12 May 2013

Off-shore at Sea City and Zour

Week 19, 09 May 2013 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City and Mina Al Zour (Click to enlarge image)

The weather had stabilised and improved by the end of last week, so I was able to get off-shore from Sea City without getting wet and my kit sprayed.

The Bridled Terns seen last week were still present this week on the off-shore buoys and this pair was also seen mating in preparation for the coming breeding season on the off-shore islands.

Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus)

Mating pair of Bridle Terns (Onychoprion anaethetus)

Two Socotra Cormorants were also in the vicinity of the buoys but were initially roosting on the sea

Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)
We traveled north up the coast to Mina Al Zour and found Lesser Crested, White-cheeked and a few more Bridled Terns roosting on buoys much further out to sea. There was a mixture of ages in both species with some adults already in their breeding plumage, some younger birds and others in moult.

The Lesser Crested are the cool kids on the block, sorry buoy

Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)

Whilst the White-cheeked are more elegant and sophisticated

White-cheeked Tern (Sterna bengalensis)

Suddenly there was a lot of activity in the sea and the Terns all took off in the same direction - we saw the surface water boiling as some predator fish hammered a school of smaller fish. This activity generally doesn't last long and when we got there only the Bridled Terns remained, as the bait ball had gone deep and moved off - only to re-appear about 100m further a little later.

Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus) over the feeding frenzy

You can just see the predator and prey fish below and to the left of the Tern
During this opportunistic feeding frenzy a flock of 13 Socotra Cormorants flew in out of nowhere, certainly the biggest single flock I have ever seen in Kuwait. The joined in the fray, but were also just too late

The flock of 13 Socotra Cormorants (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)

Once back on dry land, I found a Sedge Warbler in some suitable habitat, a species I had not seen in Sea City on previous visits.

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

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