28 October 2018

eBird Global Big Day

Week 40; 06 October 2018 - Various locations

We were a handful of local birders who participated in the Global Big Day for Kuwait. Paul Scott and I decided to put in a dawn to dusk effort at a number of locations along with Omar who covered the vast SAANR. Others contributed at other locations at various times during the day.

This is a great initiative by eBird and will allow us to also check year-on-year how the diversity and abundance changes positively or negatively.

We decided to start at Pivot Fields where we would get fair diversity and we weren't disappointed. Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were numerous and vocal and were seen all over the farm.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)

At a marshy location we flushed Common Snipe, we checked them all for Pin-tailed

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

and a Black-winged Pratincole

Black-winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni)

Whilst in a more scrubby area we had a fair sized flock of Black-crowned Sparrow-Larks

Male Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark (Eremopterix nigriceps)

This farm is ideal for Harriers and during the autumn we have had mostly Pallid Harriers, but today finally we had a Montagu's

Pallid (Circus macrourus) and Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)

Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)

Another cool raptor was a fulvescens Greater Spotted Eagle that passed by overhead as it warmed up

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila c. fulvescens)

We checked the flock of Northern Lapwing and found a single Sociable Lapwing which was really exciting. I reckon we may be the only team to have recorded this Globally Threatened and Critically Endangered species on the Big Day

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Critically Endangered 1st year Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius)

Amongst the Daurian and Red-backed Shrikes, we also had Mauryan Grey Shrike

Mauryan Grey Shrike (Lanius l. pallidirostris)

At the pools, we were thrilled to find not one, but two Indian Rollers - the first for this coming winter

Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)

and shortly afterward our first Pied Kingfisher for the autumn

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)

Whilst here we always check what invertebrates are about and there were plenty of Darter sp. dragonflies

Darter sp.

and some Asian or Dark Grass Blue butterflies

Asian Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra)

We then headed to Jahra East Outfall where we add good numbers of coastal species that were foraging on the inter-tidal zone - all too distant for photographs.

But had some unidentified fish at the Outfall

Fish sp.

Next was Jahra Farm where a Eurasian Nightjar was rather unexpected

Eurasian Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus)

And a small flock of Ortolan Bunting

Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)

1st year Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)

From here we headed north to Mutla'a Ranch and managed to add some cracking birds to the day's list; Rosy Starling, Asian Shikra, Corncrake, Green Warbler and Garden Warbler

Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin)

and a few Mediterranean Pierrot

Female Mediterranean Pierrot (Tarucus rosaceus)

A drive west in the late afternoon to Al Shallal Farm didn't add any new species for the list

We ended off the day at Jahra Pools, but mistimed the sunset and only had about 20-minutes before the sun dropped behind Mutla Ridge - but added a couple more reed dwellers and found this Steppe Buzzard that had come in to roost overnight

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus) at twilight

It was a great and productive day with Paul and I recording 104 species. Omar had a great day at SAANR and cleaned up on the raptors, including Golden Eagle. 

A week later eBird published the results and Kuwait recorded a credible 126 species and finished 56th out of the 148 participating countries

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