Two early starts on Monday and Wednesday in order to take out Simon who was staying in Latchi. That way we managed to beat the worse of the late August heatwave and caught up with several good species as well. On Monday 25th August we started behind Neo Chorio near the Smygies picnic site and had great views of around seven Cretzschmar’s Bunting. One even sang on the top of a pine tree in front of us – a lifer for Simon that I had not been optimistic of finding. We also found several Cyprus Wheatear, a male Red-backed Shrike and a couple of Masked Shrike. Willow Warbler, Lesser and Common Whitethroat were around but the best warbler was an Eastern Orphean in a carob tree. Several Red-rumped Swallow were migrating over the area during our time there and a flock of nearly 50 Purple Heron flew over heading SW. We were pleased to pick out a Little Owl in the distance as we were searching the some noisy Chukar who were not so easy to see.
Visiting the area behind Arodes village we were treated to the first of the many Lesser Grey Shrike we saw on both mornings. We had six of them sitting in a group together on some electricity wires. A great sight. More were seen on the road between Kathikas and Akoursos. Another male Red-backed Shrike was at Akoursos where we had brief glimpses of a male Cyprus Warbler skulking in the bushes.
To get a better view of the Cyprus Warbler we headed straight to Asprokremmos Dam on the Wednesday morning where we found at least one male – which Simon was able to get a record shot of – and yet more Lesser Grey Shrike and several female Red-backed Shrike. A Whinchat was also present and two male Ortolan Bunting flew in and landed in front of us before flying off again. It was good to be able to compare them with the Cretzschmar’s we had seen on Monday. Finally Simon got good views of Chukar here with at least five perched on a ridge in full view. There were several Eurasian Hoopoe in the trees near the car park and two Spectacled Warbler were near the mast.
We made a quick detour to Petra tou Romiou and were treated to a couple of minutes fly-past from two Eleonora’s Falcon and then we headed inland over Minthis Hills towards Tsada and then over to Evretou Dam. Two Long-legged Buzzard were flying over Minthis Hills and yet more shrikes were perched on scattered bushes.
It was very hot by the time we reached Evretou Dam – our last point of call. Single Little Egret, Glossy Ibis and Green Sandpiper were on the water’s edge and an adult European Roller was flying around. At least two Yellow Wagtail were feeding on the drying mud. The orchards held many Willow Warbler with double figures in one carob tree alone.
I drove Simon back to Latchi pleased that we had managed to see most of his target species – Black Francolin let us down. Two enjoyable mornings’ birding.
Full species list – 41
Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar, Green Sandpiper, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Ortolan Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting