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

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