Enjoyed some good birding the last two days with plenty of European Bee-eaters as well as European Roller, Red-footed Falcon, Red-rumped Swallow (see photo), Cyprus Wheatear, Black-headed and Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Garden Warbler, European Golden Oriole, Spotted Flycatcher, European Turtle Dove, Long-legged Buzzard, Eurasian Hobby, Eleonora’s and Peregrine Falcon and Alpine Swift.
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
Spent several hours sea watching in Polis Chrysochou Bay today. Plenty of Glossy Ibis on the move as well as Little Egret and a single Grey Heron. Bird of the day was a juvenile Greater Sandplover that flew onto the beach near me around 7.30 am and then flew off east after about 15 minutes. It was probably the large plover that I saw later migrating west in with a flock of Glossy Ibis.
Birds seen during the day there and inland included:
Polis Chrysochou Bay
From 7.00 am – 8.30am and 11.00am to 16.00 pm
Grey Heron 1
Glossy Ibis flocks of c60 + 34 + 38+ 11 + 52 + c100 + 45 + 18 + c80 (see photo)
Little Egret 27 flying over area all day
Greater Sandplover 1 on beach in morning then flying W later with flock of Glossy Ibis 12:10
Wader spp 18 probably Common Redshank flying offshore heading W
Common Ringed Plover in off sea and inland
Common Kingfisher 1
European Shag 1 offshore
Alpine Swift 2
Common Sandpiper 5
European Roller 3
Lesser Grey Shrike 1 imm
Pittokopos to Androlikou track
European Roller 5
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Lesser Grey Shrike 2 ad
Woodchat Shrike 2m
Cyprus Warbler 1m and 1f
Masked Shrike 1m and 1 juv
Cyprus Wheatear 2
Eleonora’s Falcon 1 over
Three days out with Mark, Willem, Oscar and Sjors around Akrotiri, Larnaca and Paphos produced a total of 112 different species/forms with a wide variety of types of birds and a few surprises. The only down side was the real lack of passerine migrants which were much decreased from mid-April but we had good visible migration of larger species especially Glossy Ibis and other herons as well as a Black Stork and the unexpected sight of three Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters over our heads at Phasouri.
Wednesday 26th April
This was spent around the various sites of the Akrotiri peninsula. We started at the hide overlooking Zakaki Marsh where we saw Ferruginous Duck through the reeds but had better views of a Baillons Crake in front of the hide where it competed for our attention with a Water Rail and a male and female Little Bittern. There were plenty of Eurasian Reed Warbler as well as a couple of Squacco Heron, Little Egret and Glossy Ibis. A singing Black Francolin came into the open and was well seen. Two Pallid Swift flew over the area and a Wood Sandpiper fed in the mud. Moving to Lady’s Mile a good selection of migrating waders included many Ruff, Black-winged Stilt and Little Stint, a lone Temminck’s Stint, a couple of Marsh and Wood Sandpiper and Dunlin and some Curlew Sandpiper. Several pairs of Kentish Plover were present as was a greyish Little Egret. Closer to the Salt Lake itself at the Zakaki runoff we saw a Black Stork thermalling up to the north as well as a distant White-winged Tern and Collared Pratincole. A group of more than sixty Gull-billed Tern were on the shore with some Slender-billed Gull and at least six Little Tern. A few Yellow Wagtail including thunbergi and feldegg race males were in the vegetation and we also found a female Black-eared Wheatear.
There were still a couple of hundred Greater Flamingo on the Salt Lake. A quick visit to Bishops Pool was notable for better views of Ferruginous Duck than at Zakaki as well as a good number of migrating Sand Martin over the water and some late Common Teal. An Eleonora’s Falcon flew over close to Sylvana’s as did a couple of European Turtle Dove and we also found two European Roller on the wires there. There was little of note around Agios Georgios Church so we drove across the Gravel Pits to Phasouri Reed beds finding a Grey Plover and a Whinchat on the way. At the reed-beds we saw another pair of Little Bittern, a single Cattle Egret, a Common Snipe, five Ferruginous Duck, three Glossy Ibis (with another 12 seen migrating over the area, another Wood Sandpiper, more Ruff and plenty of Eurasian Reed Warblers. As we were leaving three Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters flew over us – their call slightly different from their European counterparts. They were heading back towards the Gravel Pits area and we decided to go back there in the hope of re finding them.
