22 February 2020

Guiding - Day 2

Week 07; 15 February 2020 - Al Abraq, Poultry Farm Pivots, Mutla'a Ranch, Jahra Pools and Sulaibikhhat

This morning was an earlier pick-up for Max as we had the long drive out west to Al Abraq where we hope to find some uncommon lingering passerines.

The injured Caspian Gull that I had seen on my previous visit was still at the pond near the entrance to the farm

Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)

The farm was really quiet today, although there were two Long-eared Owls about that had been flushed too often, so we didn't disturb them any further. We checked a small flock of Hirundines overhead which contained a single Common House Martin (at this time of year, you need to check carefully if they are not of eastern origin). This bird does seem to have a 'dirty' vent and throat - but tail looks too long, so House Martin it stays

Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum)

There were quite a few Desert Hyacinth that have sprung up since my last visit

Desert Hyacinth (Cistanche lutea)

The last drive around produced two different male Stonechat's; Caspian

Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)

and Armenian (this one much more 'black + white' giving it a pied appearance)

Armenian Stonechat (Saxicola m. variegatus)

And the Spring's first Feldegg Wagtails

Black-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. feldegg)

There was very little else, so we cut our losses and headed further west to Poultry Farm Pivots where we enjoyed a walk. A good few Pipit species; Meadow, Red-throated and numerous Water Pipits

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)

A small kettle of Steppe Eagles passed by overhead

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

However, the highlight was 4 Caspian Plover's in a freshly ploughed field with two in summer plumage. It has been a few years since I have last seen this species.

Caspian Plover (Anarhynchus asiaticus)

It was then back east, detouring past Mutla'a Ranch which only produced 4 Eurasian Sparrowhawk's

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Nothing new at Jahra Pools, but still good sightings of many species, including another Stonechat

Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)

We agreed on a last ditch attempt for the Lesser Flamingo and stopped and scanned at various locations along Sulaibikhat Bay (I don't think we missed any flocks) - it was just not there! At the KISR Outfall we enjoyed watching a flock of 30+ Whiskered Terns foraging over the outfall

Perfect symmetry; Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida)

This joy was interrupted by a flock of 12 House Crow's (this is probably the whole Kuwait population - I hope!) coming in to roost for the night as the sun hit the horizon.

House Crow (Corvus splendens)

Then it was back to Salmiya and to drop Max back at the hotel after an enjoyable two days of birding together.

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