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Note the date display is in French format (04/10/09)= 10th May 2009
09 avril 2009 : Vols Bruxelles-Londres et Londres-Kuwait City. Départ à 17h40.
10 avril 2009 : Arrivée à Kuwait City Airport vers 06h30. La fatigue est de mise après une nuit sans sommeil mais l’excitation est bien là aussi. Formalités de douane et de visa puis accueil vers 08h00 par un ornitho finlandais établi au Koweït, Pekka Fagel. Il nous prend en charge pour deux jours dans sa Mitsubishi Pajero et va nous faire visiter une belle série de sites. Je profite de l’occasion pour le remercier car sans lui, découvrir les accès aux sites eut été beaucoup plus difficile ! De plus, nous avions nettement sous-estimé les distances et les durées pour passer d’un site à l’autre. Merci Pekka ! Le premier site visité est celui de Jahra Farms où le Rollier indien ne se montre pas ! Des migrateurs en tous genres y abondent cependant. Nous partons ensuite pour un circuit vers l’ouest puis vers le sud-est : Sulaibikhat Nature Reserve, Doha
Kuwait - 3rd to 13th of April
The story begins
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Waiting for a flight
We’re driving in a morning traffic from Kirkkonummi to Helsinki-Vantaa airport when I received a call. The rest of our group, Janne Kilpimaa, Petri Kuhno, Tero Linjama and Tero Toivanen, were already at the airport and they had found out that our flight to Frankfurt had been cancelled! Finally we managed to get to the airport too and luckily we had got new flights so we’re now going to fly first to Stockholm, then to Istanbul and then finally to Kuwait city.
So we had a little bit longer time to wait for our first flight and we decided to go to eat to a restaurant. At 1 p.m. our plane left to Stockholm where we were an hour later. Surprisingly we had a lunch also in this flight and at 2.10 p.m. we had the next flight to Istanbul and we ate again…
The Turkish Airlines plane was extremely hot but finally at 6.35 p.m. we landed. The only birds we saw I the last light were Yellow-legged Gulls, Cormorants, Magpies and Hooded Crows.
At 9.45 p.m. took off our last flight to Kuwait city. Also this flight was sweaty but once again we had good dinner so at least we weren’t hungry.
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By Richard Bonser
Douglas Barr, Chris Batty, Richard Bonser, Chris Bell and Andy Clifton
Three of us first visited Kuwait in April 2007 and had an extremely successful spring trip. Though we saw all of the species we expected at that time of year and witnessed some good migration, we quickly realized that another visit would be needed to target the winter specialities. Thus this was the aim of this trip. A group of four Danish birders joined us throughout the trip and were good company in the many fast food outlets that we frequented in the evenings.
In essence the regular winter specialities (in a Western Palearctic context) for us were Shikra and Indian Roller (and Persian Wheatear for a couple of us). We were also in luck as a couple of Purple Sunbirds were discovered the week before we departed representing the first record of this species for Kuwait and the Western Palearctic. The lads who hadn’t visited Kuwait previously also had the opportunity to see a load of species that three of us had seen in April.
This report goes about things very much like my April 2007 report - for specific site details please see this report. This winter trip was well worth the effort and packed with quality birds but, if you’re looking at the whole birding experience, for the obvious reason of spring migration our April trip was probably better. Nevertheless Kuwait is the only reliable place in the Western Palearctic for Socotra Cormorant, Lesser Sand Plover, Red-vented Bulbul and Bank Myna and all of these occur in winter with the exception of the Cormorant. Added to this other quality species we recorded during our visit included MacQueen’s Bustard, Crab Plover, Red-wattled Lapwing, Dunn’s Lark, Persian Wheatear, White-eared Bulbul and Grey Hypocolius. The Long-tailed Shrike and Common Babblers that we had seen in spring were also seen once again.
Chris Batty, Richard Bonser, Andy Clifton and Andrew Holden
Up until very recently it was difficult to impossible for foreign nationals to visit Kuwait in a tourist capacity. The visa rules changed a couple of years ago and in April 2006 a Danish and a Finnish birding group visited the country and opened our eyes to the potential of such a trip. A chat with George Gregory following his presentation at the 2006 OSME meeting further whetted our appetite to visit the country.
This trip report covers the observations and information gleaned during a birding trip to Kuwait in April 2007. The main purpose of the trip was to find some difficult to see species in the Western Palearctic as well as experience the birding that the country has to offer. Kuwait is the only place in the Western Palearctic where Socotra Cormorant, Lesser Sand Plover, Red-vented Bulbul and Bank Myna can be reliably found. Added to this several other target species that Kuwait is good for (and that we recorded) include Crab Plover, Red-wattled Lapwing, Crested Tern, White-cheeked Tern, Bridled Tern, Dunn’s Lark, Black-crowned Finch Lark, White-eared Bulbul, Grey Hypocolius and Basra Reed Warbler. Fortunately our visit also coincided with the first breeding record for Kuwait of Common Babbler and an over-wintering Long-tailed Shrike.
Compiled by Sven Karlsson
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The first Swedish bird watching group visited Kuwait in March 2007. The visit was preceded by a number of emails to George Gregory, an Englishman living in Kuwait since 15 years. George, working at the Voluntary Work Centre with bird monitoring and bird protection was our guide for most of the 11 days we spent in the country. He is also the author of “The Birds of the State of Kuwait” (2005), a most useful guide and checklist with descriptions of birding sites and highest counts of each more or less regular species in each month. Site names and site numbers in the text below refer to this book (cf. Fig. 3). Beside this book, little is written about birds and birding in Kuwait. Only two proper trip reports were found on internet, made by a Danish group (Hagerman 2006) and a Finnish group (Lindroos et al. 2006). We also found an annual bird report for 2005 (Foster (ed.) 2006). Birding in Kuwait makes it interesting due to its location at the southeast corner of Western Palearctic, especially for bird watchers counting WP-species. A problem with bird watching in Kuwait is that to most of the sites, access is by permit only, why a local guide is most important. The trip was made a little bit earlier than the possibly best spring migration time, with the aim to also find some winter visitors. The trip turned out to be very successful. In total, the group found 195 species. The participants in the group were: Jan-Michael Breider, Christer Brostam, Bosse Carlsson, Per Forsberg, Seppo Haavisto, Sven Karlsson, Staffan Rodebrand and Johan Sandström
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