14 November 2015

Owling the night away

Week 39, 25 September 2015 - Desert area in the west

Earlier in the week, there had been confirmed reports of Barn Owl, a species I had not yet connected with in Kuwait (although I had seen two deceased birds that had been hit by cars on the freeways).

We suspect it may be a resident species, but it is considered scarce in Kuwait.

We arrived in the general area around 8pm at night and this is a special time to be in the desert; it is quiet and takes some time to get your orientation. A few of my local birding friends were already there and had briefly seen the bird.

We tried in a different area and after some time, my son picked up a flying Nightjar in the spotlight, followed shortly by a much bigger and paler bird; the Barn Owl. There was no opportunity to get a picture, as it flew over us, quartered and then disappeared back into the night.

We waited around for some time and then agreed it wasn't going to return, so we focused on some of the Nightjars we had seen hunting on the wing. All the birds we saw were Egyptian, but it took some patience to eventually get close to one that was roosting on the ground. Flash as the primary source of light, isn't always the most flattering - but I'm happy that these are not too 'artificial'. It will take a few more images to get the optimum exposure, but the subject doesn't always give you the opportunity to practice

Egyptian Nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius)

Near some water we also found an unexpected Green Toad. According to the IUCN Red Data List, the status of Green Toads in Israel, Jordan, Sinai (Egypt) and of the isolated, relict population in the southern Hadramaut in southwestern Saudi Arabia is currently unclear and it is possible these populations should be included within either Bufotes variabilis or Bufotes boulengeri pending further review

Green Toad (Bufotes variabilis or boulengeri)
We will plan to get out there again, as I need to improve the images and also to see if we have better luck with the Ghost of the Night