Hundreds of European Honey Buzzard have migrated through the Akrotiri peninsula the last two days heading south.
A few photos of a very photo-friendly juvenile Collared Pratincole at Akrotiri this morning, 5th September 2018.
The area is drying out but along with Larnaca Sewage Works, it is still probably the best birding location on the island at the moment. Plenty of Little Ringed Plover (see photo), Kentish Plover and Little Stint along with Glossy Ibis, Slender-billed Gull, a Broad-billed Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Common Snipe, two Collared Pratincole, a Temminck’s Stint and a Gull-billed Tern. A female Western Marsh Harrier is putting the birds up frequently as she quarters the area and Elenora’s Falcon fly over from time to time.
A good selection of birds including non-breeders and returning migrants today at Akrotiri. Breeding Black-winged Stilt and Kentish Plover with young of all ages as well as a Whiskered Tern, two Curlew Sandpiper, a Greater Sandplover, several Little Ringed Plover, a Wood Sandpiper, some Common Redshank, a Squacco Heron, several Black-headed Wagtail and three Common Greenshank.
Still some migrating waders around today with two Ruddy Turnstone and six Broad-billed Sandpipers the highlights. Plenty of Ruff, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper, Common Ringed Plover and Black-winged Stilt. Also two Black-tailed Godwit and Marsh Sandpiper and a few Little Ringed Plover, a Curlew Sandpiper and a Common Greenshank. Still a large flock of Little Tern on Lady’s Mile so hopefully they will stay to breed. I also found two Woodchat Shrike and four Red-backed Shrike with a Black-eared Wheatear, a Whinchat, a female Common Redstart and several Spotted Flycatcher.
A very enjoyable day birding around Akrotiri even if I got a later start than intended. Highlight was definitely finding a female Semi-collared Flycatcher as I was checking the ID’s of several females near Bishop’s Pool – also a female Collared Flycatcher which was actually my first Collared for the year. In that area there were also Pied and Spotted Flycatcher, Wood Warbler, Blackcap and several beautiful male European Golden Oriole. Plenty of Woodchat Shrike around with a few Red-backed as well. A large group of more than twenty Little Tern were on Lady’s Mile in the morning as were nine Collared Pratincole and many Marsh Sandpiper and Common Greenshank (see photos).
Late in the afternoon I visited the eastern shore of the Salt Lake and the Zakaki run off. There I saw more than ten Temminck’s Stint, ten Black-tailed Godwit, a few Curlew Sandpiper, fishing Little Tern, feeding White-winged and Whiskered Tern and best of all – a resting flock of around 300 Collared Pratincoles (see photo). Lovely!
Great feeling as I rounded the corner at Akrotiri today and this Cream-coloured Courser appeared in front of me. I guess its probably the same bird (that I was unable to get to see) that was at Mandria yesterday as it was last seen heading east from there late in the afternoon. This rare passage migrant to Cyprus was spooked by a Pallid Harrier at Akrotiri and flew off and was not relocated.