We didn’t find them again but the decision to go back to there was a good one as we then saw two Greater Spotted Cuckoo, a Common Cuckoo, a European Roller, and a female Red-footed Falcon. Where had they been earlier? We finished the day at Kensington Cliffs where although Griffon Vulture let us down we had a wonderful aerial display from at least six Eleonora’s Falcon and many Alpine Swift.
Thursday 27th April
We headed for the Larnaca area today and started at the fields just outside Kivisili village. There were at least twenty Red-footed Falcon feeding and resting there as well as around eight kestrels that we could ID as Lesser as well as several Common as well. In the distance a female ring-tailed Harrier was quartering the fields – from the brief views of the underwing I managed it was most likely a female Pallid. We had just brief views of a Greater Spotted Cuckoo and Little Owl and found two recently fledged Corn Bunting. More than thirty Greater Short-toed Lark were feeding at Petounta Point and we saw our first group of migrating Glossy Ibis of the day (a total of at least 250 birds seen during the day), three migrating Purple Heron and two groups of Little Egret. The wooded area near Kiti Dam wall was quieter than it had been when I had visited on Monday – another reminder of the fact that migrant warbler passage seems to be largely over. But we did have two Spur-winged Lapwing, a male Golden Oriole and a single Great Spotted Cuckoo.
A quick detour via a post box in Kiti village produced a pair of Laughing Dove obviously breeding nearby. They are spreading throughout Larnaca. Around Larnaca Sewage Works and its pools we found another European Turtle Dove, a Common Cuckoo, a family party of Spectacled Warbler, a Great Reed Warbler, several Blackcap and Spotted Flycatcher, a male Black-eared Wheatear and a Whinchat. More visible migration – this time Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis and large flocks of Spanish Sparrow. On the pools themselves we had two White-winged Tern and two Collared Pratincole flying around in front of the hide as well as several Spur-winged Lapwing, some Black-winged Stilt, Ruff and Little Stint and a single Baltic Gull.
We found at least three Calandra Lark on the fields outside Pervolia as well as a male Northern Wheatear, a couple of Yellow Wagtail, plenty of Zitting Cisitcola and two male Black Francolin disputing their territories. Two Common Cuckoo were on wires near Meneou Pool – one of them a ‘rufous’ female. Our last stop was for a look at the waders on the Airport Pools (North) where the highlight was three Red-necked Phalarope.
Friday 28th April
A completely different day for our last day out which after a brief check of the fields at Mandria was concentrating in the Akamas. At Mandria we watched a group of swifts, including several Alpine come in off the sea and also found some Yellow Wagtail, a few fly over Red-throated Pipit and a single Tawny Pipit. We then heading to the valley behind Arodes village where our main target was the Black-headed Bunting. In the end, we found three singing males but also had good views of several Cyprus Wheatear, a singing male Cyprus Warbler, a fly over Eleonora’s Falcon and at least three male and two female Golden Oriole wwith at least four European Roller were in the area. There were plenty of Spotted Flycatcher, two Great Spotted Cuckoo and Red-rumped Swallow around as well.
Driving on through Pittokopos to Androlikou we found two more singing male Black-headed Bunting, Chukar, a male Lesser Kestrel and two Red-throated Pipit obligingly sitting on telegraph wires. Androlikou village had at least four European Roller and a couple of Cyprus Wheatear. A Common Hoopoe was singing from the top of a carob tree and as usual for the day there were several Spotted Flycatcher and singing Olivaceous Warbler.
A walk around the caravan site at the Baths of Aphrodite gave us another pair of Eurasian Golden Oriole, several Blackcap and a stunning male Red-backed Shrike. We also heard a Scops Owl but it wasn’t roosting anywhere visible. Two more were heard towards the Smygies picnic site and although Mark saw a small owl fly off again we couldn’t locate one for a proper view. We added Masked Shrike, European Serin and Cretzschmar’s Bunting to our list and saw two more European Roller. There were many migrating swifts and swallows including Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow and Northern House Martin. A walk around some fields and carob groves produced another male Red-backed Shrike, a Tree Pipit, Whinchat and a male black and white Flycatcher which was probably a Pied. We heard some European Bee-eater fly over but couldn’t locate them against a sunny sky.
Thanks to Mark, Willem, Sjors and Oscar for three good days birding and some great birds.
Total species/forms seen – 112
Chukar, Black Francolin, Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Western Water Rail, Baillons Crake, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Black Stork, Glossy Ibis, Common Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Little Egret, European Shag, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Red-necked Phalarope, Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Slender-billed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Baltic Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, White-winged Tern, Little Owl, Scops Owl, Western Marsh Harrier, Ring-tailed Harrier probably female Pallid, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Hoopoe, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tree Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail inc thunbergi, flava and feldegg races, White Wagtail, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, European Goldfinch, European Goldfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
A good day’s birding around Limassol with Hlynur which ended outside Larnaca at Kivisili, adding several more target species to the day’s tally. We started at Kensington Cliffs where we found three Eurasian Griffon Vulture, three Eleonora’s Falcon, several Alpine Swift and a young Peregrine Falcon flying around the area. We heard a male Cyprus Wheatear singing and had distant views. We could hear several singing male Sardinian Warbler but luckily caught good views of a male Cyprus Warbler in a dead bush.
We then headed to Akrotiri Gravel Pits where we found very few migrant passerines which was the story of the day. We had just one Tawny Pipit and two Whinchat there although we did have a couple of Woodchat Shrike and a Eurasian Hoopoe. But the stars of that area were the ten Greater Sandplover in breeding plumage we found resting on the coast with a Grey Plover and several Kentish Plover nearby. Three Glossy Ibis were at Phasouri Reed-beds where we also had another 12 migrating over the area, another Woodchat Shrike, three Cattle Egret and good views of several Eurasian Reed Warbler.
There were around 500 Greater Flamingo still on the Salt Lake and we found some nearby shade to eat our lunch where we were surrounded by singing Sardinian and Olivaceous Warbler. A large flock of migrating Spanish Sparrow were in tall grasses near the road on the way to Lady’s Mile. Lady’s Mile had a good variety of waders which included Curlew Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, many Ruff, Marsh Sandpiper, Little Stint, two Dunlin, two Common Ringed Plover and at least thirty Black-winged Stilt. We then spent some time in the hide at Zakaki Marsh where a female Little Crake put in a brief appearance. There were three more Glossy Ibis there and a couple of Squacco Heron. As well as Cetti’s and Eurasian Reed Warbler in the reeds we also found a Sedge Warbler.
We then headed inland to Prastio Kellakiou where we had further chances to see Cyprus Wheatear and Warbler and also found two of the endemic sub-species – Eurasian Jay and Coal Tit. But our target birds there were Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Masked Shrike and we were pleased to find several males of the former singing on territories and both a male and female Masked Shrike. We also heard a European Turtle Dove ‘purring’ and a Eurasian Hoopoe calling in the distance.
Our final location were the fields behind Kivisili where we found two male Red-footed Falcon and a female as well as four Lesser Kestrel after spotting two Little Owl on an old building in the village of Alethriko on our way there. Two Great Spotted Cuckoo flew over the area and we heard a Eurasian Stone Curlew. As we left the area two Stone Curlew flew up so we were able to see them well and then finally, after hearing many all day, we saw a Black Francolin calling from a low branch of an olive tree. A great way to end a good day’s birding in which several species I would have expected to see were absent but others more than made up for that.
Total species: 76
Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Western Marsh Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Little Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Picking up Bob, John, Lesley and John from Pissouri we headed straight to Timi Beach to start our day. Thirteen Black-winged Stilt were flying along the coast while two Little Egret and a couple of Yellow-legged Gull sat on offshore rocks. On the grassy areas we found several Isabelline and Northern Wheatear as well as a single Cyprus Wheatear. Two Eurasian Stone Curlew were in the ploughed field and in the bushes we watched a Common Nightingale, a Common Whitethroat and an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler which was in song. Three female Black-headed Wagtail were also present.
