8th: Airport - Ahmadi - Fahaheel Park - Sewer Plant Reeds - Khiran Resort – South Doha Reserve - Doha Spur High Tide
9th: Kadmah Gardens - Sabah Al-Ahmad Natural Reserve
10th: South Doha Reserve - Kadmah Gardens - Subiya Power Station - Hujaijah - Abdali Farms - Rawdatain - Sabah Al-Salem
11th: Pipeline Beach - Khiran - Um al Maradin Island - Khiran - Power Station Pools
12th: Green Island - Pipeline Beach - Power Station Pools - Pipeline Beach and Power Station Pools Surroundings - Pipeline Beach Villa Road - Sewer Plant Reeds
13th: Jahra Farms - Kadmah Gardens - Sabah Al-Ahmad Natural Reserve - Bubiyan Island
14th: Western Desert - Al Abraq - Wadi Batin –Western Desert - Doha East Outflow - Sulaibikhat
15th: Jahra East - Doha Spur High Tide – Jal Az-Zor
16th: Pipeline Beach - Power Station Pools - Pipeline Beach again (Acacia trees) - Raptor watch along Khiran highway - Khiran Sandspit - raptor watch along Khiran highway - Wafra Farms and surroundings - Fahaheel
17th: Sabah Al-Salem – Jal Az-Zor - Kuwait City coastline - Jahra East - Fahaheel
18th: flight out of Kuwait
This trip report covers the observations and itinerary of a full time birding trip to Kuwait for ten days in April 2006. The main purpose of the trip was to find out about the birding in the country as well as trying to see some specific species difficult to see elsewhere in the Western Palearctic, or maybe finding a surprise or two. Main target species were Socotra Cormorant, Caspian Plover, Egyptian Nightjar, Basra Reed Warbler, and Grey Hypocolius. We saw all but Caspian Plover – apparently it was too late in the season for that species. Other good birds seen were Yellow-browed Warbler, Great Tit (first record for Kuwait), Sooty Falcon, Mountain Lesser Whitethroat, and surprisingly good numbers of migrants such as Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, White-throated Robin (about 61), Isabelline Shrike (about 95) and much more. We also missed out on Syke’s Warbler, but Martin Poulsen who stayed a week longer saw one later.
A Finnish team with Rami Lindroos, Ilkka Sahi, and Keijo Wahlroos was visiting Kuwait in the same period as us. Some of the days we teamed up for birding, other days we just exhanged information with text messages or met in the evening as we stayed at the same hotel. Some of the other days were spent with very friendly and helpful locals Brian Foster and Khaled Nasrallah.
Before going we practically didn’t know anything about birding in Kuwait apart from a few websites such as www.osme.org and www.alsirhan.com and a string of emails with Brian Foster before the very usefull book by George Gregory ”The Birds of the State of Kuwait” was published shortly before our visit.
At the time of writing (May 2006) only one trip report from Kuwait is available on the Internet. That is primarily because it has not been possible for tourists to visit the country. But since 2005 the visa rules have changed, and it is now easy for most westerners to obtain a visa upon arrival in the airport. Kuwait truely deserves to become the next birding hot-spot, not only for its WP specialities but indeed also for its generally high quality birding – as we hope to convey with this trip report. That said, our birding activity was very high and we didn’t spend much time on photographing or doing anything else than birding during daylight, so probably we saw a little bit more than can be expected. We also used walkie-talkies which made it possible to cover greater areas and see more birds. 180 species in total. Rarity report forms have been filled out and sent to the Kuwait Rarity Committee for our observations of Sooty Falcon, Yellow-browed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, and Great Tit.
How to read this report
In the following day by day section observations from every day are listed together with notes about encounters with locals and local culture etc. In the end of the report a complete list of all species can be found. Detailed information about how to see particular species, notes about indentification, and comments on the observations is reserved for this section.
A specific section (”Sites”) about important birding sites not covered or only covered briefly in ”The Birds of the State of Kuwait” is also included. Some useful information about what to know when going birding in Kuwait from a birder’s point of view is in the section ”Other things to know about Kuwait”.