Spent the last two days in the Limassol area. The highlight was a Masked Shrike already on breeding territory at Prastio Kellakiou and two Bimaculated Lark in with a flock of Greater Short-toed Lark and Meadow Pipit on the coastline of Akrotiri Gravel Pits. Other interesting sightings during the two days:
Saturday 10th March
Water Rail 1h
Little Crake 1m
Penduline Tit 2
Slender-billed Gull 2 ad and 1 imm
Heuglin’s Gull 1
Armenian Gull c30
Caspian Gull 2 imm
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Common Hoopoe 3 (See photo)
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Cyprus Wheatear 1
Akrotiri Salt Lake/Zakaki run off
Little Ringed Plover 20+
Common Ringed Plover 20+
Kentish Plover c100
Little Stint c30
Northern Shoveler c50
Greater Flamingo 800+
Western Marsh Harrier 1 ad male
Common Snipe 12
Black-headed Wagtail 1m
Akrotiri Gravel Pits
Kentish Plover 2
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Northern Wheatear 1m
Ruppell’s Warbler 1m
Greater Short-toed Lark 4
Subalpine Warbler 1f
Eurasian Reed Warbler 4+h
Red-throated Pipit 1h
Alpine Swift 14
Cyprus Warbler 2h
Sunday 11th March
Cyprus Warbler 3 singing males and 1f
Eurasian Reed Warbler 1h
Masked Shrike 1m
Cyprus Warbler 4 singing males
Common Buzzard 1
Great Spotted Cuckoo 1 flew over road
Akrotiri Gravel Pits coast
Bimaculated Lark 2 (Record shot below)
Greater Short-toed Lark 20+
Isabelline Wheatear 2
Black-eared Wheatear 1f
I hadn’t been sure where to go birding today until I heard last night that local birder John East had found a female Red-breasted Merganser at Akrotiri Gravel Pits. The last record was in 2014 so not to be missed. The bird was keeping close company with a Great Crested Grebe and a Black-necked Grebe who had been on the pool for several days and I was pleased to get a few photos. Also around Akrotiri today:
Akrotiri Gravel Pits
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
European Serin 7
Red-breasted Merganser 1f
Great Crested Grebe 1
Black-necked Grebe 1
Little Grebe 1
Western Marsh Harrier 1f and 1 sub-ad male
Eurasian Skylark 1
Water Rail 1h
Black-headed Gull 300+
Armenian Gull 6+
Caspian Gull 1+
Greater Flamingo 48 juvs
Pied Avocet 2
Common Buzzard 1
Akrotiri Salt Lake
Greater Flamingo c1200
Common Buzzard 1
A good day out again with Terry and Sarah around Akrotiri and then west to Mandria, Timi Beach and Asprokremmos Dam. Another very warm day with just a trickle of migrating raptors but we pieced together some good species and enjoyed ourselves in any case.
Highlights per location:
Phassouri Reed-beds – Black Francolin 1m and 1f, European Turtle Dove 20+, Pallid Swift 2, European Honey Buzzard 7, Western Marsh Harrier 3, Montagu’s Harrier 3 juv, Black Kite 2, European Bee-eater 200+, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Kestrel, Red-backed, Lesser Grey and Masked Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail
Bishop’s Pool – Black-crowned Night Heron, Purple Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin
Lady’s Mile – Dunlin 3, Kentish Plover, Little Stint
Zakaki Marsh – Common Kingfisher, Great Reed Warbler
Mandria – Chukar, Eleonora’s Falcon, European Roller, Lesser Grey Shrike, Greater Short-toed Lark, Northern & Isabelline Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, European Shag
Timi Beach – Greater Short-toed Lark c30
Asprokremmos Dam – Spotted Flycatcher, Eleonora’s Falcon
After picking up Carole, John and Philip from Pissouri Bay we headed towards Akrotiri for a day’s birding. Our first stop was at Kensington Cliffs where we had good views of Eleonora’s Falcon and their acrobatics. A ring-tailed Harrier was flying close to the cliffs but we couldn’t get any ID features. As we left we saw an Isabelline Wheatear. At Phasouri Reed-beds we visited the new tower hide and were treated to the wonderful sight of several European Bee-eater coming down to drink at a nearby pool. Two juvenile Montagu’s Harrier were flying around the area as was a female Western Marsh Harrier. We also saw a European Turtle Dove and a couple of Willow Warbler before our attention was drawn to a Eurasian Hobby over us and then a small group of larger raptors gaining height – European Honey Buzzards and a lone Black Kite. We then found a Lesser Grey Shrike, a European Roller and a small flock of Western Yellow Wagtail near the other new hide. A couple of Whinchat and a very smart male Red-backed Shrike were also present.
Driving across Akrotiri Gravel Pits we saw a couple of juvenile Red-backed Shrike and a juvenile Masked Shrike and at the churchyard we found a Common Hoopoe, Spotted Flycatcher and a Northern Wheatear. We then spent some time at Bishop’s Pool. Disappointed not to see any Ferruginous Duck there but we did see a European Honey Buzzard being mobbed by two Eleonora’s Falcon, a Black-winged Stilt, a couple of Little Egret, a Common Redshank, some Northern Shoveler and Common Teal and an immature marsh tern which in the end we ID’d as a Whiskered Tern.
