Picking up Andrew and Rachel from their hotel in Limassol we were keen to get a quick start before it got too hot. Luckily in the end it was not as hot on previous days with a cloud cover at times. We started at Phassouri Reed Beds where there was a good collection of heron species – Squacco and Purple Heron, Little and Cattle Egret and over ten Glossy Ibis. Several Turtle Dove were flying over the area as did a rather scruffy looking Eleonora’s Falcon.
Driving over the Gravel Pits area Rachel and I caught the briefest glimpse of one of several Black Francolin that were calling but it went down into the vegetation and couldn’t be relocated. Several Whinchat, a Sardinian Warbler and a Woodchat Shrike sat on the top of various bushes and two female Montagu’s Harriers, what looked like a juvenile Pallid Harrier and a female Marsh Harrier patrolled the area. Two Red-footed Falcon could be seen in the distance gaining height and we drank our coffee close to Agios Georgios Church watching a Spotted Flycatcher.
We had heard and seen several European Bee-eater passing over but just passed Sylvana’s Restaurant we stopped for a while so Andrew could take some photos of twenty more of these birds resting on the wires. A quick walk around the ‘bee-hives’ area gave us more Bee-eaters, two Common Cuckoo, two male Cyprus Warbler, a couple of Olivaceous Warbler, a very dark Marsh Harrier, a Hobby and a Roller. On Lady’s Mile there was a large group of nearly sixty Little Egret, five Greenshank and some Little Stint, Kentish Plover and Little and Common Ringed Plover.
Although it was close to midday it was not too hot we decided to walk to the Zakaki Marsh run off and view the eastern edge of the Salt Lake. This was a good decision and we spent a long time there. As we arrived we saw a Great Reed Warbler perched high on the top of a stand of reeds. On the salt lake edge we found many Common Ringed Plover – at least 100 and just as many Kentish Plover. There were also 12 Grey Plover in breeding plumage – a large number at an unusual time for Cyprus. There were several Greenshank, over thirty Curlew Sandpiper, a couple of Dunlin, 200+ Little Stint and a Great Sand Plover and two Broad-billed Sandpiper. A good haul of waders. There were also several Gull-billed Tern, White-winged and Whiskered Tern. Roosting with around twenty Slender-billed Gull was a single Black-headed Gull in breeding plumage and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. On the main Salt Lake there were at least 300 Greater Flamingo.
After a check at Kensington Cliffs we moved inland and checked the Kyparissia Nature Trail outside Prastio Kelladikkou. There we found Black-headed Bunting – two males and a female were seen -, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Serin, Red-rumped Swallow, several Turtle Dove and two Hoopoe, a male Blackcap, another Common Cuckoo and a Jay. We gave up on our search for Masked Shrike to return to Limassol and our luck was in and we found two males and a female in the trees as we drove back to the main road. A good day’s total of 79 species wasn’t bad when neither Andrew nor I had had great hopes for finding many birds when we set out.
Species seen and/or heard – 79
Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Buzzard species (probably Common), Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Eleonora’s Falcon, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Grey Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Common Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Black-headed Wagtail, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting.