Saturday 30 April 2011

Playing catch up

Arctic tern, Shustoke Res.
Arctic tern
Common Swift, Shustoke
Common Tern, Shustoke

Cuckoo, Cliff pool, Kingsbury

Saturday 30th April 2011

Its taken a while to get back into the routine of birding locally. I've done bits and pieces and managed to see most of the migrants that should be in by now. Though I still havent seen Grasshopper warbler and Reed warbler. Yesterday proved to be a good day adding Sedge warbler and Cuckoo at Kingsbury and 4 Swifts with the Arctic terns at Shustoke. My impressions on the summer visitors to the Tame valley is that there are slightly more Common Whitethroats and Blackcaps than usual, average numbers of Lesser 'throats, Garden warblers and Chiffchaffs but that Willow warblers are down. Passage has been disappointing, probably due to the fine weather. There was a Common Sandpiper at Cliff pool yesterday but as yet even with strong Easterly and North easterly winds not alot to write home about.

Thursday 28 April 2011

The final few shots

White cheeked Bulbul, fairly common throughout Kuwait
Out of Africa, a Little Crake and Marsh Sandpiper play chicken with a Nile Crocadile in an enclosure at Pivot Fields


Masked Shrike

Common Kestrel tangled in wire

Pekka, Bob and John free the bird and release it unharmed.

Less fortunate was this Bee eater, shot a few metres away from the group as we scanned a shoreline. Hunting is widespread in Kuwait and all species are targeted.

Ruppell's Weaver, Green Island, Kuwait City - regarded as an escape, still a stunning bird

Spiny tailed Lizard

Mud Skipper

The group taking a much needed Drinks/ice cream break.

Bit of a bits and bobs post really some images and a summing up of the tour. Thanks to Peter Lansdown and Pekka Fagel for navigating around Kuwait particularly Kuwait City and to the rest of the group for their good humour and contributions to the success of the tour.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

I havent finished yet!

Red vented Bulbul, Green Island, Kuwait City
Great reed Warbler
Montague's Harrier
Socotra Cormorants, off Manchester Club

Upcher's Warbler, Albraq

Selection of Terns: including Crested Tern, Lesser crested Tern, Sandwich Tern and Little Tern. Bridled Tern was also seen offshore at some distance.

Collared Pratincole

Caspian Plover, up to 8 were seen at Pivot fields.

White Stork, a small number pasted over Al Abdaly farm

Short toed Lark

Glossy Ibis, seen in small numbers at Pivot fields

Asian Desert Warbler

Asian Desert Warbler

Pied Wheatear, surprisingly few Wheatear species seen.

Rufous Bushchat
The potential of Kuwait as a birding destination cannot be underestimated. Despite the initial disappointment of 'missing' a few key species, going through the images I did manage to get demonstrates the number of 'quality' birds passing through a relatively small area. Also the sheer number of birds migrating through Kuwait is staggering. To see literally clouds of Pipits and Wagtails take to the skies flushed by a hunting Harrier in the well irrigated crop fields
is a memorable sight. As is large flocks of Pratincoles, Red necked Phalaropes and Shorebirds.

Monday 25 April 2011

More images from Kuwait

Blue cheeked Bee eater
European Bee eater
White winged Black Tern with Red necked Phalaropes
White winged Black Terns

Whiskered Tern, Jarah pools

Marsh Sandpiper, Jarah pools

Isabelline Shrike, Jarah farms

Isabelline Shrike, Jarah farms

Bank Myna, Jarah farms

Terek Sandpipers, large numbers of Terek's Sands. were seen in company with other wader species including Greater and Lesser Sandplovers, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpipers, Dunlin and Grey Plover in big concentrations of waders,terns and Gulls along the shorelines at the Manchester Club and Port Zour.

Semi collared Flycatcher, Rawdin Bottling Plant

Semi collared Flycatcher

Sunday 24 April 2011

Search for the Common Babbler

Common or Afgan Babbler,Al Abdaly Farms
Common Babbler
Common Babbler
Common Babbler

Common Babbler is anything but common, being found in small numbers at only a couple of locations in the Western Palearctic region. It was one of the Kuwait 'specialities' everyone wanted to see but proved far from easy. The bird can be found in the extensive Palm groves at Al Abdaly farms. Despite intense searching there was no sight or sound of the birds on our first visit. We decided to give it another try at the end of the week. We were delayed by a last ditch attempt for Grey Hypocolius at Green Island, following up on a sighting by a couple of German birders. We dipped Hypocolius but we were now going to reach Abdaly farms in the heat of the day. It was hot, the thermometre in the vehicle read 45c. We trudged round the palm groves but only saw White cheeked Bulbuls and a Great Reed Warbler. Feeling quite dehydrated after a couple of fruitless circuits we made our way back to the vehicles for something to drink. I thought I was seeing a mirage when looking back down the road I saw what looked like somebody out of The Bridge over the river Kwai dancing up and down in the middle of the road. It turned out to be Bob Swann, who had clearly found the birds. We all did an about turn and headed towards him at differing speeds. I admit to breaking into a dignified brisk walk. While others rather let themselves down by running. Anyway we all ended up in the same place and moved slowly between the Palms where they had been seen. It wasnt too long before we saw the Babblers running from one Palm to the next. Many thanks to Bob for sticking with it.

Saturday 23 April 2011

More images from Kuwait

Isabelline Shrike, Jarah East Outfall - both races of Isabelline shrike were seen
Chestnut shouldered Sparrow, Green Island, Kuwait City
Spotted Crake, Jarah East Outfall, all 3 Crakes showed well in various wetland habitats

Bluethroat, Luscinia magna

Red necked Phalarope, Jarah pools - part of a large flock.

Golden Oriole, Rawdin bottling plant

Black winged Pratincole, Pivot fields - several hundred Pratincoles were seen at this site.

Black headed Wagtail, common migrant at all locations

Squacco Heron, seen in small numbers at most locations

Tree pipit, very common migrant seen in all locations with open grass and bushes

12th -20th April 2011