• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Kuwait 30 November To 6 December 2011 (1 Viewer)

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Just back from a trip to Kuwait with two companions. We had the excellent assistance of Pekka Fagel whose details are in the Birding World article referenced below. In order to visit a number of sites, local assistance is required. Organised by Pekka, we were kindly provided access to visit several reserves including Jahra Pools Reserve and in addition SAANR – albeit the latter only on the last day. The site is excellent and you could lose yourself in searching it properly for a week even at this time of year. Most of a day did not even feel like beginning to scratch the surface.

I have not mentioned details of any of the sites as they are well covered by a combination of “The Birds of the State of Kuwait” by George Gregory [2005] and “Birding Kuwait” by Richard Bonser (Birding World Vol. 24 No. 11 pages 467 to 484). From my personal perspective, I had fourteen new species for the Western Palearctic which was the benchmark that I set myself for a good trip. The significant misses were Indian Roller (which had not yet been seen this winter as far as I am aware) and Common Babbler (which we failed to see on our single attempt at Abdaly Farms but was still present there in April at least). Shikra did not really give itself up but I was just about happy with a couple of brief but frustrating sightings of a male at Jahra Farms. We had about 30 Accipiter sightings and frustratingly, Common Sparrowhawk showed quite well at least seven or eight times. A number of the other sightings were simply put down to Accipter species! Otherwise, I had four other misses. I had as possible targets Black-crowned Sparrow-lark, Dunn’s Lark and Menetrie’s Warbler which are plainly less significant from a Western Palearctic perspective but would have been nice and more significantly, Crested Honey Buzzard as a possible species. It is being increasingly recorded. Frustratingly, all four have been seen this week in Kuwait.

Of course, there was evidence of shooting pretty much everywhere with spent cartridges a frequent sight but we only saw actual shooting twice – from the back of a pick up truck at Jahra East Outfall and on one of the visits, two individuals were shooting from outside into the rear scrape at Jahra Pools. We heard shooting on another couple of occasions. We saw a few injured birds dragging legs - maybe half a dozen. I am told that there is far more evidence of shooting in spring.

The sites visited included Abdaly Farms, Al-Abraq, Doha Peninsula, Falaheel Park and Shore, Green Island, Jahra East Outfall, Jahra Pools Reserve, Jahra Farms, Rawdatain, SAANR, Sewer Plant Reeds, Sulaibikhat Bay, Subiya and Sulaibiya Pivot Fields.

I was very pleasantly surprised with the variety of species seen with personally 136 species in total on netfugl taxonomy – a couple of additional species on a more favourable basis (stonechats and gulls!). For a winter trip, in diversity terms, this compared with my experiences in Extremadura and Central Morocco. The best species (for me) were:-

Western Reef-egret – up to twenty seen on three dates
Pallid Harrier – several seen on three dates
Shikra – the species never really gave itself up but I was happy that there was a male in Jahra Farms which I saw all too briefly on three visits (2nd, 3rd and 5th December). A bit of an identikit tick as a result!
Long-legged Buzzard - maybe four seen on two dates
Greater Spotted Eagle – at least four seen on five dates
Eastern Imperial Eagle – at least three seen on three dates
Merlin – single pallidus seen at SAANR (6th December)
Little Crake – single seen at Jahra Pools (2nd December)
Purple Swamphen – three at Jahra Pools (5th December) and single at SAANR (6th December)
Common Crane – four at SAANR (6th December)
Crab plover – several hundred seen on the coast on two dates
Cream-coloured Courser – two at SAANR (6th December)
Greater Sandplover – maybe forty in total between the coast and Pivot Fields on five dates
Lesser Sandplover – several hundred seen on the coast on three dates
European Golden Plover – single at Pivot Fields (4th December)
Red-wattled Lapwing – singles at Jahra Farms (2nd and 3rd December) and Pivot Fields (4th December) – not seen at Abdaly Farms
White-tailed Lapwing – up to two seen at Jahra Pools (30th November and 2nd December)
Broad-billed Sandpiper – single on the coast (1st December)
Marsh Sandpiper – good numbers seen on five dates
Terek Sandpiper – good numbers seen on the coast on three dates
Great Black-headed Gull – four on the shoreline at Falaheel (4th December)
Slender-billed Gull - numerous
Lesser Black-backed Gull - a few fuscus and heuglini seen on the coast
Caspian Gull - a couple of cachinaans seen amongst more numerous barbarensis on the coast
Armenian Gull – up to four seen on the coast (30th November and 1st December)
Gull-billed Tern - maybe thirty on the coast
Crested Tern – up to six seen between two dates - Green Island (1st December) and Falaheel (4th December)
White-winged Tern - a single seen at Jahra Pools (2nd December)
Laughing Dove - numerous
Namaqua Dove - at least 14 at Pivot Fields (4th December)
White-throated Kingfisher – maybe ten sightings of singles on six dates
Bar-tailed Lark - seen in the desert near Al-Abraq (2nd December) and SAANR (6th December)
Greater Hoopoe-lark - seen at SAANR (6th December)
Citrine Wagtail - at least three at Pivot Fields (2nd December)
Bluethroat - numerous in the right habitat
Stonechat - several rubicola and maura seen and at least one very nice variegata
White-cheeked Bulbul – of course everywhere
Red-vented Bulbul – up to four seen at Green Island (1st December)
Hypocolius – up to seven seen at Jahra Farms on five dates and maybe 20 seen at Green Island (1st December)
Pied Wheatear – single at Jahra East Outfall (1st December)
Finsch’s Wheatear – single at Al-Abraq (2nd December) and five seen at SAAANR (6th December)
Mourning Wheatear – maybe four seen at SAANR (6th December)
Persian/Red-tailed Wheatear – single seen at Khiram (4th December) but not seen at SAANR (6th December)
Graceful Prinia - a few seen and more heard
Moustached Warbler - heard at Jahra Pools and heard and seen at Jahra East Outfall (1st December)
Clamorous Reed-warbler – heard and seen at Jahra East Outfall (1st December)
Asian Desert Warbler – maybe half a dozen in total seen on two dates following four different Wheatear species - Desert, Finsch's, Mourning and Pied!
Barred Warbler – singles seen at Jahra Farms (3rd and 4th December) and our hotel in the middle of Kuwait City (6th December)
Hume’s Warbler – single at Rawdatain (3rd December)
Isabelline Shrike – good numbers seen
Masked Shrike – single at Al-Abraq (2nd December)
Common Mynah - seen on five days
Bank Mynah – a single flock of 26 seen at Jahra Farms (2nd December) but the only sighting
Little Bunting – single at Jahra East Outfall (1st December)

