South Africa (ZA)   KORC 2010 Round-up  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 04:41:24 pm

KORC 2010 Rarities

I thought that it would be useful to share the rarities recorded and accepted by KORC (Kuwait Ornithological Records Committee) for the year 2010 as I did at the end of 2009. This winter we have had lower rainfall than in 2009, so it will be interesting to see the effect on available habitat for spring and autumn migrants.

1st Records (7 species) - Asian Koel, Mongolian Finch, Sombre Tit, African Darter, Dusky Warbler, Indian Pond Heron, White-tailed Eagle
2nd Records (5 species) - Pallid Scops Owl, Grey-necked Bunting, Red-footed Falcon, Rustic Bunting, Greater White-fronted Goose
4th records (3 species) - Grey Phalarope, Arctic Tern, Common Crane
5th records (2 species) - Stock Dove, Sociable Lapwing
6th records (3 species) - European Golden Plover, Ferruginous Duck, Stock Dove
7th records (3 species) - Crested Honey Buzzard, Rufous Turtle Dove, Ferruginous Duck
8th records (1 species) - Hume’s Wheatear
9th records (3 species) - Black Stork, Spur-winged Lapwing, Dead Sea Sparrow
10th records (2 species) - Black Tern, Dead Sea Sparrow


South Africa (ZA)   Last outing of 2010  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 12:43:35 pm

Week 51 - 15 December 2010, Jahra Pools Reserve

I had one last ditch attempt to relocate the Greylag Goose at Jahra Pools, as my last outing of the year before we departed on our winter vacation. Images by Mike Pope

The pools are almost completely dry, but as I discovered this is intentional so that the outfall can be fixed and water levels restored to normal by the end of January which is fantastic news. The goose was not to be found on the small pan that still has some water, however I did see the usual suspects like Coot with Black-necked and Little Grebe hiding in the reeds behind


A few Moorhen


A couple of White Wagtails

White Wagtail

A single Water Rail

Water Rail

This Purple Swamphen making off for some cover to enjoy it's spoils in solitude

Purple Swamphen

A Daurian Shrike dropped in for a drink

Daurian Shrike

There were many Common Snipe on the exposed sandbank

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

and a single Jack Snipe trying to be unobtrusive

Jack Snipe

Jack Snipe

Last, but not least the Black-necked Grebe was also still present at the far end of the pond. So, from Kuwait wishing you all a great Christmas and the very best for 2011

Black-necked Grebe


South Africa (ZA)   Gooseless  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 10:18:26 am

Week 50 - 11 December 2010, Jahra Pools and SAANR

Yesterday Mohamad Khorshed had found a Greylag Goose at Jahra Pools at sunset. Jaden and I were at the gate by 7am and made our way slowly to the the pan where it was last seen. Images by Mike Pope

Again, it was great to hear the reserve come to life, but unfortunately no sign of the Goose (we guessed it may have roosted inside the reedbed). I have just heard from Pekka that he has relocated the Goose at Jahra Pools, so it has stayed a few days. However, we were content to watch the Purple Swamphens feeding in the reeds and give me the opportunity to test my flash photography. There were at least 4 individuals present

Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen

A few Coot were also feeding in and around the bases of the reeds


There was a lot of 'tacking' going on in the depths of the reeds and finally one of the Warblers made a brief appearance - Moustached Warbler!

Moustached Warbler

Giving up on the Goose, we headed to SAANR and found 2 ducks on the pond at Tuhla instead, one was a Garganey


And the other a Teal before we headed for Jaden's golf lesson



There were many Water Pipits on the fairways at Sahara Golf Course

Water Pipit

South Africa (ZA)   Mild winter morning  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 09:59:43 am

Week 50 - 10 December 2010, Jahra Farms

A few Redwing's were seen at Jahra Farm earlier this week, so Jaden and I were at the farm at 7am (before rugby practise) and it was a great time of the morning as the farm slowly came to life. Images by Mike Pope

Sometimes arriving too early isnt as productive as it should be, but birds started appearing as the sun slowly rose. We walked slowly around the farm and then concentrated on one area. We were pleased to relocate the two Ashy Drongo's warming up in the morning sun.

Ashy Drongo

There were many Song Thrush present, but finally I was rewarded with a brief view of a Redwing as it landed and disappeared from the same tree the Drongo's were in. Shortly thereafter two male Hypocolius also made an appearance and then we had to reluctantly depart for rugby practise.



