31 August 2020

Lockdown - Day 163; A morning around the Pivots

Week 35; 21 August 2020 - Pivot Fields

I squeezed in another morning's birding over the weekend, which really helps after the week spent working indoors. As Autumn creeps closer, each day birding will start producing new species and arrivals.

On the way to the marsh, I stopped for a few Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters on the overhead line

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)

Followed by a young Indian Reed Warbler at the big reed-fringed pond

Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. brunnescens)

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At the marsh, Graceful Prinia's were active and vocal

Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis)

More Indian Reed and Caspian Reed Warblers were foraging around the base of the reeds

Caspian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. fuscus)

A contact call alerted me to a Savi's Warbler which are still present - really cool Warbler's

Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides)

Overhead, a Black-winged Kite was seen hunting

Black-winged Kite (Elanus c. vociferus)

And quite a long way in the distance, I had my first Marsh Harrier for this autumn, this bird a male

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

The Yellow-crowned Bishop is still present and resplendent in his bumble-bee summer plumage

Yellow-crowned Bishop (Euplectes afer)

Walking back to my car, a Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)

Followed by two Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

And this unidentified Lizard, hiding like a Snake

Lizard sp.

Driving to the more exposed shallow pool, a Great Reed Warbler was working through some small trees

Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)

And a Lesser Grey Shrike, also my first for this Autumn was perched in one of the Palm Trees

Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)

Just before the pool, I stopped for a few 1st year Collared Pratincole

Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)

As I arrived at the pool, 4 Spur-winged Lapwing took flight and settled a lot further away

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)

There was not much around the fringes of the pool, so I resigned myself to some BIF practice..

Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Collared Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

European Roller

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)

and Crested Lark's, although I was really trying to get an image of a male Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark in flight. The challenge with these birds is that they fly low over the fields, so there is always a busy background which is tough for small fast flying birds

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

I watched another small flock of Bee-eaters that were sitting in the fields. Every time they took off, they returned with a catch. In the 20-minutes I watched, not one of them missed - incredible! If you look closely, you can see the pollen sac on one of the bees...

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)

Not much else was seen at this location, so it was hot enough to call it a morning

Lockdown - Day 162; Out West

Week 35; 20 August 2020 - Al Abraq

It has been many months since I lasted visited the Abraq Farm in the west of Kuwait. So as a change to the Pivots, I had an extra early start for the drive to the farm, enjoying this sunrise over one of the camel camps, before I turned off into the desert.

Abraq sunrise

I thought (or was hoping) that the Covid constraints would keep the shooters at home, sadly this was not the case and they were camped on the boundary of the farm like expectant Vultures. Maybe some day the Legislation that is in place, will be enforced to curtail and stop this utterly senseless shooting and slaughter of migratory birds year on year!

I headed to the western side of the farm, so it would not spoil my morning and the first bird I had was this passing Common Cuckoo

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)

Eurasian Hoopoe's were the predominant migrant at the farm this morning - in flight their plumage is pretty striking

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

There were a few Woodchat Shrikes about

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)

As well as Bee-eaters

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

Rollers flew in as the day warmed up and were looking for somewhere to rest up for the day

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)

I took some time to walk before it got too hot, finding Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (Iduna pallida)

Upcher's Warbler

Upcher's Warbler (Hippolais languida)

And one of the many House Sparrow's resident at the farm

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

A last drive around the farm gave Great Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike (Steppe) (Lanius excubitor lahtora)

And around 4 Isabelline Wheatear's that also arrived as it warmed considerably more.

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

By now the shooters had departed, so tranquility and peace was returned. Unfortunately it was also too hot and the birds also quietened down and took refuge in the shade. Good time for me to call it a morning too, but an enjoyable diversion to the regular Pivot Farm visits.

20 August 2020

Lockdown - Day 156; Where are the migrants?

Week 33; 14 August 2020 - Pivot Fields

Early morning temperatures are slowly becoming more bearable as we head toward autumn. Once again, I was back to the Pivots after a hectic work week, still working from home.

Just inside the gate, there was a White-throated Kingfisher on the overhead line

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

I headed to the marsh, as the Warblers are most active just after sunrise - but not quite as much this morning. A few Savi's were still present and to me these are pretty cool Warblers.

Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides)

A young Caspian Reed Warbler was in the mix too

Caspian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. fuscus)

The 'Bumble Bee' flight shot of the male Yellow-crowned Bishop is still eluding me, but I will persevere

Yellow-crowned Bishop (Euplectes afer)

At the back of the marsh adjacent to one of the fields, I had a single Great Reed

Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)

Along with an Indian Reed

Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus s. brunnescens)

A few Western Yellow Wagtails were foraging in the freshly cut grass on the field next to the marsh

Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)

Sand Martin's alternated between foraging above the marsh and then over the fields together with the Barn Swallows

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

A couple of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters had a fly by - most times you hear them before you see them

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)

Driving to the smaller and more open pool, I flushed this Black Kite that took off with its prey - looks like a Dove

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)

Green Sandpiper's were the predominant wader at this pool, I love their diagnostic call

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

Here a Wood Sandpiper in flight for comparison

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

However the bird of the morning were these Caspian Plover's, that were quite obliging

Caspian Plover (Anarhynchus asiaticus)

Leaving the farm, a European Roller on the overhead line, seemed to be contemplating whether to join the assortment of waders for a drink. Not the most flattering angle for this good looking bird

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)