18 December 2013

Grey day, grey birds

Week 50, 12 December 2013

I had another sortie down to Sea City in less than ideal conditions, I guess not all outings can be done in perfect weather.

A low pressure cell with ominous clouds, some drizzle and increasing winds bringing rising dust through the morning.

Storm clouds in front of the rising sun
I wasn't able to get out on the boat, so explored the project in a SUV getting sand-blasted every time I opened a window.

Most birds were keeping out of the wind, but I did find a relatively sheltered estuary on the south side of Khiran that had an extraordinary number of birds staying low out of the wind and blowing sand and under very grey skies.

Most surprising was a flock of around 470 Slender-billed Gulls roosting on a sandbank, certainly the most I have seen this far south.

In an area away from the main force of the wind, I found a mixed flock of winter plumaged (grey, to match the sky) shorebirds - a Terek Sandpiper disappeared before I could even open the window, but other good birds included; Bar-tailed Godwit, my first record from the south of Kuwait.

Winter plumage Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

Probing deep in the sand for mollusks
Eurasian Curlew

Winter plumage Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
Grey Plover

Winter plumage Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
and both Greater 

Winter plumage Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)
and Lesser Sand Plover's

Winter plumage Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius atrifrons)
There was not much else to be seen, so I headed home to clean the dust off all my kit and myself.

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