14 May 2019

eBird Global Big Day - Spring

Week 18 - 04 May 2019; Pivot Fields, Jahra Farm and Sulaibikhat Bay

I was sadly the lone participant from Kuwait for the Spring Big Day and it took some effort, as I had only arrived back from SA at 3am this morning. So, only a quick shut-eye before I was up and headed to the Pivot Fields.

It was a little overcast and gloomy to start, but a Common Wood Pigeon sitting on the overhead line was a good start and surprising

Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)

I racked up the common resident species quite quickly, at a small pool a number of Common Sandpiper took to the sky

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Today the focus was more on recording birds, so not too many pics were taken. I had good diversity of passerine migrants, but fairly low abundance as most have already passed through Kuwait. A number of Red-backed Shrikes, which are typically late arrivals were present on the farm.

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)

I drove to the big shallow pan and was a little disappointed at the lack of waders that we previously encountered around the pool. There was another smaller pool on the opposite side of the road, but the grass had really shot up - I needed to stand on the running board of my SUV to get a view into the pan. My jaw dropped a little when I saw what was standing near the edge of the pool

Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)

10-minutes later it was almost not visible - so that was certainly a lucky and exciting encounter and for sure was the bird of the day! In the same area, I also added White-tailed, Red-wattled and Spur-winged Lapwing; almost a full house, just missing Northern which is not possible in spring!

Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)

Many Spotted Crake's were seen and heard calling in and around the reedbed

Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana) and Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

Great Reed Warblers amongst other Warblers were calling and foraging in the reeds

Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)

As it was heating up and my eyes were getting more droopy, I headed to Jahra Farm for Parakeet and Bank Myna and managed to tick both

Bank Myna (Acridotheres ginginianus) along with Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)

Along with a Eurasian Blackcap

Male Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

This Darter species provided a brief distraction

Darter species

Last stop was for the incoming tide at Sulaibikhat Bay, but I was 20-minutes too late as the tide was already in. But along with Ruddy Turnstone I managed to add another 6 or so species to the mornings list before calling it a day and heading back home for some much needed sleep. Overall I recorded 58 species, but with a few more observers Kuwait would have been closer to 100.

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

13 May 2019

As ships go by

Week 15 - 12 April 2019; Ras Salmiya

We had favourable winds in the morning, so I opted for some sea-watching at Ras Salmiya in the late afternoon, before my family arrived for a 10-day visit in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Sea-watching requires a level of patience or just sitting back, relaxing and soaking up whats around and in front of you. There can be quite extended periods when nothing is happening over the water, but that is included as part of the enjoyment.

Things were looking good when I first arrived as a pair of White-cheeked Terns were hunting in and around the entrance to the harbour. I noted big schools of small bait fish near the surface - ideal for any sea bird..

White-cheeked Tern (Sterna repressa)

Then it was a wait....oh look, there's a fly

Fly species

Suddenly two Greater Crested (Swift) Terns came in and hunted vigorously for around 15-minutes. You could actually see the fish scatter as the Terns came diving in

Swift Tern (Sterna bergii)


Fleeing fish

A container ship passed by

Container Ship

A couple of Continental Great Cormorants got in on the act

Continental Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sinensis)

A pair of Eurasian Collared Doves swooned on the fence near me

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

A small flock of five Lesser Crested Terns made an appearance and hammered the fish for awhile

Lesser Crested Tern (Sterna bengalensis)

A tanker passed by

Oil Tanker

A lone 1st year Socotra Cormorant sneaked up quietly below where I was sitting. It fed in the general area for quite some time and hardly exerted any effort. In fact it was catching fish by swimming with it's head and neck below the surface. No need to waste any energy diving

Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis)

I was hoping to find some Skua's that had been seen earlier in the day flying up the coast by some visiting birders. Luckily they came back down the coast but were pretty far off shore. I suspect this may be a Pomarine, based on the heavy barrel chest 

Possible Pomarine Skua (Stercorarius pomarinus) very far out

After this excitement, it died down completely - so I called it a day and found a good spot to watch a marvelous sunset over Kuwait City before heading home to make sure everything was ready for the family

Kuwait City Sunset