Feel free to send comments or questions to Andreas Hagerman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Day by day
The following is more or less a print of our notebooks. Some common species are not mentioned.
Arrived at the airport and payed about 13 € for the visa with no problems.
Collared Dove 3, swift sp 3, Bee-eater 2, Wryneck 1, Tree Pipit 5, White-eared Bulbul 3, Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin 1, Redstart 6, Lesser Whitethroat 3, Chiff-chaff 5, Willow warbler 1, Common Myna 3
Fahaheel Park 9.35-11.05
Lesser Kestrel 1, Little Tern 3, Pallid Swift 1, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater 2, Wryneck 1, Crested Lark 1, Red-rumped Swallow 1, House Martin 10, Tawny Pipit 1, Tree Pipit 3, Yellow Wagtail 3, Redstart 8, Blackcap 2, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Chiff-chaff 1, Isabelline Shrike 1
Fahaheel -> Sewer Plant Reeds
Black Kite 1, Woodchat Shrike 1
Sewer Plant Reeds 11.35-13.00
Little Egret 1, Kentish Plover 4, Little Stint 9, Curlew Sandpiper 3, Ruff 20, Common Snipe 2, Common Sandpiper 1, Wood Sandpiper 1, Terek Sandpiper 1, Red-throated Pipit 1, Black-headed Wagtail 1, Whinchat 1, Northern Wheatear 1, Clamorous Reed Warbler 1 singing, Chiff-chaff 10, Sand Martin 1, Isabelline Shrike 2
This tourist area is under construction and we asked in the reception if it was OK to enter. It was.
South Doha Reserve 17.00-17.30 – rest of the day with Brian Foster and Finnish team
Graceful Prinia 5, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater 2, Pallid Harrier 1 adult male moving through, Reed Warbler 1, Siberian Stonechat 1, Bluethroat 1 female, Night Heron 1, Little Bittern 1
Smashing scenery! Evening sunlight on 200 Lesser Sand Plovers in full summer plumage and many other good waders with the evening prayer sounding from a nearby minaret. Kuwait City skyline in the horizon, very exotique.
Brian connected us to local Khaled who was kind enough to drive us around in the national park in his jeep (we only had a normal car which was not suitable for the national park). The Finns followed along in their jeep. After seeing displaying Black-crowned Finch-lark at the entrance gate we went to the lower parts of the park to search for a Grey Hypocolius seen there the day before but we had no luck. Instead good numbers of Woodchat Shrikes and other migrants.
It was not until we reached an isolated group of trees and a water pond called Tulha deep inside the park that the action really caught on. Two Basra Reed Warblers field observed followed by a Grey Hypocolius and lots of other really good birds made for a perfect afternoon.
Some local photographers arrived and took some group photos of happy birders.
The crew in Tulha in the national park. From left: Khaled Nasrallah, Keijo Wahlroos, Illka Sahi, Rami Lindroos, Jens Søgaard Hansen, Tommy Frandsen, Andreas Hagerman, Martin Poulsen.
South Doha Reserve 5.25-6.20 White Stork 1, Little Bittern 1, Black-crowned Night Heron 1, Squacco Heron 1, Cattle Egret 1, Grey Heron 1, Purple Heron 1, Marsh Harrier 1, Moorhen 1, Purple Swamphen 1, Red-throated Pipit 1, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin 2, Bluethroat 1, Sedge Warbler 1, Great Reed Warbler 1, Graceful Warbler 20, Isabelline Shrike 3
DEAD BIRDS FOUND SHOT:
Pallid Harrier 1, Harrier sp 3, Hawk sp 4, Scop’s Owl 1, Bee-eater 1, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater 1, Hoopoe 1, Kestrel 1, Lesser Kestrel 1, Great Grey Shrike 1, Barn Swallow 1, Woodchat Shrike 1
Hujaijah is a very isolated group of trees favoured by tired migrants, including many raptors. The local shooters take advantage of this and often drive by in their jeeps shooting what is resting in the trees. Be prepared for a horrible sight..
This isolated farm just next to the road was crowded with birds compared to the vast Abdali Farms area.
