Passing Petra tou Romiou on my way to Paphos I saw twelve Honey Buzzards thermalling up over the motorway and took this to be a good omen for the rest of the day. I picked up Elsa from Germany from her hotel and we headed straight to the Paphos Sewage Works area. Walking on the track down to the sea took us some time as there were several Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrike to watch – a one stage three Lesser Grey Shrike were sitting in a row on the roadside electricity wires. At least two Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher were also in the area and two Zitting Cisticola sat on plant stalks on the edge of the track. A Sardinian Warbler could be heard in the vegetation but it was determined not to be seen. In with the Common Swift, Barn Swallow and House Martin we picked out at least two Pallid Swift and various Yellow Wagtail were feeding in the alfalfa. Bee-eaters could be heard moving southwards overhead but it seemed they were too high for us to find. On the sea we found a European Shag.
As we walked back to the road a Black Kite slowly flew over and a Marsh Harrier flew south. In the road side bushes we were able to get good views of a Cetti’s Warbler and the several Willow Warbler. Again a Sardinian Warbler was sounding its alarm but stayed hidden. A Tree Pipit was on the road side wires and two Spur-winged Lapwing were around the newly constructed yet waterless pits. We moved on to Mandria and stopped at a field near the coast to pick out male Blue-headed and Grey-headed races of Yellow Wagtail in with over 80 others which were mainly female and juvenile birds. A juvenile Ruff was feeding in the same field as were eight Greater Short-toed Lark.
As we sheltered from the sun under the shade in the picnic area around 50 Honey Buzzards moved over heading out over the Mediterranean. A juvenile Montagu’s Harrier quartered the area as did a Marsh Harrier. We managed to pick out a well camouflaged Tawny Pipit in the dusty vegetation away from the beach. On the ploughed fields of ‘Lark Corner’ we found a few more Greater Short-toed Lark as well as Isabelline and Northern Wheatear together with another juvenile Red-backed Shrike and two more Whinchat. By the side of the track on the edge of the field a juvenile Collared Pratincole stood patiently watching us as we watched him.
Elsa had hoped to see a Cyprus Warbler so we headed for the car park and amenity area of the Asprokremmos Dam. Checking the scrub there we managed to put up a Chukar but although I heard both Cyprus and Sardinian alarm calls we saw neither. A Squacco Heron though was added to the day list as it flew over the Dam and the trees held at least four Spotted Flycatcher. There were several Goldfinch and Greenfinch as well as Linnet and a small flock of Corn Bunting flew past. We moved down to the dry Aspro Pools and finally we located both a male and female Cyprus Warbler. Both were flighty and didn’t stay anywhere for long but Elsa was able to get decent views of them.
We then decided to go along the coast to Petra tou Romiou to look for Eleonora’s Falcon. Parking by the side of the road we scanned the cliffs and after a few minutes were treated to the aerial display of probably five birds in total. Another Shag was drying its wings on a rock below. Recent reports of a White-throated Kingfisher at Kouklia led us to try and find that at our last location for the day. The valley was full of Bee-eaters both sitting on the wires and flying over. We had no joy with the kingfisher and luckily Elsa told me she had seen them previously in India so I was more disappointed than her! However as we went back to the car to return to Paphos both a juvenile Long-legged Buzzard and immature Bonelli’s Eagle flew over. A spectacular site to end our day out.
List of 50 species seen –
European Shag, Squacco Heron, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar, Common Moorhen, Collared Pratincole, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Common Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, European Bee-eater, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Grey-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler (heard), Cyprus Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.