As summer takes hold and with migration well over, we had decided to concentrate on seeing some summer visitors on our trip out today. I picked up Linda and Tony from Paphos and we headed for Petra tou Romiou. While I scanned the skies for Eleonora’s Falcon, Linda looked at the cliffs in front of us and straight away found one sitting on a ledge plucking and eating a pigeon! We watched this for a while as other Eleonora’s flew over in the distance – mere specks compared to Linda’s bird. Eurasian Shag and Yellow-legged Gull were on the water and moving along the coast we also found Cyprus Wheatear and Warbler, Chukar and plenty of the resident Western Jackdaw.
Lower Xeros Pools are now almost dry but there were a couple of Little Egret and a Squacco Heron. A Black-crowned Night Heron on an acacia tree was being mobbed by a Hooded Crow and retreated to the middle of the tree but we were still able to watch it. A lovely sight was four juvenile Little Grebe swimming and diving in the remaining pool. Zitting Cisticola flew around and on hearing a Black Francolin call we moved to a nearby field where we were able to watch it for several minutes before it crept off out of sight. A Turtle Dove flew in and sat on the electricity wires above us and driving out we found a Little Owl sitting under the motorway.
Behind the Asprokremmos Dam amenity area I was disappointed to see some of the area had recently burnt but we still found an adult Little Owl with four juveniles sitting in their usual spot. A Stone Curlew flew over and we heard another in the distance. We could hear warblers in the bushes around us and got good views of a Spectacled, two Cyprus and one Sardinian Warbler. We drove onto Paphos Sewage Works and found two of the Spur-winged Lapwing that breed there as well as a couple of Cattle Egret in the newly mown fields with many Hooded Crow.
Moving inland we drove along the track to Tsada from Marathounta where we found a couple of Roller. Near the golf course I heard a singing Cretzschmar’s Bunting so we got out to search for it. No luck but we saw two more Cyprus Wheatear. There were several Cyprus Wheatear at Kannaviou but the star birds there were a male and female Masked Shrike that we watched feeding their two young who were skulking in thick vegetation. We saw other Masked Shrike at Kannaviou as well as a large flock of House Martin. Having our lunch in the shade there we saw many Greenfinch and Goldfinch and heard Spanish and House Sparrow. Several Eastern Olivaceous Warbler were singing and we managed to get brief glimpses of most of them as they moved in the undergrowth.
We drove across country, finally seeing a male Spanish Sparrow and adding European Serin to the day’s total, until we reached Kathikas where we found a couple of Rollers and saw a Corn Bunting with a grasshopper in its mouth obviously intended for its young somewhere nearby. Driving into the valley behind Arodhes I remarked that we hadn’t seen either of the larger birds of prey that use the area. Linda scanned around while Tony and I watched yet more Rollers – five at least were in the valley. She quickly picked up on a large raptor which we were able to identify as a Long-legged Buzzard. Turning away from that we immediately saw two adult Bonelli’s Eagle glide past us heading west down the valley. A wonderful sight. We were nearing the end of our day out and their fly pass was much appreciated. However, we still wanted to see Black-headed Bunting so we drove into the area of vines nearby and listened. Two males were calling and one seemed very close. We scanned the bushes and low trees in vain until finally we found one singing from the top of a vine. As we headed back to Paphos a Turtle Dove flew up and gave Tony excellent views of one of his lifers for the day. We had been concerned we may not find many birds but had had a great day with quality rather than quantity.
Day’s total – 45 species
Little Grebe, European Shag, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar (heard), Black Francolin, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, European Roller, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Great Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting (heard), Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting