South Africa (ZA)   Al Abraq delivers again  -  Categories: Rarities  -  @ 08:21:39 am

Week 01 - 01 January 2009, Al Abraq

Whilst out trying to photograph the 2nd record of Humes Leaf Warbler on the first day of the year, Pekka and I independently saw and photographed what we initially thought was a juvenile Honey Buzzard, as we only had very brief views of the bird when it flushed from where it was roosting. Images by Mike Pope and Pekka Fagel

Identification features for Crested Honey Buzzard include 6 dark tipped primaries (highlighted by Dirk Collin), lack of carpal patches and pale throat with moustachial stripes - all of which can be seen clearly in the images. I have lightened my images to show the features, as I was shooting into the light while the bird was flying. This species has been recorded in the past, but it has been some years since it was last recorded in Kuwait - but as in our case, could also have been overlooked.

Crested Honey Buzzard

Crested Honey Buzzard

Pekka had more favourable lighting as the bird approached him and in this image the pale throat is more clearly seen

Crested Honey Buzzard


South Africa (ZA)   First outing of the 2009  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 08:50:55 am

Week 01 - 01 January 2009, Pivot Fields and Al Abraq

My family was still on vacation, so I took the opportunity to get out birding on the first day of 2009, although weather forecast predicted deteriorating weather conditions with very cold temperatures tomorrow. Images by Mike Pope

Abdulrahman, Pekka and I were afforded access back into the Pivot Fields and I chose to spend the time trying to photograph the 3 Sociable Plovers that were still present. Pekka managed to find 5th record of Stock Dove, but it didnt stay long.

Sociable Plovers

Sociable Plovers

Spanish Sparrows are again present in large flocks in most locations

Spanish Sparrows

Pekka and I left for Al Abraq to see if we could photograph Hume's Leaf Warbler found earlier in the week by the Belgian birding group. We heard and saw the bird, but photographing it proved impossible. Instead we found an exciting record of Crested Honey Buzzard (6 black tipped primaries and U shaped white rump was seen in flight), Initially we thought this was a regular Honey Buzzard, but Dirk Collin pointed out the 6 primaries as one of the diagnostic features of Crested Honey Buzzard

Crested Honey Buzzard

There were many Song Thrush present

Song Thrush

A single Dark throated Thrush was still present, which I was eventually able to photograph although not in ideal light.

Dark throated Thrush

South Africa (ZA)   Last outing of 2008  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 08:32:23 am

Week 01 - 29 December 2008, Jahra East Outfall, Sulaibikhat and Pivot Fields

This was my last day birding for 2009 after returning from my summer vacation in South Africa. The winter temperatures were still pleasantly mild. Images by Mike Pope

I started at Jahra East Outfall where Water Rails and Little Crakes were present in good numbers. Water Rail would be a new bird for me in Kuwait and I counted up to 5 individuals

Water Rail

Little Crakes were more abundant than the Rails, in varyings stages of adult plumage

Little Crake

Water Rail and Little Crake feeding together

Water Rail and Little Crake

Moorhens were seen feeding along outfall


The few passerines present were seen and photographed with a little patience, including Graceful Prinia which I havent photographed for sometime

Graceful Prinia

Clamorous Reed Warblers were seen foraging through the reed bed

Clamorous Reed Warbler

Moustached Warblers are still present, but are a challenge to photograph

Moustached Warbler

This Robin really looks out of place when it is away from the snow in Europe


Next stop was Jahra Farm to photograph the two Woodlarks found earlier in the month by Rashed, this being a new species for me


I then headed to Sulaibikhat Bay, even though it was still low tide. At the outfall I photograhed Black headed Gull

Black headed Gull

An adult Gull billed Tern

Gull billed Tern

And winter plumage Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern

On the banks of the outfall Western Reef Heron and Little Egret were catching large crickets coming out of the outfall

Western Reef Heron and Little Egret

A Marsh Harrier came swooping in low over the roosting Gulls and Waders and put them all up in panic. It was unsuccessful in its attempt to get an early breakfast

Marsh Harrier and Gulls

Part of the flock of mostly Black headed Gulls, escaping the hunting Harrier


Later in the afternoon I received a call from Pekka saying that Abdulrahman had found 3 Sociable Plovers at Pivot Fields. He had also arranged access for a very short period to see the birds, which we did. Unfortunately conditions were not right for photography, however I was able to photograph 2 of the 5 Golden Plovers that were present again this December

Golden Plovers

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