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.
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.
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!
A spur of the moment visit to Akrotiri today. I didn’t see any raptor migration but had some good birds in any case.
Interesting sightings include:
Akrotiri Salt Lake/Zakaki run off area
Hen Harrier 1 ring tail
Common Ringed Plover 26+
Common Snipe 2
Red-throated Pipit 8
Little Stint 24+
Western Marsh Harrier 6
Temminck’s Stint 1
Kentish Plover 150+
Greater Flamingo 400+ incl melanistic bird
Northern Wheatear 1
Spotted Crake 3 seen and another heard elsewhere
Collared Pratincole 1
Sedge Warbler 1
Spanish Sparrow 40+
Eleonora’s Falcon 4
Zakaki Marsh hide
Black-headed Gull 6
Grey Heron 20+
Grey Wagtail 1
Water Rail 4
Spotted Crake 1
Bluethroat 1 with white on head
Squacco Heron 1
Little Egret 1
Spanish Sparrow 15
Phasouri Reed-beds Tower hide
Masked Shrike 1 juv
Western Marsh Harrier 1 maybe 2
Eurasian Reed Warbler 1
Common Kingfisher 1
Little Bittern 1 juv
Akrotiri Gravel Pits
Northern Wheatear 1m
A good day around Akrotiri with highlights two Spotted Crake, a juvenile Common Crane and three Little Swift plus my first Bluethroats, Common Stonechat and Common Buzzard of the winter. Raptor migration has slowed to a trickle but I did see small numbers of Red-footed and Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier and a single Osprey.
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.