21 July 2014

A few early migrants

Week 27, 05 July 2014 - Sulaibikhat to Al Abraq

Neil Tovey and I headed out west to the oasis farm of Al Abraq for a look see.

After an early morning pick-up, we headed north and stopped at one of the outfalls (this is another description for dirty urban water flowing out into the Gulf) in Sulaibikhat. As nasty and smelly as they are, they do attract the birds.

A Common Redshank was seen in amongst some urban companions

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus ) amongst numbers of Columba livia
More interestingly were the few Common Black-headed Gulls that appeared to have stayed for the summer. This a distant record shot.

Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) with Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei )

Over the outfall, Terns were swooping down and taking large crickets off the surface that had been washed out of the sewage. A number of juvenile Gull-billed Terns

Juvenile Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)
as well as some juvenile Common Terns 

Juvenile Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

which are tricky to tell apart from the very similar White-cheeked Terns which do breed on the off-shore islands.

Juvenile White-cheeked Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)
We then made the long drive (by Kuwait standards) to Al Abraq. After a quick orientation drive around the farm, we parked and walked.

There were at least 6 Upcher's Warblers present around the farm.

Upchers Warbler (Hippolais languida)
But a single Afghan Babbler was a real surprise and a treat for both Neil and I. This was my first record of this bird at Abraq and this far west and only managed a record shot as it moved away from us at speed. It just shows that birding always seems to produce something interesting to see.

Afghan Babbler (Turdoides c. huttoni)
A couple of interesting insects were around in the summer heat, a Brown Playboy that I recorded at this site previously

Brown Playboy (Deudorix antalus)
and a large Bembix type wasp species

Bembix sp.
By now the mercury was pushing to the upper 40's so we had a last drive around the farm. A large shadow passing on the ground in front of us saw the brake lights come on sharply and we both jumped out almost before I stopped the car. A smart and fresh juvenile Long-legged Buzzard was overhead and looking for a place to land. A few quick pics and we moved on so that it could land.

Juvenile Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

And just in case I would forget (not that I would) - hey Dad!

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis )

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