I met Ken and Sue at their Agia Napa hotel at 7.00 am this morning and we headed straight to Cape Greco. They had been on the island in September and had seen some interesting migrants then so were interested to see what Cyprus had to offer later in the year. We were treated to a group (covey?) of at least thirty Chukar in the roadside fields and saw the first of the many Stonechat we were going to notice in the trip. As we turned to head towards the coast a group of twenty Common Starling were sitting on the wires. Stonechat and Robins could be both heard and seen from almost every bush. We stopped to watch a Spectacled Warbler in one and a female Blackcap could be seen sitting on a lower branch. We drove to the picnic site where we parked and scanned the bushes for other species. We spotted a female Black Redstart and a few more Spectacled Warbler. A Common Kestrel flew over, closely followed by a Eurasian Sparrowhawk. We could hear Cyprus Warbler and after much searching we managed to find two males and one even let us watch it through the telescope.
As we headed towards the area of aerial masts, Ken spotted a male Blue Rock Thrush on a road side rock while I had been searching for that species on the higher rock face. We were able to watch this beautiful bird until it flew off towards the sea. In the fields near the sea we watched a couple of Crested Lark and had good views of five Corn Buntings on the electricity wires. On looking out to sea I was amazed to see a small gull like bird floating offshore. A juvenile Kittiwake – an accidental visitor to Cyprus with less than ten records. Not an unusual site for Ken and Sue though so once I had taken a few record shots we decided to move onto the Macronissos/Agia Thekla coast to look for Greater Sand Plover.
It took a while but finally we found six of these birds – a lifer for Ken – as well as five Common Sandpipers. Offshore a Sandwich Tern flew by heading east as did a small flock of around twenty Northern Shoveler. There were more Shoveler and many Teal at Oroklini Marsh although as usual with late morning visit there the sun was in our eyes as we checked through the birds from the car park. We picked out two Common Snipe and two Common Redshank, and watched a group of Spur-winged and Northern Lapwing fly around the area although we couldn’t find out what had disturbed them.
There were many Skylark flying around at the back of the Larnaca Desalination fields and a couple of Red-throated Pipit flew over but none were close enough for us to get good views. We did find a male Spanish Sparrow and of course yet more Stonechat. We finished the morning with a quick look at the Sewage Works pools from the hide. I didn’t notice any more dead birds so assume the problem seen ten days ago has been solved. The numbers of wildfowl seem low though but did include a Ruddy Shelduck and several Wigeon as well as the usual Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Coot and Little Grebe and well over 200 Black-headed Gull. A female Black Redstart was on the bank in front of the hide and a Spectacled Warbler was seen well as it flitted in the shrubbery there.
We searched the fields for Water Pipits as I had heard their call and found one although we were sure that there were more there. As we got in the car to leave two Hen Harrier ring-tails soared up together over the pools. A great sight to add to the interesting selection of birds we had seen.
Total number of species seen – 47
Little Grebe, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Crested Lark, Common Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Blue Rock Thrush, European Robin, Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Corn Bunting