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KUWAIT

12–20 April 2014
29 November–7 December 2014

This exciting tour will enable us to see species which are very rare in, or absent from, the rest of the Western Palearctic. Specialities we will look for regardless of season include Shikra, Crab Plover, Lesser Sandplover, White-eared and Red-vented Bulbuls, Common Babbler and Common and Bank Mynas. Spring and winter have their own exclusive special birds, too.

Day 1 Overnight flight from London to Kuwait City.

Day 2 Following a morning arrival in Kuwait City and check-in at our city hotel we will visit one or two sites in Kuwait City itself and/or in Jahra.

Days 3–7 Additional specialities we will look for in spring are Socotra Cormorant, Great Crested, White-cheeked and Bridled Terns and Basra Reed-warbler and in winter are Indian Roller, Black-crowned Sparrow-lark, Dunn’s Lark and Hypocolius. Although the exact itinerary will depend upon recent reports and migration conditions, over 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 is quite common in the park, which is a magnet for migrants and often holds Hypocolius in winter. A very large, fenced-off, unspoilt desert area has recently hosted a wintering Hume’s Wheatear, while Finsch’s and Red-tailed (Persian) Wheatears also occur at that season and breeding birds can include Black-crowned Sparrow-lark and Dunn’s Lark. Jahra Farms has small fields, artificial water-courses, bushes and trees and is the best spot for Bank Myna, which does not occur in the Western Palearctic outside Kuwait but is more predictable in spring than in winter. It is an excellent site for wintering Hypocolius and for Turkestan Shrike in spring, while White-throated Kingfisher and Isabelline Shrike occur at both seasons. Jahra Pool Reserve is a superb place with a variety of habitats ranging from seashore to freshwater lagoons with reed-beds. Waders abound, Spotted and Little Crakes breed, Baillon’s Crake is a migrant and Greater Spotted Eagle may be found in winter. Sulaybikhat Bay, North Doha and Doha Spit are stretches of foreshore which teem with waders and terns including, depending on the season, Greater and Lesser Sandplovers, Crab Plover, Broad-billed and Terek Sandpipers and Greater and Lesser Crested Terns, while North Doha also holds Asian Desert Warbler in winter. Al Abraq Al Khabari 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. Greater Spotted and Imperial Eagles regularly winter in the area and it is a good place to find Shikra. Numerous chats, larks, pipits and wagtails can be found here together with resident Namaqua Doves. 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 Iraq border, is famous for being the only place in the Western Palearctic where Common Babblers breed. Other species seen recently by Birdfinders groups are Caspian Plover, Black-winged Pratincole, White-throated Robin, Upcher’s and Ménétries's Warblers and Chestnut-shouldered Petronia in spring and Oriental Honey-buzzard, Great Black-headed and Armenian Gulls and Striated Scops-owl in winter, while Kuwait rarities Taiga Flycatcher and Streak-throated Swallow were found by the group in December 2013.

Day 8 After a final day's birding we will catch an overnight flight from Kuwait City to London, arriving on Day 9.

General Information The climate will be either hot or very 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.

Group size Minimum number for tour to go ahead: 4; maximum group size: 4 with 1 leader, 8 with 2 leaders and 12 with 3 leaders.

Hypocolius

Hypocolius