Kuwait, Day 1 - 5 April 2011, Pivot Fields, Manchester Club & Jahra Farms

My now annual spring trip to Kuwait was in its 4th consecutive year and this time the tour was enjoyed by an extended group consisting of 3 Finns, 3 Germans and a Dane. A truly multi-national week!

Despite participants arriving at different times from different places our rendezvous at the airport went well. We had soon met our local guide and were straight into birding. 

First port of call were the Pivot Fields, a large area of green cultivation SW of Kuwait City. At the pond here we quickly found the long-staying Pygmy Cormorant plus Little Crake, a nice male Little Bittern, c5 Squacco Herons, Little Egret, Cattle Egrets and 8 lovely Glossy Ibis. Examination of the scrub and reeds along the fence revealed a striking male White-throated Robin, Rufous Bush Robin, Great Reed Warbler, Masked and Turkestan Shrike. We then split the group into 3 vehicles (by now an independent Austrian group led by Ernst Albegger had joined us) and drove the various tracks around the whole area. Doing this we picked up Pallid Harrier, several Black Kites, European Roller, Hoopoe, c6 Redstarts, 1 Black Redstart, c15 Pied Wheatears, c10 Northern Wheatears, Tawny Pipit, Daurian Shrike and Siberian Stonechat before meeting back at the gates.

Daurian Shrike, Pivot Fields

Turkestan Shrike, Pivot Fields

Glossy Ibis, Pivot Fields

Hoopoe, Pivot Fields

Pied Wheatear, Pivot Fields

Pygmy Cormorant, Pivot Fields

European Roller, Pivot Fields

Our next destination was the very un-Kuwaiti sounding Manchester Club on the southern edge of Kuwait Bay. Waders are the main attraction here with Crab Plover being the really sought after species. We were lucky enough to find 3 hiding amongst the other waders, terns and gulls. The pick of the other sightings here were c50 Terek Sandpipers, c10 Lesser Sandplovers, c6 Kentish Plovers, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, c4 Whimbrel, Wigeon, Shoveler, several Caspian and Gull-billed Terns, a single dark morph Western Reef Heron amongst numerous Slender-billed Gulls.

Crab Plovers, Manchester Club

Tour Group, Manchester Club

Our final site of the day was one of my personal favoutites - Jahra Farms. This area of small holdings in the centre of busy Jahra has a great reputation for harbouring migrants and today we had a good selection - c12 Grey Hypocolious were very welcome being high up on everyone's target list. A male Semi-collared Flycatcher showed well as did Masked Shrike, c8 European Bee-eaters, White, Grey and Yellow Wagtails (feldegg and beema), c8 Tree Pipits, c3 Red-throated Pipits, Hoopoe, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. A very interesting looking brown chiffchaff flew from where it was being watched by the German guys and settled in to a palm right next to me. It proved very interesting indeed - a very distinctive Mountain Chiffchaff. Also seen were the resident White-breasted Kingfisher, Bank and Common Mynas.

Red-throated Pipit, Jahra Farms



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