Flew by Qatar Airways ($145) from Dubai via Doha to Kuwait and taking I hr. 45 min, returning by FlyDubai ($95), both good with no baggage hassles (and beautiful flight attendants on Qatar!) Kuwait Visa cost 3 dinars and you have to buy a 1 dinar and 2-dinar stamp to stick on your form, makes it hard if you have not yet changed money!
Foolishly we got caught by a taxi shark as we came out, whose vehicle turned out to be an open pick-up truck, with room for us inside but the bags in the back, in the pouring rain! I made him stop and grabbed mine back to pile on my lap, then we set off for Kuwait Towers at Al Jadaf, which was next to the district I’d told him. he then demanded 15 dinars and not the 10 we had agreed, I offered him 12 which he refused, so I told him to take a hike, it’s that or nothing mate, causing a minor contretemps as we got to the hotel, oh well.
The Kuwait Towers apartment hotel was good, they sent us early 0600 continental breakfast each day, the rooms were a good size and clean with aircon, and the price of KD116 for 4 nights was very good. It was also very central and close to some excellent restaurants with great Lebanese food, I’d get really fat if I lived here.
Regarding guides, I thought I had Pekka Fagel set up way back from October, but we had a misunderstanding and when I sent him my flight details just before the trip he had gone off on holiday without checking if I was still coming. Luckily I was able to get AbdulRahman al-Sirhan to help us out at short notice, he was very good, and we got Mike Pope for one day too, which was excellent.
The main purpose of the visit was to check and see if the site for Hypocolius is worth adding to the FG UAE/Oman tour as a back-up, and also to see if there was much else of note that Kuwait could offer. Sadly there were not a lot of additional species at this time of the year, if you were a Western Palearctic lister it might be different but from our perspective there was little else.
Jan 5 Green Island 1600-1730 windy and dull
Jan 6 Green island 0630-0715 heavy rain, windy and cold 12 °C; Suleibikhat mudflats; Jahra Pools very windy and dull; Mutla’a wadi; Alshallah Farm
Jan 7 Sunny, quite windy later Abdaly Farms (Boodai’s Farm) 0830-1045; Al Abraq Farm 1330-1500; Green Island 1630-1730
Jan 8 Sunny and mild Green Island 0700-0730; Kuwait Towers and Fish Dock, Jahra Farm; Jahra Pools 1130-1400, Suleibikhat coast,
Jan 9 Kuwait Towers 0700-0730, Alshallah farms 0830-0930, Jahra Farm 1030-1145. Then Terminal 2 airport for FlyDubai at 1350, arriving Dubai 1730.
Little Grebe 4, 6 Jahra Pools
Black-necked Grebe 3, 2 Jahra Pools
Great Cormorant 1, 6, 150
Western Reef Egret 1, 1, 30
Grey Heron 6, 1, 100 at Suleibikhat
Great Egret 2, 2
Little Egret 1, 5
Cattle Egret 1, 3 ,1
Squacco Heron 3
Mallard 5. 10
Gadwall 4 Jahra Pools
Common Teal 10, 6
Garganey 2 Jahra Pools
Tufted Duck 2 Jahra Pools
Pochard 4 Jahra Pools
Ferruginous Duck 2, 8 Jahra Pools
Greater Flamingo 90, 900
Eurasian Spoonbill 4 Jahra Pools
Little Crake 2 Jahra Pools
Common Coot 6, 70 Jahra Pools
Common Moorhen 1, 1, 20
Purple Gallinule Porphyrio p. seistanicus type 2, 1 Jahra Pools
Steppe Eagle 1 Jahra Pools
Accipiter sp. 1
Western Marsh Harrier 2, 3 Jahra Pools
Crab Plover 120 am and 70 pm Jan 8 Suleibikhat coast
Avocet 15 Suleibikhat coast
Grey Plover 12 Suleibikhat coast
Greater Sand Plover 30 Suleibikhat coast
Lesser Sand Plover 1 Suleibikhat coast
Ringed Plover 1 Suleibikhat coast
Kentish Plover 20 Suleibikhat coast
