As soon as Richard, Lynda and I arrived at Phassouri Reed Beds, our attention was drawn to the small falcons in the trees and on the aerial wires in the distance. A flock of Red-footed Falcons of all sexes and ages; and in just ten minutes they stared to circle over the area and head southwards on their migration. A wonderful site and we had great views of them. Large raptors were thinner on the ground although we saw several Western Marsh Harrier (including an adult male), a few European Honey Buzzard, a couple of European Sparrowhawk and a Lesser Kestrel. European Bee-eater were passing over as were flocks of Barn Swallow. A surprise find was a Common Nightingale that flew out of a road side hedge and onto the road in front of us.
There were many Whinchat and Red-backed Shrike and we also found a European Stonechat and a large flock of White Wagtail – winter visitors that will soon be very common. A more elusive winter visitor was found in the reeds – a Bluethroat. A Common Kingfisher and Squacco Heron were also present. A couple of Tree Pipits were present, a late juvenile Masked Shrike was by the roadside and we had good views of Spotted Flycatcher and Zitting Cisticola. On the lake in the Gravel Pits area there was a Ruddy Turnstone – not a common bird to Cyprus.
We drove along Lady’s Mile where we found Spectacled Warbler, Northern Wheatear and yet more Whinchat in the scrub. On the mud flats were Kentish Plover, Dunlin and Little Stint. An adult and a juvenile Greater Flamingo were also there and we were able to watch the grey juvenile feeding. As we approached the hide at Zakaki I noticed a flock of egrets and was surprised to find when we got nearer that it was of eighteen Great Egrets and not the more usual Little Egrets. They were very flighty and soon disappeared further into the channel and out of sight from the hide. Also present were several Grey Heron, a couple of Little Egret and a very smart Eurasian Spoonbill. Mallard, Teal and Garganey were present. In the reeds we saw Cetti’s Warbler, another Bluethroat and a Great Reed Warbler. A couple of Yellow Wagtail were also around.
I decided to return to Phassouri to eat our lunch and watch for any more raptors passing over early in the afternoon. More Red-footed Falcon and Western Marsh Harrier were around as were European Bee-eater. But we were in the right place at the right time, as we were told by other local birders that a Lesser Spotted Eagle had been seen a few minutes earlier near the bee-hives. We headed there and joined them in watching the bird fly up from the eucalyptus plantation and continue its journey. We also found a Common Buzzard and saw a Steppe Buzzard migrating before we left to return to Paphos.
On the way back we visited Asprokremmos Dam where we found a flock of Spanish Sparrow and saw a Long-legged Buzzard being mobbed by a Hooded Crow. There were not many birds at Paphos Sewage Works other than White Wagtail in the alfalfa fields so we went to check out the Ezousas Soakaways. There were many Willow Warbler in the vegetation in the area but we also found two Common Snipe, a Garganey, a Squacco Heron, a female Blackcap and a Common Kingfisher. A Water Rail was heard and there were three Turtle Doves flying around as two Red-footed Falcon passed over.
Thanks to Richard and Lynda for a good day’s birding with a good variety of interesting raptors.
Total species seen – 65
Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Garganey, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Black Francolin, Water Rail h, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Dunlin, Common Snipe, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Wood Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Great Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet