08/06/11

South Africa (ZA)   Rarity Stakeout  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 07:10:16 pm

Week 32 - 05 August 2011, Sulaibikhat

The Striated Heron had been seen again earlier in the week, so I headed to Sulaibikhat on the high tide and stayed till sunset. Images by Mike Pope


There was very fresh on-shore wind when I arrived at the site and it didnt let up for the rest of the afternoon. The wind assisted in pushing the high tide which kept the waders and gulls on the shoreline. Slender-billed Gulls and Little Stints made up the bulk of the species

Little Stints


Interspersed between the Little Stints I also found Terek Sandpiper

Terek Sandpiper


small numbers of Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew Sanpiper


a single Sanderling, this one very easily identified in the more usual plumage and I also noted the lack on a hind toe

Sanderling


Sanderling


First year Common Redshanks

Common Redshank


Common Redshank


Common Redshank


In amognst the Slender-billed Gulls I found some Little Terns and a few first year White-cheeked, probably from Kubbar Island

White-cheeked Tern


White-cheeked Tern


A couple of the over-wintering large white-headed Gulls have arrived - now I will have to study these all over again

Gull


Gull


amongst the flock of Gulls and Terns there were also Eurasian Curlew

Eurasian Curlew


some Whimbrel

Whimbrel


and a few Bar-tailed Godwits

Bar-tailed Godwit


I moved over to the small outfall where the Striated had been seen and watched the antics of the Indian Reef Herons trying unsuccessfully to catch dinner

Indian Reef Heron


Indian Reef Heron


Indian Reef Heron


a pair of House Crows are resident in this area and everytime they flew over they put up all the birds

House Crow


here an Indian Reef Heron looking like it's telling the House Crow to keep the noise level down - birds are feeding here!

Whimbrel


a pair of White-throated Kingfishers live inside the outfall tunnel, this one checking out the competition for food before disappearing into the tunnel

White-throated Kingfisher



07/31/11

South Africa (ZA)   Coastal Birding  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 08:19:47 pm

Week 31 - 30 July 2011, Sulaibikhat and the Jahra area

I decided to spend the morning birding along the coast north of Kuwait City. Images by Mike Pope


Driving along the coast at Sulaibikhat, I came across two Short-toed Larks

Short-toed Lark


I sat in the heat and humidity for 2-hours staking out the warbler site in the reedbed at Jahra East Outfall. I got a brief glimpse of the Savi's Warbler seen earlier in the week, no Basra Reeds but many Reed Warblers in various stages of moult (or is it Caspian Reed?) - I dont have the skill to tell them apart

Reed Warbler


Reed Warbler


Reed Warbler


Reed Warbler


A single Indian Reed Warbler was seen

Indian Reed Warbler


Indian Reed Warbler


As well as a Graceful Prinia

Graceful Prinia


As this is a sewage outfall, I'm not sure what this skulking Moorhen was eating, but it looks revolting

Moorhen


The 3.6m high tide was a little disappointing today as it didnt have an on-shore wind assisting it - a couple of waders were seen; Little Stint

Little Stint


A Greater Sand Plover already in non-breeding plumage

Greater Sand Plover


A very scraggly and gawky, but nimble young Kentish Plover with the adult not too far away

Kentish Plover


Kentish Plover


I hadnt been to my old place of work in the Free Trade Zone for sometime, so decided to check it out - finding a big mixed flock of waders consisting mostly of Curlew Sandpipers and some Lesser Sand Plovers, to add a bit of colour

Lesser Sand Plover


A single Terek Sandpiper

Terek Sandpiper


and then a smallish, very busy calidris type wader with a rufous reddish head and lack of a white throat that I was hesitant to identify initially. After consultation with some birders with more experience, we suspected it may be Red-necked Stint, but further input from other experienced birders put out that notion of a possible first for Kuwait by correctly identifying it as a post breeding Sanderling - sadly! ID pointers given were as follows: The size, compared to the Curlew Sandpiper, is much more in tune with this species compared to Little/Red-necked Stint. It also has a fair amount of streaking within the redness of the head (on the ear-coverts and breast). Normally, Red-necked Stints would be more orange/red as opposed to faded brick red in late July, and their neck would be bordered by a few black speckles on a clean white background.

A few more pointers in separating Sanderling and Red-necked Stint have been shared with me - the best characters are in the structure: sanderling is a large bird (usually a bit larger/plumber that dunlin) while RN stint is a stint: same size as Little. With lone birds the size can be hard to judge but the bill is the key: Sanderling has quite long bill while RN has a very short bill. Sanderling is longer-billed than little Stint while RN is shorter billed. If you can check for the hind toe: absent in Sanderling (present in all other Calidris).

Sanderling


Sanderling



07/23/11

South Africa (ZA)   Another hot summer's day  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 08:01:19 pm

Week 30 - 23 July 2011, Al Abraq and Pivot Fields

I thought I would check the oasis farm Al Abraq in the west, unfortunately it was a long drive with very little reward. Images by Mike Pope


No photographic opportunities at all at Al Abraq, but I did see Upchers Warbler, Whitethroat, Hoopoe, Roller, Isabelline Wheatear and both Red-backed and Turkestan Shrike. I cut my losses and headed back east to Pivot Fields as the mercury creeped up toward 50 degrees. Pretty much the same birds as last week, although the flock of Black-crowned Sparrow Larks seemed larger

Male Black-crowned Sparrow Lark


Female Black-crowned Sparrow Lark


A flock of 4 Short-toed Larks

Short-toed Lark


Collared Pratincoles are still present and these were almost too listless to fly

Collared Pratincole


I found a flock of 11 Ruff feeding under one of the pivots, before I too called it a day

