12/18/07

South Africa (ZA)   Last outing of 2007  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 03:13:23 pm

Week 52, 18 December 2007 - Al Abraq and SAANR

For our last birding day of 2007, Pekka Fagel and I headed out west to Al Abraq and then briefly explored SAANR. Images by Mike Pope

Al Abraq was very quiet and cold when we first arrived, but birds appeared as it slowly warmed up. This male Spannish Sparrow was seen warming up in the sun

Spanish Sparrow

I have normally struggled to photograph Desert Wheatear, this male was obliging on this cold morning

Desert Wheatear

A poor image of a suspected Shikra, for our two visiting groups later this month

Shikra?

As there was not much more, we headed out to SAANR where birding was also pretty quiet, but the few birds were obliging - especially this Hoopoe Lark

Hoopoe Lark

A first year male Black Redstart was the only bird of interest at Tuhla

Black Redstart

12/17/07

South Africa (ZA)    -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 10:55:35 pm

Week 51, 15 December 2007 - Pivot Fields and Sulaibikhat Bay

The Little Curlew deserved its own post, but there was still good birding to be had at the Pivot Fields after we had satisfied ourselves with saturated views of this mega rarity. Images by Mike Pope

The Golden Plover was still at the site, but was suddenly playing second fiddle to the Curlew. I managed a record shot of it in flight with some Lapwings

Golden Plover

The lone Red Wattled Lapwing is still present and is quite unusual this far south

Red wattled Lapwing

There are many flocks of Northern Lapwings spread all over the fields and these seem to provide safety in their numbers. Many other birds like Ruff, Curlew, Golden Plover and the Little Curlew stick fairly closely within the flock - especially with the ever present Harriers putting the birds up, everytime they come swooping low over the fields

Northern Lapwing

Water Pipits are still abundant and you need to search through all of them for the chance of something unusual - this Crested Lark wasnt one of them

Crested Lark

Starlings are still present in large flocks and this is probably the most appealing food source for the Harriers and Kites

Starlings

A reptile you wouldnt expect to encounter in Kuwait is a Nile Crocodile, especially this size

Nile Crocodile

A small flock of Cattle Egrets were roosting on the banks and fence at the croc pool

Cattle Egret

We inadvertently flushed a Great White Egret that was roosting in the reeds at the croc pool

Great White Egret

Clouded Yellow butterflies were completely outnumbered by Painted Ladies

Clouded Yellow

Raptors were well represented today and are shown from biggest to smallest, starting with a juvenile Imperial Eagle

Juvenile Imperial Eagle

Long legged Buzzard

Long legged Buzzard

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Kestrel

Kestrel

I met up with Brian and Pekka at Sulaibikhat Bay to twitch the Lesser Flamingo another 1st record for Kuwait. It was suprisingly difficult to find in amongst the many large flocks of Greater Flamingos, as it is litterally half the size of the Greaters. This image by Pekka Fagel

Lesser Flamingo

We watched part of the group of Greater Flamingos perform some strange ritual or display. We assume they are males vying for the attention of the females. These images by Mike Pope

Greater Flamingos displaying

The Lesser Flamingo continued on its own agenda, seemingly oblivious to the noise and posing by the Greater Flamingos

Lesser Flamingo

Lesser Flamingo

The Crab Plovers really are appealing photographic subjects

Crab Plovers

The Black headed Gulls in winter plumage have returned in numbers, this one was feeding over the outfall

Black headed Gull

An adult Armenian Gull roosting at the outfall in Sulaibikhat

Armenian Gull

South Africa (ZA)   Little Curlew - Pivot Fields  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 10:33:12 pm

Week 51, 15 December 2007 - Pivot Fields

A large group of us assembled at the gates to the Pivot Fields and with the kind permision of the owners, we entered with trepidation and hopes of relocating the exciting Little Curlew