Sabah Al-Salem 15.55-18.10 with Brian Foster
Glossy Ibis 2, Hobby 1, Spotted Crake 4, Little Crake 1, Moorhen 8, Black-winged Stilt 2, Collared Pratincole 1, Little Ringed Plover 1, Kentish Plover 5, Little Stint 14, Curlew Sandpiper 6, Ruff 3, Common Snipe 2, Bar-tailed Godwitt 1, Marsh Sandpiper 12, Greenshank 1, Wood Sandpiper 20, Terek Sandpiper 2, Common Sandpiper 15, Black-headed Gull 1, Slender-billed Gull 9, Rose-ringed Parakeet 1, Cuckoo 1, Pallid Swift 21, Red-throated Pipit 1, White-throated Robin 1, Isabelline Shrike 1
Pipeline Beach 08.10-12.20 with Finnish crew Socotra Cormorant 2, Little Bittern 1, Little Tern 1, Quail 1, Namaqua Dove 2, Bee-eater 20, Wryneck 5, Red-throated Pipit 50 moving through, Grey Hypocolius 1 female, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin 5, Nightingale 2, White-throated Robin 25, Redstart 50, Whinchat 36, Isabelline Wheatear 1, Northern Wheatear 3, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 2, Pied Wheatear 2, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 1, Basra Reed Warbler 1, Great Reed Warbler 5, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 10, Common Whitethroat 3, Mountain Lesser Whitethroat 1, Asian Desert Warbler 1, Menetrie’s Warbler 1, Chiff-chaff/Willow Warbler 100, Spotted Flycatcher 15, Isabelline Shrike 6, Red-backed Shrike 1, Lesser Grey Shrike 1, Masked Shrike 1, Pale Rock Sparrow 3, Cinereous Bunting 1 male (semenowi), Ortolan Bunting 29
Fantastic site! 5 more cormorants further out were probably also Socotra Cormorants
The crew at Pipeline Beach seen from east. Foto: Jens Søgaard Hansen
Khiran and surroundings 12.40-14.30
Slender-billed Gull 1, Little Tern 2, Turtle Dove 1, Wryneck 1, Whinchat 19, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 1, Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush 1, Common Whitethroat 1, Isabelline Shrike 1, Southern Grey Shrike 1
Um Al-Maradin Island ca 15.00-16.50
Great Cormorant 1, Swift Tern 2, Lesser-crested Tern 20, Bridled Tern 40, Turtle Dove 1, Hopoe 5, Short-toed Lark 3, Yellow Wagtail 10 (1 lutea), Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin 1, Nightingale 1, White-throated Robin 2, Redstart 35, Whinchat 25, Isabelline Wheatear 1, Northern Wheatear 5, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 2, Pied Wheatear 3, Song Thrush 1, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 1, Blackcap 5, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Chiff-chaff/Willow Warbler 100, Ortolan Bunting 2
We approached some locals to ask if they knew a good spot for seawatching. They didn’t quite understand what we were talking about and asked if we were from Denmark because they had heard about this group of Danish birdwatchers visiting Kuwait – by chance they actually knew Khaled who had talked about us! They were very excited and offered to take us out in their boat to Um Al-Maradin Island 15 km off the coast. An offer we couldn’t resist. Thank you Abdullah and friends!
Power Station Pools 17.40-17.50
White-throated Robin 2, Upcher’s Warbler 1
Khaled had arranged a dinner for us and the Finnish team and a few local birders at a traditional Kuwaiti restaurant downtown Kuwait City. Khaled’s friend Ahmad was the host of the evening. Very nice people and very nice food!
Green Island 07.50-09.00
Western Reef Egret 1, Slender-billed Gull 4, Sandwich Tern 6, Little Tern 10, Common Sandpiper 2, Bee-eater 25, Red-vented Bulbul 4, Grey Hypocolius 24, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin 7, Isabelline Wheatear 1, Blackcap 12, Common Whitethroat 1, Chiff-chaff/Willow Warbler 20, Great Tit 1 singing – first record for Kuwait, Common Myna 4, also 1 Village Weaver.
