Kuwait Day 2, 4 April 2012 - Green Island, Shuwaikh Free Zone, Manchester Club, Qasr Farm, Jahra East Outfall, Jahra Pools & Pivot Fields area

Following some much needed sleep we were able to have a comparatively lazy start today. Our first site was Green Island which doesn't open until 07.00!
Our 1st target bird Red-vented Bulbul was quickly located and we went on to enjoy about 4 of these birds amongst the more numerous White-eared Bulbuls. 3 Crag Martins moved quickly through overhead and turned out to be the only ones of the trip. Lesser Whitethroats were numerous, especially around a reliable bottlebrush tree which also held several Blackcaps. Gary then called he'd got some Hypocolious and within a few minutes the whole group were getting some nice views of a trio of these beauties, 1 male and 2 females. Shortly afterwards I got onto a nice male Eastern Orphean Warbler and we went onto find one more of these in the usual bottlebrush tree a little later. Other species around the island included Chiffchaff, Common Redstart, Turkestan Shrike and the resident male Ruppell's Weaver.

Red-vented Bulbul, Green Island

Red-vented Bulbul, Green Island

Turkestan Shrike, Green Island

Laughing Dove, Green Island

Lesser Whitethroat, Green Island

Next up we called in for a brief stop at Shuwaikh Free Zone close to the port where despite the tide being rather too high for any waders we did manage flocks of Slender-billed Gulls, Greater Flamingoes, 4 Kentish Plovers (including a nesting bird on the low roof of the carpark opposite!), a single Little Stint, Siberian Stonechat and what appeared to be small fall of c6 Willow Warblers in low scrub on the 'beach'

Slender-billed Gulls, Shuwaikh Free Zone

Greater Flamingoes, Shuwaikh Free Zone

Greater Flamingo, Shuwaikh Free Zone

Greater Flamingoes, Shuwaikh Free Zone

Kentish Plover, Shuwaikh Free Zone 

Slender-billed Gull, Shuwaikh Free Zone

Being just around the corner and with the tide up we called in at Manchester Club again next. Upon  arrival the tide wasn't in very far at all so we didn't stay long. Just long enough to clock 2 Western Reef Herons and a few Terek Sandpipers without leaving the car.

A newly opened site in Jahra was out 4th port of call of the day. In the district of Qasr a large area of farms/small holdings is now accessible and has good potential for migrants. Despite the heat of the day really building we winkled out White-breasted Kingfisher and were suprised when a total of 9 Bank Mynas emerged from a well. Although Pekka had noted 2 here in the past this is very good news for the species. Presumably both they and the kingfisher have found new territories following the demise of nearby Jahra Farms. Migrants fund on the site included Turkestan Shrike, Daurian Shrike, Southern Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Isabelline Wheatear and Northern Wheatear but best of all was a fine juv Pallid Harrier which caused much excitement in the group as it circled over allowing close scrutiny to clinch the id. Shortly afterwards a Sparrowhawk caused far lees of a stir once Shikra had been ruled out! It was time to retreat to the cool at the sign of the 'Golden Arches' for an afternoon coffee to perk up some flagging birders!   

Pallid Harrier, Qasr Farm

Bank Mynas, Qasr Farm

Daurian Shrike, Qasr Farm

Feeling somewhat revived we then drove to the nearby Jahra East Outfall. Despite the access here being ever changing because of the encroaching building work we found our way in OK. The windy conditions meant birding the reeds was rather unproductive with just a singing Moustached Warbler and Graceful Prinia noted. Along the edge of the open area 2 Siberian Stonechats including a lovely male 'variegatus' showed nicely but a brief Black-eared Wheatear was less obliging. We also had 2 Squacco Herons, a flushed Little Bittern, c10 Little Egrets and Marsh Harrier, On the edge of the bay 6+ Little Terns were fishing and various members of the group flushed up to 4 Quail from the saltmarsh which held several Water Pipits and Crested Larks. As we walked back to the car a circlign raptor proved to be a welcome Steppe Eagle.

'Caspian' Stonechat, Jahra East Outfall

Siberian Stonechat, Jahra East Outfall

At nearby Jahra Pools 7 Squacco Herons flew through, Pallid Swifts hawked over the main pool and a distant Black Kite was picked up. Waders were still thin on the ground but we did manage 2 Black-winged Stilts, 2 Wood Sandpipers and Little Stint. A quick look at the 'crake pool' revealed a single Little and 2 Spotted Crakes before we moved on to our final stop of a busy day.

Spotted Crake, Jahra Pools

That final stop was the area surrounding Pivot Fields. Access to the fields was not possible this tear due to some typical local infighting but we were still able to get to the perimeter fence at a couple of spots.  At some newly discovered pools we found rather little but a fly-over Lesser Kestel and 3 European Bee-eaters made it worthwhile nonetheless. At the fence 8 Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were lingering over the crops and on the ground where we also had Hoopoe before we moved to another spot to finish the day. By the fence here we wrapped the day up in fine style with 3-4 Pallid Harriers including a lovely male, Osprey, 2 Siberian Stonechats, Daurian Shrike and Tawny Pipit but despite checking the camel enclosures carefull we couldn't find any Namaqua Doves.       

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