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KUWAIT – SPRING

12–20 April 2018

Breeding birds, including Crab Plover, Bridled, White-cheeked, Great Crested and Lesser Crested Terns, Namaqua Dove, Red-vented and White-eared Bulbuls and Afghan Babbler, are joined in Kuwait at this season by summering Socotra Cormorants. Shikra, Lesser and Greater Sand-plovers, Red-tailed and Isabelline Shrikes, Basra Reed-warbler and Hypocolius are usually among the many migrant species passing through.

Day 1 Overnight flight from London to Kuwait City.

Day 2 Depending on our arrival time in Kuwait City, we may be able to check into our hotel but, in the event of an early arrival, we will visit one or two sites in Kuwait City itself and/or in Jahra as mornings are the best birding time.

Days 3–8 Although the exact itinerary will depend upon recent reports and migration conditions, during these five days we will visit most of Kuwait s important birding localities, the majority of which require special permission for access; this will be arranged by our local guide. Green Island, a coastal park in Kuwait City, is the best site for Red-vented Bulbul, a species found in the Western Palearctic only in Kuwait; White-eared Bulbul and Common Myna are both easy to see in the park, which is a magnet for migrants; it is also one of the best spots in the country for Hypocolius, which we could see as a lingering wintering individual or as a migrant. A very large, fenced-off, unspoilt desert area can hold breeding Black-crowned Sparrow-lark and Dunn's Lark, but access is sometimes restricted. Jahra Farms has small fields, artificial water-courses, bushes and trees and is the best site for Bank Myna, which usually breeds there and does not occur in the Western Palearctic outside Kuwait; White-throated Kingfisher is often present and Red-tailed and Isabelline Shrikes pass through in spring. Jahra Pool Reserve is a superb place with a variety of habitats ranging from seashore to freshwater lagoons with reed-beds; Spotted and Little Crakes and Grey-headed Swamphen breed, Baillon's Crake is a spring migrant and waders abound. North Doha and Doha Spit are stretches of foreshore which teem with waders and terns including Lesser and Greater Sand-plovers, Terek Sandpipers and Great Crested and Lesser Crested Terns, while Crab Plover and Pallas's Gull are possible and there may be a late wintering Asian Desert Warbler at North Doha. Distant views of Crab Plover can usually be obtained while scanning from the mainland across to the no-access Bubiyan Island. White-cheeked Tern may be seen offshore from two or three localities. Al Abraq is an isolated farm in the western desert noted for being a magnet for migrants, including Shikra and Basra Reed-warbler, and for vagrants; unfortunately, it is also one of the main hunting sites in Kuwait. Pivot Fields is a vast area of large agricultural fields and is famed for attracting migrants but again access is restricted; chats, larks, pipits and wagtails occur on passage and Namaqua Doves are resident. Port Zour, in the extreme south of the country, attracts Socotra Cormorant and Great Crested and Bridled Terns in spring. Jahra East Outfall has reed-beds and a marshy area and is a great place for Spotted and Little Crakes and Basra Reed-warbler. Abdaly Farms, a remote collection of farmsteads close to the border with Iraq, is famous for being the only place in the Western Palearctic where Afghan Babbler breeds. Mutla'a Ranch is another excellent site for migrants. Other species seen recently by Birdfinders groups are Caspian Plover, Black-winged Pratincole, White-throated Robin, Upcher's and Ménétries's Warblers, Mountain Chiffchaff and Chestnut-shouldered Petronia.

Day 9 Flight back from Kuwait City to London.

General Information The climate will be hot with rain unlikely. The pace of the tour is moderate with generally easy walks mostly on level ground but long days will be spent in the field. There are no special health requirements. Please note that hunting is still widespread in Kuwait and there may be some evidence of this during our tour. Visas are required and are obtainable (free for UK citizens) on arrival.

Group size Minimum number for tour to go ahead: 3; maximum group size: 4 with local guide, 8 with local guide and UK co-leader.

White-eared Bulbul

White-eared Bulbul

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