Picking up Carl and Riss proved a bit of an intelligence test for me but I did manage to solve it in the end and we headed for a windy Paphos Headland. Five Greater Sand Plover were hunkered down and made us work hard to find them. A couple of Common Sandpiper, two Dunlin and a Ruddy Turnstone were feeding along the shore. Inland inside the Lighthouse fence were two European Stonechat – two of the first for this winter.
At Paphos Sewage Works we quickly found two Spur-winged Lapwing in the gardens of the plant buildings and then twelve were in the mown fields. A Ruff was also feeding in the fields together with Yellow and White Wagtail. Red-backed Shrike, Whinchat and Willow Warbler were around in good numbers and we located two Northern Wheatear. A lone European Bee-eater was feeding from an overhead wire and a Spotted Flycatcher from a sprinkler system. A group of nearly one hundred Spanish Sparrow flew over migrating and at least twenty were in bushes along the road side. As we left a Red-footed Falcon flew over but we were hoping for better views of one than that.
So we headed to Mandria and we were not disappointed. We found at least twenty of them feeding and flying around fields to the west of the village. Other than several Common Kestrel the only other raptor in the area was a Western Marsh Harrier. In the fields around Lark’s Corner we found a couple of Tawny Pipit. While we were watching them at least four Greater Short-toed Lark flew into an adjacent field and we spent some time looking at them as well. A few Bee-eaters were flying over the olive groves and at least seven Stone Curlew were roosting there. A male Black Francolin scurried into the undergrowth near the ‘poly-tunnels’ – too quick for either Carl or Riss unfortunately.
Asprokremmos Dam was quiet – apart from the usual local Goldfinch population. Several Greenfinch were also feeding from the conifers. A Grey Heron was fishing on the shore and we found two male Sardinian Warbler in the scrub. After a break for our lunch there we moved onto the Kouklia Soakaways. Water is still running there and a Common Kingfisher was patrolling the area. A small group of European Bee-eater were in the cliffs above the stream. As we watched them two Black Kite flew over which were good to see. We also added Common Linnet to the day’s species list.
At Agia Varvara, Carl had a chance to take more photos of European Bee-eater as we managed to get quite close to a small flock. A late Cyprus Wheatear was a good find as I hadn’t expected to find one. A large bird of prey in the distance was too far away to be identified and although we heard a Little Owl calling near to us three pairs of eyes couldn’t find it. As we drove away many Chukar – at least twenty – ran in front of the car and up the nearby slope. A quick drive around Anarita Park gave no new species but didn’t dampen the day.
Thanks to Carl for allowing me to use some of the photographs he took during the day to illustrate this report.
Total species seen – 45
European Shag, Grey Heron, Black Kite, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Common Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet