Picked up Stuart and Ruth from Pissouri and headed to Kouklia Soakaways. We could hear Sedge, Eurasian Reed and Cetti’s Warbler in the reeds and watched a calling Cyprus Wheatear in a cultivated area. There was very little water in the river bed but we did find a Common Snipe, two Green Sandpiper and a Wood Sandpiper using one of the small pools still around. A Water Rail came out from the reeds for a while and we had great views of it. We could also hear a couple of Common Nightingale singing and saw several Sardinian Warblers and Blackcap. As we left the area a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear caught our attention.
As we approached Asprokremmos Dam we saw a flock of herons flying over the dam wall. We quickly identified them as Purple Heron and watched as they flew over the carpark appearing to look for a place to roost. A Long-legged Buzzard chose one of the pines to sit in for several minutes and we found several Tree Pipit in the area. We then drove behind towards the aerial pausing to stop and see the resident Little Owl and a breeding pair of Cyprus Warbler. A male Pallid Harrier and female Western Marsh Harrier were overflying. In the carob grove we found both a Common and a Great Spotted Cuckoo and around the aerial we found several pairs of Spectacled Warbler, more Tree Pipit, Spanish Sparrow and Blackcap. Two surprise finds were a Whinchat and an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler – both early arrivals for the end of March.
After lunch at Mandria we found a couple of Isabelline Wheatear and a smart male Northern Wheatear as well as several Red-throated Pipit and Black-headed Wagtail. A male Western Marsh Harrier kept the many birdwatchers in the vicinity entertained and a small group of Black-crowned Night Heron flew north of the area. After being given the location of a Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush at Anarita we decided not to omit that site from the day’s itinerary and headed there. True to form there was no sign of the bird at the designated location and despite a search we couldn’t find it. We decided to carry on through the area and return there again on our way out. In what at first seemed an area devoid of birds we found a Eurasian Hoopoe, several Tawny Pipit, a male Ruppell’s Warbler, an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, a Common and several Lesser Whitethroat, many Chiffchaff, two Cretzschmar’s Bunting and lots of Corn Bunting. A Stonechat displaying the features of the Siberian race was flying around the area although I was unable to get a photograph of it to clinch its ID. A male Western Marsh Harrier was also quartering the fields.
We headed back to the area of our previous search for the Rock Thrush and this time it was waiting for us sitting on a large boulder! It allowed us to take photos and watch it for at least fifteen minutes. That seemed to finish the day on a high but we then managed to add four Greater Spotted Cuckoo in the field near the main road out of the area as well as a male Hen Harrier. A day full of some very interesting and co-operative birds!
Total number of species – 69
Great Cormorant, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin (heard), Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Wood-pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail – feldegg, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, ‘Siberian’ Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin (heard), European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting.