13 November 2018

After the rain

Week 45, 09 November 2018 - Al Abraq, Dairy Farm Pivots + Jahra Farm

We had very heavy rains all through the night, resulting in flooding in some coastal areas. It took quite a few detours due to road closures to pick up David Syver from Holiday Inn in Salmiya before we headed west to Abraq under dark skies. The road across the desert to the farm gates were also flooded and this is the first time I have seen this amount of water in the desert in 10+ years.

Many of the roads in the farm also had big pools of water, quite a spectacle and this should be good news for desert flora in the coming weeks and month.

Driving through the gate, the first bird we heard then finally saw was a Common Chaffinch in the gloom (record image). There was also a Coot on the newly filled pond at the house - quite bizarre.

Common Chaffinch

Slowly the clouds lifted and it got a little lighter and it was only then that birds became a little more active. Many Common Chiffchaff's were seen and heard

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

Two Eurasian Sparrowhawk's barreled past us, with one landing briefly in a tree in front of us. This one had unusually red and blotchy underparts, but also with a supercilium! We suspect it is a young male, but the supercilium is not right?

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Omar Al Shaheen had found two Hume's Leaf Warbler (11th record for Kuwait) a few days back. Whilst checking the one location, we suddenly had a flying ant eruption that suddenly caused a lot of bird activity for the passerines. Chiffchaff's were the most prevalent, but Blackcap and Red-breasted Flycatcher also put in an appearance. We knew the Hume's should be around and a brief play of the call got a response and it was soon actively feeding amongst the Chiffchaff's - but very seldom stayed still for long. Nevertheless we still got some decent views

Hume's Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus humei)

By now the clouds had parted and the sun was shining, in one of the fields we had numerous Water Pipits and lesser numbers of Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

A single Pallid Swift was seen passing by overhead

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)

We then headed to the Diary Farm Pivots and amazingly almost all of the water in the desert had soaked in. Walking around the pivots, we had numerous Eurasian Skylarks, Tawny Pipit, White Wagtails, one Northern Lapwing and two Caspian Stonechat's

Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)

As there was not much else and weather was still favourable (more rain was coming later), we headed east to Jahra and spent an hour walking around the various farms. A small flock of Hypocolius was a pleasant surprise at Ali's farm

Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)

And this rather large Persian House Gecko on the farm pump-house

Persian House Gecko (Hemidactylus persicus)

This time amongst the Water Pipits, we had three Tree Pipit's

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)

Along with the wintering White Wagtails.

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

And a Squacco Heron that we flushed unexpectedly

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

By now the clouds had rolled in and obliterated the sun and rain was imminent. Walking back to the car, we saw a medium sized raptor drop down from high in the sky and watched it land in a Palm Tree for a safe roosting place ahead of the coming storm - a dark form Booted Eagle

Dark form Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata)

It had started to rain again, so rushed back to drop David at the hotel and by the time I got home through hectic traffic, it was raining full tilt again.