KUWAIT – WINTER
29 November–7 December 2017
Kuwait’s resident birds, including Crab Plover, Namaqua Dove, Red-vented and White-eared Bulbuls and Afghan Babbler, are augmented in winter by Shikra, Lesser and Greater Sand-plovers, Isabelline Shrike, Asian Desert Warbler, Red-tailed (Persian) Wheatear and Hypocolius. Several scarce species, and even Kuwaiti rarities Streak-throated Swallow and Taiga Flycatcher, have been found on recent winter tours.
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, 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 and it is one of the best spots in the country for Hypocolius, which normally winter there. A very large, fenced-off, unspoilt desert area holds Finsch’s and Red-tailed (Persian) Wheatears in winter, but access is sometimes restricted. Jahra Farms has small fields, artificial water-courses, bushes and trees; the local breeding Bank Mynas can sometimes be found in winter, a season when White-throated Kingfisher, Isabelline Shrike and Hypocolius are often in evidence. Jahra Pool Reserve is a superb place with a variety of habitats ranging from seashore to freshwater lagoons with reed-beds; Greater Spotted Eagle, Little Crake and Grey-headed Swamp-hen may all be seen at this time of year. North Doha and Doha Spit are stretches of foreshore that teem with waders including Lesser and Greater Sand-plovers, Crab Plover and Broad-billed and Terek Sandpipers, while Pallas’s Gull is possible and North Doha holds wintering Asian Desert Warblers. Al Abraq is an isolated farm in the western desert which can hold Shikra in winter; unfortunately, it is also one of the main hunting sites in Kuwait. Pivot Fields is a vast area of large agricultural fields but again access is restricted; Greater Spotted and Imperial Eagles winter, Namaqua Doves are resident and Shikra is possible. Jahra East Outfall has reed-beds and a marshy area and holds Little Crake. 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; Shikra may be seen here too. Other species seen recently by Birdfinders groups are Oriental Honey-buzzard, Armenian Gull and Striated Scops-owl, while Kuwait rarities Streak-throated Swallow and Taiga Flycatcher were found by the group in December 2013.
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.