South Africa (ZA)   Great winter birding  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 03:51:02 pm

Week 50 - 07 December 2010, Pivot Fields, Jahra Farms and Jahra Pools

We had a mid-week holiday and it came just in time for my son Jaden and I to chase up on a rarity seen over the weekend. Images by Mike Pope

I was sitting in the BP stand at the Dubai 7's shouting for South Africa against Fiji when I got a text from Brian for the 2nd record of Pygmy Cormorant (juvenile) at the Pivot Fields. This mid-week day off gave me the opportunity to see if it was still present at the Croc Pond at the Pivot Fields. It was and why not, it had the whole pool to itself (aside from the two 16 foot crocodiles which seemed oblivious to the bird as it hunted and caught fish) and appeared quite content. The 1st record for this species was in 2001.

Juvenile Pygmy Cormorant

Juvenile Pygmy Cormorant

Juvenile Pygmy Cormorant

Whilst watching the Cormorant, a Western Cattle Egret flew overhead

Western Cattle Egret

I had a quick drive around the farm, trying to relocate the European Golden Plover, but instead found a lone Stock Dove (Lifer # 2 for the morning). It was then I got a text from Brian of two good birds at Jahra Farms - I didnt stop for long to photograph this juvenile Long-legged Buzzard

Juvenile Long-legged Buzzard

Pekka Fagel and Brian Foster had found both Redwing and two Ashy Drongo's at Jahra Farm and after receiving their text, almost all of Kuwaits birding fraternity descended on Jahra Farm. Both birds were seen in exactly the same place as the 1st record seen in April this year. We are still pondering if this is the same bird that brought along the other (which appears to be a juvenile from the images seen). Nevertheless, another fantastic record for Kuwait

Ashy Drongo

Ashy Drongo

Ashy Drongo

Rose-ringed Parakeets were quite active whilst enjoying the Drongo's and searching for the Redwings, which did not reappear

Rose-ringed Parakeet

After all this excitement, I headed to Jahra Pools, followed a little later by Graham Whitehead and Brian and Pekka. Sadly, water levels are down resulting in almost all of the pans being dry. However, the few that did have water were pretty productive. The first shallow pan produced Clamorous Reed Warbler, however we are not sure which sub-species it is that is present in Kuwait during winter.

Clamorous Reed Warbler

and a female Shoveller


with a Greater Spotted Eagle overhead

Greater Spotted Eagle

Two Garganey took cover as the large raptor cruised overhead


We spent some time at the next pool, which had a few good species to enjoy. For some reason, my camera focussing went out of wack and I can only attribute to evaporation over the water on this unseasonally warm winters day. However, one of the stars was this Red-wattled Lapwing which has been present here for a few weeks

Red-wattled Lapwing

A few waders were present sporting their winter plumage - a Dunlin


Together with Redshank and a Marsh Sandpiper

Redshank and Marsh Sandpiper

On the far end of the pool at the base of the reeds a single Coot made an appearance


Followed by the Black-necked Grebe

Black-necked Grebe

After seeing one of the many Common Snipe, Jaden and I decided to head for McDonalds

Common Snipe

However, a call from Graham Whitehead had us turn around and return to see a Jack Snipe that was uncharacteristically feeding out in the open. Unfortunately it disappeared before we got there, but Graham found a second hiding in the reeds 2m from the car. As Snipes do, it froze in its position and allowed us to get really close to enjoy a sighting of a seldom seen bird in Kuwait.

Jack Snipe

Jack Snipe

On our way out a juvenile Long-legged Buzzard drifted over showing all the charateristic features. Two lifers and some normally tough birds seen today was a great way to end my last birding outing in Kuwait until the New Year

Juvenile Long-legged Buzzard


South Africa (ZA)   Thrush Search  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 11:26:24 am

Week 49 - 01 December 2010, Green Island

I decided to give Green Island a last try for Thrushes on passage. Images by Mike Pope

A quick walk around Green Island produced another single male Dark-throated Thrush and a few Song Thrushes - so, no luck with Mistle Thrush or Redwing. Again Hypocolius were active everywhere, here a male in early morning light


Overhead the Pallid Swifts have returned for the winter

Pallid Swift

Small flocks of Starlings are now seen in and around Kuwait


Ah, that feels good


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