Last year Kirsi and Philip were staying in Limassol and we had a day out around Akrotiri and Larnaca. This year they are on holiday in Paphos and I picked them up from their hotel this morning and we headed for Kouklia Fish Farm pool hoping that the weather would be kind to us despite the early morning clouds. We were lucky with the weather and despite a distinct lack of migrant passerines we saw some good birds. At our first stop we heard and saw Sedge Warbler and found a Spotted Crake in the reeds although a female Little Crake that we saw fly into the vegetation couldn’t be relocated. There was a Blue-headed and a Black-headed Wagtail and another of the ‘superciliaris’ race, as well as a lone White Wagtail. A Squacco Heron flew away as we approached and a Glossy Ibis flew over. There were several Wood Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper and a Ruff around the edges. Alpine Swift and Red-rumped Swallow flew overhead.
Philip wanted to see a Little Owl to complete his list of European owls and one was obligingly sitting on the rocks behind the Asprokremmos Dam upper car park. A Roller flew in front of us but in the wooded area we only found Goldfinch and three Tree Pipit although a Cyprus Warbler was seen in a bush from the car window as we left the area. We watched a Long-legged Buzzard and a Hobby soaring while being mobbed by Hooded Crows and a female Pallid Harrier quartered the area.
A good collection of wader and heron species were in the Lower Xeros area – Little Ringed Plover, Wood, Green and Common Sandpiper, Ruff, Marsh Sandpiper and Greenshank as well as single Black-crowned Night Heron, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, a Glossy Ibis and two Little Egret. Two Common Kingfisher were flying up and down the area oblivious to the several birders in the area and perching close to us on a couple of occasions. There were many hirundines overhead – again Alpine Swift, Red-rumped and Barn Swallow and also several House and Sand Martin.
Mandria did not have its usual range of species. Just one Isabelline Wheatear, two Shag on the rocks just offshore and a female Marsh Harrier being the sum total. So we headed for Agia Varvara where another Little Crake gave the briefest of glimpses and we also had another Purple Heron, more Wood Sandpiper, Sedge Warbler and a couple of Moorhen.
We finished our day with a drive around the Anarita Park area. We quickly came across a male Red-footed Falcon hovering and hunting in company with around 10 Lesser Kestrel. Moving on we found a couple of female Red-footed Falcon and probably another ten Lesser Kestrel. There were also some Common Kestrel and we had a juvenile Pallid Harrer and female Montagu’s Harrier. At almost every turn we came across Rollers and Corn Bunting. There was at least one Cyprus Warbler – probably more and a Little Owl sitting on overhead wires. Perched on the top of a bush we found two Ortolan Bunting. As we left there were now two male Red-footed Falcon and another two females near the start of the track. Both they and the Lesser Kestrel were the highlight of the day during which we found sixty different species – which considering the lack of any shrikes and many of the migrant passerines expected at this time of year was a pleasing day’s total.
List of 60 birds found:
Little Grebe, European Shag, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Chukar, Black Francolin(h), Little Crake, Spotted Crake, Common Moorhen, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tree Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail ‘superciliaris’ race, White Wagtail, Isabelline Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Ortolan Bunting, Corn Bunting.