve on a gloomy and drizzly afternoon. It was more about the company than the birding and we had a great catch-up whilst driving round the overgrown reserve. Apparently, it is planned that the reeds will be cut and managed in the near future and that they water quality will be assessed.

We had a few good species like Black-necked and Great Crested Grebe, Grey-headed Swamphen, Osprey and Masked Shrike and a good few duck species, but the weather was not our friend today.

Quality images were out of the question, any pics today would just be record images

We headed across the road to Jahra Farm where the best bird seen in the rain was a Crested Honey Buzzard. 

Crested Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)


We had a late Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat (Curruca curruca)


And two Bank Myna's, which I hadn't seen for quite awhile, on the way back to the car

Bank Myna (Acridotheres ginginianus)


All to soon, it was time to say cheers, but hopefully some time in the future we can plan a trip to South Africa for quality southern hemisphere birds!




02 December 2020

The penultimate visit to Pivots

Week 48; 27 November 2020 - Pivot Fields

Winter weather has arrived, well at least the overcast days with scattered rain, but still not really that cold yet. Arriving at the farm just after 6, it is now a much longer wait until it brightens up for birds to get active and to get some images. This morning it was just John Gurnett, Jules and I at the farm. Once it lightened up, I went to the area of dead Sabkha bushes, as these attract a few species and are great perches.

I had this Turkestan Shrike which seems like the same bird from last week.

Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)


There were good numbers of winter plumaged Red-spotted Bluethroat around

Red-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia s. svecica)


As well as both European

European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)


And Caspian Stonechat's

Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)





I then drove to the marsh where I found this Greater Spotted Eagle feeding on a Grey Heron and spent quite some time with it as it picked the flesh from the bones. 

It had to almost stand on it's toes to pull out what looked like the oesophagus, but it wouldn't pull free from the bone - so was pretty funny to watch.

Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga)






Once it had finished and flown off, I headed to a different part of the marsh, picking up Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)


The Great Cormorant still present from last week

Continental Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sinensis)


As was the Great Egret

Western Great Egret (Ardea alba)


Peering between the reeds, I found an eclipse plumaged male Northern Shoveler on the water

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)




I then had a slow drive around the farm, finding Imperial Eagles. 

This morning there were more Imperials than Greater Spotted, including a cracking adult

Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)




I really like the plumage on the young Greater Spotted, especially the upperparts after which they must be named. Both these species are unlikely in South Africa, so I need to soak up and enjoy these sightings!

Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga)



I had this single foraging Skylark that I checked carefully for Oriental, but it was not to be

Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis)


Later in the morning, I found an obliging large flock of Indian Silverbill

Indian Silverbill (Lonchura malabarica)





And while watching them, got a Water 

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)


And Meadow Pipit on the overhead lines

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)


A little further on, a Steppe Buzzard walking in the fields, catching insects along the way

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)


And a Montagu's Harrier cruising low over the fields

Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)


I ended up the morning back at the marsh, where a White-throated Kingfisher was hunting

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)


as well as good numbers of Whiskered Tern hawking amongst the Dragonflies

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida)



I will try and head back to the farm next weekend, which will then be my last birding outing in Kuwait, as this chapter of birding in the oven, slowly comes to an end