12 August 2017

Post op birding

Week 07, 15 February 2017 - Jahra and Sulaibiya

I had been incapacitated for sometime with a detached retina for which I had to have surgery and a fairly long face-down recovery time. After I had been given the all clear to keep my head-up, I had to get out to 'test' out the vision in the affected eye (which obviously will never be as it was before).

I started with a slow walk around Jahra Farm finding Bank Myna

Bank Myna (Acridotheres ginginianus)
A numbers of White Wagtail in the fields

1st year White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) - check the all black cap

Adult White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
From there it was across the freeway to Jahra Pools where the winter light was quite sweet which allowed for some backlit creativity with some birds in the reeds. This is a probable Siberian Chiffchaff (thanks Yoav). Note the grey-brown on the crown, nape and mantle and the buff supercilium

Siberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus c. tristis)
A Common Kingfisher was sitting quietly on top of a reed with an interesting shape

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
Whilst this Common Snipe was reflected perfectly in a still pool

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
The female Eurasian Sparrowhawk was still in the same area where I saw here in January

Female Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
I found a splendid male Desert Wheatear on the sabkha near the beach

Male Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
Caucasian Water Pipits were aplenty around the pools, this one starting to transition into breeding plumage

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)
A Siberian/Byzantine/South Caspian Stonechat (I'm not sure which is the correct name anymore) was seen around the reeds and in the drier part of the reserve
Female Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus)

Male European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
Which is where this smart Daurian Shrike was seen

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

A Richards Pipit had been seen a few days back from the western boundary of the Sulaibiya Farm, so I headed there as my last stop on the way home. Unfortunately the weather also took a turn, so by the time I made it to the site it was overcast and drizzling. Driving on the outside of the fence, I had Steppe Buzzard on the pivots

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)
And then finally I found the Richards Pipit quite near the fence, which allowed a few record images at a pretty high ISO. This is a good bird for Kuwait, as it is recorded quite infrequently.

Richards Pipit (Anthus richardi)

I didn't want to put anymore unnecessary strain on my eye, so this was a good bird to call it a day

Winter light

Week 02, 14 January 2017 - Jahra Pools Reserve

Well, it's the start of a new year and the french physician and astrologer Michel de Nostredame (Nostradamus) had a few interesting prophecies for 2017 that are obviously open to interpretation.
1. Floods and drought
2. Thunder and conflict
3. A battle at sunset
4. A little break
5. A royal scandal
6. A weird version of Animal Farm
7. A weakened West
To read more about these, which he wrote in four-line verses - check the URL and see if any strike a chord; 

On route to the Pools, I made a stop to check a site where Hypocolius have been seen early in the morning and I wasn't disappointed. There was quite a large vocal flock that were sitting high in the trees waiting for the winter sun's rays to hit the tops of the trees.

Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)

Female Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)

Male Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)

After enjoying these great birds for around 20-minutes I continued on my way. The Pools were relatively quiet this morning, Common Pochard were still present on the main pool with quite a few drake birds present

Drake Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
As well as the Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Walking on water....
A female Eurasian Sparrowhawk was seen over the reeds

Female Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
And later displayed some territorial behaviour my mobbing a Western Marsh Harrier repeatedly after which the Harrier decided to go an hunt elsewhere in the reserve - it was an interesting display to watch

Mid-air interaction between 2 females - Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) and Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

As there was not much more about, it was a short outing to get the 2017 list kick-started

22 July 2017

The penultimate day of 2016

Week 53, 30 December 2016 - Jahra Pools and Farm

I know a year has 52-weeks, but according to Microsoft Outlook 30th December is in Week 53 of 2016..

I started off at Jahra Farm where a slow walk around this traditional farm produced more Black-throated Thrushes

Black-throated Thrush (Turdus atrogularis)

In the recently cultivated fields a Song Thrush foraged quietly and surprisingly stayed out in the open for longer than expected.

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)

Of course, a few Western Cattle Egrets were also seen in the fields.

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
I moved across the 80 highway and spent a few hour at Jahra Pools where the Great Crested Grebe was still present.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Greater Spotted Eagles had already come in to find a suitable roost for the night

Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga)
Another Black-throated Thrush was singing 'his' heart out, as the sun lowered in the sky

Black-throated Thrush (Turdus atrogularis)
Also in the desert area, a male and female European Stonechat were sitting high on the dead sabkha bushes

Male European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

Female European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
A number of Grey-headed Swamphen's were out in the open

Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio  p. poliocephalus)
And for the last 20-minutes of the day, I watched 2 Western Marsh Harriers harass and try and catch a Eurasian Coot for dinner - they were unsuccessful, but they certainly had the Coot scattering in every direction every time they quartered and dived. Coot can stay underwater for awhile it seems  ;-)

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) harassing the big flock of Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 
Well that brings 2016 to an end and I can finally say I have now posted my backlog for 2016!

Now the editing of all my 2017 images awaits - 'pule pule' as the guides say when you climb Kilimanjaro. 

I will get there, but it will take some time to get through all the images and post them....

Merry Christmas

Week 52, 24 December 2016 - Jahra Pools and Liyah

With the family away for Christmas, the obvious option for me being on my own was to go birding, on what was a mild winters day.

I started off at Jahra Pools where I did a slow circuit around the reserve. The pace of growth of the phragmite reeds is hampering available viewing points which is really frustrating. Nevertheless, good numbers of Common Pochard were still present.

Drake Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
I also found a Eurasian Teal drake in breeding plumage - a long time since I have seen one in its breeding nuptials.

Drake Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) and Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
In the desert area, a young Long-legged Buzzard posed for a limited number of images before departing

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

The cool looking Spur-winged Lapwing was still present

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)
and overhead there were Pallid Swifts hawking unseen insects

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
A quick stop at Jahra Farm still had a few Black-throated Thrushes. It has really been a good winter for this normally uncommon species.

Black-throated Thrush (Turdus atrogularis)
Also present were numbers of Song Thrush

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
A Western Cattle Egret fittingly put in an appearance - Merry Christmas Dad!

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
A possible/probable Asian Shikra blitzed out of one of the large trees and never banked to give me a clearer view - what do you think?

Possible Asian Shikra (Accipiter badius cenchroides)
Next stop was Jal Al Zour to check for Wheatears, no Red-tailed, but I did get Desert

Female Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
and Eastern Mourning Wheatear

Eastern Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens)
A distant Western Blue Rock Thrush

Western Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius)
And a female Western Black Redstart

Female Western Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
Since Mutla'a Ranch was on route, I made a quick detour but only had White-eared Bulbul and nothing else of interest

White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis)
Last stop was Liyah where I searched intensively for the uncommon Larks - no luck, but I did get the resident Greater Hoopoe Lark

Greater Hoopoe Lark (Alaemon alaudipes)

A distant Long-legged Buzzard and then Asian Desert Warbler at the new pool

Asian Desert Warbler (Sylvia nana)
Along with Isabelline Wheatear showing it's typical 'pot-bellied' pose

'Pot-bellied' Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

On the way out a few Eurasian Skylarks looking for water around the irrigation pipes

Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Not quite the same as enjoying Christmas Eve with the family, but some good winter birds were enjoyable given the circumstances.