We then headed inland to Anarita Park. As we arrived the wind started to blow and that was the story of the rest of the day out. There appeared to have been a clear out of birds compared to yesterday although we did have two male Lesser Kestrel in with several females, a couple of Alpine Swift, at least four Tree Pipit, a couple of Northern, Cyprus and Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, two Cretzschmar’s Bunting and a male Ruppell’s Warbler – not all bad!
A quick visit to Agia Varvara added two more Lesser Kestrel, a Green Sandpiper, two Whinchat, a fly over Red-throated Pipit, a Eurasian Hoopoe and a female Eastern Black-eared Wheatear. We then went to Asprokremmos Dam where the wind was still very strong but we managed to see a male Collared Flycatcher, a Little Owl and a Woodchat Shrike as well as the area’s usual European Goldfinch and vocal European Serin.
A change of plan to try and avoid the wind and we headed inland to the head of the dam to what was once Nata Ford and is now a bridge. On the way we found a large group of nearly 200 Spanish Sparrow and another Eurasian Hoopoe. On the Xeros river we watched a Marsh Sandpiper, a Little Ringed Plover, several Green Sandpiper, some Yellow Wagtail and both Barn Swallow and Red-rumped Swallow coming down to collect mud. A noisy Great Spotted Cuckoo flew into nearby trees and on the return drive we found a female Collared Flycatcher. Driving through Anarita Village we were pleased to see a male Pallid Harrier over an orchard although disappointed it was moving so quickly and was soon out of sight.
A quick visit to Paphos Sewage Works gave us good views of Spur-winged Lapwing and Cattle Egret and a Long-legged Buzzard high above us before we returned to Pissouri where a smart male Masked Shrike was perched on a hawthorn bush as we parked. A good bird on which to finish a day on which we had worked pretty hard in the wind for the birds we did find!
Total birds seen – 64
Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin h, Common Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Little Ringed Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Marsh Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tree Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, flava, feldegg and supercilaris, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Collared Flycatcher, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
Two days out with Ashley who was in Cyprus with the single purpose of seeing the Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear and Black Francolin and then some general birding.
Wednesday 29th March
We started on Wednesday morning in the Panagia Stazousa valley where we soon heard the strange buzzing of a male Cyprus Wheatear on territory and got some great views of it while at the same time two Cyprus Warbler were singing and competing for territory nearby. We had excellent views of them as well and were two thirds of the way through our target before our first hour was over. In the end we saw at least four singing male Cyprus Wheatear and at least twelve male and a female Cyprus Warbler in the area. Very satisfying to see so many of the warblers. A singing Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler in the same area was an added bonus. We also saw four Great Spotted Cuckoo -two of whom were seem copulating while the male fed the female a caterpillar taken from the nest of a processionary moth caterpillar. We watched him trying to extract another one but the female had lost interest by the time he was successful. A Long-legged Buzzard flew over, a Eurasian Scops Owl called and we found five Cretzschmar’s Bunting. Two Eurasian Hoopoe flew into a pine while we were watching a group of European Serin in the same tree.
Driving through the fields beneath the village of Kivisilli we stopped to admire another Eurasian Hoopoe and eight Lesser Kestrel hunting over the fields and dropping down to catch insects. A small group of Greater Short-toed Lark were in a ploughed field. We heard several Black Francolin calling at Petounta Point but only saw one briefly in flight. We had better views of another Long-legged Buzzard and several Northern and Isabelline Wheatear as well as a Common Redstart. But driving towards Pervolia we had more luck and finally had a singing male Black Francolin out in the open and not too far away so that our views were ruined by heat haze. In the fields near Pervolia village we had close up views of five Calandra Lark, around 60 Yellow Wagtail, 20 Red-throated Pipit and 50+ Greater Short-toed Lark.
