17 June 2020

Lockdown - Day 59; eBird Global Big Day

Week 19; 09 May 2020 - Pivot Fields and Sulaibikhat Bay

The timing of eBird Global Big Day was not ideal for Kuwait, as the next day was declared as Full Lockdown for 3-weeks, in response to the Covid crisis. So, this meant most would be out trying to stock up with provisions for the coming week(s). As a result, I was the only birder out in the field to try and knock up a decent count from Kuwait for the day.

Obviously the objective was to find and count birds, so photography took a back seat. As other sites were not really accessible, I spent most of the time really working the Pivot Field farm. I did take a few images, here the resident Crested Lark on it's favourite post

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

There were still a few lingering migrants about; Willow Warbler also struggling in the heat

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

A few Red-backed Shrikes were still present

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)

and a Little Stint in cracking summer plumage

Little Stint (Calidris minuta)

I left the Pivots with 50+ species and headed to KISR Outfall and Sulaibikhat Bay for the late afternoon and the outgoing tide. It was a good call as I added a fair number of shorebirds and Gulls/Terns to the count. 

Kentish Plover are expected

Kentish Plover (Anarhynchus alexandrinus)

A number of Tern species were present; Gull-billed

Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)

And Sandwich, although not obvious in this backlit image, but there were two birds foraging over the outfall at KISR

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

and more seen when I reached Sulaibikhat Bay, although quite distant

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

Two House Crow's zipped by overhead, so that was a bonus tick for the day, although not welcome.

House Crow (Corvus splendens)

As did a Squacco Heron heading for it's roost

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

I finished the day with an average 66 species, but at least had Kuwait as a participant and contributor, on this extra-ordinary Big Day

Once the tide slipped further out and no new birds were seen, I enjoyed some entertainment and antics from the two species of Mudskipper that are easily seen here. 

Boleophthalmus dussumieri defending his 'burrow' from Walton's Mudskipper (Periophthalmus waltoni)

This is the smaller Walton's Mudskipper which was pretty active

Walton's Mudskipper (Periophthalmus waltoni)

Quite a few Crabs were seen between the Mudskipper's - all part of the symbiotic relationship in this biome

Mud Dweller (Macropthalmus depressus)

I then had to call it a day and head home before curfew kicked in and the start of a long 3-weeks of lockdown, with only 2-hours/day for exercise.

14 June 2020

Lockdown - Day 58

Week 19; 08 May 2020; Pivot Fields

And in the blink of an eye another weekend is upon us. 

Working from home has become the new norm and with the available tools, we are as productive as ever and seem to be working even longer hours. So, when Friday arrives I head back to the Pivots to avoid any onset of cabin fever.

It was already quite hot at 6:30 in the morning and heat haze was already a factor. However, it didn't stop this resident Crested Lark singing to its heart's content

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

I headed back to the small pool from last week, but it had less water in today. I assume the Temminck's Stint was the same that I saw last week.

Temminck’s Stint (Calidris temminckii)

Wood Sandpiper's are still present in fair numbers

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

And there was a Common Snipe sitting quietly in the cover on the side of the pool

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

I then checked the marsh and was harassed by the White-tailed Lapwing

White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)

Red-wattled Lapwing

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

and the Black-winged Stilt's

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

which in turn put up a Ruff

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

I saw a Tern flying low above the marsh, I was hoping for Black at this time of year, but unfortunately it was White-winged

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

There were a few Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters hunting over the reeds. I got this one with a fairly large locust and was really irritated at myself when I missed the mid-air flip of the locust. In my defense, hand-holding the older 600mm prime for prolonged periods, is not as easy as it used to be...

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)

I then had a drive around some of the fields and boundary fence where I had this Blue-throated Agamid high on the fence to escape the heat on the ground

Blue-throated (Blanford's) Agamid (Trapelus ruderatus fieldi)

A little further along, a Lesser Grey Shrike on the same fence, but against the light

Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)

In the Tamarix Trees, there are hundreds of House Sparrows nesting, here Dad has the responsibility of feeding the young. Note the distinctive white cheeks on the male, probably a Indian House Sparrow 

Indian House Sparrow (Passer d. indicus)

Spotted Flycatcher's also enjoy this habitat

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

Around the fields, more Red-backed Shrikes

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)

And a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater that landed close to my car and breathing hard to regulate it's temperature

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)

Not far off were a pair of Namaqua Dove's - but heat haze killed the image

Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)

Driving along the boundary fence, I surprised a Desert Monitor and I managed this grab shot as it literally dived into cover

Desert Monitor (Varanus griseus)

On the way to the palm plantation, another Blue-throated Agamid trying to get some air flow between its body and the ground

Blue-throated (Blanford's) Agamid (Trapelus ruderatus fieldi)

At the palm plantation, I found a family of White-eared Bulbul and this recently fledged youngster

White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis)

Before leaving, I decided to walk along one of the pivot fields with flowering Alfalfa and it was a great decision

Aside from this Erebidae Moth species

Erebidae sp.

I discovered another new butterfly for Kuwait, this time a Pygmy Skipper and thanks to Steve Collins for confirming the ID. If you are familiar with Skippers, they are extremely fast flying and wary and are easily lost to sight if you dont see where they go. It took a good 45-minutes to get these images, but well worth the effort. The amount of times I lay flat only to find it had flown off became a joke, but the perseverance paid off eventually

Pygmy Skipper (Gegenes pumilio), a 1st for Kuwait

Pygmy Skipper (Gegenes pumilio) and Asian Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra)