08 August 2013

The Ghost on the Sand

Week 32, 07 August 2013 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City (Click to enlarge image)

I was down in the south of Kuwait at the Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City Project in perfect weather; in fact it has been quite a long time since I last saw the Arabian Gulf as flat and smooth as a mirror.

It is interesting that currently there are more migrants in the north of the country than there are in the south, but walking the islands in Phase A1 I did find a few early Autumn migrants, the first being a rather skulking Eurasian Reed Warbler (note the flat forehead and thin bill), or possibly it is Caspian Reed Warbler?

Eurasian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)

The second island held a single Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin that just kept staying out of reach.

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes)
The third island had a single Isabelline Wheatear that definitely didn't stick around for long, so I was only able to squeeze off a departing flight shot.

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
And these strange wasps, called Bembix priesneri - a kind of Sphecid Wasp. What was interesting is that when they landed they dug a tunnel very quickly in the loose sand and disappeared inside it - not sure if this was looking for food or a way to get out of the sun?

Bembix priesneri

The fourth and last island had a family of Crested Larks and the 'ghost on the sand' which flushed from under a small bush as I was almost on top if it. What I do now know, is that once an Egyptian Nightjar is awake and aware, it is very difficult to get close to it again, before it flushes - so rather than stress the bird, I pre-focused my camera, so when it did flush I was able to get onto it quickly without any 'hunting' from the auto-focus.

The Ghost of the Sand; Egyptian Nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius)

We ventured off-shore in the boat and not surprising, there were 13 Socotra Cormorants on the buoys.

Sub-adult Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)
By now, my clothes were pretty soaked as the humidity was 25%, so I called it a morning. Driving down Road 278, I found another Isabelline Wheatear trying to stay cool in the shade of an acacia tree.

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

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