04/27/08

South Africa (ZA)   Migration in full swing  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 12:36:15 pm

Week 17, 26 April 2008 - Al Abraq and Jahra East Outfall

Migration really picked up earlier this week with favourable weather all round. When conditions are favourable, Al Abraq is worth a visit which is where Brian, Pekka, Rick, Ernie and I headed for the morning. I personally had a count of 90 species this morning from two locations which is pretty good for Kuwait.
Sadly, migration attracts the hunters which were inside and outside the farm and at times we had shotgun pellets raining down on us from the sky, this together with dead and wounded birds was very sad and disheartening. Unfortunately, century old traditions are hard to overcome even with educationa and awareness. Images by Mike Pope


It was really sad to discover that this exciting little seedeater, a Desert Finch and the 6th record for Kuwait had been wounded by the hunters. This was a lifer for all of us today

Desert Finch

Desert Finch

Blackcap numbers had increased, this female was enjoying a tasty morsel

Female Blackcap

Warblers were well represented with Great Reed, Sykes, Barred, Ictereen, Olivaceous and Upchers. They are difficult to photograph, but I was fortunate with a few including Barred Warbler

Barred Warbler

Icterine Warbler

Icterine Warbler

Upchers Warbler

Upchers Warbler

We found two Wryneks interacting and calling earlier, this bird was found later foraging on the ground

Wrynek

Spotted Flycatchers are now to be seen in most localities

Spotted Flycatcher

Shrikes have easy pickings with the amount of passerines and wounded birds, this juvenile Red backed Shrike with a deceased Sparrow

Shrike and prey

A Masked Shrike is stunning in breeding plumage

Masked Shrike

We had opportunity to compare similar looking birds in the form of - Nightingale

Nightingale

A wounded juvenile Thrush Nightingale

Thrush Nightingale

A female White throated Robin

White throated Robin

and a Rufous tailed Scrub Robin, characteristically cocking its tail

Rufous tailed Scrub Robin

Today was one of the hottest days this spring and typically of this region I came across this camel train out in the western desert, shimmering in the heat haze

Camel train

I headed out to Jahra Farm, whilst the others checked out the Pivot Fields. A male Northern Wheatear was seen at one of the pools

Northen Wheatear

I surprised a Little Bittern away from the reedbed - but not for long, before it disappeared back into the depths of the reedbed

Little Bittern

There was a huge flock of mixed waders on the incoming tide and in amongst them this distant large flock of Red necked Phalaropes. I didnt have time to wait for the tide to really come in, but it would have given some great photographic opportunities

Red necked Phalaropes

There are still large numbers of Yellow Wagtails and quite a few of the ssp's are still represented

Yellow Wagtail

A good looking lutea

Yellow Wagtail

A male Winchat popped up really close to the car, I didnt even get time to wind down the window

Winchat

04/21/08

South Africa (ZA)   A morning at the Pivot Fields  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 08:57:37 am

Week 16, 19 April 2008 - Pivot Fields

Today was a casual day out with my son together with Andrew Shaw, Graham and Nick Whitehead and I noticed big difference in the numbers of some migrant species from the previous week. Images by Mike Pope


In a small depression with water, many species congregated at various times of the morning. The number of Barn Swallows have increased dramatically and many were taking advantage of the shallow pool for an in-flight dip.

Barn Swallow

Collared Pratincole numbers had also increased from the previous week and they too enjoyed the shallow pool

Collared Pratincole

Waders feeding in the shallow pool included Ruff, Curlew and Common Sandpiper, Snipe and fair numbers of Little Stint, coming into breeding plumage

Little Stint

Wood Sandpipers were more solitary

Wood Sandpiper

A lone Temmincks Stint appeared more weary than the other birds and favoured feeding on its own

Temmincks Stint

The number of Harriers had also increased and were represented by two species (as far as I could tell) in various plumages. Im not sure if this is a Pallid/ or Montague Harrier

Pallid/Montague Harrier

A male Marsh Harrier which swooped low over the ponds and flushing many of the waders

Marsh Harrier

Kestrel numbers were down from last week, but this Kestrel was fairly obliging and was also hawking quite unperturbed around the hay bales were our son's were playing

Kestrel

Kestrel

In terms of passerines, there appears to have been an explosion of Ortolan Buntings at the pivot fields

Ortolan Buntings

A female Redstart, seen here with a rather large insect

Redstart

Isabelline Shrikes still outnumber the other shrike species, like Masked and Red backed which were seen today

Isabelline Shrike

European bee-eaters have now replaced the Blue cheeked bee-eaters which appear to have continued their journey north

European bee-eater

04/14/08

South Africa (ZA)   Mega Rarity at Zour Port  -  Categories: Rarities  -  @ 08:35:50 am

Week 15, 10 April 2008 - Zour Port

A Lesser Frigatebird (probably ssp iredalei) was been seen and photographed late in the afternoon at Zour Port in southern Kuwait by visiting English birders. A national first and as we understand, the 4th Western Palearctic record and the first away from Israel (birds at Eilat on 1st December 1997, 6th May 1999 and 16th April 2005).Images by Lee Gregory


This first for Kuwait was an exciting and totally unexpected bird that turned up while the group were searching for Socotra Cormarant and fortunately it was captured digitally by Lee. Unfortunately it has not been relocated since then.