Part of a flock of 24 Grey Hypocolius, Green Island, April 12th, 2006. This spicies is attracted to a special kind of tree with berries, also visible on this photo. Photo: Jens Søgaard Hansen
DEAD BIRDS FOUND SHOT:
European Roller 1, Grey Hypocolius 1, White-throated Robin 1, Sand Martin 1, Night Heron 8, Black-winged Stilt 1
When we arrived at the entrance of this big oasis we said hello to the owners of the oasis that Brian has made an agreement with so he can go birding there when he likes. Only the owners of the oasis are allowed to shoot inside the oasis – other shooting teams are circling around the oasis shooting at migrants coming in to roost at this very isolated site in the middle of the desert. Anyway it was very strange to walk around birding with gunshots going off every minute. Funny to see the shooters outside watching us probably thinking ”how can they be allowed to go inside when they don’t even shoot at the birds?”. Although we were prepared for these kind of experiences it was really shocking.
Al Abraq -> Wadi Batin 11.10-12.00
Pallid Harrier 1 2nd-cal, Black-crowned Finch Lark 1, Dunn’s Lark 1 (5 km SW of Al Abraq), Bar-tailed Desert Lark 3
Good migration of raptors despite the relative late time in the season. Especially the harriers that were moving through. We started out on the ridge close to Kadmah Gardens and moved west to get better views. Unfortunately we were arrested by the Jahra police because apparently we were overlooking some military base (close to the highway crossing the ridge). The officers who didn’t speak any English took us to the head quarters in Jahra where we were interrogated old school style by the sherif. When they saw our scopes and digital cameras and video recorders and Martins Palestine scarf they thought we were terrorists, and suddenly we were surrounded by ten different officers shouting to each others and making many telephone calls obviously thinking they were onto something huge. This may sound strange but one has to remember that they were not used to tourists, and the explanation that we were birdwatchers simply didn’t make sense to them. The sherif didn’t even know that the visa rules had changed and repeatedly asked who our sponsor was or which company we worked for. When it looked like they were going to confiscate our cameras we flashed Ahmad’s business card and were released almost immediately with no further charges. Two hours had passed by however, and the day was over birdingwise – who knows how many Oriental Honey Buzzards we missed?!
Fahaheel 16.05-17.30 Socotra Cormorant 1 resting on pier off the harbour, Great Cormorant 1, Skua sp 2, Lesser Crested Tern 15, Sandwich Tern 10, White-cheeked Tern 2, Wryneck 1, Redstart 8, Song Thrush 2, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 2, Chiff-chaff 10
Generally the large farms like Wafra and Abdali were disappointing and held only few birds. Isolated spots like Tulha in SAANR and Rawdatain were filled with migrant birds. Here is a short description of our favourite sites: Pipeline Beach
This site is a top-notch Western Palearctic migration hot-spot watch point as well as resting site for massive numbers of migrant passerines. The site is located just west of Zour Port (restricted area) and is about the only spot on the coastline south of Fahaheel that is easily accessed. The coast is fenced off but the fence is just there to prevent cars from driving on the beach and it is legal to cross it by foot.
The area is the strip of land between the Zour Port road and the sea, forming a 4 km long line of sand dunes with scattered bushes leading west from Zour Port. At the western end there are two rows of acacia trees that attract many birds. Power Station Pools
This site is not mentioned in the book. It is a few dried out pools with a few bushes and reeds situated a few km south of Pipeline Beach, west of the road leading from Zour Port. Same kind of birds as Pipeline Beach.
Sabah Al-Ahmad Natural Reserve (SAANR)
The national reserve is a must to visit. The fence around the park prevents sheep from overgrazing the desert. To get acces you need to be approved by a local birder or member of the park or the like. When you have gained access once, the guards will recognize you and let you in on later visits.
Tulha is a small area deep inside the park with small trees and a drinking pool. Usually this area is filled with birds and you can spend hours here. Jahra East
A really good site for pipits, wagtails, waders, terns etc. We reached this site in our normal car but had to walk a long distance at one of the visits. A jeep is very useful here, especially after recent rain. This is also a good site to get an impression of the raptor migration as the raptors tend to cross the site heading towards the ridge on the other side of the bay.
