Phil was staying in Paphos and had requested a visit to Mandria, Phassouri Reed Beds and Bishop’s Pool. Adding Paphos Sewage Works and Kensington Cliffs to this meant that we were hopeful of a good selection of birds. The weather forecast promised sunshine in the areas we were to visit – a contrast to the storms of the last few days. That weather however seems to have slowed the raptor migration right down so that side of the trip was disappointing overall but we still saw plenty of good species and Phil had several lifers.
The first birds that we saw at Paphos Sewage Works were four Common Starling – probably more interesting for me as a Cyprus based birder than a visitor from the UK! Tree Pipit, White Wagtail, Zitting Cisticola and Willow Warbler were everywhere. A puddle near the beach produced three Grey Wagtail – two of which were fighting and at one stage one even tried to drown the other. There were several Sardinian Warbler in the undergrowth together with a couple of Cetti’s Warbler, a Sedge Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and a Lesser Whitethroat. We also saw four Spur-winged Lapwing and at least ten Corn Bunting. A small flock of migrating Spanish Sparrow passed overhead and at least two Black Francolin were calling.
At Mandria there were again many White Wagtail but this time they were joined by over 40 Red-throated Pipit and around 20 Yellow Wagtail. There was a lone Tawny Pipit, two Isabelline Wheatear and three Whinchat. At one stage they were all put to flight by a hunting Eurasian Sparrowhawk which in turn was mobbed by a couple of Hooded Crow. Phassouri Reed Beds were quieter than on visits in September. We saw one Honey Buzzard, a female Marsh Harrier and one (maybe two) Red-footed Falcon which was gaining height and getting ready to continue its journey to the north of the reed beds. We heard several Bee-eaters passing over and a lone Turtle Dove sat in one of the trees near the aerial fields. There were several Red-backed Shrike and a Whinchat on the tall vegetation and we picked out at least three male Spanish Sparrow in with a large flock of House Sparrow.
By now there was quite a heat haze over the Salt Lake but we did manage to pick out a group of around 500 Greater Flamingo and at least two White Stork nearby. On the wires next to our view point was a Common Stonechat – one of the first of the autumn. We picked out a Peregrine Falcon perched on one of the aerials. Heading towards Bishop’s Pool we stopped to check out a small falcon on the wires and were excited to find three Lesser Kestrel flying around the area. Moving on to Bishop’s Pool we found yet more Willow Warblers in the trees but also an Olivaceous Warbler. The Pool itself held several Teal, Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe and another two Grey Wagtail to make it a good day for that particular species. Phil found six Chukar crouched low on a field and an Eleonora’s Falcon flew over as we left together with about twelve Barn Swallow – our only hirundines of the day.
We finished our day at Kensington Cliffs where at least eight Eleonora’s Falcon were flying around and two Griffon Vulture finished our list for the day by flying over the cliffs in the distance. A calling Cyprus Warbler however was not so obliging and wouldn’t come out from the bushes to enable Phil to see it. Unfortunately the best view of this endemic was the brief glimpse of one earlier near the Agios Georgios Church at Akrotiri.
List of species (56)
Little Grebe, Little Egret, Grey Heron, White Stork, Greater Flamingo, Common Teal, Mallard, Honey Buzzard, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin (h), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Spur-winged Lapwing, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler (h), Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.