A very windy day at Akrotiri with limited raptor movement and those that were migrating keeping low over the Salt Lake. At least twenty Red-footed Falcons were roosting at Lady’s Mile with half of them hunkered down on the salt flats and rest on wires (see photo). Two Booted Eagles were seen – the long staying light morph is still around Phasouri (see photo). A small number of European Honey Buzzard braved the elements as did a couple of Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Black Kite, some Western Marsh Harrier and a juvenile Pallid Harrier. There is still a Whimbrel on Lady’s Mile (photo) and plenty of herons and egrets on Akrotiri Marsh together with the juvenile Black Stork, three Black-tailed Godwit, several Common Snipe, Common Teal, a single White Wagtail, three White-winged Tern and the usual migrating European Bee-eater, Barn Swallow and Sand Martin.
Didn’t think I’d get Demoiselle Crane on my year list for 2020, there being very few around this autumn at Akrotiri, so was very pleased to find this adult feeding there this morning.
Spent the hottest day of the year doing my first stint of raptor counting of the autumn at Akrotiri on Friday. A few Western Marsh Harrier were on the move as was a male Montagu’s Harrier and a Pallid/Montagu juvenile. Other birds of interest were three Isabelline Wheatear, some Eleonora’s Falcon, several Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrike, a Woodchat Shrike, lots of Common Snipe, Grey and Squacco Heron and Cattle (see photo), Great White and Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Western Yellow Wagtail, Ruff and Wood Sandpiper, European Roller and Greater Flamingo.
Two photos from the White Stork extravaganza this morning at Akrotiri Salt Lake. One of just a few of the migrating group of c1000 and the other is of one White Stork heading to the left while one of the three European Honey Buzzard that was soaring with the storks heads right.
A morning around the Akrotiri peninsula with some interesting species seen.
Akrotiri Salt Lake
Slender billed Gull 50+
Common Tern 2
Gull billed Tern 4
Caspian Tern 1
Little Tern 15
Spotted Redshank 1
Marsh Sandpiper 4
Wood Sandpiper 1
Green Sandpiper 4
Common Redshank 4+
Greater Flamingo c1000
Little Ringed Plover 4
Little Egret 3
Black winged Stilt 100+
Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed beds)
Glossy Ibis 24
Little Egret 16 (see photo)
Grey Heron 2
Cattle Egret 8
Spur winged Lapwing 1
Squacco Heron 4
Little Bittern 1m
Eleonora’s Falcon 1
Red rumped Swallow 7 heading S
Black crowned Night Heron 1 juv in flight
Spent the morning at Germasogeia Dam where I found at least three Bluethroat which were great to watch although not keen to have their photo taken! A trip around the Akrotiri sites later produced three more Bluethroats, a couple of Common Kingfisher, a large flock of Dunlin and Little Stint, three Temminck’s Stint, some Water Pipit and Woodlark, a Hen Harrier and several Western Marsh Harrier, three Water Rail and at least two Eurasian Penduline Tit.
Photo of a juv Slender-billed Gull with a Black-headed Gull behind taken at Lady’s Mile.
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!