Thanks to Google Earth for these satellite photos of Jahra East. Go to http://maps.google.com/ to find high resolution pictures of parts of Kuwait. Actually very useful when normal maps lack detail. Jal Az-Zor (the ridge)
The mountain ridge going northeast along the coast north of Jahra attracts good numbers of raptors. It can be difficult however to find a suitable watch point. We had good experinces using a watch point accesed via a tarmac road going from the Subiya road about opposite Kadmah Gardens. But the migration of raptors is not necessarily visible from this site if the winds are not favourable and you might need to move a few km along the ridge to get better views. It is important to avoid the cliffs on the northeastern side of the Basra road crossing the ridge as this is a military area and you could get arrested for using binoculars here. Maybe it is possible to find a better watchpoint on the other side of the road. Other things to know about Kuwait
Hussa House (behind The Kuwait Continental), tel: 2560331 – 2520349 was good value. Probably it is difficult to find hotels in Kuwait with prices that low. Huge breakfast at the nearby Continental Hotel was included in the price. The breakfast was so good and with many various foods (like a good Copenhagen style brunch) that we could go birding the whole day with no meals before dinner in the evening. The only problem was that it was not served before 7 a.m. so some early birding hours were lost.
We searched in vain for three youth hostels that we had found on a google search. Hunting
Hunting or just shooting birds is a popular hobby in Kuwait. At some sites like Kadmah Gardens it can be a problem for birders. One of the mornings spent at that site was disturbed by a party of shooters driving around and shooting from a jeep. Prices
The food prices were about the half of Danish prices - surprisingly low for such a wealthy country. Gasoline for the car is almost free, cutting down the birder’s budget. People
Brian Foster is essential to know and contact before going. He can be contacted at email@example.com - remember to write something meaningfull in the subject field like ”kuwait birding” Car hire
Jeep needed for some parts. We rented a normal car at Europcar in the airport for about 33 € per day. We recommend to hire a jeep though, at least for some days. Driving
The locals tend to drive very fast and recklessly, as witnessed by many car crashes and burnt out cars in the roadside. Compared to European driving there is a difference when driving on highways with three lanes: the middle lane is the slow one and the two others are used for overtaking. The traffic is generally fast and close and it is recommended to just go with the flow – driving safely and slowly can actually be dangerous! Driving into Kuwait City in rush hour (around 18-24 pm) is extremely challenging and requires good driving skills. Thank you
and other very friendly locals!
1. Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
2. Socotra Cormorant Phalacrocorax nigrogularis
We were nervous about how difficult it would be to get this species, as the book describes it mainly as a summer visitor arriving in May. However, it proved very easy at Pipeline Beach, where several birds were present offshore. A total of about 10 birds (1 adult) were seen on our three visits there. Also, on 17th a single bird was sitting on a pier off Fahaheel Harbour. The best chances for this species are on the southern parts of the coast.
3. Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus
One bird at Doha Reserve on 8th and 9th and another at Doha East Outfall on 14th. Also one at Pipeline Beach on 11th. 9 birds migrating along the border to Iraq at Wadi Batin on 14th was exotic.
4. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
5. Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
6. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
7. Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis
common in coastal areas north of Kuwait City.
8. Little Egret Egretta garzetta
One bird at Sewer Plant Reeds on 8th
9. Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
10. Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
one at Kadmah Gardens on 9th, one at Doha South Reserve on 10th, one at Sewer Plant Reeds on 12th
11. White Stork Ciconia ciconia
A single bird flying low over Doha South Reserve on 10th was a good record.
12. Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Two birds at Sabah Al-Salem on 10th
13. Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
14. Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
15. Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
One bird at Jahra East on 15th
16. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
11 birds at Sulaibikhat on 14th
17. Black Kite Milvus migrans
18. Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus
A single soaring over the desert near Subiya Power Station on 10th
19. Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
20. Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
21. Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus
Common. In the first days only adult males, later only females and 2nd-cal birds. 26 birds identified along with 16 unidentified ringtail harriers. All were migrating birds.
22. Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus
11 in total is a high count for Kuwait. 6 (4 adult males) at Jal Az-Zor on 15th and 3 adult males migrating along the highway near Khiran on 16th. The raptor migration watch at Jal Az-Zor on 15th was unfortunately stopped by the Jahra police - preventing an even higher harrier count. In the 90 minutes we had on the ridge we saw 6 Montagu's Harriers, 2 Pallid Harriers, and 13 unidentified ringtail harriers. We know that Pallid Harrier is by far the most common of the two but this day Montagu's really seemed to be the dominating species.
23. Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Seen almost daily. 17 migrating past Jahra on 15th and 12 past Jal Az-Zor same day were the highest counts.
24. Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Steppe Buzzard. A few seen almost daily. This species is much more common in March.
25. Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
One seen from the road outside SAANR on 10th
26. Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga
Two 2nd-cal birds migrating past Jahra East on 15th
27. Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis
Seen almost daily. 6 migrating past Jahra East on 15th and 6 past Jal Az-Zor same day.
28. Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca
One immature in SAANR on 9th
29. Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
6 moving through at Kadmah Gardens in the morning of 9th, 2 at Jahra East on 15th, 3 at Jal Az-Zor same day, one at Khiran highway on 16th and one at Wafrah same day.
30. Osprey Pandion haliaetus
31. Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni
32. Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
33. Hobby Falco subbuteo
At the two highway raptor watches at Khiran on 16th 4 migrating birds were seen. Also one at Sabah Al-Salem on 10th
34. Sooty Falcon Falco concolor
35. Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
One adult migrating past Jal Az-Zor on 17th
36. Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
37. Spotted Crake Porzana porzana
38. Little Crake Porzana parva
One showing extremely well at Sabah Al-Salem in the afternoon on 10th
39. Baillon's Crake Porzana pusilla
40. Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
41. Purple Swamp-hen Porphyrio porphyrio
42. Common Coot Fulica atra
43. Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
44. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
45. Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
46. Crab-plover Dromas ardeola
47. Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola
48. Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni
49. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
50. Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
51. Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
52. Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus
53. Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
54. Red-wattled Plover Hoplopterus indicus
55. Sanderling Calidris alba
56. Little Stint Calidris minuta
57. Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii
58. Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
59. Dunlin Calidris alpina
60. Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus
61. Ruff Philomachus pugnax
62. Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
63. Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
64. Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
65. Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
66. Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
67. Common Redshank Tringa totanus
68. Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
69. Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
70. Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
71. Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
72. Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus
73. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
74. Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
75. Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
76. Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
77. Slender-billed Gull Larus genei
78. Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
79. Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica
80. Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
81. Crested Tern Sterna bergii
82. Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis
83. Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
84. Common Tern Sterna hirundo
85. White-cheeked Tern Sterna repressa
The Finns dipped out on this species, so apparently it is not that easy. However we had one bird off Khiran on 8th and two birds together off Fahaheel Harbour on 17th. With a little patience Fahaheel Harbour is probably the best site for this species.
86. Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus
87. Little Tern Sterna albifrons
88. Rock Dove Columba livia
89. Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
90. European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
91. Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
92. Namaqua Dove Oena capensis
93. Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri
94. Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
95. Eurasian Scops Owl Otus scops
96. Little Owl Athene noctua
97. Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius
We had planned to search for this target species at Wafrah Farms where Brian had seen it last spring, but luckily we saw one at Pipeline Beach.
98. Common Swift Apus apus
99. Pallid Swift Apus pallidus
100. Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus
101. European Bee-eater Merops apiaster
102. European Roller Coracias garrulus
103. Hoopoe Upupa epops
104. Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla
105. Black-crowned Sparrow-lark Eremopterix nigriceps
More common that expected. Seen on about 5 occasions.
106. Dunn's Lark Eremalauda dunni
Difficult-to-get species which we had not seen without the local expertise from Brian
124. Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
Green Island is apparently the only regular site for this introduced species.
125. Grey Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus
Seen on 5 occasions. 24 birds together at the very urban Green Island on 12th was a great surprise. According to Khaled, April is a little late in the season for this species which is more common in March.
126. Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas galactotes
127. Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
128. Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
129. White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis
Common in bushy habitat. 61 birds counted, most at Pipeline Beach with a massive fall of 25 birds on 11th. These totals are much higher than one could expect from the book, but maybe our kind of birding has not been performed so much in the past in Kuwait. Kuwait must be the world's best stop over area for this species?
130. Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
131. Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
132. Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
133. Stonechat Saxicola torquata
134. Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
135. Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
136. Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka
137. Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica
138. Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti
139. Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis
147. Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis
Two birds were seen 200 metres from each other along with many other migrants at Tulha in SAANR on 9th (photographed by Keijo), and one was in the acacia area at Pipeline Beach on 11th and 12th. A probable was seen briefly at Doha East Outflow on the afternoon of 14th. The birds moved around in a quite skulky manner, typically about 0,10-1 m above the ground, with the body held in a horizontal manner.
148. Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
149. Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida
150. Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina
One bird in the acacias at Pipeline Beach on 12th.
151. Ménétries's Warbler Sylvia mystacea
In total 23 birds. 6 at Al Abraq on 14th was the highest count.
152. Asian Desert Warbler Sylvia nana
1 at Pipeline Beach on 12th. Found by the Finnish team who also saw another bird in SAANR the day before we arrived. This species is more common in March.
153. Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis
1 at Pipeline Beach Villa Road on 12th and 1 at Al Abraq on 14th.
154. Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria
155. Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
The subspecies althaea, ’Mountain Lesser Whitethroat’ (also referred to as ’Hume’s Lesser Whitethroat’) seems to pass through Kuwait in small numbers. 3 birds were seen of this very distinct subspecies of Lesser Whitethroat. Two at Pipeline Beach on 11th-12th and 16th and one at Al Abraq on 14th. Larger (size of Common Whitethroat) and darker than nominate Lesser Whitethroat. Cold colours above recalling Orphean or Rüppels Warbler. At least two of the birds had a curious behaviour of spending much time feeding on the ground. Very little is known about these lesser whitethroat subspecies, and the book Sylvia Warblers unfortunately doesn’t cover althaea satisfyingly, I think, and certainly the photos are quite poor. Anyway more knowledge is needed about this interesting subspecies or species.
156. Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis
157. Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
158. Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
159. Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
One at Al Abraq on 14th only showed briefly
160. Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
One in acacias at Pipeline Beach on 12th. Initially thought to be a Humes Leaf Warbler (at least by some of us.) we have identified this bird as a Yellow-browed Warbler, mostly because of the spotted ear-coverts seen well on photos taken by Keijo. Darkish legs and bill point to Humes though, it's a tricky one. Unfortunately it was was silent. Also captured on video by Andreas Hagerman. Brian Foster managed to twitch the bird after work.
161. Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
162. Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
163. Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
164. Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata
Although late in the migration period for this species we managed to see 5 birds including 3 males.
165. Great Tit Parus major
A singing bird was at Green Island on 12th. First Kuwaiti record. We didn't realize the caliber of this rarity until we got back to the car and saw in the book that it wasn't on the Kuwait list. The possibility of it being an escape was considered unlikely by local birders.
166. Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
167. Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus
95 made it to the notebook. 20 in the area around Pipeline Beach 16th was the highest count. In the first days of the trip we identified a handful of isabellinus-types, but all others identified to race were phonecuroides. Many were left unidentified though, but generally we estimate that 95 % were phonecuroides.
168. Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
169. Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor
170. Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis
171. Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator
172. Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus
173. Bank Mynah Acridotheres ginginianus
A special well in the Jahra Farms area used to be a breeding site for many Bank Mynas but in 2006 at least only brief views were obtained by us at this site. The birds tend to be very shy, and one has to be alert when approaching the site as they may be flushed and disappear quickly.
174. Common Mynah Acridotheres tristis
175. House Sparrow Passer domesticus
176. Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
177. Pale Rock Sparrow Petronia brachydactyla
2006 was a particularly good year for this species in Kuwait. We saw flocks in the SAANR, at Huajiaha, at Pipeline Beach, Power Station Pools, and Sewer Plant Reeds
178. Indian Silverbill Euodice malabarica
179. Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea
A male at Khiran Resort was a surprise find on 8th. Another was seen at Pipeline Beach on 11th. Both were of the semenowi race. Also the Finnish team saw one bird the day before we arrived at Tulha.