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.

16 July 2017

'Twas the day before Christmas (Eve)

Week 52, 23 December - Abraq and Jahra

Markus Craig and I were out the day before Christmas Eve and decided to head west and check out the Al Abraq farm. We are now in mid-winter and were optimistic about some winter Thrushes - but it was not to be. A Daurian Shrike was approachable in the early morning sun.

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

As there was not much, we tried the Pivot Fields at the nearby dairy farm; although we did hear and see a fleeting Oriental Skylark, the predominant species in the pivots were Eurasian Skylark's.

Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) 
Heading back east, we stopped at Jahra Farm where the eruption of Dark-throated Thrushes continues.

Black-throated Thrush (Turdus atrogularis)

Rose-ringed Parakeets are present, but in way lower numbers than when I first came to Kuwait - I reckon most have been trapped and sold.

Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)
In the fields, we had a Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)

and Caucasian Water Pipit

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)
Followed by a Red-spotted Bluethroat

Red-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia s. svecica)
and a Song Thrush dashing between cover overhead

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Over at Jahra Pools, a Spur-winged Lapwing was a great sighting - these Lapwings to have a presence with their striking black, grey and white plumage

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)
There are still good numbers of Jack Snipe present

Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
Here a Jack and Common Snipe side-by-side for comparative purposes

Common (Gallinago gallinago) and Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
In the desert area, a European Stonechat

Female European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
and in the dying light of day, a possible Arabian Grey Shrike (the black mask extends over the top mandible)

Possible Arabian Grey Shrike (Lanius aucheri)
By now, it was time to call it a day after a good few kilometers added to the odometer