Common Sandpiper 1
Green Sandpiper 1
Curlew 2, 5 Suleibikhat coast
Redshank 1, 20 Suleibikhat coast
Dunlin 1250 Suleibikhat coast
Caspian Tern 2
Gull-billed Tern 2
Crested Tern 1
Whiskered Tern 7 feeding over sewage outfall on coast; 1
Black-headed Gull 6, 70, 20, 100
Slender-billed Gull 10, 4
Armenian Gull 1 Green Island, 1 Suleibikhat coast
Caspian Gull few, inc. 1 imm fish dock
Steppe Gull barabensis fairly common
Heuglin’s Gull heuglini fairly common
Collared Dove common
Laughing Dove common
Pallid Swift 70, 10 at Jahra Pools
White-breasted Kingfisher 2 Al Abraq, 3, 2 Jahra Farms
Common Kingfisher 1
Eurasian Kestrel 2, 2
Ring-necked Parakeet 2
Steppe Grey Shrike pallidirostris 1 near Wadi Mutla’a, bad view unfortunately
Daurian Shrike 2, 2, 4, 1
Turkestan Shrike 1 Jahra Farms Jan 8 was white below with rusty cap, looked like this taxon
Blue Rock thrush single males seen Green Island
Desert Wheatear 1 m Abdaly Farms
Mourning Wheatear 1 Wadi Mutla’a
Red-tailed Wheatear Wadi Mutla’a
Isabelline Wheatear 1 Abdaly Farms
Black Redstart (Eastern) 1 f Alshallah, 2 m semirufus Abdaly Farms
Common Stonechat 1 f
Robin 1 at Alshallah Farm
Bluethroat 1 at Jahra Pools, had big white throat patch with red above it
Black-throated Thrush 1 at Jahra Farms Jan 9
Song Thrush 3, 1 , 2
Penduline Tit 4 + 5 at Jahra pools
Hypocolius 21 + 1 at Green Island Jan 8 only, great views on small trees about 50m from main gate. The security guard would not let us in but kindly let us know he was off duty in 10 minutes…. so we went in thereafter.
*Afghan Babbler Turdoides huttoni 2+ at Boodai’s Farm (7 were seen by some), seemingly the only site for it. My only lifer in Kuwait, see pic on IBC.
Chiffchaff 3, 2, 10, 4 with distinctive plaintive whistled note, cut posted on XC
Graceful Prinia 3 Abdaly farms
Clamorous Reed Warbler 1 at Jahra Pools
Moustached Warbler Nice views of 1 at Jahra Pools, only my second ever and first since Neuseidlersee in 1972!
Asian Desert Warbler 2 Al Abraq
Lesser Whitethroat 2 Al Abraq
White-eared Bulbul 2, 10, 10, 11 Green Is and Jahra Farms
Red-vented Bulbul 1, 2 Green island only
House Martin 1 Jahra Pools
Sand Martin 10 Jahra Pools
Meadow Pipit 1 Al Abraq
Water Pipit 1, 18, 10
White Wagtail 2, 30, 40, 40, 30
Citrine Wagtail 1 Jahra Pools
Rose-coloured Starling 1 subadult at Kuwait Towers with Common Mynas Jan 8 and 9
Common Myna 4, 60 mostly at Kuwait Towers
White-vented Myna Acridotheres javanicus 12 at Kuwait Towers, with no sign of Bank Mynas, maybe replaced by this species?
Finch sp. 6, 15 and 2 flying over Cardueline type
Ruppell’s Weaver 1 male at Green Island with old nests, maybe established now?
House Sparrow seen daily, this race is duller, paler and less well marked than hufufae in the UAE, very different with smaller bib on the males.
Spanish Sparrow 8 + 6 Jahra Farms, vocal cut on XC
Arabian Red Fox 1 at Jahra Pools
Feral cats everywhere, abundant along the seafront at Kuwait Towers and the fish dock, I counted 50+ there!
Thanks to AbdulRahman Sirhan for his help at such short notice, and also to Mike Pope, we had an excellent day out that day with the only good weather of the trip! Particular thanks to Sue Gregory for setting this up, and to Field Guides for approving the scouting. Also to my erstwhile companions for their good company. Trevor and I then continued to Dubai and had a splendid day out there on Jan 10, finding a promising new site for Hypocolius, which kind of negated the Kuwait option!