08 February 2012

A few days with Biodiversity East

Week 04 - 25 - 28 January 2012, various sites around Kuwait

We are working on an exciting project with the team from Biodiversity East and they were in Kuwait for a few days to meet with the Sponsor of the project and to visit some of our birding hotspots.

25 Jan 12

The first site visited was Pivot Fields and this is truly a fantastic location that has turned up many specials and rarities throughout the year. Following the very little rain, some flowers added a splash of colour in amongst the green

A splash of colour
This male Spanish Sparrow one of the victims from a shooter seen driving around on the outside of the farm

Wounded male Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)
 Today was one of the biggest solar flares in the last 6-years and I'm not sure if this caused some of the strange cloud formations in the sky

I understand this is called a Sun Dog and is caused by ice crystals very high up in the atmosphere

Sun Dog?
Here a very strange circular cloud that slowly dissipated

Strange clouds
 We had some good bird sightings, including some obliging Desert Wheatears

Male Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

A Black-crowned Night Heron coming in to roost, after it had been flushed by a Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
We then headed to another great site called Jahra Pools Reserve where we found Bluethroat

Red-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)
and still many White Wagtails

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
And this injured adult Greater Flamingo - possibly, actually probably from shooters

Injured/wounded Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
At Sulaibikhat, we were surprised to see White-winged Tern in full breeding plumage as we wrapped up the day

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

26 Jan 12

This was a special afternoon as we had managed to arrange a recce to Boubiyan Island with the coastguard. Unfortunately, due to fading light we were not able to see as much of the island we had hoped for - but it still was very exciting nevertheless

Some Grey Herons on the breakwater as we departed

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
One of 4 Great Black-headed Gulls seen while steaming north up the Gulf

Great Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus)

Heading North
Many Great Cormorants were seen on the water and roosting on some of the buoys

Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Once at Boubiyan, we encountered numbers of Armenian Gulls

Armenian Gull (Larus armenicus)
As the light was fading, photograph opportunities were limited - but we were able to land on the island and explore some of the habitat

Boubiyan Island habitat

On the way back to the mother ship, we were treated to a glorious sunset

Magnificent Boubiyan sunset
27 Jan 12

Most of the day was spent inside SAANR and although we did not see a variety of birds, this pristine desert was enjoyed by all

The Wadi's on the ridge just inside the reserve produced Eastern Mourning Wheatear and Arabian Red Fox

Eastern Mourning Wheater (Oenanthe lugens) in wadi habitat
As well as some pretty cool landscape

SAANR landscape

At Tuhla, we had an Eurasian Sparrowhawk roosting in the cover and an Eastern Imperial Eagle pass by overhead in the strong wind

Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)
28 Jan 12

Our last day together was spent at the Al Abraq oasis farm in the far west.

We arrived early in the morning and again enjoyed exploring all aspects of this farm.

A slow orientation drive around the farm produced one of many adult Blackbirds

Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)
We then parked the cars and explored on foot, finding Daurian Shrike

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)
Mauryan Grey Shrike

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius lahotra)
In one of the pens, we saw an injured Cinereous Vulture that was been kept for safe keeping

Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus)
and a few Water Pipits at the big pond in front of the house; where Aris had seen and photographed a single male Dead Sea Sparrow

Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)

Here is the very happy team after the end of a successful visit to Kuwait

L to R - Graham, Stamitis, Vasso, Nancy, Aris and yours truly

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