Gail and Russ from the US had stopped in Limassol for a few hours as part of a Mediterranean cruise and had asked for a morning’s birdwatching. We headed straight to Phassouri Reed Beds where after checking out a selection of passerines – Great Tit, European Robin, Chaffinch and the ubiquitous Common Stonechat – we turned the ‘scope on two Red-footed Falcon on the bare branches of a tree. Shortly after they flew off southwards and a female Marsh Harrier rose up from behind the reeds. We found a freshly dead Nightjar in the road – an road accident victim it seemed – and then headed for the open area of the Reed Beds. Here we found several Cattle Egret, a Common Kingfisher and a Yellow and some White Wagtails. There was another wagtail in the mud near the reeds and on closer examination we identified it as a juvenile Citrine Wagtail. Two Common Snipe flew around and although I despaired of us being able to get good views of one, as we turned to walk away we found one crouched near some water in full view.
A Eurasian Sparrowhawk flew over and as two Marsh Harrier quartered the area behind the reeds we watched a Honey Buzzard gaining height. Two Eleonora’s Falcon then flew by. We still hadn’t seen a Common Kestrel though so we could compare its size with the American Kestrel. After a quick coffee/tea break in the shade of some olive trees, where we kept company with several Chaffinch, we drove across the Gravel Pits. A Marsh Harrier flew up from its perch on a small tree and then as well as the numerous Stonechat we finally saw several Common Kestrel as well as a lone Zitting Cisticola.
On the pool near the church I was surprised to find a single Black-necked Grebe and we watched another Common Kingfisher fishing there. In the trees near the Church itself we watched a male Sardinian Warbler and then Gail and Russ enjoyed the antics of several Crested Lark close to the edge of the track. From Sylvana’s Restaurant viewpoint we looked at the thousands of Greater Flamingo through the ‘scope. Some ducks were present as well but it was impossible to identify them in the heat haze. As we headed for Lady’s Mile we stopped to look at a late Red-backed Shrike – a juvenile.
On Lady’s Mile we watched Dunlin and Little Stint feeding but only found two Kentish Plover. The drainage works near Zakaki Marsh mean that it is possible to see some of the water now – there we saw several Grey Heron, an overflying Little Egret and Great Egret as well as many Black-headed Gull and a few Yellow-legged Gull. Perched on a rock was a juvenile Whiskered Tern. Close to the road side we searched in the reeds near a channel of water. I could hear Penduline Tit calling and as if on demand one came and sat on a reed less than 5m from us. We were able to watch it for a while but although I could hear two others calling we had to be content with seeing just the one – not a real hardship! We saw two Moorhen creeping into the reeds but then Gail spotted something different. It was a Water Rail. It dived back into the reeds and our attention was then grabbed by a Bluethroat hopping around in the mud and reed stems close to us. The Water Rail seemed to want to be back in the limelight and emerged from the reeds to come quite close to us and compete with the Bluethroat.
Also in the reeds were several Chiffchaff and a single Reed Warbler. Two Common Kingfisher were chasing each other around the area. We checked the House Sparrows feeding from the seeds on the reed-tops and found several Spanish Sparrow amongst them. We decided to finish the morning at Kensington Cliffs where we managed to get a brief view of a male Cyprus Warbler and a final fly pass by two Eleonora’s Falcon as we left. I returned to the docks and left Gail and Russ to rejoin their ship.Thanks to them for being interesting company on a good morning’s birding.
Total number of birds – 46
Black-necked Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Dunlin, Common Snipe, Common Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Common Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Yellow Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin, Bluethroat, Common Stonechat, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch