Kuwait Trip Report Autumn Tour 12-20 November 2016

Winter-tour-12-20-nov-2016, Participant from left to right: Brian Rasmussen, Daniel Mauras, Henrik Rask, Jean-Jacques CLEMENT, Thierry JEAN, Francis SMIGIELSKI and Hugues Axel DUFOURNY.
Participant from left to right: Brian Rasmussen, Daniel Mauras, Henrik Rask, Jean-Jacques CLEMENT, Thierry JEAN, Francis SMIGIELSKI and Hugues Axel DUFOURNY.

12th November: Arrival at Kuwait airport and overnight at Continental Inn.

Hypocolius perched on a branch of a tree
Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus سُوَيْدَاءٌ

13th November: At 6am we left the hotel with boxed breakfast towards Abu Al-Hasaniya. There we first encountered eleven Lesser Crested Tern then a Greater Crested Tern landed on steel wires showed well through scope being distinctly larger the nearby Lesser Crested Terns. At park lawn, we saw 10’s of Common Mynas and a single Asian Pied Starling. At least three Hypocolius flew overhead. At the beach were two Grey Herons, five Great Cormorants, a Spotted Redshank and a couple of Little Egrets, Western Reef Herons and a Slender-billed Gull 16. We also saw Little Stints, a couple of Sanderlings and a House Crow kept flying overhead. On the trees of house garden nearby we saw a Honey Buzzard perching then moving to another, but we couldn’t confirm If it is a Crested or European Honey Buzzard. White-eared Bulbuls were everywhere, we even saw a number of them before we stopped at our first birding site.

Masked Shrike perched on a branch of a tree
A Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus دُغْنَاشٌ أَصْقَعُ

We then drove to Green Island and arrived at 10 am, we soon were greeted by a number of Hypocoliuses flying overhead, we then had close views of some perched birds, while walking we encountered a perched Red-vented Bulbul. We then stopped at an elevated ground trying to photograph a group of hypocoliuses moving inside a tree, but then a Ruppell’s Weaver came close and perched on a very close tree where everybody had some good views of the bird

We saw in total at Green Island 25 species; Great Cormorant 1, Pallid Harrier 1, Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1, Greater Sand-Plover 10, Kentish Plover 14, Common Ringed Plover 2, Common Sandpiper 1, Eurasian Collared-Dove 14, Laughing Dove 5, Pallid Swift 1, White-throated Kingfisher 1, Masked Shrike 1, Barn Swallow 1, Red-vented Bulbul 3, White-eared Bulbul 20, Common Chiffchaff 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Menetries’s Warbler 1, Common Myna 15, Red-throated Pipit 1, Hypocolius 28, Chaffinch 1, House Sparrow 5, Yellow-throated Sparrow 1, Rüppell’s Weaver 2, Eurasian Golden Oriole 1.

Rüppell’s Weaver perched on a branch of a bush
Rüppell’s Weaver Ploceus galbula تُبُشِّرٌ

Our last birding site of the day was the famous wetland of Kuwait, the Jahra Pools Reserve. We spent less than an hour there and left after sunset. We managed to see:

Mallard 3, Northern Shoveler 10, Eurasian Teal 5, Common Pochard 5, Common Quail 1, Little Grebe 2, Great Cormorant 1, Griffon Vulture 1, Greater Spotted Eagle 12, Steppe Eagle 54, Eurasian Marsh-Harrier 2, Grey-headed Swamphen 12, Common Moorhen 17, Eurasian Coot 21, White-tailed Lapwing 3, Ruff 1, Dunlin 3, Common Redshank 1, White-throated Kingfisher 2, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater 12, Spanish Sparrow 50.

14th November: We started at Jahra Pools Reserve, birds seen at this site:

Eurasian Wigeon 5, Mallard 3, Northern Pintail 15, Garganey 1, Eurasian Teal 17, Common Pochard 46, Ferruginous Duck 7, Tufted Duck 1, Little Grebe 1, Little Bittern 1, Grey Heron 1, Purple Heron 1, Great Egret 4, Little Egret 2, Squacco Heron 4, Griffon Vulture 8, Steppe Eagle 57, Imperial Eagle 4, Eurasian Marsh-Harrier 3, Little Crake 3, Grey-headed Swamphen 2, Common Moorhen 20, Eurasian Coot 20, Eurasian Oystercatcher 10, Grey Plover 20, White-tailed Lapwing 3, Lesser Sand-Plover 2, Greater Sand-Plover 15, Eurasian Curlew 15, Ruff 2, Broad-billed Sandpiper 1, Dunlin 55, Common Snipe 2, Terek Sandpiper 1, Green Sandpiper 1, Common Greenshank 6, Marsh Sandpiper 3, Common Redshank 5, Caspian Gull 2, Heuglin’s Gull 2, Steppe Gull  1, Gull-billed Tern 4, Caspian Tern 1, Stock Dove 1, Pallid Swift 13, Eurasian Penduline Tit 3, Eurasian Reed-Warbler 1, Graceful Prinia 2, Bluethroat 2, Water Pipit 1.

We then went to Jahra East Outfall which produced: Asian Desert Warbler 4, Menetries’s Warbler 1, Desert Wheatear 2, Isabelline Wheatear 1. Greater Flamingo 70, Great Egret 15, Eurasian Spoonbill 1, Osprey 1.

White-tailed Lapwing standing on the ground
White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurusat قُطْقَاطٌ أَعْوَكُ
Grey-headed Swamphen walking in water
Grey-headed Swamphen Porphyrio poliocephalus سُلْطَانِيَّةٌ رَمْدَاءُ رَأْسٍ
Greater Spotted Eagle perched in flight
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga عُقَابٌ رَقْطَاءُ كَبِيرَةٌ
Greater Spotted Eagle perched on a branch of a tree
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga عُقَابٌ رَقْطَاءُ كَبِيرَةٌ

15th November: We started in the morning at Mutla’a Ranch, after we had our breakfast and coffee, we found a Red-breasted Flycatcher then a mega rarity appeared! An Eversmann’s Redstart, seen very well by all the visiting group and we spent some time taking photographs of very sought after bird. It is the 12th record for Kuwait if accepted by KORC. Afterwards we found a stunning male Asian Shikra.

Eversmann’s Redstart perched on a branch
Eversmann’s Redstart Phoenicurus erythronotus حُمَيْرَاءٌ كَتْفَاءُ

Birds seen at Mutla’a Ranch include:

Eversmann’s Redstart 1, Asian Shikra 1, Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1, Eurasian Collared-Dove 17, Laughing Dove 5, White-throated Kingfisher 1, White-eared Bulbul 21, European Robin 3, Red-breasted Flycatcher 3.

We then visited Doha Spit to the waders, birds seen:

Great Cormorant 1000, Grey Heron 5, Little Egret 1, Western Reef-Heron 5, Pallid Harrier 1, Eurasian Oystercatcher 5, Lesser Sand-Plover 5, Greater Sand-Plover 45, Whimbrel 2, Eurasian Curlew 9, Ruddy Turnstone 1, Curlew Sandpiper 1, Sanderling 1, Dunlin 25, Terek Sandpiper 11, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper 2, Common Redshank 48, Crab Plover 230, Slender-billed Gull 55, Heuglin’s Gull 2, Steppe Gull 7, Little Tern 8, Caspian Tern 17.

In the evening, we visited Sulaibikhat Bay, to see; Greater Flamingo 250, Grey Heron 16, Dunlin 55, Citrine Wagtail 1.

At Sulaibikhat Sports Club, we had Mallard 18, Eurasian Teal 8, White Stork 1, Grey Heron 15, Western Reef-Heron 7, Grey Plover 5, Lesser Sand-Plover 15, Greater Sand-Plover 71, Dunlin 50, Crab Plover 156, White-throated Kingfisher 1.

16th November: Started our birding day at United Poultry Company dumping Site. We were looking for a Buff-bellied Pipit seen Yesterday, our search was not fruitfull, but we managed to see a single Oriental Lark, Steppe Eagle 1, Black Kite 1, Northern Lapwing 1, Kentish Plover 4, Common Ringed Plover 2, Dunlin 1, Common Kestrel 1, Lesser Short-toed Lark 2, Skylark 4, White Wagtail 15, Water Pipit 10.

We then visited Abraq Al-Habari oasis. A Eurasian Woodcock seen by some of group before it had gone undercover, then managed to see a perched juvenile Asian Shikra and Oriental Honey Buzzard.

Asian Black Redstart perched on a a branch
Asian Black Redstart Phoenicurus (ochruros) phoenicuroides at Al Abraq. Photo: ©Daniel Mauras.
Finsch’s Wheatear standing on the ground
Finsch’s Wheatear Oenanthe finschii فَقَاقَةٌ قَنْفَاءُ

Our list included: Oriental Honey Buzzard 1, Pallid Harrier 1, Asian Shikra 1, European Robin 2, Red-breasted Flycatcher 2, Caspian Stonechat 1, Byzantine Stonechat 1, Fieldfare 1, Song Thrush 4, Water Pipit 11, Siskin 1, Common Blackbird 1.

We decided to end the day at Kabd Reserve to search for Black-crowned Sparrow-lark, but we only 45 minutes before sunset, we managed to see only; Namaqua Dove 34, Steppe Grey Shrike 1, European Stonechat 1, Finsch’s Wheatear 1.

17th November: In the morning, we went back to Kabd Reserve to search again for Black-crowned Sparrow-lark. We saw more than 24 Black-crowned Sparrow-Larks and a male Finsch’s Wheatear.

Olive-backed Pipit standing on the ground
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni جُشْنَةٌ زَيْتُونِيَّةُ
Hooded Wheatear perched on the rock
Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monachaat فَقَاقَةٌ مُقَلْنَسَةٌ

Birds seen at Kabd Reserve include: Short-toed Snake-Eagle 1, Imperial Eagle 1, Long-legged Buzzard 1, Woodchat Shrike 1, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark 24, Greater Short-toed Lark 2, Asian Desert Warbler 1, Finsch’s Wheatear 1 male, Desert Wheatear 4, Isabelline Wheatear 4

We then visited Jahra Farms to find; Oriental Honey-buzzard 1, Eurasian Sparrowhawk 2, White-throated Kingfisher 1, Masked Shrike 1, White-eared Bulbul 3, Common Bluethroat 1, Black-throated Thrush 2, Song Thrush 5, Common Myna 4, White Wagtail 2, White Wagtail 3, Olive-backed Pipit 2, Water Pipit 6.

Crested Honey Buzzard perched on a leaf of a palm tree
Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus عُقَيِّبٌ عَسَلِيَّةٌ شَرْقِيَّةُ
Crested Honey Buzzard in flight
Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus عُقَيِّبٌ عَسَلِيَّةٌ شَرْقِيَّةُ

We decided to finish the day at Jal Al Zor to find red-tailed Wheatear, we found instead a Hooded Wheatear 1, Long-legged Buzzard 1, Eastern Mourning Wheatear 7, Desert Wheatear 7.

18th November: This morning, we decided to drive south of the country to find a Red-tailed Wheatear. We stopped at Fintas Park to find; Laughing Dove 2, Masked Shrike 1, Common Chiffchaff 4, Clamorous Reed-Warbler 1, Eurasian Blackcap 1, Garden Warbler 1, Barred Warbler 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Rüppell’s Weaver 1. In our way, we stopped also at Zour Sewer Plant Reeds to find only two Eurasian Marsh-Harrier. We reached our destination, Al-Nuwaiseeb – Rubbish Dumps, to find our target bird a Red-tailed Wheatear, and also saw Pied Wheatear 1, Desert Wheatear 5, Isabelline Wheatear 2.

We ended our day at Al-Zour Port Village, were lucky to find a single Hume’s Warbler, which seen very well, also we saw Great Cormorant 12, Common Kestrel 1, Eurasian Hobby 1, Song Thrush, Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat 1, Common Redstart ssp. samamisicus 1, Western Black Redstart 1, Central Asian Black Redstart 1.

Red-tailed Wheatear perched on a rock
Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe chrysopygiaat فَقَاقَةٌ حَمْرَاءُ ذَنَبٍ

19th November: We started the day at Al-Shallal’s Farm, in the beginning it seemed very quiet, but it got excited as we found another Eversmann’s Redstart, it was a skulking bird but after sometime we managed to see it very well. Birds that were seen at this farm include; Isabelline Shrike 1, Bluethroat 1, White Wagtail 3, Meadow Pipit 1, Red-throated Pipit 1, Water Pipit 12

We then went to Jal Al Zor, to find; Greater Hoopoe-Lark 4, Crested Lark 1, Mourning Wheatear 5, Desert Wheatear 2.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater perched on a branch of a tree
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus قَارِيَةٌ زَرْقَاءُ خَّدَيْنِ
Eastern Mourning Wheatear standing on a rock
Eastern Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens فَقَاقَةٌ حَزِينَةٌ شَرْقِيَّةٌ

Again, visited the Jahra Pools Reserve to find; Ferruginous Duck 12, Little Grebe 11, Great Crested Grebe 1, Black-necked Grebe 1, Grey Heron 3, Great Egret 1, Little Egret 10, Squacco Heron 3, Greater Spotted Eagle 2, Eurasian Coot 45, Slender-billed Gull 1, Pallid Swift 15.

Finally, we ended the tour at Sulaibikhat Bay, when it was at high tide, we found the following:

Greater Flamingo 850, Great Cormorant 20, Grey Heron 153, Eurasian Spoonbill 1, Kentish Plover 90, Common Ringed Plover 61, Broad-billed Sandpiper 45, Curlew Sandpiper 3, Dunlin 1650, Little Stint 122, Common Redshank 88, Crab Plover 70, Caspian Tern 2, Whiskered Tern 8, Water Pipit 130, Hypocolius 73.

Eurasian Griffon Vulture in flight
Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus نَسْرٌ أَوْرَاِسِيٌّ
Asian Desert Warbler perched on a branch of a bush
Asian Desert Warbler Curruca nana دُخَّلَةٌ صَحْرَاوِيَّةٌ آسْيَوِيَّةٌ
Common Myna taking off
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis مَايْنَا شَائِعَةٌ
A flock of Crab-plover standing in sea water
Crab-plover Dromas ardeola حُنْكُورٌ
Asian Shikra in flight
Asian Shikra Accipiter (badius) cenchroides بَيْدَقٌ آسيَوِيٌّ

Bird List: Taxonomic Order and Sequence follows OSME Region List http://osme.org/ORL which in turn follows Gill & Wright (2006) Birds of the World: Recommended English Names – the published list of the International Ornithological Congress [IOC] regional sub-committees. (http://www.worldbirdnames.org/).

Gadwall Anas strepera

Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Northern ShovelerAnas clypeata

Northern Pintail Anas acuta

Garganey Anas querquedula

Eurasian TealAnas crecca

Common PochardAythya ferina

Ferruginous DuckAythya nyroca

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

Little GrebeTachybaptus ruficollis iraquensis

Great Crested GrebePodiceps cristatus

Black-necked GrebePodiceps nigricollis

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus

Western White StorkCiconia ciconia

Eurasian SpoonbillPlatalea leucorodia

Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides

Grey HeronArdea cinerea

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea

Western Great EgretArdea alba

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Indian Reef HeronEgretta gularis schistacea

ContinentalGreat CormorantPhalacrocoraxsinensis

Western OspreyPandion haliaetus

Crested Honey BuzzardPernis ptilorhynchus

Eurasian Griffon VultureGyps fulvus

Short-toed Snake EagleCircaetus gallicus

Greater Spotted EagleClanga clanga

Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis

Eastern Imperial EagleAquila heliaca

Asian ShikraAccipiter (badius) cenchroides

Eurasian SparrowhawkAccipiter nisus

Western Marsh HarrierCircus aeruginosus

Pallid HarrierCircus macrourus

Black-eared KiteMilvus (migrans) lineatus

Long-legged BuzzardButeo rufinus

Water RailRallus aquaticus

Little Crake Zaporniaparva

Grey-headed SwamphenPorphyrio (porphyrio) poliocephalus

Common MoorhenGallinula chloropus

Eurasian CootFulica atra

Eurasian OystercatcherHaematopus ostralegus

Crab-ploverDromas ardeola

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

White-tailed LapwingVanellus leucurus

Grey PloverPluvialis squatarola

Common Ringed PloverCharadrius hiaticula

Kentish PloverAnarhynchusalexandrinus

Lesser Sand PloverAnarhynchusatrifrons

Greater Sand PloverAnarhynchusleschenaultii

Eurasian WoodcockScolopax rusticola

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago

Black-tailed GodwitLimosa limosa

Bar-tailed GodwitLimosa lapponica

Eurasian Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Eurasian CurlewNumenius arquata

