KUWAIT - Western Palearctic Specialities

 Day 1    ARRIVAL    - 15th April
Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

We will begin what promises to be a fantastic week's birding at Fintas Park, where we should see our first important Western Palearctic targets that include White-eared Bulbul, Hume’s Whitethroat and Rüppell’s Weaver, whilst migrants could include Semi-collared Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat and Barred Warbler amongst others. Then we will head over to Abu Hasaniya, a great area for Lesser and Greater Crested Terns, Tibetan and Greater Sand Plovers, Slender-billed Gull, Common Black-headed Gull, Great Black-headed Gull, and Caspian Gull. Our next stop is at the famous Green Island trying to find Hypocolius, Red-vented Bulbul and Rüppell’s Weaver. We will then drive along the coast to Souq Sharq to search for more gulls, terns and shorebirds.

The afternoon will be spent heading north to Shuwaikh Free Trade Zone, the Hospitals area and Sulaibikhat Bay up to Jahra East Outfall. Birds expected to be seen include House Crow, Greater Flamingo, Squacco Heron, Grey Heron, Western Great Egret, Indian Reef Heron, Great Cormorant, Western Osprey, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Crab-plover (scarce in April), Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Common Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Red-necked Phalarope, Grey Phalarope (rare), Collared Pratincole, Slender-billed Gull, Common Black-headed Gull, Great Black-headed Gull, Caspian Gull, Heuglin’s Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Common Tern, Whiskered Tern, Eurasian Collared Dove and Laughing Dove.

We will start at the famous wetland of Kuwait, the Jahra Pools Reserve. Birds we hope to see include Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Bittern, Ferruginous DuckLittle GrebeLittle Crake, Water RailGrey-headed Swamphen, Common Moorhen, Eurasian CootRed-wattled Lapwing (scarce), White-tailed LapwingEurasian Penduline Tit (scarce), Little Ringed Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Pallid Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Marsh HarrierPallid Harrier, Steppe Eagle, Eastern Imperial EagleGreater Spotted EagleEuropean RollerWhite-throated KingfisherBlue-cheeked Bee-eaterEuropean Bee-eater, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Hoopoe, Indian Reed WarblerMoustached WarblerSedge Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Marsh WarblerNamaqua Dove, Eastern Olivaceous WarblerUpcher’s WarblerSpotted Flycatcher, Tawny Pipit, White-throated Robin, Eastern Nightingale, Caspian Stonechat,  Byzantine Stonechat, Long-legged Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, Delicate Prinia, Turkestan ShrikeDaurian Shrike, Woodchat ShrikeMauryan (Steppe) Grey Shrike. We will then visit Jahra Farms for White-throated Kingfisher, Common and Bank Myna, Caucasian Water Pipit, Red-rumped Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Tree Pipit, Richard’s Pipit, Crested Lark, Citrine Wagtail, Yellow-headed Wagtail (lutea), Black-headed Wagtail, Grey-headed Wagtail and White-headed Wagtail (rare). Our next destination will be Mutla’a Ranch, where possibilities include White-throated Robin, Caspian StonechatPied Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Caucasian Water Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Tree Pipit, Richard’s Pipit, Crested Lark, Citrine Wagtail, Yellow-headed Wagtail (lutea), Black-headed Wagtail, Grey-headed WagtailWhite-headed Wagtail (rare), Pale RockfinchYellow-throated SparrowWhinchat, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Crested Lark, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and so much more.

On this day, we will be visiting Abdali Farms for the much-wanted Afghan Babbler, whilst other potential species include Red-wattled Lapwing, Delicate Prinia, White-throated RobinUpcher’s WarblerEastern Olivaceous Warbler, Long-legged Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, Pallid Harrier, Hoopoe Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark and Namaqua Dove. After birding here we will leave towards Liah Reserve, an open desert, but there is also a long row of mesquite trees that attract migrants. An artificial pool is also present surrounded by bushes. In the open desert, we are expected to find Greater Hoopoe Lark, Lesser and Greater Short-toed Lark, Bar-tailed Lark and Crested Lark. Whereas birds around the mesquite trees include migrant shrikes, Upcher’s and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Barred Warbler, White-throated Robin, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Eastern Nightingale, Eurasian Hoopoe, Asian Desert Warbler, Ménétries’s Warbler and Pale Rockfinch. If we have time we will visit Kabd Reserve to see Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark and we will also have a chance to see some migrants that include Pale RockfinchBlack-eared and Pied wheatears, Northern Wheatear, Corn Bunting, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Masked Shrike, Steppe Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Upcher’s Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Common CuckooEastern Nightingale, Hume’s Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, and both Common and Lesser Kestrels.

We will head directly to Al-Abraq, an oasis in the middle of the desert and a magnet for migrating birds. Possibilities here include Basra Reed Warbler, Eurasian Hobby, Steppe Buzzard, Upcher’s Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Steppe Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Lesser and Greater Short-toed Larks, Pallid Harrier, Pallid Swift, Lesser WhitethroatPale Rockfinch, Red-throated Pipit, White-throated Robin, Great Reed WarblerSykes’s Warbler, Turkestan Shrike and Red-backed Shrikes. We then drive through the desert in search of Temminck’s Lark, Hoopoe LarkDesert LarkGreater & Lesser Short-toed Lark and Bar-tailed Lark. On our way back, we will stop at the United Poultry Co. to search for migrants in the pivot fields and the surrounding trees before continuing to Al-Shallal’s Farm to search for more migrants and we will do some birding along the fence of SAANR if time allows.

Early in the morning we will visit either Kuwait Zoo or Al-Shaheed Park for Indian Silverbill, and do general birding. Potential birds include Hypocolius, Common Myna, Barred Warbler and Semi-collared Flycatcher. Next up are the Pivot Fields (from outside) where we are can see Eastern Imperial Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Eurasian Hobby, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Black-winged Pratincole, Common Pratincole, Namaqua Dove, Desert Wheatear, Black-eared and Pied wheatears, Northern Wheatear, Corn Bunting, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Masked Shrike, Steppe Grey Shrike and Woodchat Shrike. We then drive to Mutla’a Ridge and explore the area there, and after that we will visit Mutla’a Ranch and end the day there.

What we do today depends on current news but we'll cover a number of rpeviously visited sites in search of migrants and some of our favourite areas such as Jahra Pools Reserve, Jahra Farms and Jahra East Outfall at high tide. Scopes at the ready!

We will be spending several hours on a boat trip today targetting Bridled and White-cheeked Terns, and most importantly from a Western Palearctic perspective - Socotra Cormorant. We will also fit in a visit to Fahaheel Park for migrants such as Eastern Nightingale and Semi-collared Flycatcher, before driving south to Nuwaiseeb Lycium bushes in search of Kurdistan Wheatear (scarce). We'd expect to see more migrant wheatears & shrikes, as well as having further chances to find species such as White-throated Robin, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Blue Rock Thrush, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Ménétries’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Humes’s Whitethroat, Asian Desert Warbler, White-eared Bulbul and even Hypocolius. If we have time we will stop at the abandoned Zour village in search of more migrants and end the day there.

Day 9   END OF TOUR - 23rd April
Transfers to the airport and end of a migrant-filled tour, with your Western Palearctic list much larger than when you arrived! Or continue to Riyadh and our Arabian endemics tour of Saudi Arabia.