The group consisted of Abdulrahman Al-Sirhan, Brian Foster, Pekka Fagel, Gary Brown, Mark Chichester and his family and myself. After some extensive searching it was located in amongst the Lapwings and by all accounts is a very busy bird as it walked around at speed feeding between the lazier Lapwings. We never got really close to the bird, so quality images with the haze was challenging. The following images by Pekka Fagel show the bird in flight

Little Curlew

Little Curlew

I managed to get images of the bird from a different angle, even trying a 1.4 converter with manual focus to bring it closer. The following images by Mike Pope

Little Curlew

Little Curlew

Little Curlew

Little Curlew

Congratulations to Abdulmoshen Al-Suraye for finding the Curlew - this will I'm sure prove to be the Bird of the Year for the Middle East as a whole
Howard King Bahrain

South Africa (ZA)   13th December 2007  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 10:18:04 pm

Week 51, 13 December 2007 - Pivot Fields and Sulaibikhat Bay

This would be a day to remember for Kuwait birding in 2007

The first exciting find by Khalid Al-Nasrallah and Rashed Al-Hajji was the 1st record of a Lesser Flamingo in amongst a large flock of Greater Flamingo in Sulaibikhat Bay. Unfortunately, I dont have any of their photographs from that day, but Pekka and I were able to photograph the bird a few days later

Abdulmoshen Al-Suraye then found and photographed a first winter Little Curlew in amongst a group of Northern Lapwings at the Pivot Fields. This exciting bird, is a first record for Kuwait and the Middle East and the 6th record for the Western Palearctic. The other records are from Britain, Sweden, Norway and Finland. I think this will be voted the Bird of 2007 for Kuwait

Little Curlew

12/11/07

South Africa (ZA)    -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 09:49:54 am

Week 50, 05 and 08 December 2007 - Pivot Fields and Jahra East

Abdulrahman was able to get to Pivot Fields for the Golden Plover initially found by Pekka Fagel and the Finnish visitors. Images by Abdulrahman Al Sirhan

This is the 2nd record of Golden Plover in Kuwait in less than 10 days and the benefits of a long lens were required to photograph this bird amongst the Northern Lapwings

Golden Plover

A lone Red Wattled Lapwing was also seen at the Pivot Fields

Red Wattled Lapwing

Abdulrahman discovered the 4th record of Buff bellied Pipit at Pivot fields, although this is an image of the 3rd bird seen at Jahra East

Buff bellied Pipit

South Africa (ZA)   Finnish Visitors  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 07:58:25 am

Week 50, 08 and 09 December 2007 - Pivot Fields, Kabd and Jahra East

Pekka Fagel was out guiding Mr. Kari Haataja and Mr. Vesa Jouhki, two Finnish birders for an intensive 3-days at the various localities in and around Kuwait. Images by Pekka Fagel

Hari Haataja has kindly provided his photographs of the Golden Plover, the 2nd for Kuwait in less than 2-weeks

Golden Plover

Golden Plover

Many raptors are still present at the Pivot Fields, including this juvenile Imperial Eagle

Juvenile Imperial Eagle

Also at the Pivot Fields, a White throated Kingfisher

White throated Kingfisher

Jahra East produced a White tailed Plover, sheltering in the grass during the dust storm

White tailed Plover

A visit to Kabd produced Lesser short toed Larks which are very similar to female Black crowned Finch Larks

Lesser Short toed Larks

Lesser Short toed Larks

A female Black crowned Finch Lark, showing remarkable similarity to a Lesser Short toed Lark

Female Black crowned Finch Lark

The more distintive male Black crowned Finch Lark

Male Black crowned Finch Lark

12/10/07

South Africa (ZA)   Winter still hot  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 09:54:24 am

Week 50, 08 December 2007 - Pivot Fields

Pekka Fagel was guiding two Finnish birders (Mr. Kari Haataja and Mr. Vesa Jouhki) for an intensive 3-days and they discovered the 2nd record of Golden Plover in 2-weeks in amongst the Northern Lapwings at the Pivot Fields. Brian Foster and I found the time to get out there to twitch the bird, unfortunately it wasnt very co-operative enough to be photographed. Images by Mike Pope

There were many flocks of Northern Lapwings around the fields and in general were all quite skittish. Daylight was also fading fast

Northern Lapwing

There were also many large flocks of Starlings scattered around the fields, certainly the most that I have seen in my time here

Starlings

Raptors were still well represented and I was able to photograph this Imperial Eagle on top of the water reservoir

Imperial Eagle

As the sun was setting, many bats erupted from one of the farm building. Unfortunately we didnt have time to see if any of the raptors took advantage of these meals on wings during this small window of opportunity - although a Black Kite did have a look in. Abdulrahman has confirmed these bats are resident at the Pivot Fields and are Naked bellied Tomb Bats

Bats

Bat

12/06/07

South Africa (ZA)   Jahra East delivers yet again  -  Categories: Rarities  -  @ 01:41:39 pm

Week 49 - Jahra East Outfall

Great winter birds were seen and photographed at Jahra East during the last week of November. Images by Rashed Al-Hajji and Abdulrahman Al-Sirhan

On the 29th November 07, Rashed was fortunate enough to photograph a splendid Redwing

Redwing

Also on the 29th November 07, Abdulrahman missed the Redwing but got onto a Moustached Warbler singing in the reedbed

Moustached Warbler

Rashed photograhped a male Reed Bunting on 30th November 07. Typically the bird was in the reeds, Rashed then found a female the following day

Reed Bunting

On 1 December 07 Abdulrahman photographed a Blyth's Reed Warbler, an exciting discovery and the 3rd record for Kuwait with the last record recorded in 1971

Blyth's Reed Warbler

12/02/07

South Africa (ZA)    -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 05:49:53 pm

Week 49, 01 December 07 - Kuwait Towers, Jahra East and SAANR

Pekka and I were out this morning checking a few sites in preparation for some of the groups visiting Kuwait later this month. Images by Mike Pope and Pekka Fagel

On the way to Sulaibikhat, I stopped at Kuwait Towers and confirmed that the second colony of Bank Myna's were still present. At this time of the morning, two Myna species were sharing the 'drinking trough' - the irrigation hoses

Bank and Common Myna

Bank Mynas

Collared Doves were more obliging here as they loked for scraps from the previous nights festivities

Collared Dove

The Long tail Shrike was still at Sulaibikhat, but not very obliging today, so we headed for Jahra East. We were pleasantly surprised to re-locate the two Brown necked Ravens seen by Pekka at Doha South yesterday. This is a very poor record shot, but important as these birds were last seen over 2-years ago

Brown necked Raven

4 Black Kites soared overhead and I noticed these were of the Yellow billed variety which is the more prevalent race in South Africa - apologies for the poor quality, but a first for me for this race in Kuwait

Yellow billed Kite

Pallid Swifts have returned en masse to Kuwait for the winter

Pallid Swift

Water Pipits were still in abundance and we could find no Meadow or Buff bellied Pipits in between despite a long search

Water Pipit

A juvenile Little Bittern has been present for some time, Pekka caught it on camera out in the open

Juvenile Little Bittern

We headed to the natural reserve and found it a little quite, Pekka was able to photograph this Hoopoe Lark which is normally an elusive subject

Hoopoe Lark

I found this large desert locust, which has managed to survive thus far from its natural predators

Locust

South Africa (ZA)    -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 03:08:28 pm

Week 49, 27 November 07 - in between sites

Pekka Fagel was visiting project sites during the week and was fortunate to find and photograph on the the Regions most sought after birds. Images by Pekka Fagel

Houbara (Macqueens) Bustard is an elusive bird and highly sought after by birders and hunters alike. Sadly, if the hunters find them first they dont progress any further than Kuwait on their migration south

Houbara Bustard

Houbara Bustard

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