03 March 2020

What a difference a day makes

Week 09; 27 February 2020 - Pivot Fields and Jahra Pools Reserve

Finally the wind blew itself out during the night and the day dawned bright and clear, so it was back to Pivot Fields with Paul Scott, Neil Tovey and Matt Nottingham for Round 2. What a difference it made to have clear sky and no wind! 

This morning I started at the marsh together with Neil and Matt, finding the two Glossy Ibis from yesterday

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

More Common Snipe

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

A Western Marsh Harrier that almost flew right over our heads, but then checked at the last minute

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Still many Caspian Stonechat's around, here a female.

Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)

In the same area, a few Corn Bunting's were singing their hearts out and eating the leaves from the same bush they were perched on

Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra)

As well as many Water Pipits in the field behind the Bunting

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)

On the way to the Camel Pens, I had a Black-winged Kite on the overhead line.

Black-winged Kite (Elanus c. vociferus)

Neil told me he had seen some Sociable Lapwing's earlier but couldn't relocate them. I checked one of the ploughed fields and found 5 adults (4 male, 1 female) in summer plumage - what a treat and hands down the bird of the day! I spent over an hour trying to get images of them as they remained in the center of the field. Finally they did get a little closer and just when we thought they were settled and used us....

Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius)

Female Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius)

Male Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius)

A frigging Black Kite swooped in, flushed them and they were gone!

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)

A bit peed off, I carried on driving the fields, finding more Isabelline Wheatear in the newly sprung spring flowers - although it was starting to warm up now and heat haze was becoming a factor

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

More Lesser Short-toed Lark

Lesser Short-toed Lark (Alaudala rufescens)

As it warmed up, so the raptors became more active and started thermaling - I enjoyed watching 3 Eastern Imperial Eagles interacting high overhead, including one cracking sub-adult 

Sub-adult Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)

Once they disappeared, I continued and found roosting Steppe Eagle

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

followed by a Pallid Harrier

Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)

I searched the western field from yesterday for Richard's no luck.  I found a similar field with short grass on the eastern side of the farm and as luck would have it, found two more Richard's Pipit. However, these were different birds and in winter plumage which we are more accustomed too.

Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi)

By now I had exhausted the farm, so headed to Jahra Pools after stopping for a burger on the way.

There were many Hirundines overhead, so stopped to check them carefully. Nothing unusual, but amongst the many Barn Swallows and Pallid Swifts there were Red-rumped

Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica)

Common House Martin

Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum)

and a few Sand Martin

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

At the big pool, only one Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Whilst a few Steppe Eagles passed overhead

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

At the outfall, there were at least 4-pairs of Barn Swallow nesting inside the outfall - a great breeding record for Kuwait

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Your chance to feed the kids!

I then decided to try for the long-staying Brown Shrike. I could hear it calling deep in the reeds when it suddenly flew up, landed on top of the reeds and was gone within 3-seconds. I managed to squeeze off one shot only, but noted that it's plumage is slowly changing. 

Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

I waited for another 20-minutes for it to return, but not today. So entertained myself with the many Caspian Stonechat's in the same area

Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola m. hemprichii)

Behind me a cracking Woodchat Shrike roosted patiently on the boundary fence

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)

One last drive on the way to the gate, produced one of many Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

Along with a few Daurian Shrike

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)

What a great early spring day out and in the coming weeks, birding will only improve

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