Green SandpiperTringa ochropus

Common RedshankTringa totanus

Marsh SandpiperTringa stagnatilis

Wood SandpiperTringa glareola

Common GreenshankTringa nebularia

Spotted RedshankTringa erythropus

Terek SandpiperXenus cinereus

Common SandpiperActitis hypoleucos

Ruddy TurnstoneArenaria interpres

SanderlingCalidris alba

Little Stint Calidris minuta

Dunlin Calidris alpina

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea

Broad-billed SandpiperLimicola falcinellus

Ruff Philomachus pugnax

Slender-billed GullChroicocephalus genei

Common Black-headed GullChroicocephalus ridibundus

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans

Armenian GullLarus armenicus

Heuglin’s GullLarus (fuscus/heuglini) heuglini

Steppe Gull Larus (fuscus/heuglini) barabensis

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica

Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia

Greater Crested TernThalasseus bergii

Lesser Crested TernThalasseus bengalensis

Sandwich TernThalasseus sandvicensis

Little Tern Sternula albifrons

Whiskered TernChlidonias hybrida

White-winged TernChlidonias leucopterus

Feral Pigeon Columba livia forma domestica

Western Stock DoveColumba oenas

African Collared Dove Streptopelia roseogrisea

Eurasian Collared DoveStreptopelia decaocto

Laughing DoveSpilopelia senegalensis

Namaqua Dove Oena capensis

Pallid Swift Apus pallidus

White-throated KingfisherHalcyon smyrnensis

Common KingfisherAlcedo atthis

Blue-cheeked Bee-eaterMerops persicus

Eurasian HoopoeUpupa epops

Common KestrelFalco tinnunculus

Eurasian HobbyFalco subbuteo

Rose-ringed ParakeetPsittacula krameri

Daurian Shrike Lanius isabellinus

Turkestan Shrike Lanius phoenicuroides

Mauryan Grey ShrikeLanius lahotra pallidirostris

Woodchat ShrikeLanius senator

Masked ShrikeLanius nubicus

Eurasian Golden OrioleOriolus oriolus

House CrowCorvus splendens

HypocoliusHypocolius ampelinus

Eurasian Penduline TitRemiz pendulinus

Greater Hoopoe-LarkAlaemon alaudipes

Greater Short-toed LarkCalandrella brachydactyla

Lesser Short-toed LarkAlaudala rufescens

Crested Lark Galerida cristata

Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis

Oriental SkylarkAlauda gulgula

Black-crowned Sparrow-LarkEremopterix nigriceps

Temminck’s LarkEremophila bilopha

Sand MartinRiparia riparia

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

White-eared BulbulPycnonotus leucotis 

Red-vented BulbulPycnonotus cafer

Common ChiffchaffPhylloscopus collybita

Hume’s Leaf WarblerPhylloscopus humei

Indian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus (stentoreus) brunnescens

Moustached WarblerAcrocephalus melanopogon

Eurasian Reed WarblerAcrocephalus scirpaceus

Graceful PriniaPrinia gracilis

Afghan BabblerTurdoides (caudata) huttoni

Eurasian BlackcapSylvia atricapilla

Garden WarblerSylvia borin

Barred WarblerSylvia nisoria

Lesser WhitethroatSylvia curruca

Central Asian Lesser WhitethroatSylvia (althaea) halimodendri

Asian Desert WarblerSylvia nana

Common WhitethroatSylvia communis

Ménétries’s WarblerSylvia mystacea

Common StarlingSturnus vulgaris

Common Blackbird Turdus merula

Black-throated ThrushTurdus atrogularis

FieldfareTurdus pilaris

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

European RobinErithacus rubecula

Red-spotted Bluethroat Luscinia svecica

Red-breasted FlycatcherFicedula parva

Eversmann’s RedstartPhoenicurus erythronotus

Western Black RedstartPhoenicurus ochruros

Central Asian Black RedstartPhoenicurus (ochruros) phoenicuroides

Common RedstartPhoenicurus phoenicurus samamisicus

European StonechatSaxicola rubicola

Caspian StonechatSaxicola maurus hemprichii

Byzantine StonechatSaxicola maurus variegatus

Northern WheatearOenanthe oenanthe

Isabelline WheatearOenanthe isabellina

Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha

Desert WheatearOenanthe deserti

Pied WheatearOenanthe pleschanka

Finsch’s WheatearOenanthe finschii

Eastern Mourning WheatearOenanthe lugens

Red-tailed WheatearOenanthe chrysopygia

Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra (Escape)

Common MynaAcridotheres tristis

Crested MynaAcridotheres cristatellus (Escape)

House SparrowPasser domesticus

Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis

Yellow-throated Sparrow Gymnoris xanthocollis

Blue-headed WagtailMotacilla (flava) flava

Citrine WagtailMotacilla citreola

White WagtailMotacilla alba

Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis

Olive-backed PipitAnthus hodgsoni

Red-throated PipitAnthus cervinus

CaucasianWater PipitAnthus (spinoletta)coutelli

Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

HawfinchCoccothraustes coccothraustes

Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra

Rüppell’s WeaverPloceus galbula

TOTAL: 173 species (not counting escapes and subspecies)

Acknowledgement: I would like to thanks Daniel Mauras for allowing me to use his photographs in this report.