Lesser Frigatebird

Lesser Frigatebird

Lesser Frigatebird

04/13/08

South Africa (ZA)   A quick visit to Pivot Fields  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 10:34:12 am

Week 15, 12 April 2008 - Pivot Fields

Whilst Brian and Pekka were out with our visitors, I was able to get in a quick visit to the Pivot Fields, migrants were on the move following last nights Suriat (fast moving wind), the left some destruction in its wake. Images by Mike Pope


The large raptors were scarce, but I did encounter Common Buzzard

Common Buzzard

And Eurpoean Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

There was a flock of c. 30 Lesser Kestrels that had roosted overnight, here a male and female enjoy the early mornign sun

Lesser Kestrel

Female Lesser Kestrel

Female Lesser Kestrel

Male Lesser Kestrel

Male Lesser Kestrel

Among the Wheatears and Isabelline, Northern were seen and this Pied photographed

Pied Wheatear

Collared Pratincoles were present in numbers and feeding on an eruption of small insects over one of the fields

Collared Pratincole

European Bee-eaters which are here in numbers were feeding amongst the Pratincoles

European Bee-eater

A very skittish flock of 6 White Storks moved around the fields

White Storks

I came across this very large Desert Monitor and it wasnt happy with me when I got out of my car

Desert Monitor

Desert Monitor

Other passerinses included a few Ortolan Buntings

Ortolan Bunting

A Red throated Pipit enjoying an early bath

Red throated Pipit

My first Rufous tailed Bush Robin for the spring

Rufuos tailed Bush Robin

Hundreds of Yellow Wagtail were present in the fields, this is ssp lutea

Yellow Wagtail

South Africa (ZA)   Oriental Sklylark  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 09:26:15 am

Week 15, 12 April 2008 - Jahra East Outfall

Pekka has been hosting the group of Finnish birder and with their assistance, was able to clinch the identification of Oriental Skylark. Images by Pekka Fagel


Oriental Skylark identified on call and by it shorter primary projections

Oriental Skylark

South Africa (ZA)   Migrants at Tuhla  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 09:13:02 am

Week 15, 10 April 2008 - Tuhla, SAANR

Pekka has been hosting the group of Finnish birder and today they had some good birds at Tuhla. Images by Pekka Fagel


An obliging Basra Reed Warbler out in the open

Basra Reed Warbler

A Cinereous Bunting stopped by for a drink

Cinereous Bunting

Cinereous Bunting

Red-throated Pipits are all over Kuwait, in abundance

Red throated Pipit

04/06/08

South Africa (ZA)   Breeding Record  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 08:58:42 am

Week 14, 05 April 2008 - Abdaly

One of the farms in Abdaly is a known site for Common Babblers, but on this visit Pekka was able to confirm a second breeding record for this species. Images by Pekka Fagel


Juvenile Common Babblers at Abdaly Farm

Juvenile Common Babbler

Juvenile Common Babbler

Juvenile Common Babbler

South Africa (ZA)   Migrant visitors  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 08:53:39 am

Week 14, 03 April 2008 - Pivot Fields and Jahra Farms

We have had an unprecedented number of birders visit Kuwait this winter and spring and Pekka was out with one of the groups. Images by Pekka Fagel


European Bee-eaters are passing through in numbers, this one was seen at the Pivot Fields

European Bee-eater

A passing Osprey was a surprise visitor at the Pivot Fields

Osprey

At Jahra Farms a male Semi-collared Flycatcher was present

Semi-collared Flycatcher

04/01/08

South Africa (ZA)   Jahra East Outfall  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 01:49:56 pm

Week 13, 29 March 2008 - Jahra East Outfall and SAANR

I was at JEO before sun up in the hope of relocating the Black Vulture seen by Pekka yesterday, unfortunately so were the shooters and as a result no raptors were present. Images by Mike Pope


A one-legged Water Pipit, a victim of indiscriminate shooting

Water Pipit

I decided to sit quietly in the SE corner of the reedbeds and my patience was rewarded and at last I was able to photograph the Moustached Warbler

Moustached Warbler

Crakes were very vocal, but typically shy and secretive - but, I was very lucky to photograph the Baillons Crake as it quietly appeared in the darkness of the reedbed and then as quickly disappeared

Baillons Crake

Baillons Crake

Warblers were fairly active in the the early hours, bathing, gleening and generally being very busy. I caught this Great Reed Warbler, as it came down to drink

Great Reed Warbler

A European Reed Warbler was very active and animated after its bath

European Reed Warbler

European Reed Warbler

Abdulrahman has done a lot of work investigating and seperating Mountain Chiffchaff from the more common Chiffchaff. Unfortunately, this cannot reliably be done on plumage alone and our chalenge is to try and photograph one of this birds singing to clinch the id with certainty. These images will remain as Chiffchaff, for now

Chaffinch

Chiffchaff

Willow Warblers have now also arrived in numbers

Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler

Later in the morning I visited Tuhla in SAANR and birding was very quiet, however a Grey Wagtail was foraging on one of the exposed banks at the pool

Grey Wagtail

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