South Africa (ZA)   Raptors at Pivot Fields  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 03:33:43 pm

19 September 2008, Week 38 - Pivot Fields

I had a brief visit to the Pivot Fields, as it is fairly close to where I stay. Images by Mike Pope

The dust storm and humidity are now a phenomenum of the past and the temperature is very pleasant early morning. Aside from my first Greater spotted Eagle of the autumn, the numbers of raptors had increased, along with the variety. Marsh Harriers are still the predominant Harrier

Marsh Harrier

The number of Common Buzzards have increased

Common Buzzard

Common Buzzard

As has the number of Black Kites

Black Kite

Part of the flock of 35 Glossy Ibis that dropped in for a drink

Glossy Ibis

A pensive Isabelline Wheatear using this perch to hunt from

Isabelline Wheatear

South Africa (ZA)   Quick visit to Pivot Fields  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 03:00:38 pm

15 September 2008, Week 38 - Pivot Fields

Iain was out at Pivot Fields last week in a surprise dust storm, checking on progress of autumn migration. Images by Iain Laver

The advantage of a dust storm is that most birds seek cover or are grounded, as in the case of this Common Buzzard. The Buzzards have now joined the Harriers and Kites at the Pivot Fields, as the raptor migration picks up pace

Common Buzzard

Common Buzzard

The crocodile took advantage of the cooler weather and was lounging on the bank

Nile Crocodile

On one of the previos visits, Ian found this exhausted/sick Little Crake which we took to some more suitable habitat with cover and water and hoped it would recover

Little Crake


South Africa (ZA)   Autumn in Kuwait  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 05:46:02 pm

13 September 2008, Week 35 - Pivot Fields, SAANR, and Jahra Farms

Iain Laver and I were out today visiting a few locations in what started off as a perfect autumn day with no sign of the previous few weeks humidity. Images by Mike Pope

First port of call was Pivot Fields, where quality made up for lack of diversity and numbers. Most of the activity is still around the depression area where there has been a constant water source for some weeks. On the way, I found this first year Marsh Harrier trying to catch something in amongst the crops

Marsh Harrier

At the pool we found a small group of Whiskered Terns in various stages of eclipse plumage

Whiskered Tern

Some quality waders, including a winter plumage Black tailed Godwit

Black tailed Godwit

I managed to locate a single Temmincks Stint in amongst the smaller waders

Temmincks Stint

A Ruff still resplendent in its rustic plumage


The bird of the day was this good looking Spotted Redshank already in winter plumage and a bird which is a rare winter visitor and passage migrant

Spotted Redshank

On the way out I found this female Black crowned Sparrow Lark in amongst a mixed group of Short toed Larks

Black crowned Sparrow Lark

We then headed for SAANR and the weather changed to very hot and strong gusting wind, which made the open desert quite unpleasant. On the way to Tuhla we came across this Quail sheltering like a Nightjar from the gusting dust - it does appear to have been shot, although it did fly strongly

Common Quail

At Tuhla this Little Egret battled to fly into the wind

Little Egret

Ortolan Buntings are now being seen at most sites

Ortolan Bunting

My last stop was Jahra Farm in the quest for the River Warbler seen yesterday, but I found shooters in the farm with a bag full of passerines. It really is disheartening to see this uncontrolled and indiscriminate shooting of migratory birds everywhere we go in Kuwait. No sign of the River Warbler (perhaps it had been 'bagged'), but I did photograph a few nervous birds, like this Barred Warbler

Barred Warbler

A Garden Warbler

Garden Warbler

And a Lesser Whitethroat before heading home feeling rather frustrated and helpless that local authorities dont appear to have conservation, firearm laws, education of the public and any protection of the migratory birds that pass through Kuwait in their interest

Lesser Whitethroat


South Africa (ZA)   A quieter migration day  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 04:54:53 pm

30 August, Week 35, 2008 - Pivot Fields, Jahra Farms and JEO

We had a full house of birders at Pivot Fields today. Iain Laver and Johnathan Charman were with me on todays outing. Images by Mike Pope

One of the Bitterns was still present, but out of photographic range, I still find it fascinating to see crocodiles in the large enclosed pond on this farm


European Bee-eaters were hawking over the croc pool

European Bee-eaters

At one of the soggy areas in the fields we picked up a lone Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover

Together with a few juvenile Little Ringed Plovers for comparison

Little ringed Plover

An adult Little Stint

Little Stint

Together with a Temnincks Stints for comparison. There were 3 of Temnincks at this location

Temnincks Stint

We decided to head to Jahra Farms, no sign of the Eastern Bonelli's Warbler - we hope it has moved on rather than being a victim of an air rifle. We did find a Pied Wheatear seeking refuge in some shade

Pied Wheatear

This first year Semi-collared Flycatcher is the 3rd sighting for August and proves that these birds do migrate in small numbers in early autumn

Semi-collared Flycatcher

Semi-collared Flycatcher

A last stop at Jahra East outfall in the heat of the day, didnt produce very much other than an adult Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover

And this lone Greater Short toed Lark

Greater Short toed Lark

South Africa (ZA)   West to Al Abraq  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 03:34:22 pm

29 Augutst, Week 35, 2008 - Al Abraq

With migration picking up pace, Al Abraq is a must; as there is always a chance for something special as a reward for the long drive west. Iain Laver joined me and later we met up with Pekka Fagel and Rick Saval. Images by Mike Pope

Blue cheeked Bee-eaters outnumbered the Europeans, Im sure jet designers are inspired by this silhouette

Blue cheeked Bee-eater

A juvenile Black Kite put up the birds around one of the water seeps

Black Kite

I found a skulking and normally difficult to see and photograph Grasshopper Warbler, which the others all managed to see well

Grasshopper Warbler

Grasshopper Warbler

You wouldnt expect to find a Corncrake out in the middle of the desert, but during migration they will stop wherever there is water and shade


Finding a Little Crake at the same site was an added bonus, this one was found under an air conditioning unit in some shade - smart bird

Little Crake

There were a number of Stonechats in the alfalfa


My first Winchat of the autumn migration


And first Redstart of the autumn migration


I found this 1st year Golden Oriole cooling off in the heat

Golden Oriole

Sitting patiently at this dripping pipe produced many different birds, this is a Barred Warbler

Barred Warbler

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Thrush Nightingale

Thrush Nightingale

At the Little Crake location, Great Reed Warblers took advantage of the shade and water and provided 'cover' for the Little Crake

Great Reed Warbler

As did this Marsh Warbler

Marsh Warbler

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