Harry and Jacky are regular visitors to Cyprus and this was the second time we had been out. As they were keen to see as many raptors as possible we headed to Akrotiri hoping to catch up with some of the species seen there over the last few days. Driving into the area Harry spotted a roosting Common Buzzard. Arriving early we took advantage of the absence of too much heat haze to watch the Greater Flamingo on the Salt Lake from the Sylvana’s restaurant vantage point. There were well over 5000 birds there scattered wherever there was still some water. Behind them we could see a group of over 100 Grey Heron and on the salt flats two Marsh Harrier were roosting. Moving onto Bishop’s Pool we watched a couple of Grey Wagtail flying around the area and despite adding Little Grebe, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen and Sand Martin to the day’s list there was little to detain us there. On leaving we did however, find several Chukar and near the exit a Red-footed Falcon flew over.
Along Lady’s Mile, Harry was able to photograph several Little Stint, Kentish Plover, Dunlin and a lone Curlew Sandpiper. A Common Kingfisher was heard in the reeds at Zakaki and several Reed Warbler were flitting in the reeds together with several Yellow Wagtail. Seven Little Egret were roosting high in near-by Eucalyptus and a Grey Heron flew over.
We then moved on the Phassouri Reed Beds were we spent several hours. Here we had good views of migrating Bee-eaters – hundreds were in the area as well as at least 12 Red-footed Falcon, many Marsh Harrier, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk, a couple of Lesser Kestrel, a lone Black Kite and best of all a Lesser Spotted Eagle which was being harassed as it flew behind the reeds by a migrating Honey Buzzard – the size difference between the species more than evident. The numbers seemed much reduced from previous days and we had no more than ten Honey Buzzard visible from our view point. A juvenile Montagu’s Harrier flying around the area flew low over us and we were able to pick out the ID clinchers. We also saw Cattle, Little and Great Egret, two Glossy Ibis, a Ruff, Wood and Green Sandpiper and two Common Snipe. There were several Red-backed Shrike and Whinchat as well as Yellow Wagtail and a single Red-throated Pipit. A few Turtle Dove flew over and a Hoopoe and a Golden Oriole flew around the nearby orchard. At least two Common Kingfisher were seen.
We then decided to go to Kensington Cliffs and here we were treated to three Lesser Kestrels and at least five Eleonora’s Falcon and their aerial acrobatics. At one stage one of the kestrels and Eleonora’s even seemed to lock talons. After that the species kept their distance from each other. Heading back to Paphos to drop Harry and Jacky back there we called in at Paphos Sewage Works. A good idea as we added several more species to our day’s birding. An adult Spur-winged Lapwing with three young birds was beside one of the tanks. By the road side at least twenty Willow Warbler were flitting in the bushes and many different Yellow Wagtail were in the alfalfa fields. A real treat were two White Stork in another newly mown field. A Lesser Grey Shrike watched us as we tried to relocate a Eurasian Sparrowhawk that flew into an olive grove. As we drove off a Spotted Flycatcher was seen on a watering unit.
Thanks to Harry and Jacky for their company and help in spotting some good birds.
Total species – 64
Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail species including Blue-headed, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch