23 September 2012

Raptor Watch - Cont.

Week 38, 17 September 2012 - Khuwaisat and SAANR (Click to enlarge image)

On the weekend (14/09) we had strong winds and dust from the NW and this brought in really big numbers of Raptors. Birders who were able to get out early in the week reported in excess of 2,000 Raptors, made up mostly of Steppe Buzzards in a variety of plumage variations, but also many Honey Buzzards and a few Crested Honey Buzzards.

I was able to get out early one day in the week to finally witness this amazing spectacle for myself as the birds departed from their overnight roost and started thermalling in small kettles, slowly disappearing from site.

A few images of some of the Steppe Buzzards follow....

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus) migration

A lone 1cy Black Kite stood out from the thermalling flock

1cy Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Once the majority had moved off, I went off to SAANR - just after the ridge, I came across a Steppe Eagle patiently watching a Marsh Harrier devour the remains of a Spiny-tailed Lizard.

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) with Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Once I got to Tuhla, I joined many of the other birders patiently waiting for birds to stop over for a drink before continuing on their migration. Again, most were Steppe Buzzards.

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)

Just after I left, Khaled Al Nasrallah called me to say a juvenile Honey Buzzard had stopped for a drink, so I finally ticked this species on my Kuwait list, but was unable to get an image. On the way back to the main gate, a pale phase Booted Eagle came by quite low on its way to Tuhla

Pale phase Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata)

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