18 June 2018

Pre-Christmas birding

Week 51; 23 December 2017 - JPR

The day before Christmas Eve and our last outing of the year, so we soaked it all in. Early next week, we are headed to Paris, a trip we were all really looking forward to.

At the big tower, we watched the Squacco Herons flying back and forth

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

And also enjoyed a few Whiskered Tern's and marveled how they calculated where to hit the water taking refraction into consideration, to catch their prey

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida)

Also on the big pool, Tufted Ducks had arrived. Although annual in winter, they are uncommon

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

We saw quite a number of Red-spotted Bluethroats foraging at the bases of the ever-growing reeds along the road

Red-spotted Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

Also in dense reeds and I was quite amazed that I even picked it up - a Baillon's Crake

Baillon's Crake (Zapornia pusilla)

Indian Reed Warblers were surprisingly vocal

Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. brunnescens)

In the open area, Daurian Shrikes were plentiful

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

This morning we had both Siberian Stonechat

Female Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus)

And European Stonechat

Male European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

We also found a skulking Eurasian Sparrowhawk, but this one very dark-backed which I have not seen before

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

On the way to the beach, we spent some time watching this magnificent Greater Spotted Eagle preening - a delicate exercise with that formidable beak!

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

From my other body

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga) preening

Another fulvescens put in an appearance (probably the same bird seen previously) at the beach

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga fulvescens)

White-tailed Lapwing's on the beach road in the early morning winter sun

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus), one of my favourites

All to soon our survey was over and it was time to head home to prepare for our Christmas festivities (as much as they are in Kuwait).

This post also concludes the massive backlog I had for 2017 - the problem is, I now have a similar one for 2018. So, please bear with me for the first post of 2018. 

In the meantime, wishing you all who celebrate a blessed Christmas and of course a magnificent 2018.

Great winter birding

Week 51; 22 December 2017 - JPR and Jahra Farm

Christmas and the end of the year is rushing toward us and this is the penultimate survey of the year.

At the big tower, Common Chiffchaff's are now here in numbers

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

But, looking carefully through the multitudes, we were able to pick out Mountain Chiffchaff

Caucasian Mountain Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus lorenzii)

And also found Indian Reed Warbler

Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. brunnescens)

Surveying the big pool from the tower, we added Continental Great Cormorant

Continental Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sinensis)

A small flock of Mallards

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

And the Pied Kingfisher seen last week (if it is still the same bird)

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)

In the desert area, Greater Spotted's were roosting in the dead trees

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

In the same open area, Daurian Shrikes were on the lookout for prey from the tops of the sabkha bushes

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

Today we had European Stonechat

Female European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

On the way to the beach, the sunlight caught on this intricate spider's web

The intricacies of a Spider Web

At the smaller shallow pool, a lone Greater Flamingo stood out like the proverbial sore thumb

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Dwarfing the Marsh Sandpiper feeding nearby

Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)

A female Pallid Harrier came in low from the beach, flushing everything in it's path

Female Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)

On the way to the beach, the White-tailed Lapwing's were in their 'usual' spot

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)

After our survey, we made a detour and had a walk around Jahra Farms, seeing Bank Myna's as we stopped the car at the farm

Bank Myna (Acridotheres ginginianus)

In the fields we found Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)

And the normally very skittish Song Thrush

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)

By now, it was time for our compulsory McDonald's breakfast stop on the way home

Pale Martin still present

Week 50; 15 December 2017 - JPR

Another fine winters morning for our survey which produced both expected and unexpected species.

Of course Raptors were represented by the ever present Greater Spotted's

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

And a European Sparrowhawk that we caught briefly out in the open - but not for long

Female European Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

On the road to the desert area, a cool Little Bittern blending in with the reeds

Male Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)

Daurian Shrike numbers appear to have increased

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

A Siberian Stonechat was seen in the same area as the Shrikes

Female Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus)

And another further along on the drive

Some movement at the base of the reeds alerted us an obliging European Robin which are normally quite skittish

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

There some Hirundines overhead which we checked carefully and were thrilled to confirm that the Pale Martin was still present

Pale Martin (Riparia diluta)

At one of the quieter and shallower pools a Jack Snipe was trying it's best to remain invisible

Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)

One from my other body

Whilst overhead a Pied Kingfisher was all on display - quite a contrast between the two birds

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)

Great birds again at JPR - the prime reserve and hotspot in the GCC