Starting from Nicosia this morning for a day out with David,who was in Cyprus for business and looking to see some new birds, we headed first to Agios Sozomenos. No sign of the over wintering Finsch’s Wheatear and they seem to have left but we did find a singing male Spectacled Warbler, some Spanish Sparrows, a Little Owl, some late Song Thrush and a Blackbird, Blackcap and Zitting Cisticola. We could hear at least four Black Francolin and managed to locate one on a rocky outcrop. A calling Common Quail though could not be located.
Heading to Limassol we saw a Long-legged Buzzard over the motorway near Mari and then another over the Amathus Archaeological Site. Around Amathus we found both the Cyprus endemics – a single male Cyprus Wheatear and several singing Cyprus Warbler. A couple of Sardinian Warbler were also singing and we had the first of the day’s Isabelline Wheatear there.
At Germasogeia Dam we found several waders – Common Snipe, Green and Common Sandpiper and a Water Pipit which was almost in full breeding plumage. A few Black-headed Wagtail were also at the water’s edge and a Blue-headed flew over. I found one of David’s target species in the reeds – a male Bluethroat but unfortunately it disappeared before David could find it. We spent a while trying to relocate it but luck wasn’t on our side.
We headed to Akrotiri with our first stop around the small church. Driving towards the church we found many interesting migrants in a small area – a Masked Shirke, four male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, a female Cyprus Wheatear, some Isabelline Wheatear and a Tawny Pipit. Several Red-rumped Swallow were flying around with the many Barn Swallow and we could hear a Cyprus Warbler singing. A female Blue Rock Thrush perched for a few moments on a juniper bush and a Serin flew in to the area. Around the church itself we found a male and a female Common Redstart, several Lesser Whitethroat, a Hoopoe and many Chiffchaff. Driving over the Gravel Pits we saw a Great Spotted Cuckoo and a hunting ring-tail Hen Harrier.
At Phassouri Reed Beds we found the resident Cattle Egret and two Little Egret. A female Garganey flew in to one of the shallow pools where Wood and Green Sandpiper and Ruff were feeding. A Water Rail called and more Red-rumped Swallow flew over. On the Salt Lake itself there were around 100 Greater Flamingo and a couple of Common Shelduck which we looked at through the telescope despite the haze. More than forty Ruff were feeding on Lady’s Mile and we also found some Little Stint, Kentish Plover and a single Common Ringed Plover.
The rather unattractive looking Zakaki Marsh produced better birds than we expected. There were four Little Ringed Plover, a Green Sandpiper and a Common Snipe as well as a couple of Black-headed Wagtail. A Western Marsh Harrier flew over and then we saw the star birds there – a beautiful male Citrine Wagtail and a Eurasian Spoonbill. This meant we stayed there longer than intended and the sun was setting as we reached Kensington Cliffs. We didn’t see any Griffon Vulture but we did see at least ten Alpine Swift and another Long-legged Buzzard which was mobbed by Common Kestrel and Western Jackdaw as it flew across the Bay. A quick visit to the Stadium close by added European Robin to our day list.
Thanks to David for a great day out with a real variety of species.
Birds seen – eighty six:
European Shag, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill. Greater Flamingo, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Water Rail, Eurasian Coot, Little Ringed Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Ruff, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Water Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin, Bluethroat, Western Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Masked Shirke, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting