28 April 2013

Surf and Turf

Week 16, 18 and 19 April 2013 - Sea City and Yarmouk Sports Club (Click to enlarge image)

I had a morning at Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City in less than ideal weather - blustery wind made conditions in the boat a challenge.

Surprisingly I only had a a Marsh Warbler hiding in a fence near the boat jetty.

Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)
After the time on the water, I explored the desert finding a good number of Whinchat, mostly males

Male Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
A pretty dark female Northern Wheatear

Female Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
and two juvenile Kentish Plovers which had bred away from the lagoons in a quieter area of the project. We had always known they were breeding, but this was our first confirmation.

Juvenile Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
The next day, whilst my son had his tennis lesson I went to check what was feeding on the adjacent soccer fields at the Yarmouk Club in Mishref. Still many migrants about on the ground and passing by overhead

There were numbers of Yellow Wagtails, interspersed with a few Red-throated Pipits in varying stages of breeding plumage

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

Of interest was a single Tawny Pipit

Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
A Red-backed Shrike sat unobtrusively on the goal post

Male Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)
and a low fly by from a European Bee-eater as it tried to ambush a few insects on the field...

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Then it was back to the tennis courts to take some action shots

22 April 2013

An awesome morning at Jahra

Week 16, 15 April 2013 - Jahra Pools Reserve (Click to enlarge image)

It had certainly warmed up this morning and the birding was pretty hot too at Jahra Pools. I had 61 species in just over 3-hours birding, which is truly impressive given the size of this reserve. The most critical factor is the stability of the water supply which has attracted both migrants and breeders alike. It was one of those mornings where you didn't quite know where to start and on each circuit you found a bird you hadn't seen earlier - just fantastic!

So excuse the long post, but enjoy the birds of Jahra Pools...There werent many passerines around, but Common Redstart's always add a splash of colour

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
There were a few Red-throated Pipits around

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus) 
and large numbers of Yellow Wagtails; here Grey-headed

Grey-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. thunbergi)
and Yellow-headed

Yellow-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. lutea)
I had Red-spotted Bluethroat

Red-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)
and my 2nd Caucasian Bluethroat of the year, this one still a challenge to photograph

Caucasian Bluethroat (Luscinia s. magna)

The only Wheatears seen were Northern

Female Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
But I did get a few Shrike species, this is either a juvenile or female Red-backed Shrike, probably juvenile as there is still evidence of streaking on the crown

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)
and a smart looking Turkestan (karelini) - note the greyer tones to the upperparts

Turkestan Shrike (Lanius p karelini)

A large shadow passed over my car and it turned out to be 17the record of Black Stork for Kuwait and a cracking adult - I'm not aware of that many records of adult birds. I have 4 sightings of this species to my credit, 3 in April and 1 in May!

Adult Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), 17th for Kuwait

I also saw my first Plain Tiger/African Monarch in Kuwait a butterfly normally associated with Africa and Asia than the Middle East where it is widespread

Plain Tiger/African Monarch (Danaus chrysippus)
There was evidence of breeding with Moorhen chicks

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) chick
and Little Grebe chicks seen

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) chick
and a pair of Kentish Plovers with their off-spring

Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) adult and chick
We have also confirmed Mallard breeding for the first time in Kuwait as well as these 4 ducklings (no evidence of the adults) which we suspect are either Common Pochard or Ferruginous Duck; we need to monitor them over the coming weeks to confirm id - either way, both would be a first breeding record for Kuwait

ID still to be confirmed, suspected to be either Common Pochard or Ferruginous Duck

I also saw a distant male Garganey in breeding plumage which I hadnt seen before in Kuwait

Male Garganey (Anas querquedula)
Right, to the wading birds - driving in I found a skulking male Little Bittern at the base of the reeds next to the road - it was so close, I could only manage a portrait

Male Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
Also seen were a mixed group of Black-crowned Night Herons out in the open

Juvenile and Adult Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
A few Squacco Herons

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
and a small flock of Western Cattle Egrets (my dad and his mates)

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
With a single Collared Pratincole keeping them company

Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola) 

At least 4 quite confiding Spotted Crakes

Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana)
Only one Common Snipe

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

In terms of the waders I had; Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

Wood and Green Sandpiper side by side for comparison

Wood (Tringa glareola) and Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Marsh Sandpiper

Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)
Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Little Stints and Curlew Sandpipers

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Numbers of Little Ringed Plovers

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
and a regal looking Black-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
and Black-winged Stilts in breeding plumage in the same pool as the Greater Flamingo's

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
together with a flock of Red-necked Phalaropes that were foraging close to the  bank

Red-necked Phalaropes (Phalaropus lobatus)
Just as I was about to leave, I stopped at one of the quieter pools and watched a territorial battle between 2 Common Moorhens (males?) and possibly the female looking on - very entertaining and a great way to end of what was a fantastic morning at Jahra Pools

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) territorial battle