06 March 2016

Over the hump..

Week 08, 20 February 2016 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City, Khiran

I was expecting a good outing today, but unfortunately came away disappointed with low species diversity in blustery and cool conditions.

There was not much to be found anywhere, as birds stayed low and out of the wind. The highlight however, was a number of Common Quail that with patience eventually showed themselves, to warm up in the early morning rays..

Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)

A pair of Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)
A pair of Crested Larks were found foraging in the desert habitat

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
As were a number of Isabelline Wheatears

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
The numbers of Gulls have certainly reduced, but I found a small mixed flock of Gulls, Cormorants and Terns on a sheltered beach. Caspian was the obvious Gull

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)

As was the Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)
Not 100% sure about these two Gulls though...again!

Gull sp.

Possible Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans) ??
Out in the desert, the Desert Iris will soon be looking like a 'purple' carpet - they really do have stunning and delicate little flowers.

Desert Blue Flag Iris (Gynandriris sisyrinchium)
And with this post, finally, my backlog is caught up!

LBJ's announce their arrival

Week 06, 06 February 2016 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City, Khiran

We are starting to move into the transition period where the winter visitors slowly diminish but are replaced with the arrival of the spring migrants in pumped up breeding plumage.

I was in the reed habitat with my coffee, as the sun peeped over the horizon. This time there were a few more Green Sandpiper present

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

I could hear Warblers calling in the reeds and with patience they slowly appeared as the rays hit the reedbed; first a possible Caspian Reed Warbler, which is pretty early

Possible Caspian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. fuscus)

Which was followed by a number of Moustached Warbler's - this my first record for the south of Kuwait

Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)

In the desert area, Desert Wheatear was still present

Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
And the expected White-eared Bulbul

White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus l. leucotis)
Once out on the water, the number of Gulls had also diminished somewhat, this a roosting Caspian Gull

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)
Off-shore, I had my favourite Gull; Great Black-headed

Great Black-headed Gull (Leucophaeus ichthyaetus)

Today, the only invertebrate of interest was a Brown Playboy

Brown Playboy (Deudorix antalus)
The next few weeks should show a marked increase in species diversity as the spring migrants announce their arrival and we are all looking forward to that...

A splash of colour

Week 04, 23 January 2016 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City, Khiran

It is still dark when I leave and head south, but I do get to enjoy the winter sunrise after grabbing my Mac breakfast to go..

As winter starts edging to an end, you do get the feel that other species will soon make their appearance. And so it was today, even though it was still a little gloomy to start with some heavy clouds overhead....a Common Redshank was first up

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Followed by a few Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
and a lone Little Egret in and around the location with water and reeds

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
In the desert area, I added Eastern Mourning Wheatear

Eastern Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens)
and an early pair of European Stonechat's

Female European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

Male European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
Out on the water it was the expected wintering Gulls and Cormorants; the Gulls are completing their moults in preparation for their imminent departure, so the primary mirrors in this flying Caspian Gull did assist with the ID

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)
A mixed flock of Gull were found roosting on the beach, this a Heuglin's

Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)
But for these two, I'm a little uncertain..
ID uncertain?

Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini) - perhaps?
A found a large flock of Great Cormorants that had cornered a large shoal of baitfish and I enjoyed the feeding frenzy that followed - organised chaos!

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) feeding mayhem

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) moulted to breeding plumage
An unexpected visitor was a really early Lesser Crested Tern that I found off-shore - either it is early, or it over-wintered?

Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)
Back on land, a pair of Kentish Plovers appeared to be staking out a territory in preparation for the coming breeding season

Female Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

Male Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
A couple of invertebrates, to keep the post interesting; the regular Darkling Beetle(s)

Darkling Beetles
A Crimson Speckled Flunkey

Crimson Speckled Flunkey (Utetheisa pulchella)
A Wasp sp.

Wasp sp.
and a Honey Bee

Honey Bee
As mentioned in the previous post, the desert flower show has already started following the good winter rains

White and Grey and Black

Week 02, 09 January 2016 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City, Khiran

After a fantastic 2-weeks in the mountains and forests of Austria and even a bonus snow storm on the last day of the year, we find ourselves back in Kuwait - where it did take quite some time to re-adjust back to the land of sand!

There were good winter rains while we were away and this bodes well for a good spring as the desert floral show will start erupting soon.

My first outing of the year, was down south...

Very few winter species at my first stop, other than a White Wagtail

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
A single Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
And the female Western Black Redstart, still present in the same area as last month

Western Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
I found a fruiting shrub inside the project, which a small flock of White-eared Bulbul's were enjoying

White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus l. leucotis)
Out on the water, it was a bit of a Gull fest....with a number of species around..

An array of the resident Slender-billed Gulls in a variety of plumage variations

Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)

A single Common Black-headed Gull which are uncommon in the south

Wintering Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

A classic winter plumaged Heuglin's Gull (in hindsight, similar to the bird I recorded last month)

Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)

This one may be Steppe, as it is a little paler above than some of the other Heuglin's that were present.....

Possible Steppe Gull (Larus f. barabensis)

A flyby of a single Western Cattle Egret was also a little unusual for the south of Kuwait

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
A couple of invertebrates were also recorded; Painted Lady

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui cardui)
Mediterranean Pierrot

Mediterranean Pierrot (Tarucus rosaceus)
and Western Pygmy Blue

Western Pygmy Blue (Brephidium exilis)
Whilst this Dragonfly remains unidentified

Dragonfly sp.