08/28/08

South Africa (ZA)    -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 04:08:21 pm

Week 35, 2008 - Pivot Fields

I wasnt happy with my original images of this mega (for me) bird, so made a return visit to the Pivot Fields after work. Pekka had seen two birds earlier in the week, but on this visit I only located one. Im know my indulgence with these images, will be understood by south african birders. For the first time, sadly, there was also a hunter inside the Pivot Fields. Images by Mike Pope

The Bittern is a skulking, very deliberate and slow moving bird, which is what makes it challenging to see - nevermind photograph! Once I located the bird, I sat quietly and it slowly changed from sky pointing to walking very slowly along a drainage line. I was fortunate enough to capture this sequence of photographs of it successfully catching some unfortunate insect - this was the setup

Bittern

Impact

Bittern

Got you

Bittern

Down the hatch

Bittern


08/24/08

South Africa (ZA)   A Mega day for this South African  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 07:44:49 pm

Week 34, 23 August 2008 - Pivot Fields and SAANR

Abdulrahman al Sirhan had found a Bittern at Pivot Fields two days ago, so it was with excitement and trepidation that I headed to this site with Pekka Fagel and Rick Saval. Images by Mike Pope

Bittern has been on my South African wish list since I started birding and on arrival met up with some local birders (Abdulmoshen and another birder) who were already onto the bird in the field. The dilemma was binny's or camera first. This time it was binny's to soak it in and by the time I got my camera onto out it was starting to become invisible - even in the green grass. These are not the best images, but will do for my memories. Hopefully it will stay in this un-hunted habitat and present more photographic opportunities next weekend

Bittern

Starting to skulk

Bittern

Departing to another pool

Bittern

After the elation, I looked around the small depression and found a single Glossy Ibis in the same area, together with many Squacco Herons

Glossy Ibis

The flock of 20+ Gargeney from last week were now down to 6

Gargeney

I caught this Ruff coming in to land

Ruff

An adult and juvenile Purple Heron that were previously roosting in the reeds at the crocodile pond

Purple Heron

I was lucky enough to catch this Hoopoe in its erratic flight

Hoopoe

During the morning we had an influx of Harriers chasing up all the birds everytime they passed overhead. This I believe, is a first year Montagu Harrier

Pallid Harrier

After the excitement of Pivot Fields, it was out to SAANR where we checked a new pool that had been constructed on the sea side of the reserve. As it was new, not much was taking advantage of this new water source, although this Isabelline Wheatear seemed to enjoy having the pond to itself

Isabelline Wheatear

We headed back to Tuhla and I watched the antics of a Bluethroat jumping from the ground to gleen insects off the leaves of this shrub

Bluethroat

This is the first time I have seen Barn Swallows roosting inside the canopy to escape the midday heat

Barn Swallow

Crested Larks were sitting in scrapes to mimimise their size (I think) and help them stay cooler

Crested Lark

Olivaceous Warblers are still present at Tuhla

Olivaceous Warbler

A first winter Lesser Grey Shrike (showing spotted forehead) trying not to expend any energy

Lesser Grey Shrike

A magnificent male Montagu Harrier - from above

Montagu Harrier

And showing its characteristic underwing pattern

Montagu Harrier

We stopped on the way out of SAANR where Khaled al Nasrallah had found this recently killed Black Vulture - presumably a road kill. The question was - where has it come from at this time of year?

Black Vulture

South Africa (ZA)   From West to East  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 06:50:16 pm

Week 34, 22 August 2008 - Al Abraq to Jahra East Outfall

As the end of August approaches, it was time to head west to Al Abraq to see if this oasis farm had anything of interest together with Pekka Fagel and Rick Saval. Images by Mike Pope

The long road to Al Abraq that seems to go on forever

Road to Al Abraq

First year Black headed Buntings had arrived in small numbers

Black headed Bunting

A very dark Black-eared Kite (Milvus lineatus) showing a dark mask behind the eye, near the water seep

Black Kite

An adult Roller catching the early morning sun

Roller

This first winter male Stonechat (race maura) was our first for the autumn

Stonechat

Birding wasnt too frenetic, so it was off to Jahra Farms where the bird of the month - Eastern Bonelli's Warbler is still present

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler

A Marsh Warbler was present in the same area

Marsh Warbler

Northern Wheatears have been arriving in this week at most locations, this is a fine male

Northern Wheatear

Roseringed Parakeets are guarenteed at Jahra Farms and they seem to successfully colonise wherever they are given an opportunity

