19 August 2019

Adios August

Week 34; 17 August 2019 - Pivot Fields

This is to be my last outing in August, as I head back to SA for a long overdue 2-week break to see my family and to spend a week at our timeshare at Ngwenya Lodge on the banks of the Crocodile River in the southern Kruger National Park (my soul food!).

I was through the gate at 6am and not shortly after, came across a flock of Collared Pratincole (all juveniles) roosting on the desert floor

Juvenile Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)

And a Spiny-tailed Lizard that was enjoying the cooler early morning sun

Arabian Spiny-tailed Lizard (Uromastyx aegyptia microlepis)

The family of Common Kestrel were hanging around the same Tamerisk Tree as a week ago

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

I then headed back to the reed and shallow pool habitat to sit in the car and wait patiently to see what interesting Warbler were around. It didn't take long for them to start appearing. This time there were Great Reed Warblers

Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)

Along with Indian Reed Warblers, worn adults and fresh juveniles

Worn adult Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. brunnescens)

Young Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. brunnescens)

I was eventually rewarded with a fleeting but better view of the Savi's

Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides)

There were still Citrine Wagtails

Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola)

Amongst the Western Yellow Wagtails

Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla f. flava)

Amongst the mixed waders, I had a single Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

and the White-tailed Lapwing numbers had increased to three

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)

A single Garganey was among the big flock of Black-winged Stilts when a passing Marsh Harrier flushed them from the pool

Garganey (Anas querquedula)

Namaqua Dove's dropped in for a drink, but often flushed again before drinking

Male Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)

On the way out, I saw the Falconer with his Peregrine, so a few more portraits of this magnificent raptor were almost obligatory

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

I went to check the area with the Sparrow-Larks and found the flock of 7 Spur-winged Lapwing. They have now been present in the general area for a few weeks and hopefully will remain

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)

I will return to Kuwait in early September and in time for the raptor passage - lets hope it surpasses last year.

Sucker for punishment

Week 34; 13 August 2019 - Sulaibikhat Bay

On the way to Sulaibikhat Bay, I stopped to refuel myself at McDonald's and buy some more water (this time I knew what to expect). Again, the timing for the receding high tide was far from perfect, as it was just after noon - but I arrived just as the tide was receding, so the foraging birds were much closer than yesterday.

That also restricted me to staying in the car, else they would all flush. But fortunately, I was the only mad person sitting next to the beach, in his car at the hottest time of the day. Most of the birds seen yesterday were present again today, except for the Broad-billed Sandpipers. 

Feeding in the shallows, I had Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea), Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus) and Little Stint (Calidris minuta)

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)


Dunlin (Calidris alpina) and Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Terek Sandpiper

Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)

Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Colourful in flight

and a lone Eurasian Whimbrel

Eurasian Whimbrel (Numenius p. phaeopus)

Further out, the small flock of Crab-plover were foraging very successfully and efficiently to both feed themselves (with crabs, like their namesake of course) and some of this year's juveniles.

Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola)

Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola) and Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)

In fact, Slender-billed Gulls

Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola) and Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)

and some Western Reef Herons dropped in amongst them, perhaps to try and scavenge from the Plovers - but they seemed to  just watch and learn in awe!

Western Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea)

Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola) and Western Reef Heron (Egretta g. schistacea) looking on

And another, Crab-plover is oblivious

A few Bar-tailed Godwit's dropped in

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

Followed by Eurasian Curlew's (some with shorter bills than those seen yesterday)

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Two Squacco Heron's also went up the coast whilst all others were flying down the coast

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

A Common Tern flew by tailing some Gull-billed Terns

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

It was only then that I noticed that a police car had pulled up next to me. The officer got out to come and inquire what I was doing, if everything was ok and if I needed anything. I guess since I was the only one along the stretch of coast in the mid-day sun, it did look odd - but I was appreciative of the fact that they came to check if I was ok.

Quality not quantity at Abraq

Week 34; 13 August 2019 - Al Abraq

After re-hydrating yesterday afternoon, I was up really early to be at Abraq in the west just after 6am. I always dread how many shooters there might be camped on the perimeter and jumping over the fence to shoot inside the farm - and today they were like the plague, very depressing! Mind you, I normally take pictures of their registration numbers, so those inside the farm generally jump back over the fence - but the shooting continues, along with tape playback on a frigging boom box!

I drove to where I wouldn't be irritated by the shooting and it was here I noticed a Warbler feeding in the low scrub on the side of the road. I jumped out the car and followed it as it alternated between feeding on the ground and in the scrub. As I was focusing on trying to get decent images, I only paid attention to the ID once home where I saw that it was something different. Initial thought was Paddyfield, but the features didn't quite fit. So, it could have been Booted or Sykes's - but primaries didn't seem short enough for Sykes's. So, when in doubt check with the expert and thanks to Peter Kennerley who confirmed it was indeed Booted and would be the 8th record for Kuwait. Out of the 8 records, 6 have been recorded in August and this one being the earliest August record so far.

8th Booted Warbler (Iduna caligata) for Kuwait

A little further on, there was some standing water under some trees that was a magnet for many birds that pass by this remote farm in the western desert; Lesser Short-toed Lark

Lesser Short-toed Lark (Alaudala rufescens)

A small flock of 1st year Rose-coloured Starling's

Rose-coloured Starling (Pastor roseus)

Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola)

Pale Rockfinch 

Pale Rockfinch (Carpospiza brachydactyla)

and a single Garganey, were all good birds in this area

Garganey (Anas querquedula)

There was a fairly big flock of European Bee-eaters

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

and good numbers of Eurasian Hoopoe

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

and I had my first European Roller's 

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)

and Grey Wagtail for this autumn

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

By now the heat had cranked up and with it the shooters had pissed off to where they had come from, but birds had also retreated to the shade which is where I found my last bird of the morning, a Black-headed Bunting

Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala)

Since I'm a sucker for punishment, I headed back east to check out the high tide at Sulaibikhat Bay - again!