Norm and Tracy were in Cyprus for conferences and wanted a few hours birding in the Larnaca area where they are based for their stay. We made straight for area around Larnaca Sewage Works, stopping first at Meneou Pools where we found five roosting Stone Curlew to get the day off to a good start. The Sewage Works Pools were full of the usual Shoveler, Teal, Mallard, Coot and Little Grebe. More interesting was a Red-crested Pochard . A Dunlin and Greenshank were feeding around the edge and a good group of Black-headed Gull were present. Common Stonechat were on the perimeter fence and Norm was pleased with some close up views of a Willow Warbler in front of the hide.
Moving onto Spiro’s Pool we stopped to watch a Spectacled Warbler on the wires which obligingly sat there long enough for a good look and we then turned our attention to a female Marsh Harrier moving over the salicorna. Rounding the corner and heading towards Spiro’s Pool and Beach, a male and female Black Francolin made themselves the day’s star birds as they fed on the edge of the ploughed strip in full view. We moved on and stopped the car to check out the Yellow-legged Gull on the beach and to find the Shag that was swimming offshore. But our attention we quickly abandoned them as eight Common Crane took to the air from the vegetation to the side of Spiro’s Pool and slowly gained height in front of us before heading off eastwards. As they circled they were joined by a Honey Buzzard.
At least two hundred Spanish Sparrow were flying around the area towards the old airport coast and on the beach itself we found around forty Kentish Plover, four Dunlin and a Little Stint. We moved on to the main Salt Lake where the Little Owl that nests just past Tekke Mosque was waiting for us – sitting patiently in a small hole in the rocks. A Zitting Cisticola also landed nearby so that Norm could watch that too. In the middle of the Salt Lake were three adult Greater Flamingo and one juvenile.
At Oroklini we found around ten Spur-winged Lapwing – one of our target species – as well as Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe and another Little Stint. We couldn’t find anything different amongst the ducks and grebes so we moved on the Akhna Dam. We ate lunch here before setting off to walk around the shallow end. A group of Chukar flew across the water in front of us and into the fields behind the dam. At least forty Spur-winged Lapwing were present here as well as eight Northern Lapwing. A couple of Common Kingfisher were flying around the area and an Osprey was perched on a large dead tree in the shallow water. It took off and was joined by a Marsh Harrier quartering the area. We saw another Common Snipe, several Grey Heron and Little Egret and many Coot. At least three Sedge Warbler were flitting around the reeds at the water’s edge and one even stayed still long enough for us to watch it through the telescope.
This was our last stop and I drove Norm and Tracy back to their Larnaca hotel. Norm was pleased with his 14 lifers though it was difficult to decide on a bird of the day – I think the Black Francolin just edged it with the Little Owl a close second.
Species seen – 47
Little Grebe, European Shag, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Common Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Honey Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Common Crane, Stone Curlew, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing, Little Stint, Dunlin, Common Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Red-throated Pipit, White Wagtail, Common Stonechat, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Willow Warbler, Common Magpie, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Goldfinch