Shorebirds and Seabirds

Outdoors in Q8

By Mike Pope
I had a last chance to get out for the start of pre-autumn migration before my long overdue summer holiday and headed to the south of the country and the impressive Sea City Project. Unfortunately it was a typical early August day with excessive temperatures and a strong wind with blowing dust – far from ideal conditions for birding, my optics and no eye-drops!
 
I spent some time on the water exploring the lagoons and in the exposed areas there were no birds to be seen at all – I felt like one of the lonely ‘mad dogs and Englishman’ out in the mid-day sun. However, I did come across a Socotra Cormorant that was taking full advantage of the wind by standing on the breakwater and air-drying itself after a hunting foray in the lagoon – it shouldn’t take too long to dry out those wet feathers!
 
I then left the boat and headed further down the coast in my SUV where I found a sheltered spur on the leeward side of the wind. The shelter was provided primarily by the chalets along the coast. It was here that a lot of the shorebirds were ‘hiding’. Generally in weather like this, migrating birds will either make use of the wind to gain distance (if it is a tail-wind), but if not will drop down and roost so as not to waste precious energy fighting the wind.
 
At this location, the shorebirds (waders) had congregated in a large mixed flock along with a few Terns. The Terns have now completed their summer breeding cycle on Kuwait’s off-shore islands and the youngsters together with the adults and preparing for the post breeding dispersal to their wintering grounds.
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