Week 26, 27 June 2008 - Sabah al Salem, Salmiya, Green Island, Kuwait Towers, Sulaibikaht Bay, Doha South and Jahra East Outfall
My family have migrated south away from the summer heat of Kuwait to the chilled winter on the Johannesburg highveld in South Africa. Today, I decided to try and visit a few sites with mixed luck. Images by Mike Pope
The pans at Sabal al Salem have all but dried up, so the birds have departed. I had no luck with Crested Myna in Salmiya so headed to Green Island and sure enough the Red vented Bulbuls made an appearance, although they are not co-operative for photography.
In summer, House Sparrows and Collared Doves seem more prevalent. I keep checking the Collared Doves for African, but no luck yet since I have been in Kuwait.
Kuwait Towers was the next stop, but the Bank Myna's didnt get the memo that I was coming, so onto Sulaibikhat. I found this Blue-throated Agamid (Trapelus persicus fieldi) perched on top of the reserve fence escaping the heat of the sand.
Dark phase Western Reef Herons were more common than the pale phase
I came across small groups of juvenile Cream coloured Coursers here and at Jahra East
Along the beach, I picked up a few non-breeding Greater Sand Plovers
This time last year, Purple Swamphens bred at Doha South. I was saddened to find that this site had all but dried up and only 3 Black winged Stilts were seen in the last remaining bit of water
Although the tide had receeded, Jahra East is always a worthwhile stop. I was surprised at the number of migrants still present - returning or just never left? I counted 2 Blue cheeked Bee eaters
An obliging Common Sandpiper
Both White and Yellow Wagtails were present, this is ssp beema
Clamorous Reed Warblers were heard and seen calling in the reeds, which are now re-growing after the fire
3 Little Bitterns were present along the 'fresh' water course
At first glance this bird appeared like a Tern in the distance over the heat haze, but once I got my binny's on it saw that it was a Hobby that stopped over for a drink (it could have picked a better place than this pool)
Abdulrahman al Sirhan
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Week 23, 07 June 2008 - Pivot Fields, SAANR, Jahra East Outfall
Following 2 days of wind and dust storms, Brian Foster and I ventured out to a few of the better sites. The wind was still gusty and hot, but the dust had subsided a little to make it bearable for birding. Images by Mike Pope
First stop was the pivot fields where we visited the marshy depression and found a juvenile Little ringed Plover together with an adult
We were delighted to also discover 4 adult and 1 juvenile White tailed Plover. This photo shows the adult, with the adult Little ringed Plover in the foreground
The juvenile White tailed Plover stretching
Squacco Herons were represented by adults in breeding plumage and juveniles
This 'dark' Squacco Heron had us guessing a bit, but on closer inspection it appears to be oiled
We havent been able to get access to SAANR in recent weeks, but today we were allowed to enter. We stopped at the pool on the top of the ridge to check unsuccessfully for Rock Sparrow, we did find a juvenile Chestnut shouldered Sparrow (Petronia)
Some migrants were around at Tuhla, like European Roller, Golden Oriole, House Martin and this Ruff
After a long search at the wadi and then back to Tuhla, we eventually found the Lappet faced Vulture (possible Arabian race, negevensis) which is a first for Kuwait. It is a large and impressive bird that was originally found by Khaled al Nasrella around the 17 May 2008.
We were fortunate to see the bird flying and landing in the shade out of the wind
Contented, we departed for Jahra East and the 4.1m high tide. This was around midday, so the light for photography was not in my favour. There were many gulls, terns and shorebirds feeding on the incoming tide, including these Little Terns.
The bird in flight is very similar to a Saunders Tern, but is more likely a 2nd year summer plumage Little Tern with brownish grey outer 4 primaries wth greyish centres and an obvious white tail and rump
In amongst the waders, we found a Red necked Phalarope in breeding plumage
Yesterday Rashed al Hajji had seen Kuwaits 3rd record of Grey (Red) Phalarope and when we met up, he helped us relocate the bird, resplendent in breeding plumage. The bird was actually found by Khaled Al-Ghanem on 5 June 2008. Brian was elated in finally seeing a red, Red Phalarope!
The Red Phalarope was fairly obliging, although we couldnt get close enough for better photographs. This image clearly shows the white wingbars in flight