16 June 2019

A Maculatus Quest

Week 20; 18 May 2019 - Southern Kuwait

Paul Scott and I were on another quest, this time to the south of Kuwait in search of the rare Spotted Toad-headed Agama. A species I had seen about 5-years ago but had recently been found again at another location by Pierre-Andre Crochet in April.

On the way to the area, we stopped to check some reeds along a trench and found quite a few delicate Evan's Bluetails - a species that I have only ever seen once before in Kuwait, surprisingly at the same location

Evans' Bluethail (Ischnura evansi)

We spent almost 3-hours searching a 800 x 200m grid for the 10cm long Agama - talk about a 'needle in a haystack'.

Whilst searching (driving-walking-driving), we did pick up a couple of migrants, the first was a Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush

Female Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis)

Followed by two Shrike species; Lesser Grey and Red-backed. Here this female devouring one of the many big Grasshoppers we had seen

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)

Here one of the 'live' Grasshoppers in question

Grasshopper sp.

After 2.5 hours with the temperature rapidly increasing and still no luck with the Agama, we decided on one last drive around the location and as it often turns out, this time we were in luck when some slight movement caught my eye and in front of the car was a single Spotted Toad-headed Agama.

Spotted Toad-headed Agama (Phrynocephalus maculatus)

We stopped the car and slowly crept toward it. It didn't stay static and I tell you, this little guy went from zero to flat out across the desert, in a blink of an eye and due to it's cryptic pale colouring it was well camouflaged on the same colour stony and sandy desert. 

We re-located it and spent almost 30-minutes enjoying this rare coastal reptile that probably should be re-classified as critically endangered

Spotted Toad-headed Agama (Phrynocephalus maculatus)

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