15 December 2018

Feathers, fins and carapaces

Week 49; 08 December 2018 - Al Abraq, Jahra Farm and Sulaibikhat Bay

Paul Scott was back from UK, so we had an enjoyable day birding, starting off in the west at Al Abraq. The weather is still mild by winter standards, although cool to start in the early morning. Birding was slow early on and picked up a little as the temps increased - we started off driving around the farm and had an obliging pair of European Stonechat's

Male European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

Female European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

We saw a cracking, but elusive male Western Black Redstart and the one with the white wing panel. It took patience and quite some time before we could finally get close enough to take any photographs - our perseverance paid off.

Western Black Redstart (Phoenicurus o. gibraltariensis)

In the same area, I saw a bird on the deck but it flew up and disappeared - this was all I I got on it - possibly a Chiffchaff, but for now a mystery bird


As it had warmed up a little, we decided to walk and the two Hume's Leaf Warblers were still present - again really tricky to get clear views as they dart around in cover always managing to keep a leaf or branch between them and you. With patience I got the image of the bird in full song

Hume's Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus humei)

I saw a butterfly I have not seen in Kuwait before, but knew exactly what it was as soon as I did - a Red Admiral. I was worried that it might be caught by a bird, but fortunately it landed in a tree and stayed quite still. I need to do some reading to check the status of this butterfly in Kuwait.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Just before leaving, we found a party of 5 Eurasian Penduline Tit's - but by now the wind had picked up and these poor birds were hanging on for dear life as they gleaned through the leaves. It was only when I processed my images did I see that they were feeding on small caterpillar's.

Eurasian Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus)

With the wind getting stronger we drove east to Jahra Farm which would be a little more sheltered. I enjoyed seeing my Dad's spirit bird pass by overhead and give me a downward glance whilst walking around the farm

Spirit bird; Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

We were alerted by the call of the White-throated Kingfisher and had it fly in and land on top of a dead Palm Tree

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

A few Clouded Yellows are still present and were seen in the fields

Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus)

We had a break for lunch, so that we could be in time for the high tide a Sulaibikhat Bay (where I was yesterday with the Polish couple). We were a little early, so again enjoyed the antics of the Mudskipper's

Periophthalmus waltoni and Boleophthalumus dussumieri

We also picked up two Crab species in an area close to shore; Austruca Sindensis, one of the Fiddler Crabs

Austruca Sindensis

and Leptochryseus Kuwaitensis with the cool yellow-tipped antennae and endemic to this region

Leptochryseus Kuwaitensis

This is one of the spots for Greater Flamingo - the one species that most locals know about. In this image, you can see the new causeway that will open in Feb 2019 in the background

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Paul was keen to see Crab-plover which weren't present yesterday, however with the tide coming in, I picked up a pair with a really young and still begging juvenile. A little later as high tide peaked, another 20 birds came in

Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola)

Again many Western Reef Heron's on the inter-tidal zone trying their luck with catching a Mudskipper or Crab. This is the white form with the dark form in the background

Western Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea)

A Grey Heron perched patiently as the tide came in below it

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Gull-billed Terns patrolling up and down, this one successfully snatched a Crab before it could disappear into it's burrow

Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)

Crab for lunch

A single Caspian Tern passed by

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)

There were a good number of 1st year Common Terns in the mix

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

A couple of large white-headed Gulls were present, I suspect this one is Heuglin's

Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)

Yesterday we had a big flock of Curlew Sandpiper, none today - but quite a few Common Redshank on the mudflats and flying along the coast

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

A great day out with Paul and some good species recorded


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