After a picnic lunch by the seaside we moved to the hide overlooking Larnaca Sewage Works. There were not many waterfowl left there now although there were two Ruddy Shelduck which were a lovely surprise. Lesser Whitethroat were in the bushes in front of the hide – they were present at all the locations we visited over the two days. A Purple Heron flew over but didn’t stop while another Great Spotted Cuckoo rested briefly in front of the hide. Spur-winged Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Common Ringed Plover, Common and Green Sandpiper fed around the water’s edge. Before leaving the area we found more Black-winged Stilt, a lone Greater Flamingo and 13 Slender-billed Gull on Meneou Pool.
A quick stop to scan the main Salt Lake gave us a few more Greater Flamingo, two breeding plumage Black-necked Grebe and more Slender-billed Gull. In the north east corner our best birds were a female Little Crake and a Spotted Crake as well as Marsh Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe, Ruff, Spur-winged Lapwing, Wood and Green Sandpiper, Bluethroat, Water Pipit, Yellow Wagtail and Eurasian Reed Warbler. We finished the day there with targets met and a total of 80 species seen.
Thursday 30th March
Our first stop today was Oroklini Marsh where we found a Glossy Ibis and a Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing, three winter plumage Black-necked Grebe, a Ferruginous Duck, two male and a female Red-crested Pochard, Garganey, plenty of Cattle Egret and two Little Egret and an overflying male Pallid Harrier and a hunting female Western Marsh Harrier. Several Eurasian Reed Warbler and a single Sedge Warbler were singing. We found another Pallid Harrier, this time a sub-adult male, sitting on Paralimni Lake and another male flew over. Also there were two Eurasian Golden Plover, many Ruff, many wheatear – mainly Northern but also Isabelline, Eastern Black-eared and Cyprus, a couple of Little Ringed Plover and a Common Greenshank.
We ate our lunch at the picnic site at Cape Greco after a short walk that had us thinking there was nothing around having just heard a Common Nightingale and seen a couple of Lesser Whitethroat and Eurasian Blackcap. Then a male Pallid Harrier flew by as did five Alpine Swift. We had good views of a dark-throated and pale throated Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and two male Cyprus Warbler at a distance. A drive around the rest of the area was then more productive and we saw two Water Pipit, 12 Greater Short-toed Lark, several Cyprus Wheatear including a pair with the female collecting nest material, a showy Eurasian Wryneck sitting on a rock in the sun, five Tawny Pipit, a male Masked Shrike in the same bush as three male Subalpine Warbler and a male Ruppell’s Warbler. A quick visit to the Larnaca area produced our final birds which were another male Masked Shrike and 18 Baltic Gull migrating off shore.
Two great days out with Ashley with a wide variety of species.
Total species and forms seen – 101
Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Spotted Crake, Little Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Baltic Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Scops Owl, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Water Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail (flava), Black-headed Wagtail (feldegg), superciliaris intergrade, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale h, Bluethroat, Common Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler h, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
The first day out of what promises to be a busy spring season for Cyprus Birding Tours, was with Peter and Sian. We had arranged to go to Anarita Park and Akrotiri to show Peter those locations. Our target species were Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear and Finsch’s Wheatear. After heavy rain over night the weather was mainly sunny if hazy as we headed for Anarita Park. Flocks of finches – Common Linnet, European Serin, European Goldfinch and Greenfinch greeted us as did a Eurasian Hoopoe. Corn Bunting were singing and we heard a Great Spotted Cuckoo although we didn’t see one there. After a few false starts we found both Cyprus and Finsch’s Wheatear as well as a couple of Isabelline and Northern and a very smart Eastern Black-eared. We were told by a local birder that a male Lesser Kestrel was hunting near the road and we passed by there and had good views of it. We briefly saw a male Cyprus Warbler as well as a Chukar, two male and a female Blue Rock Thrush, some male Spanish Sparrow and a few Woodlark.
We then headed to the Agia Varvara valley hoping to get better views of the Cyprus Warbler. We were in luck and found a male singing there which kept us entertained for a while until we were interrupted by a fox dashing through the undergrowth nearby being chased by three dogs. We then moved on to Kourio Stadium where we ate our lunch in the shade of a carob tree watching Isabelline, Northern and Cyprus Wheatear and added Red-rumped Swallow to our list of species.
