Kuwait Day 5, 7 April 2012 - Mutla'a Ranch, Abdali Bottling Plant, Abdali Farms, Maghasil (Bubiyan Island), Subriya Farm & Jahra Pools

Having enjoyed our visit to Mutla'a Ranch yesterday we thought a return visit in the early morning would be a good idea for maximum bird activity. For these last 2 days we were joined by a small Finnish group in their own vehicle. Numbers of common migrants such as Lesser Whitethroats, Redstarts and Willow-chiffs seemed to be down on yesterday but things livened up a bit when 2 Black-crowned Night Herons flew over and we went on to locate Turkestan Shrike, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and then I found another nice male Menetries's Warbler which went on to show well to everyone. Generally things were quite disappointing so we continued our drive north towards Abdali near the Iraq border.

Menetries's Warbler, Mutla'a Ranch

Blackcap, Mutla'a Ranch

A stop at our traditional cafe en-route was followed by a walk around the trees surrounding the nearly Abdali Bottling Plant. The best thing here was an Asian Desert Warbler which was atypically flitting around high in trees. A White-throated Robin was a welcome find for the Finns, followed by a brief Daurian Shrike while we had a Hoopoe for company throughout our walk.

We moved onto Abdali Farms next and after parking up split into 3 groups to work the area thoroughly to find our target bird - Afghan Babbler. This is undoubtedly one of the rarest breeding birds in the WP as the one here are literally the only ones. I took Brian, Dave and Todd with me, we spread out in a line and began walking through the area of small palms. We hadn't walked more than 30 meters when Brian shouts 'Babblers!', legging it to him quickly we were in time to see 2 birds around some corrugated iron sheds before they melted away. That had to be the quickest we've ever located them! Several texts later the whole group had assembled and we bagan the search again. Reaching the far fence with no luck things didn't look good but as we walked back Gary found them again when we were nearly back to the cars! Interestingly an adult bird was seen carrying food to what looked very much like a nest tree. Good news indeed! Other birds seen as we worked the area included 2 Rufous Bush Robins, Isabelline Wheatear, Graceful Prinia and Daurian Shrike.  

Afghan Babbler, Abdali Farms

Leaving Abdali we made a detour on the way back south which we have done before, to Maghasil and  spot overlooking the distant Bubiyan Island. Having already filled our boots with good views of Crab Plover we didn't need to rely on the distant views of c50 birds here but what was very welcome were 3-4 Swift Terns flying in the channel amongst c6 Lesser Crested Terns.  2 flocks totalling about 25 European Bee-eaters moved through noisily and a couple of dark Western Reef Herons were picked out on the sandbar.

As we had to drive past it a return visit to Subriya Farm was made next but to the chagrin of the Finns we couldn't relocate the Radde's Accentor despite our best efforts. There were migrants here through and we spent an enjoyable hour notching up some notable new birds. Almost as soon as we left the car a Namaqua Dove flew past, a male Semi-collared Flycatcher was strangely elusive but eventually gave itself up, another Menetries's Warbler, 5 Hypocolious and a stunning rufous phase Common Cuckoo

To finish the day we returned once more to Jahra Pools and pulling up by the first platform the 1st car load had a very welcome Red-wattled Lapwing which flew away over the reedbed before anyone else got to see it. Driving around the back track it was immediately apparant that wader numbers had increased alot. Stopping on the track it eventually turned out that the 1st car load had another bird, this time a lovely White-tailed Plover stood right on the track. As you can imagine this prompted some dicussion about the id of the earlier lapwing but the mystery was solved when the Red-wattled Lapwing duly flew in. Who'd have thought it?! After the excitement we settled in to scanning the waders finding c30 Black-winged Stilts, c8 Avocet, Common, Wood and Marsh Sandpipers, 3 Green Sandpipers, c20 Ruff, Little Stints, Dunlin, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 3 Common Snipe, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and c60 Red-necked Phalaropes. Things had really livened up here! Into the bargain we also added the regular 6 Glossy Ibis, Baltic Gull, Sand Martins, White Wagtail, Water Pipit and Osprey.

White-tailed Plover, Jahra Pools

White-tailed Plover, Jahra Pools

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