Only the Common Snipe was out in the open. They were less than a metre apart at times.
Although at first it didn’t look very promising at Phasouri this morning, things picked up slowly and I managed to get a good list together including a nice surprise in the shape of a juvenile Lesser Spotted Eagle (see cropped record shot). Other birds seen include:
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
Common Crane 1 flew down behind reeds
Jack Snipe 1 in flight
Common Snipe 3
Western Marsh Harrier 2
Common Starling c40
Water Pipit 13
Black Redstart 1
Spur-winged Lapwing 10
Great White Egret 2
Western Water Rail 1h
Red-throated Pipit 1+h
Northern Lapwing 9
A quick visit to Lady’s Mile this morning. Around 40 Dunlin and several Little Stint were feeding in the marshy area and at least 50 Black-headed Gull were flying around. Several Red-throated, Water and Meadow Pipit were also in the area as were three Northern Wheatear and two Common Redstart.
Photo of one of the Water Pipits.
Two scarce waders for Cyprus on the Gravel Pits at Akrotiri last weekend– a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Red Knot. Also at least nine Grey Plover with the Knot – which was a good count for Cyprus.
A good day around Akrotiri despite being in the wrong places at the time when three Short-toed Snake Eagles passed over. Anyhow saw nearly 70 migrating European Honey Buzzard as well as six Black Kite and several Montagu’s Harrier. Elenora’s Falcon were hunting over the area and hundreds of European Bee-eater were migrating through. Nearly two hundred Kentish Plover were on Lady’s Mile together with a few Little Stint and single Sanderling and Dunlin.
Photo below of a juvenile Kentish Plover in the midday sun on Lady’s Mile.
After a hot morning at Kensington Cliffs helping with the BirdLife Cyprus vulture census I was pleased to hear that a Rose-coloured Starling had been seen an hour or so before at Akrotiri Gravel Pits. Luckily it was still around and although it wasn’t exactly photo friendly I did manage a record shot.
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.
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.
Managed to avoid the storms that were around most of the day just inland from Akrotiri and had a relaxing birding day with highlights:
Black-headed Gull c300 (flying between here and Zakaki Marsh)
Mediterranean Gull 1 1st winter
Slender-billed Gull 3
Armenian Gull 20+
Caspian Gull c2
Eurasian Skylark 1 over calling
Kentish Plover 6
Hen Harrier 1 ring tail
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1f flew over area four or five times putting gulls to flight
Eurasian Wigeon 1m
Reed Bunting 3
Eurasian Penduline TIt 2+ h
Moustached Warbler c5
Bluethroat 3 (one with white on head, one white spot and one red spot)
Water Rail 2
Spanish Sparrow 6
Common Kingfisher 2
Akrotiri Gravel Pits
Western Marsh Harrier 1f
Common Starling 1
Cattle Egret 2
Western Yellow Wagtail 3
Eurasian Penduline Tit 1+h
Common Kingfisher 1
Water Rail 1h
Griffon Vulture 10 flying over cliffs together 14:40 – 14:55
Cyprus Warbler 2 (1 h only)
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Eurasian Magpie 21 in one flock flying together
Continuing October’s run of either being out of the country when they are around or dipping on the month’s rarities, today was no exception! No sign of the Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Rosefinch or even the Eurasian Bittern, found by local birders Ian & Kate Bloomer and Matt Smith today at Akrotiri, by the time I got there.
So instead I spent some time just sitting in the hide at Phasouri Reed-beds watching this juvenile Little Bittern hunting through the reeds.
No sign today of the Black-winged Kite that was seen at Phasouri Reed-beds yesterday morning which was disappointing. Spent some time watching this female Common Kingfisher which cheered me up (See photo). Elsewhere around Akrotiri I found Spotted Crake, Water Rail, Little Bittern, Great Reed Warbler, Red-throated Pipit, Bluethroat, Common Crane, a Western Marsh and a Hen Harrier, two European Honey Buzzard, four Eleonora’s Falcon and a few Eurasian Sparrowhawk so I can’t really complain!