43 degrees in the shade

With just a few days – and birds left in Kuwait, we’re trying to focus on the few important birds we have left. In particular Basra Reed Warbler and Shikra. The weather is getting worse, the first few hours in a day are good, but then mid day the temperature goes haywire (+43) and bird activity drops to nothing. All birds we see in the trees sit exhausted with beaks fully open. We get exhausted too, the strength just runs out when walking in bushes.

We reached out to an expert in Pratincole identification, Gerald Driessens, and the suspected Oriental Pratincole from yesterday was rejected, it was a regular Collared Pratincole. It was a tricky bird indeed where many good birders and friends of us also thought it was an Oriental. Well well – win some – loose some.

Started in the morning, went to a pool at Al-Liyah checking for Pale Rock Sparrow which had been seen there previously. The Al-Liyah is a reserve, with guards. The guards were friendly, and when they saw that we were birders and not hunters, we were allowed to enter. Just as we enter, they wave at us and make “photo” signs. We get out of the car, a bit confused, but they just wanted us to photograph a roosting Eurasian Scopes Owl, roosting right next to their little shed.

Eurasian Scopes Owl
Eurasian Scopes Owl

Remember the stir-up with the feathering of the claws on the Pallid Scopes Owl, this one clearly has no feathering on the middle tow.

Claws
Claws

No bird at the pool though, a nice male Montague’s Harrier came in. Also an awesome lizzard ran in the desert, a massive Egyptian Spiny-tailed Lizzard, a beast.

Egyptian Spiny-tailed Lizzard
Egyptian Spiny-tailed Lizzard

With the morning spent, we went to Mutla searching for Shikra. The heat was devastating and bird activity was at all time low. In a dry tree, we found a Yellow-throated Sparrow.

Yellow-throated Sparrow
Yellow-throated Sparrow

Hardy bird to handle that heat so well. Chilled out in AC area and then went back to Al-Liyah. Birding there was pretty good, with for example several Upchers Warbler.

Upchers Warbler
Upchers Warbler

Also saw a few Hume’s Whitethroat there again. When we were just about to leave, a flock of European Bee-eaters came in to roost in a tree. Beautiful.

Roosting European Bee-eaters
Roosting European Bee-eaters

Saw several hunters in the reserve, cruising with 4WD cars, guns sticking out the windows, ready to shoot down any Bee-eater they see. Sad sight indeed.

Next day was Basra  Reed-warbler and Shikra day at Al-Abraq. Woke up real early and were at Al-Abraq at first light. Plenty of Sparrowhawks flying around, we photograph everyone in hope of a Shikra – non alas. We walked the thickets, searching for Basra Reed. Mårten and I stand together peeing on a tree, think father-son moment, when we hear very very close the call of an Eastern Nightingale inside the tree/bush. We look at that at 50 cm distance, when Mårten whispers – I have a Basra Reed Warbler inside here, very close.  It took us a few hours to secure good footage of the Reed Warbler.

Basra Reed Warbler
Basra Reed Warbler
Basra Reed Warbler
Basra Reed Warbler
Basra Reed Warbler
Basra Reed Warbler

It says something of skulky and slow the birds, when it took us 30 minutes to realise that a White-throated Robin

White-throated Robin
White-throated Robin

was also sitting inside that same small tree without us seeing it. We notified everyone else on Whatsup about the Basra, and AbdulRahman – with two clients, Paul Chapman and Maximilliano DeTorri arrived to see the bird too. Now, the heat was once again unbearable, chilled out in AC/coffee area, and finished the day in Jahra East where some Eurasian Curlew (ssp orientalis) were feeding. The bill is really impressive.

Eurasian Curlew (ssp orientalis)
Eurasian Curlew (ssp orientalis)

Next day we went back to Mutla, once again searching for Shikra. Met a local birder there, Bassel, who had just found a Black Bush-robin at Mutla, an exceptional bird for Kuwait. We on the other hand – hit a rock with the car in an manoeuvre to get better view of a flying Sparrowhawk. Car is broken and we are depressed, waiting for toll.

 

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