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!
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 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.
Was lucky to be at Akrotiri this morning to see this flock of 24 Demoiselle Crane roosting in the middle of the lake and then take off around 10.05 and being lost to view by around 10:20.