21 September 2019

Class birds at the Pivots

Week 37; 14 September 2019 - Mutla'a Ranch and Pivot Fields

This was my first outing after returning from an enjoyable 2-weeks in South Africa, seeing the family and spending a week in the southern Kruger National Park, which was very dry compared to the last time we visited. Nevertheless, we still had great birds and mammal sightings and really enjoyed our time soaking up the tranquility of the African bush.

Now back in Kuwait in time for the autumn migration.

Yesterday afternoon, Neil Tovey, Paul Scott and I were out at Mutla'a Ranch although at 3pm it was still too hot and birds were still sheltering out of the sun. There were many Crested and Short-toed Larks on the ground in any shade they could find. We found a Namaqua Dove from this year's brood

Juvenile Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)

Along with a single Sykes's Wagtail

Sykes's Wagtail (Motacilla f. beema)

As it cooled down, we had some other migrant passerines; Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Barred Warbler, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Olivaceous Warbler and a Garden Warbler (crappy record shot)

Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin)

We then headed to Khuwaisat to check if any raptors were coming in to roost, but the wind direction was not favourable and none were to be seen. Neil dropped us off at JPR to collect our cars, just in time to watch the Harvest Moon rise.

JPR Harvest Moon

At 6am we all met again at Pivot Fields and since there were a few of us, we split into 3 cars and worked the fields from all directions which proved to be a good strategy. I started along the northern boundary road, finding an accommodating Indian Reed Warbler

Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. brunnescens)

Followed shortly by a Black-winged Kite and a good number of Black Kites, but no chance for any photographs against the light. A European Roller was a little more obliging

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)

I slowly worked my way back to the marsh, where most birds seem to pass by or over. I was in luck with a fleeting view of a vocal Common Rosefinch

Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus)

I spent some time walking the soggy 'track' between the two pools and was surprised by a juvenile Black Stork passing by low overhead. I alerted the others and eventually we all got to see it (it made 3 fly over's as it looked for a quiet place to land - this is a working farm, so not that easy for a skittish Black Stork)

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)

A Common Whitethroat was seen at the top of the reeds, not the usual habitat I would expect to see it

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)

Whilst a Temminck's Stint passed by over the reeds.

Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii)

There were a fair number of Western Marsh Harriers

Female Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Paul joined me just as two Black-winged Kites passed overhead and amazingly did a u-turn and flew back toward us in just perfect light

Black-winged Kite (Elanus c. vociferus)

Guess the silhouette?

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

Over the marsh and surrounding fields a few White-winged Terns were happily foraging on the wing

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

We then continued driving the fields and I had good views of a juvenile Pallid Harrier 

Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)

and a female Montagu's Harrier. There was also a Hen Harrier present, but too distant to photograph in the heat haze - but that completed a clean sweep of Harrier's for the morning!

Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)

A really young Lesser Grey Shrike was seen hiding in some irrigation

Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)

Whilst on the southern boundary, European Bee-eaters were successfully catching bee's on the wing

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

Neil called to say he had Black-winged Pratincole amongst the Collared and we managed to see them in flight

Black-winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni)

By now the temp was starting to drain us, so it was a good time to call it a morning


  1. Nice post, just wanted to say your Marsh Warbler is actually a Common Whitethroat.

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