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Thursday, 6 December 2018

Kuwait Day 8 Shrikes in Al Shaheed Park

The only Masked Shrike that I have ever seen, before entering Al Shaheed Park in Kuwait City and seeing at least five birds, was that one day individual, 2/11/04, back home on Scilly when there was also 2 Desert Wheatear, Blyth's Reed Warbler, OBP, Rustic Bunting, Richard's Pipit and other scarcities on that amazing day!!

 I read on Mike Pope's blog that he had a Masked Shike in Al Shaheed Park in the center of Kuwait City with other species of shrike and as we both ain't seen a Masked for 100 year, I suggested that we give a try. It was starting to pick up with folks in the park when we arrived shortly after it opened and after walking around the whole of the park, nothing except a Caucasian Water Pipit that dropped in very briefly. 'Masked Shrike Mush!!' Even though it was a 100 mile off in the distance, I knew what it was with my naked eye. We crept up closer and could see it was a stunning male! Even better!! We observed it for some time and then I started to make my ways back to the car. 'Where you goin? We've got two other sections to do across the road' Really! I had no idea and this was the western section and for the next five hours or so it turned out to be a very productive day.

Folks doin what folks always do in parks in leather jackets!

Male Masked Shrike

    After walking through a tunnel under the main road, it opened up to a larger park than the one we left behind. Cafies, restaurants, hairdressers, laundrette, fruit and veg man, you name it, it was here. We weren't interested in any of them, especially the hairdressers in my case although Mush could of done with a trim. To cut a long story short, the birds in the park kept us awake for the next five hours and we only planned to be in there for maybe an hour. It was a big park don't you know and Mush kept on pulling me away from the sweet shop! In total we saw 5+Masked, 2 Turkestan, 3 Daurian and a single Steppe Shrike. 2 Barred Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat and 4 Bluethroat. It was the shrikes that kept us entainted and every species we observed showed at very close range. I guess they've got used to all the folks doin press-ups in their leather jackets in the park. The real problem was that, every time we tried to leave the park, we would stumble onto somethin else and that's the way it continued.

Masked Shrike No 1

No 2

No 3

No 4

No 5

Well I've only seen a single Masked Shrike before back home on Scilly

Turkestan Shrike trying to cool off before flying away with a Vagrant Emperor 

3 Daurian Shrike

In a grass circle, by 30 meters wide, we observed single Masked, Daurian, Turkestan and this Steppe Grey Shrike with Al Hamra Tower

This Barred Warbler popped up next to one of the Masked Shrike in the same tree

While this Barred warbler was on the opposite end of the park from the other individual and is the first time I've seen one that's not on Scilly

We had up to 4 Bluethroat in the park

And there were a handful of White Wagtail knocking around

  We needed a break and then ended the day just up road at Green island as we wanted to see the Grey Hypocolius coming into roost again. However, we found 3 males immediately next to the bay. They  flew off from being disturbed by all the folk walking around and while trying to relocate them, we came across an Eastern Whitethroat followed by a Red-vented Bulbul and the other introduced species on the island, a male Ruppell's Weaver. By now it was almost dark and we had one last glimpse of the Hypocolius as they flew around before goin to roost.

We managed to see 3 male Grey Hypocolius before they went to roost on the island

'Eastern' Whitethroat icterops

Red-vented Bulbul

Male Ruppell's Weaver

I can't remember the name of this moth but i've seen them on rare occasions on Scilly. There was a eruption and they were all over the shop on the island 

Grey Hypocolius going to roost with Al Hamra tower in the background

Sunset over Kuwait City to end another cracking day!

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