29 May 2018

Reeds and wetlands

Week 21; 27 May 2017 - Jahra Pools Reserve (JPR)

After all the mid-week roadside birding, it was time for an early visit to our premier wetland reserve, Jahra Pools which really lets you forget that you are in Kuwait.

I started in one of the Towers watching birds go about their business. 

Black-crowned Night Heron's coming in to roost

Adult Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Whilst Squacco Heron's were just waking up

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
The resident and breeding Ferruginous Duck (this is a real success story for JPR) seemed restless

Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)
There were a few other Duck species present, including Garganey

Male Garganey (Anas querquedula)
A Caspian Tern was also having some success catching fish in the larger pool and it swallow the fish in flight

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)
The Moorhen and Coot had a good breeding season with youngsters seen on most of the pools

Juvenile Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)

I have been trying for one of these images for a really long time - it is far from satisfying, but the best I have got so far. I need to find a lower elevation for it to really work well

"Running" Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

I had a slow drive around the reserve, finding calling Indian Reed Warbler

Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. brunnescens)

As well as Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
And more Spotted Flycatchers

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
Sand Martins were hawking and feeding pretty low over the reeds

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

And the highlight was finding this Corncrake, just as it crept and disappeared into cover

Corncrake (Crex crex)


Week 21; 24 May 2017 - Salwa

We have a fresh water fish tank

Our Fresh water Nano Tank
As well as a Persian House Gecko that lives in our apartment. So, imagine my surprise when I find it peering intently into the tank when I came to feed the fish this morning.

Lucky - 'our' Persian House Gecko (Hemidactylus persicus)

He continued with this ritual for quite a few mornings in a row - not sure if it was just intrigue or he was trying to figure out how to get a drink of water. We solved that, by putting out a small saucer of water for him.

eBird Global Big Birding Day

Week 19; 13 May 2017 - Al Abraq and Jahra Pools

For the Big Day, I had a very early start and headed west to Al Abraq. I had a slow drive around the farm and hadn't quite set-up my camera for the low light when this displaying Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin popped out next to my car.

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes)

"Hands Up"
I was using both camera bodies today, so a few more images taken with the prime lens and with more time to ensure the settings were correct

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes)

A few Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters had roosted overnight and were in the air stretching their wings and getting ready to head north

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)
In the trees lining some of the cultivated fields there quite a few Warblers that flushed whilst driving along the road including; Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Marsh Warbler

Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)
And another Marsh

As well as Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Along with Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
 A few Spotted Fly's were seen in the open areas

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

A Great Reed Warbler was found foraging on a compost heap

Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
With another seen in the open area earlier in the morning

I then parked my car and walked so I could explore some of the habitat adjacent to the road, I had this Red-backed Shrike in quite deep cover that appeared to be doing a 'Laughing Thrush' impression. I had never seen one raise it's head feathers before...

Male Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)

"Laughing Thrush" impersonation

Lesser Grey Shrike was found hunting from the western boundary fence of the farm

Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)
A little further on I flushed a Scops Owl - why? You just don't see them easily in the day and I struggled to re-find it again, but eventually with patience and some perseverance I got onto it again

Eurasian Scops Owl (Otus scops)
Overhead a small flock of Sand Martins passed by

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
In the fields, I also had Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
along with Whinchat

Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
A few more with the 2nd body

And also a single Plain Tiger. Butterflies are few and far between in Kuwait, so I am always on the lookout for any that I may see.

Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus)
And a few Dragonflies; not sure of this species

Dragonfly sp

By now I had worked the farm pretty well, so headed east for Jahra Pools reserve. A Red-necked Phalarope was seen in one of the bigger pools, focus impacted by the evaporation of the water

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)
From the 2nd body

and a Temminck’s Stint in a smaller and quieter pool

Temminck’s Stint (Calidris temminckii)

At one of the smaller pools, a Common Redshank seemed to be nervous of something

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

On the way to the beach, I found this 'injured' Kentish Plover 

"Injured" Kentish Plover (Anarhynchus alexandrinus)
Obviously he was trying to distract me away from his nest, although it took some time to find, as the scrape and eggs are really camouflaged. I moved on quickly, so that he could get back to regulating the egg temperature.

Kentish Plover (Anarhynchus alexandrinus) egg and nest
I also found a White-tailed Lapwing nest with a few eggs, very close to the waters edge (this nest was unsuccessful this year - there are Foxes in the reserve and having a nest on the ground is always a risk). The adult seen here wetting it's belly feathers which helps with regulating the temperature of the eggs

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus) soaking it's belly feathers

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus) eggs and nest
Down on the coast a Eurasian Curlew with a really massive bill was seen close to the shore - could this be an orientalis?

Possible orientalis Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
A little more detail with the prime lens

I caught this Common Tern as it went by

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Overall it was a good day with contributions from many of the local birders. Unfortunately, as I am posting this so late, I don't have the final result of how Kuwait fared.