05 December 2013

Another Mega

Week 49, 04 December 2013

A visiting group of international birders were returning from Abdaly Farms when they stopped at Sabriya Farm (this is a small farm near the coast on the road to Boubyan Island). Here one of the members (Alan) discovered a small Flycatcher similar in appearance to Red-breasted. However Red-breasted are passage migrants in Kuwait, so this shy and skittish bird warranted a much closer look by the group. After some time they were able to confirm that it was a mega in the form of a Taiga Flycatcher, the 2nd record for Kuwait and word was spread.

I received the news from Markus, but was only able to visit the farm in the afternoon; a day after it was discovered. It is always a worry that a vagrant is a one day bird, but fortunately the bird was still present in the morning (see http://www.birdsofkuwait.com/blog/ for Abdulrahman's images that do show some key features), but then was not seen for most of the day.

When I arrived, I teamed up with Humoud and together we were lucky enough to relocate the bird which was calling, but in poor light and overcast conditions which was getting gloomier by the minute. Of course, being a rarity and a flycatcher it wasn't going to be co-operative and it always seemed to keep a lot of cover between itself and us. 

Finally we were able to get decent views to see some of the salient features, but getting half decent photographs was tougher - compounded by a Sparrowhawk that whizzed through the trees keeping the bird sitting tight. I don't think we have ascertained yet if this is a female or first winter bird, it might be too difficult to tell?

Finally I was able to get a handful of images, but ISO had to be pushed to 1600 to get a half decent shutter speed. If it sticks around (it was still there today), early morning may be better so I will try again to get more images that better show some of the key features.

Taiga Flycatcher (Ficedula albicilla), 2nd record for Kuwait

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