Picked up Susan and Elton from Larnaca port to explore some of the Larnaca birding sites. Our first stop was Oroklini Marsh where one of the first species we spotted was the Spur-winged Lapwing – this bird is now an established breeder at the Marsh and one of the reasons for its designation as a Special Protection Area and a reason behind the Life+ restoration project there. Red-crested Pochard started breeding there in 2009 and we had great views of a couple of males and a female. A Purple Heron was hiding in the reeds and was soon joined by another and a Grey Heron flew past. Two Red-rumped Swallow flew above with the Barn Swallow. Checking the lake from the car park we found many Black-winged Stilt, some White Wagtail, a Common Snipe, Little Grebe, several Teal and many Coot with young of all sizes.
On the north east edge of Larnaca Salt Lake we watched a male Marsh Harrier quartering a recently harvested cereal field from which a Black Francolin was calling. Two Little Egret and a Great Egret flew across the Salt Lake in front of us. On the Salt Lake itself we found several Little Ringed Plover, two Green Sandpiper, two Wood Sandpiper and a couple of Common Snipe. In the distance there were more waders many of which were Ruff. A small group of less than a hundred Greater Flamingo were feeding. As we walked past the reeds we could hear both Cetti’s and Reed Warbler. Luckily a Cetti’s flew across our path as we set out and a Reed Warbler flew down onto ground in front of us for a minute giving us a chance to check out its ID. Behind Tekke Mosque the resident Little Owl put on a show and we had good views of both a Chiffchaff and a Spectacled Warbler. On our way to the Sewage Works area we saw several Slender-billed Gull on the Airport North Pools.
We had seen a few Yellow Wagtail at the Salt Lake but nothing prepared us for what we found on the track up to the Sewage Works hide – there must have been at least five hundred Yellow Wagtail of all races – males and females alike – moving around the salicorna, resting to feed and then flying off around the area again. Susan was able to take some good photos and we spent some time just enjoying the spectacle. A female Hen Harrier was in the area obviously hoping for some easy pickings. We then had great views of a male Ruppell’s Warbler in a tamarisk bush further down the track.
After lunch on the beach we spent the rest of our time looking around Spiro’s Pool and Beach. We had good views of a couple of Chukar but unfortunately the Wryneck I spotted in a bush near the Desalination Plant flew down out of sight before Susan and Elton could get their binoculars on it. We added Tawny Pipit and Northern and Isabelline Wheatear to our list. Strangely we had to wait until I dropped the couple back at the port to see our first Yellow-legged Gull!
Day’s total – 47 species
Little Grebe, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin (heard), Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Wryneck (seen only by leader), Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail (flava), Grey-headed Wagtail (thunbergi), Black-headed Wagtail (feldegg), White Wagtail, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, European Greenfinch.