Ruff


07/17/11

South Africa (ZA)   Signs of Autumn migration  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 11:13:25 pm

Week 29 - 16 July 2011, Pivot Fields, Jahra Pools, Jahra Farm and Jahra East Outfall

My binoculars felt particulary heavy around my neck this morning after a late night social. Nevertheless, there were birds to go and look for - even in the heat of summer. Images by Mike Pope


My first stop was the Pivot Fields where I hadnt been for some time, first up was a Steppe Buzzard - one of 3 seen at this location. I also saw an Oriole, but it disappeared before I could get a photograph

Steppe Buzzard


Driving around the farm, many juvenile (1st year) Collared Pratincoles were seen

Collared Pratincole


Around one of the operational pivots, many Barn Swallows and Sand Martins (mixed adults and 1st year birds) were hawking alongside the spray

Barn Swallow and Sand Martin


Sand Martin


An odd looking Lark caught my attention, one closer inspection it was a Short-toed Lark with a deformed top bill that made it look quite comical, almost as if it had just returned from a Masked Ball

Short-toed Lark


Yellow Wagtails had arrived in numbers - many 1st year birds and the odd tatty looking feldegg

Yellow Wagtail


I found a few Black-crowned Sparrow Larks in the usual area of the farm

Black-crowned Sparrow Lark


Next stop was Jahra Pools, which was a little disappointing as the water levels had dropped significantly - unfortunately the farms in the north of Kuwait take precedence in the summer in terms of water priority. Also the reeds have really thickened up everywhere and really need to be cut back in places. When I peered throught the reeds I flushed a flock of 12 Mallard

Mallard


Mallard


In terms of migrants, I saw a distant Roller and this Little Ringed Plover being buffeted in the wind

Little Ringed Plover


A stop at Jahra Farm only produced White-throated Kingfisher and Bank Myna, so I headed to Jahra East Outfall to be in place before the 3.6m high tide peaked and to let the birds get used to my car. My timing was good, but the light at noon was not flattering - it is sometimes hard to have all the elements work together. Nevetheless, there was a good spread of medium and large waders - Curlew Sandpipers in various plumage stages

Curlew Sandpiper


The same applied to the many Ruff

Ruff


Whimbrel and Eurasian Curlew side-by-side for comparison

Ruff


Today I had breeding and non-breedng plumage Bar-tailed Godwits, again side-by-side for comparison

Bar and Black-tailed Godwit


Bar-tailed taking flight

Bar-tailed Godwit


Terns were well represented with Little, White-winged and many Caspian

Caspian Tern


Some 1st year Gull-billed Terns

Gull-billed Tern


Together with a number of Whiskered Terns

Whiskered Tern


A few pairs of Kentish Plovers still had young juveniles sprinting all over the beach

Kentish Plover


However, the main reason for coming back again today was to try and relocate the male Golden Plover and after quite a bit of searching I did find the bird and this time managed to get a little closer and admire the golden hues on its dark back in the overhead light.

A few more pointers on the id: This bird gives off a bulky first impression. Looking at the tibia, it seems pretty short with not too much 'leg' visible above the knee joint (a pro-Euro feature of course). It's a very worn individual, particularly on the wing feathers - therefore, given the lack of tertials, it's not possible to do much here. On a Pacific GP you would expect more of a white bulge on the breast sides as the uniform width of the white line bordering the breast, again is a pro-Euro feature

Golden Plover


After this great highlight, it was time to get out of the heat and buffeting wind and enjoy a well deserved siesta

Golden Plover


07/16/11

South Africa (ZA)   A summer rarity  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 10:40:50 pm

Week 29 - 15 July 2011, Jahra East Outfall

There was a 3.6m high tide at 11am today, so I decided to check out Sulaibikhat and Jahra East Outfall to check for possibility of Black Tern, but did miss the peak high tide. Images by Mike Pope


The light was not the best after noon, nevertheless I did find quite a few Greater Sand Plovers at most stops

Greater Sand Plover


At the Sulaibikhat a few Whiskered Terns were feeding over the outfall

Whiskered Tern


At Jahra East, there were quite a few Ruff, this male starting to look tatty as his breeding plumage falls off after serving it's purpose

Ruff


The highlight however, was what I thought to be a single Pacific Golden Plover in breeding plumage. However, subsequent discussions with experienced western Palearctic birders (Pierre-Andre Crochet and Richard Bonser) have confirmed that this is indeed a male northern race Golden Plover in worn plumage - which as single birds are very tricky to identify. This is still a great record for Kuwait, as this is the first summer record for this species, as all other records have been recored inland and in winter.

Some of the id features pointed out are: Pacific should have : less narrow white area on the breast (broader black band between face and underparts), much larger golden spots above (feathers yellow with black instead of black with narrow yellow spots), much white on the wing coverts and a different structure (longer legs, longer and stronger bill).

Golden Plover


Golden Plover


It was very hot again today, around 53 degrees C at 1:30pm. In fact, Kuwait was the 4th hottest country in the world today (ok, 1st, 2nd and 3rd were Libya). On the way home, I found a public temperature gauge that wasnt constrained to not exceed 50 and at 3:30pm the temp had only just dropped to 51 degrees C

Hot in Kuwait


<< Previous Page :: Next Page >>

Hawar-Islands.comBirding Top 500 CounterHawar-Islands.com
Bahrain Bird Report Bahrain Kuwait Birding


powered by
b2evolution