Also a single male Red Bishop sp. at Pivot Fields remains to be identified (6th December)

From a local perspective, I understand that the more notable species for Kuwait were the following found – Hume’s Warbler at Rawdatain (fourth record), 4 Common Crane at SAANR (ninth record) and European Golden Plover at Pivot Fields (tenth record) as well as Jack Snipe, Mistle Thrush and Little Bunting. If you are so inclined, you can study Stonechats of various (sub)species, Isabelline and Desert Wheatears, Steppe Grey Shrikes, Spanish Sparrows and Pallid Swifts to your heart's content. (On the latter, I am pretty happy that you can photograph a Pallid Swift to make it look like a Common Swift but not a Common Swift to look like a Pallid ...... A couple of times a bird in a flock of Pallids due to the angle and the light looked like a Common but when followed its true identity was confirmed.)

Since returning an update from Pekka confirms that he has still not had Indian Roller this winter and he did not see Common Babbler having returned to Abdaly Farms in the last few days with other visitors. However, at Kabd, having been provided with access the day after our departure, he had seen 2 Black-crowned Finch Larks and Dunn's Lark (7th December); at Al Abraq, he had seen Yellow-browed Warbler and Buff-bellied Pipit (japonicus) (9th December); and at Rawdatain Bottling Plant, he had seen not only the Hume's Warbler but also Yellow-browed Warbler and a juvenile Crested Honey Buzzard (10th December). Red-Wattled Lapwings continue to be seen with singles at Abdaly Farms and Sabriya Farm and two at Pivot Fields (8th December). Also, typically (!), Shikra had shown quite nicely. A check of the excellent Flickr websites of Kuwaiti bird photographers revealed Menetrie’s Warbler photos from Jahra Pools Reserve for a day when we visited.

I certainly hope to be going back at an early opportunity. A view of Kuwait City from SAANR attached.

All the best
 

Attachments

  • Kuwait Pictures 145.JPG
    Kuwait Pictures 145.JPG
    122.6 KB · Views: 112
Last edited:

Rich Bonser

Well-known member
Ignore the comment on Indian Roller:-

http://www.birdsofkuwait.com/blog/

Ever get the feeling that you went somewhere a week early.

All the best

Hi Paul
Shame about the Indian Roller, but I imagine that you'll get that one back - there always seems to be one or two each winter, unfortunately having a habit of turning up from now onwards (through til Jan/Feb). I guess today's bird may be last year's bird returning, though the weather in the region also probably plays a part in some species (e.g. Indian Roller, Hume's Wheatear) cropping up.

I reckon that going a couple of weeks earlier than you did could see migration still going on, with recent Eastern Pal stuff like Indian Pond Heron, Forest Wag and Eversmann's Redstarts all turning up in November. A few weeks later on... well, just more time for things to get found as they settle in for the winter and a bit more weather to mix things up in the region.

As you know yourself, you can't really do Kuwait in one trip anyway. Spring is totally bird filled, just the hunters increase and that can be a bit grim.
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Rich

Indeed. As you say a spring trip a definite must in any event and I hope to go back a few times. Be nice to head back with fewer targets and a bit more experience of the areas.

