Today the Travelling Naturalist group visited Akrotiri starting at Kensington Cliffs where we saw a Griffon Vulture and a male Cyprus Warbler. During the day we found many migrants in the area including Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Western Yellow Wagtail, Common Redstart, Ruppell’s and Subalpine Warbler, Little Ringed Plover, Eurasian Bittern, Common Hoopoe (photo). Black-eared Wheatear, Red-throated & Tree Pipit and ‘Steppe’ Buzzard.
Good start this morning out guiding for the Travelling Naturalist group with a showy male Cyprus Warbler to keep us entertained at Anarita Park. Other good birds included Spotted Crake and Peregrine Falcon at Agia Varvara; Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Long-legged Buzzard and Red-rumped Swallow at Anarita Park; and an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler at Asprokremmos Dam. Plenty of Corn Buntings (photo) at all locations visited.
Another good day out with the Travelling Naturalist Cyprus group. Today we visited Cape Drepanum, Arodes and Smygies and we had the luck to witness first hand the amazing numbers of Painted Lady butterflies currently migrating through Cyprus. We estimate we saw at least 200,000 through the day. We also saw some good birds including more Cyprus Wheatear, migrating flocks of Grey Heron and Little Egret, Blue-headed Wagtail, Chukar, Hen Harrier, Black-eared Wheatear and a Great Spotted Cuckoo pair. We rounded the day off finding several new orchid species.
Second day guiding for Travelling Naturalist group in Cyprus travelling up to Troodos via Kouklia, Archimandrita, Agios Nikolaos and Platres. Highlights were good views of the endemic subspecies Coal Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper and Jay as well as Red Crossbill and low flying Pallid Swift. Also seen were several Cyprus Wheatear, European Serin, Corn Bunting and Laughing Dove at lower levels. Good collection of orchid species also seen as well as this crocus at Troodos.
First day out guiding with the Travelling Naturalist group currently in Cyprus. Day around Paphos Headland and Archaeological site. Highlights: Black-headed Wagtail, Long-legged Buzzard, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Cyprus, Isabelline and Black-eared Wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Common Hoopoe, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Ruppell’s Warbler and Water Pipit. Photo of one of many Crested Lark.
As well as the Demoiselle Cranes at Akrotiri on 16th March I also found several Great Spotted Cuckoo (photo), a Common Hoopoe, Water Pipit, Baltic and Slender-billed Gull, some Little Ringed Plover (photo) and a Purple Heron.
Over the weekend hundreds of Demoiselle Crane were seen leaving Akrotiri Salt Lake and heading north to their breeding grounds of central Eurasia. We always get some on their return passage in late August early September – again mainly at Akrotiri Salt Lake. But such large numbers in spring are very unusual as they probably pass over without the need to rest here. We usually see a few single or double figure flocks each spring. It seems as if the bad storms of the weekend force them to land and rest as it did in March 2012.
I was lucky enough to be at Akrotiri yesterday morning and watch a group of around 90 birds feeding and getting ready to leave – which they did around 9:30 am.
A wet Waterbird count around Larnaca today with counting done in between the rain. Highlights were two Little Gull (rising to three in the afternoon) (see photo), two Greater Sandplover, two Great Spotted Cuckoo (see photo), a Marsh Sandpiper, my first Lesser Whitethroat and Red-rumped Swallow of the year, Eurasian Curlew, Baltic Gull, Black-winged Stilt, Water Pipit and singing Eurasian Reed Warbler.
Spent most of the day at Cape Greco looking for early migrants. Some putting in an appearance – see list below – but the best was a lovely male Common Redstart of the samamisicus race (see photos). Also visited Oroklini Marsh and a couple of Agia Napa beaches where there were ten Greater Sandplovers (see photos).
After a very wet day yesterday and yet more rain overnight, I was pleased that the today was much better as I did an early February Waterbird Count around Larnaca. There were several Isabelline Wheatear on the coast and a flock of Common Swift, Barn Swallow and Northern House Martin to remind me that spring is on its way. Highlights were 26 Black-necked Grebe, a Ruddy Shelduck, two Little Gull, more than 2500 Greater Flamingo, some smart male Common Pochard, two Bluethroat and at least three Reed Bunting feeding on seed heads in the reeds. An adult Mediterranean Gull at Oroklini Beach was a good end to the day.
A very common winter visitor to Cyprus.
Finally a sunny day with not a lot of wind and no rain coincided with a day I was free to go out. Went to the east again and checked out Oroklini, Achna, Paralimni Lake and the rocky coasts. A good collection of birds including Greater Flamingo, Greater Sandplover, Grey Plover, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Blue Rock Thrush, Peregrine Falcon, several Western Marsh Harrier, Great Crested Grebe, Northern and Spur-winged Lapwing and Black-winged Stilt.
Photos of one of the Grey Plover and Greater Sandplover that were at Agia Trias, Paralimni