25/10/2010 at Kuwait International Golf Course

I did my weekly walk at KIGC this morning. Reason to go there is merely just to walk in nice green place but, of course, watch birds as well. One thing which is nice to follow is the gradual chance of bird species from migrating ones to wintering birds. Today I saw first Water Pipit 2, Bluethoat 2 and Northen Lapwing 2 over there. I have already seen elsewhere Lapwings and Water Pipits but Bluethroat was first record for this winter. I have observed by now 4 years in a row that we have from mid August till mid September Bluethroats around in small numbers. Then there is a period of at least one month with no records at all and then arrive wintering Bluethroats in good numbers. This naturally means that these represent  at least two different populations. Today I managed to see my first Steppe Buzzard at KIGC. Early morning is not very good time of the day for raptors. Steppe Buzzard is regarded to be a race of Common Buzzard (Buteo b. vulpinus). However, to me this is full species. According to ¨The Raptors of Europe and The Middle East¨ by Dick Forsman Common Buzzard size is: Lenght 51-57 cm and wing span 112+130 cm while Steppe Buzzard has lenght 39-47 cm and wing span 100-125.  There are also other differencies like tail. I really do not see any reason why not to split these apparently two different species.

1st winter female Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

Steppe Buzzard (Buteo vulpinus) Note very worn tail which is a result of spending lot of time on ground especially here in Middle East.

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