All the best
 

NicoleB

Nature addict
:)
I am in Kuwait now going on the third year, I yet have to see the Indian Roller :)

Good report & glad you liked it!
 

Canarybirder

Oenanthe Birding Adventures
Hi Paul,
As a bit of a Kuwait veteran I'd have to tend to agree with Rich. Indian Rollers do have the tendency to turn up a little later in the winter than your trip. Amazingly we had one in April a couple of years ago that went on to summer! You did pretty well in any case. I've not been in the winter before (it's always been early April) but am running a tour there for a week at the end of January, and again in April.

Obviously in spring you'll be getting things like Basra Reed Warbler, Socotra Cormorant, Bridled Tern, White-cheeked Tern etc

The Common Babblers have become much harder in the last year or so. Previously they used to be in the same spot all the time and just about guaranteed!

From a personal point of view Red-tailed Wheatear in January would be nice...!

Cheers

Chris
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Chris

Many thanks - noted. Now that I have scratched the surface I do intend to 'gen' up a bit more regarding future targets.

All the best
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
An embarrassing correction to my Kuwait Trip Report is my reidentification of the Pied Wheatear from Jahra East Outfall on 01.12.11 as a Hooded Wheatear. Some excellent photos from Daniel Mauras attached. At least it set alarm bells ringing when I saw the first of the three photos! I'm claiming that I was distracted by a Desert Warbler at the time. The last photo confirms it in my view.

It becomes the fourth species of the trip with 10 or less Kuwaiti records:-

http://birdsofkuwait.com/annotated_checklist.shtml

Apologies!

All the best

Paul Chapman
 

Attachments

  • Traquet_pie_male_BR_1 (4).jpg
    Traquet_pie_male_BR_1 (4).jpg
    94 KB · Views: 56
  • Traquet_pie_male_BR_2 (4).jpg
    Traquet_pie_male_BR_2 (4).jpg
    75.1 KB · Views: 59
  • Traquet_pie_male_BR_3 (5).jpg
    Traquet_pie_male_BR_3 (5).jpg
    82.5 KB · Views: 55
Last edited:

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
A few more photos to showcase the excellent photography of Daniel Mauras:-

1. Greater Spotted Eagle
2 & 3. Steppe Eagle
4. Imperial Eagle
5. (presumed) Southern Red Bishop

Any misidentifications are mine.

All the best

Paul Chapman
 

Attachments

  • Aigle_criard_BR_1.jpg
    Aigle_criard_BR_1.jpg
    58.3 KB · Views: 51
  • Aigle_imperial_BR_1.jpg
    Aigle_imperial_BR_1.jpg
    99 KB · Views: 50
  • Aigle_imperial_BR_2.jpg
    Aigle_imperial_BR_2.jpg
    49 KB · Views: 48
  • Aigle_imperial_BR_3.jpg
    Aigle_imperial_BR_3.jpg
    47.7 KB · Views: 59
  • Euplecte_franciscain_male_BR_1.jpg
    Euplecte_franciscain_male_BR_1.jpg
    83.7 KB · Views: 52

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Some more:-

6. Crab Plover
7 & 8. Grey Hypocolius
9. Red-vented Bulbul
10. Namaqua Dove

All the best

Paul Chapman
 

Attachments

  • Drome_ardeole_BR_2.jpg
    Drome_ardeole_BR_2.jpg
    47.2 KB · Views: 49
  • Hypocolius_gris_BR_3.jpg
    Hypocolius_gris_BR_3.jpg
    87.3 KB · Views: 55
  • Hypocolius_gris_BR_6.jpg
    Hypocolius_gris_BR_6.jpg
    57.5 KB · Views: 50
  • Bulbul_a_ventre_rouge_BR_2.jpg
    Bulbul_a_ventre_rouge_BR_2.jpg
    87.9 KB · Views: 46
  • Tourterelle_masquee_male_BR_2.jpg
    Tourterelle_masquee_male_BR_2.jpg
    106.4 KB · Views: 53

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Final tranche:-

11. Caspian Stonechat
12 & 13. Persian Wheatear
14. White-tailed Lapwing
15. Red-wattled Lapwing

All the best

Paul Chapman
 

Attachments

  • Tarier_de_Siberie_male_ssp_variegatus_BR_2.jpg
    Tarier_de_Siberie_male_ssp_variegatus_BR_2.jpg
    57.1 KB · Views: 221
  • Traquet_de_Perse_BR_1.jpg
    Traquet_de_Perse_BR_1.jpg
    48.8 KB · Views: 56
  • Traquet_de_Perse_en_vol_BR_1.jpg
    Traquet_de_Perse_en_vol_BR_1.jpg
    40.1 KB · Views: 50
  • Vanneau_a_queue_blanche_BR_2.jpg
    Vanneau_a_queue_blanche_BR_2.jpg
    29.9 KB · Views: 47
  • Vanneau_indien_BR_4.jpg
    Vanneau_indien_BR_4.jpg
    99.7 KB · Views: 42

Users who are viewing this thread

Top