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Al Abraq Al-Khabari – a western oasis in Kuwait



in is in full force and migrants are literally everywhere – foraging, resting and passing by overhead.

Al Abraq is a very small dot of green in a vast expanse of open desert in the far west of Kuwait. It is a working oasis and an absolute magnet for migratory birds that probably use Wadi Batin as a visual aid during their epic migratory journeys. Sadly, this magnet is also known by the big numbers of shooters, the only upside (if there is any) is that they are not allowed inside the boundary of this small farm. The farm provides quite diverse habitat from the cultivated crops to some virgin and as a result, it provides both food, water and shade to rest for most species to use during migration. It is a fair drive from Kuwait City and you can either have a great day or find that you just had a long drive for little reward.

However, during migration you are seldom disappointed and so it was on this visit with many birds seen and heard during the morning’s visit.

Common Redstarts (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) add a splash of colour

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Male Common

The Common Redstart spp Ehrenberg’s Redstart (Phoenicurus p. sammamisicus) was also present; note the pale wing panel that is diagnostic.

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Male Ehrenberg’s Redstart

There were many male Semi-collared (Ficedula semitorquata) seen

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Male Semi-collared Flycatcher

But only one female

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Female Semi-collared Flycatcher

Eurasian (Sylvia atricapilla) were prevalent in the acacia trees and most were males.

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Male Eurasian

A femaleMénétriés’s Warbler (Sylvia mystacea) was seen out in the open

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Female Ménétriés’s Warbler

Walking around the crops, we found both European (Saxicola rubicola)

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Male European Stonechat

and Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

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Male Siberian Stonechat

There is a small pond near the entrance of the farm and I was thrilled to finally see and photograph a Caucasian (Luscinia s. magna)

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Male Caucasian Bluethroat

Just as we were about to leave, a male (Circus macrourus) drifted by overhead

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Male Pallid Harrier

Michael Pope

Michael Pope

A South African ex-pat who currently resides in Kuwait with his family since October 2006 and maintains a full time job as an IT Project Manager delivering and implementing projects in Kuwait and the GCC. An avid naturalist with an interest in wildlife and conservation that started early in his schooling when he was selected to spend a week in Londolozi Game Reserve learning about Conservation and Game Ranger principals. That week had a profound impact, the seed was sown and a passion for birds, photography, wildlife, biodiversity and conservation was instilled. He has travelled and explored the length and breadth of South and Southern Africa in search of birds, Aside from birds, he photographs landscapes, mammals, reptiles and just about any living creature he can get in front of his lens. Since arriving in Kuwait has also explored many other countries expanding his list and knowledge. In Kuwait his passion for birding, photography and highlighting the need for conservation and protection of migratory birds has continued and this is showcased on his Kuwait Birding Blog http://kuwaitbirding.blogspot.com/) . In early 2008 he was proposed as and still is Chairman of Kuwait Ornithological Records Committee. However, a personal achievement of his birding tenure in Kuwait is Co-editor for the milestone publication of “Birds of Kuwait – A Comprehensive Visual Guide” in collaboration with BioDiversity East and KUFPEC.

Michael Pope

Michael Pope

A South African ex-pat who currently resides in Kuwait with his family since October 2006 and maintains a full time job as an IT Project Manager delivering and implementing projects in Kuwait and the GCC. An avid naturalist with an interest in wildlife and conservation that started early in his schooling when he was selected to spend a week in Londolozi Game Reserve learning about Conservation and Game Ranger principals. That week had a profound impact, the seed was sown and a passion for birds, photography, wildlife, biodiversity and conservation was instilled. He has travelled and explored the length and breadth of South and Southern Africa in search of birds, Aside from birds, he photographs landscapes, mammals, reptiles and just about any living creature he can get in front of his lens. Since arriving in Kuwait has also explored many other countries expanding his list and knowledge. In Kuwait his passion for birding, photography and highlighting the need for conservation and protection of migratory birds has continued and this is showcased on his Kuwait Birding Blog http://kuwaitbirding.blogspot.com/) . In early 2008 he was proposed as and still is Chairman of Kuwait Ornithological Records Committee. However, a personal achievement of his birding tenure in Kuwait is Co-editor for the milestone publication of “Birds of Kuwait – A Comprehensive Visual Guide” in collaboration with BioDiversity East and KUFPEC.

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