Roseringed Parakeet

On the way to Doha Spit, we stopped at a small pond where I saw my second Citrine Wagtail for the day

Citrine Wagtail

My last stop was Jahra East, but with the tide still a long way out there wasnt much around - this Little Stint still in full summer plumage

Little Stint

This Little ringed Plover was using its feet to stir up food below the water surface

Little ringed Plover

A first year Yellow Wagtail (spp beema)which could be confused with first year Citrine Wagtails

Yellow Wagtail

A small pond on the way out of Jahra East had many mud skippers, this one was just about to disappear into its hole/burrow

Mud Skipper

South Africa (ZA)   Gulls and Terns at Sharq  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 09:56:44 am

Week 34, 21 August 2008 - Sharq Harbour

I had noticed a few large gulls around the harbour earlier in the week, so got to the harbour very early before work to shoot a few photographs.Images by Mike Pope

The biggest gulls were Caspian (Steppe)Gull (L [cachinnans] barabensis)in various plumages

Caspian Gull

My first Black headed Gull of the autumn

Black headed Gull

The Slender bill Gulls remain in Kuwait through the summer

Slender bill Gull

There were numerous terns amongst the gulls, the most common were White cheeked Tern

White cheeked Tern

A single Lesser crested Tern didnt stay long

Lesser crested Tern

This tatty looking Sandwich Tern had a broken lower mandible and probably hadnt eaten too well

Sandwich Tern

A single Common Tern was also present for a short time

Common Tern

08/19/08

South Africa (ZA)    -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 09:44:52 am

Week 33, 16 August 2008 - SAANR and Jahra Farms

I had been away on business and literally dropped my suitcase at home, picked up my birding gear and headed out as the sun was coming up. It was one of those perfect days with clear skies and no wind.Images by Mike Pope

Jal az-Zor ridge is on the southern boundary of SAANR and has an elevation of around 250m

Jal az-Zor ridge

Early morning at Tuhla is not as productive as it is later in the morning when the temperatures have risen, nevertheless some passerine migrants were present, including this Whitethroat

Whitethroat

And Olivaceous Warbler

Olivaceous Warbler

The White chested Kingfisher has now been present for a few weeks

White chested Kingfisher

A Roller dropped in for a drink

Roller

My first Black Kite for the autumn. In South Africa this species is still called Yellow billed Kite

Black Kite

By 10am I was at Jahra Farms intensively searching for the Eastern Bonelli's Warbler which was flitting from cover to the water in tricky photographic conditions. With patience, I was able to get some acceptable images

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler

This bird was first thought to be a Icterine Warbler, but on closer scrutiny and discussion with Pekka it is in fact a very yellow Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler

The first Grey Wagtail for the autumn

Grey Wagtail

And a first year White throated Robin

White throated Robin

South Africa (ZA)   A first for Kuwait at Jahra Farms  -  Categories: Rarities  -  @ 09:30:22 am

Week 33, 12 August 2008 - Jahra Farms

Whilst I was away on business I received the exciting news of an Eastern Bonelli's Warbler (Phylloscopus orientalis)found by Pekka Fagel at Jahra Farms. Images by Mike Pope

This is my photograph of the same bird taken on 16 August 2008 where it had been present in the same location for 4-days

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler

08/18/08

South Africa (ZA)   Morning outing in hot blustery conditions  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 04:35:43 pm

Week 32, 08 August 2008 - Pivot Fields, SAANR and Sulaibikhat

I had a 10-day break for a vacation in SA, hence the lull in updates (check the World Birds Tab for images from this trip). This was a quick morning outing before departing on a business trip. Images by Mike Pope

First stop was the Pivot Fields where I found the Black winged Kite seen earlier in the week by Rick Saval. It was a little skittish and this is the only image I was able to get of the bird

Black winged Kite

The Hoopoe numbers have increased since getting back from my vacation

Hoopoe

I narrowly avoided turning this juvenile toad/frog into smudge in the sand

Toad/Frog

Clouded Yellow butterflies have become abundant in the last week

Clouded Yellow

Clouded Yellow

By the time I got to SAANR it had warmed up considerably, I found this Hoopoe Lark reluctant to leave its shady spot

Hoopoe Lark

A Short toed Lark with a Crested Lark for comparison

Short toed Lark

Jahra East Outfall was very quiet, especially with the tide being so far out, I did find this Sand Martin in a little shade in the reeds

Sand Martin

I missed the high tide at Sulaibikhat, but found this juvenile Gull billed Tern over the outfall

Gull billed Tern

A Whiskered Tern changing to eclipse plumage

Whiskered Tern

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