There were plenty of Kentish Plover and Little Stint on Lady’s Mile although we couldn’t see any other waders but there was a juvenile Greater Flamingo there. We spent a while then in the hide at Zakaki Marsh where we could hear several Black-crowned Night Heron – none of which was obliging enough to fly up to let us see them. We did though see a juvenile Western Water Rail and a Common Kingfisher although unfortunately only I saw a Great Reed Warbler sitting on the reeds with a large dragonfly in its bill. Two Western Marsh Harrier were quartering the area.
We ate our lunch back at Phasouri Reed-beds where we watched many Red-rumped Swallow migrating through. We added Lesser Kestrel to our list of species as one flew over head and saw a few more European Honey Buzzard and another juvenile Montagu’s Harrier. We then decided to head to Mandria to see if the Eurasian Dotterel that had been found there yesterday was still present. We were in luck and we spent some time looking at it through the ‘scope. It was surrounded by Greater Short-toed Lark so we had good views of them as well and also the Northern Wheatear and Lesser Grey Shrike nearby. We finished our day with a quick check of the amenities area of Asprokremmos Dam and added Long-legged Buzzard to our day list and also found another European Turtle Dove.
A good selection of species on a very hot September day.
Total number of species: 62
Black Francolin, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Western Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Black-crowned Night Heron (H), Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Common Redshank, Eurasian Dotterel, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Black Kite, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, House Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail, European Goldfinch.
A morning’s birding with Anthony and Sarah around Akrotiri hoping to see a good variety of species. We started at Zakaki Marsh where many Grey Heron were flying down to feed behind the reeds. A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron flew up from in front of the hide as we arrived and although we could hear many more we only got good views of one adult as it flew over the area. A Squacco Heron also flew across and a female Western Marsh Harrier quartered the reeds before swooping into the reeds where it presumably caught prey. An adult Water Rail was feeding in front of the hide and several Eurasian Reed Warbler were flitting in the reeds. Anthony and Sarah were especially pleased to see the Common Kingfisher that perched on a reed in front of the hide for several minutes.
Moving to the eastern edge of the Salt Lake we found an Isabelline Wheatear, a Lesser Grey Shrike and a female and a male Red-backed Shrike. An adult and a juvenile European Roller sat on the wires along Lady’s Mile and were very obliging. The Salt Lake itself had very little water but we spent some time watching the dozen or so Eleonora’s Falcon that were resting on the Salt flats and drinking and bathing in the water from the run off – a great spectacle.
There were several Kentish Plover feeding on Lady’s Mile itself as well as a couple of Little Stint and Dunlin which we saw as we drove to Bishop’s Pool. The first birds we saw there were a couple of Ferruginous Duck and then three Glossy Ibis feeding at the back of the pool. Two Black-winged Stilt were also there as were four Green Sandpiper and a Wood Sandpiper. A couple of Little Egret were feeding around the edge and some Northern Shoveler were resting in with the resident Mallard and Little Grebe. A couple of European Turtle Dove flew over. We could have spent longer there to be honest but we moved on the Akrotiri Gravel Pits adding Red-rumped Swallow and Sand Martin to the morning’s list as we went.
We had another Lesser Grey Shrike in the church yard as well as an Olivaceous Warbler, two Spotted Flycatcher and another two Isabelline Wheatear. It was now getting warmer and the birds were quieter although we did find a Common Greenshank and a Kentish Plover as we went through the area to our last stop at Phasouri Reed-beds. We heard and then saw a Yellow Wagtail and our last new bird of the morning was a Whinchat sitting on a fence. A good morning’s birding at the start of autumn migration although we were disappointed not to see any large raptors.
Total number of species – 45
Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Swift, Western Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Western Marsh Harrier, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, House Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail.