26 January 2019

Slim pickings

Week 03; 19 January 2019 - Jahra Farm, Shallal Farm and Mutla'a Ranch

I decided to try a few of the local farms on what was a pretty cold day. For a change my first stop was Jahra Farms (normally it is the last stop and generally at the hottest and most unproductive part of the day). Generally it is quite an active site, especially with the resident birds - winter adds birds like Song Thrush (although not as many as last year).

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)

As well as Hypocolius - only one female bird today.

Female Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)

I was surprised to find two Barred Warblers though

Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria)

Not much else of interest, so I headed East to Al Shallal Farm which was 'dead' apart from a couple of Common Chiffchaff - these are the paler, greyer races that we haven't quite nailed down yet

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

The Painted Lady irruption is still evident in all locations, but following the rain many areas now have a kaleidoscope of yellow flowers which is a big attraction for these butterflies

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

On route to Mutla'a Ranch, I made a detour into Jal Al Zour, finding my first Isabelline Wheatear of the year, along with an obliging Eastern Mourning Wheatear

Eastern Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens)

Mutla'a Ranch was next and it seriously was not worth the trip. Cutting my losses, I headed back south to Sharq Harbour (actually I needed to do some grocery shopping). There were a number of Gull species along the coast with the most prevalent being the Common Black-headed Gull

Common Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

A single Slender-billed

Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)

and a few larger Gulls, with this Steppe Gull being the only one flying close enough.

Steppe Gull (Larus f. barabensis)

Overhead, rafts of Continental Great Cormorants headed to toward their roosting area near Doha Spur

Continental Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sinensis)

A bonus just before I left to do my shopping was a Great Black-headed Gull that came cruising effortlessly up the coast

Great Black-headed Gull (Leucophaeus ichthyaetus)

From Sharq Harbour, you can see the new causeway going across the Bay, this arch is one of the features close to Shuwaikh Harbour when the causeway starts from.

New Causeway from Shuwaikh

19 January 2019

A slow start to 2019

Week 02; 12 January 2019 - Al Abraq, Dairy Farm Pivots and Jahra Farm

The 2-weeks spent in South Africa for Christmas and New Year was most enjoyable; really great to see my family again, catch-up with friends, enjoy good food and wine and relishing the time in our own house after many years of having it rented. All too soon, it was time to head back to the desert....

The sunrise this morning while waiting for Paul Scott was reminiscent of a tropical island, but this was mid-winter Kuwait (and it was cold) - it was still spectacular.

Tropical Sunrise in Kuwait

We headed west to Al Abraq and stopping to photograph a few camels grazing in the desert just after sunrise. The desert is a fine carpet of 'green' following the unseasonable rains in December.

Post rain grazing

Birds take a lot longer to become active in winter, so for the first hour we were a little lost. Eventually we came across a pair of European Stonechat's that were still roosting in one of the fields.

Male European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

Female European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

As it warmed up, so the numerous Painted Lady butterflies became active - they were literally everywhere.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

We had a couple of other species, but really nothing out of the ordinary. We cut our losses and headed to the Dairy Farm Pivots, only to have it cloud over. No Skylarks, but there were a few Greater Short-toed and numerous Water Pipits.

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)

Back toward Kuwait City and a detour to Jahra Farms, at least here there was a little more diversity. We had a pair of obliging Rose-ringed Parakeets feeding on fruit in one of the trees.

Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)

I found Hypocolius for Paul, one of his 'wanted' birds

Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)

And most of the other regular resident's were also present.

Yesterday, Paul and I planned to have a fresh fish lunch at All Kout fish market. while we waited for them to open after Friday prayer, we found a place behind the market to check out the Gulls. Many of the adults have completed their moult's, so this made ID a little easier only one Caspian

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)

A couple of Heuglin's

Heuglin's Gull (Larus f. heuglini)

And many 1st/2nd year birds that are still tough to separate (at least for me they are)

Gull - tbc

Gull - tbc

Gull - tbc

A couple of Continental Great Cormorants passed by..

Continental Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sinensis)

In the end, we didn't have our fish, as it was over a 2-hour waiting time to have it grilled - so that was a little disappointing. Next time we will be earlier.....