22 May 2017

Finally, the anticipated raptor fest

Week 40, 30 September 2016 - Khuwaisat

I'm sure many of you may have thought I have given up birding and blogging, due to the long absence since my last post. It was just one of those 'slumps' where the number of pictures I took surpassed the time I had to process and post them and the further behind you get, the harder it is to motivate yourself to start again....

Giving up birding - that wont happen, but there are times when it does slow down or other priorities take precedence or are more important. Well, I have made a dent in my processing backlog - at least for 2016, so will post these and in parallel try and catch-up those captured in 2017.

The end of September is always anticipated as this is when raptors start passing through Kuwait on their way south. The trick is to find an area where they may have roosted overnight and then find a place early enough, to watch them depart.

I did arrive before sunrise and while trying to find a good spot came across a juvenile Egyptian Vulture, that was probably the star of the morning judging by how many birders/photographers photographed it. The light was not great, but a good start nevertheless.

Juvenile Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)

A Steppe Eagle was also still on the deck on the pre-dawn gloom - but didn't stay too long.

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

Both morphs of Booted Eagle were seen, although light was not great as there was dust in the air which is never great for decent images

Pale morph Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)

Dark morph Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
The predominant species were Steppe Buzzards, some roosting on the stunted desert flora and others on and in the trees on the inside of the farm. Almost all colour morphs were seen during the course of the morning.

An assortment of Steppe Buzzards (Buteo b. vulpinus)

European Honey Buzzards were also seen and again a number of different plumage variations in the younger birds. No Oriental Honey Buzzards on this occasion...

Juvenile European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) 

Juvenile European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) 

During the course of the morning, birds were passing overhead all the time, so you really do have to keep alert and watching. Eurasian Sparrowhawks had a different tactic - they burst out of the trees, opting to fly low and fast across the desert, rather than soar with the Buzzards

Female Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Male Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
A few Asian Shikra's were seen a little higher up than the Sparrowhawks

Asian Shikra (Accipiter badius cenchroides)

A Black-eared Kite also drifted by

Black-eared Kite (Milvus m. lineatus)
As did a Pallid Harrier

Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) 
The Egyptian Vulture stayed for some time and was more photographic later in the morning when the light improved.

Juvenile Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)

A drive across the desert gave a wary Short-toed Snake Eagle surveying the land from the top of a berm

Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
And a pretty unperturbed Greater Hoopoe Lark foraged seemingly oblivious to the raptors overhead

Greater Hoopoe Lark (Alaemon alaudipes) 
All in all a most enjoyable morning, with pretty good abundance and diversity of raptors. 

I'm also glad to break the 'camels back' (excuse the desert pun) and get back on track with my posts!

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