02 May 2020

Lockdown - Day 23

Week 14; 03 April 2020 - Al Abraq

The curfew hours are not ideal, but I left at 6 sharp and headed to Al Abraq in the west of Kuwait arriving in the general area by around 7:15. 

I hope you enjoy the picture heavy post from the West!

There was a light desert fog on the last stretch of tar road and it was here that I stopped for awhile, distracted by a few Great Grey Shrikes on the side of the road

Great Grey Shrike (Steppe) (Lanius excubitor lahtora)

As well as a few Northern Wheatear's; these two males showing some differences in their plumage; the first dark grey upperparts and peachy throat and beige underparts and the second paler grey upperparts and all white underparts

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

A little further along the road another stop, this time for a stunning male Pied Wheatear fully decked out in his black and white summer plumage.

Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)

Most times, there are little to no birds on this stretch of road to the farm - so this was an unexpected surprise.

Once at the farm, I started with a drive around the perimeter as it covers a few habitat types. Here a Steppe Buzzard that had roosted overnight

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)

In the same area, a female Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)

A Common Redstart allowed a fairly close approach for a change

Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)

Whinchat's had arrived and I had both female

Female Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)

and a stunning male

Male Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)

and a distant Eastern Black-eared Wheatear - this more a habitat shot

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe h. melanoleuca)

Not much further along, a Woodchat Shrike surveyed the desert from his perch

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)

and in the same general area a stunning male Red-backed Shrike which is one of the recent arrivals. The strange pattern behind the bird is the boundary fence!

Male Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)

At the fields, a few European Bee-eaters were still roosting on some of the trees. 

They needed to fly vertical and away from the farm to escape some of the shooters on the boundary. Yes, the f...ckers are still shooting indiscriminately at everything that flies in and out of the farm, even during the lockdown!

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

Overhead, a dark-form Booted Eagle cruised by effortlessly on the light breeze, the diagnostic 'landing lights' clearly visible.

Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata)

The dead Sunflower plants were still present and these provide perches with character, so I spent a little time here to see which species would land on them. 

Common Chiffchaff (I hope) were foraging actively in the fields and would often just pop up for a view, before dropping down again

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

A female Eastern Stonechat - probably Caspian, but 'm not 100% sure

Eastern Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

And later Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

along with a few Tree Pipit's

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)

In the trees behind the Sunflowers, a female Red-backed Shrike waited patiently

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)

Moving along, a few more Great Grey Shrikes were seen

Great Grey Shrike (Steppe) (Lanius excubitor lahtora)

I then parked my car and walked some areas where driving is not possible. Rufous-tailed Scrub Robins had also arrived

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes)

This bird flushed from the ground and began singing it's heart out from the top of a low tree - great to hear its vocalisation on migration

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes)

An Upcher's Warbler was working its way along the base of some low shrub

Upcher's Warbler (Hippolais languida)

Whilst Common Chiffchaff foraged actively in the same area

Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

Hypocolius are not a bird you expect at Abraq, but today there was a small flock of 5-6 birds - always a joy to see

Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)

I flushed a Eurasian Sparrowhawk whilst walking

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

And not long afterward the Steppe Buzzard came by fairly close overhead, really giving me the eye ball!

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus)

As it was now warming up, back to the car to drive to the fields that were being watered which is always a magnet for passerines - there were both Water Pipits

Caucasian Water Pipit (Anthus s. coutelli)

and Red-throated Pipits

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

Along with a variety of Western Yellow Wagtails

Sykes's Wagtail (Motacilla f. beema)

Grey-headed Wagtail (Motacilla f. thunbergi)

A male Western Marsh Harrier came quartering over the field flushing all the birds I was photographing - a good time to call it a day...

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Whilst I was walking, I did also photograph a number of butterflies; Brown Playboy

Brown Playboy (Deudorix antalus)

Mediterranean Pierrot - both female and male

Female Mediterranean Pierrot (Tarucus rosacea)

Male Mediterranean Pierrot (Tarucus rosacea)

and some other invertebrates - this strange looking Plume Moth

Plum Moth sp.

And a really camouflaged Grasshopper

Grasshopper sp.

Ladybirds were pretty prevalent in some of the spring flowers

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella 7-punctata)

No time pressure on a weekend, but with the later start - it doesn't take too long before the temperature sends everything into cover, so it was time to head to the supermarket and brave the 'mask and gloves' brigade after navigating the long road back from the west

Road from Abraq

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