Two Eurasian Hoopoe flew over Phasouri Reed-beds but we didn’t find much else there. We drove to check the coast of the Gravel Pits and assumed we had found Garganey floating on the sea. Putting the scope on them it was a surprise to see five Gadwall and around twenty Eurasian Teal. Driving through the Gravel Pits area we came across five Little Ringed Plover, a Ruff and a Green Sandpiper, two Kentish Plover, a Great Spotted Cuckoo, two Isabelline Wheatear, a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, five Lesser Whitethroat, a Woodchat Shrike and many mosquitos. A quick scan over the Salt Lake revealed a couple of hundred Greater Flamingo and a Western Marsh Harrier quartering the shore.
On Lady’s Mile we found just a couple of Kentish Plover and Ruff, a Black-winged Stilt, a Spotted Redshank and a Common Redshank. A couple of Slender-billed Gull with a lovely pink tinge to their plumage were floating offshore with some Common Black-headed Gull and at least one Armenian and Caspian Gull. We then spent a short time in the hide at Zakaki Marsh where we could hear Eurasian Penduline Tit calling. Finally two males were spotted by Peter feeding in a tamarisk bush to the left of the hide. Also present were a Little Egret, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot and five Common Starling.
The last stop was Kensington Cliffs but unfortunately we were too late to see any Eurasian Griffon Vulture but we did see at least six Alpine Swift. We returned to Paphos happy with our days birding.
Total species – 72
Little Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Common Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Caspian Gull, Armenian Gull, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting
Knowing that migration was now virtually over, this day out with Steve and Mary concentrated on finding migrant breeders and allowed them to see several lifers which included Black Francolin, Chukar, European Stone Curlew, Spur-winged Lapwing, Cyprus Wheatear, Laughing Dove, Alpine Swift, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and Cretzschmar’s and Black-headed Bunting. The bird of the day was a male Black-headed Bunting singing perched on a large cow-parsley flower head!
Highlights per location:
Paphos Sewage Works – Black Francolin 2m and 1f, Spur-winged Lapwing 6+
Petra tou Romiou – Eleonora’s Falcon 2, Peregrine Falcon 1, Alpine Swift 10+
Kouklia – Laughing Dove 2
Anarita Park – Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 1 pale throated male, Spanish Sparrow, Little Owl, Cetti’s Warbler – 1 fledgling, European Roller 3, Cyprus Wheatear 1 male with two fledglings, Chukar 2 ad and 12 young
Road to Episkopi – European Roller 2, Cyprus Wheatear 6+
Ezousas Valley, Episkopi – European Roller 2, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 1 seen well, European Turtle Dove 2
Minthis Hills – European Roller 1, Cyprus Wheatear 2, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 1 singing male and another adult with a young bird
Arodes – Black Francolin 1h, Eleonora’s Falcon 1, European Roller 4, Cyprus Wheatear 4+, Red-rumped Swallow 1, Black-headed Bunting 1 singing male
Androlikou – Cyprus Wheatear 6 plus one young bird, European Roller 1, Eurasian Scops Owl 1 h, Little Owl 1h
All species seen: Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Eurasian Scops Owl, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Roller, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting
Neil and Christine had specific targets so the day was arranged to ensure we had the best chance to see them. The presence of a male Amur Falcon at Anarita Park changed the locations we had originally intended to visit but we still found all of them – although the Black Francolin refused to show from inside the cereal crop from which it was calling loudly – very frustrating!
The target species were Long-legged Buzzard, Spur-winged Lapwing, Chukar, Black Francolin, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Cyprus Warbler, plus the Amur Falcon.
The Chukar turned out to be a roadside tick as one ran along the side of the road as we headed to Anarita Park from Neil and Christine’s Limassol base. Four then flew across the motorway. Flocks of swifts and hirundines were everywhere throughout the day – migrants probably bought down lower by the unsettled weather. We saw our first Alpine Swift in one of these flocks as we approached Anarita and we saw several more of these throughout the day plus good numbers of Sand and Common House Martin, Common Swift and Barn Swallow as well as one Red-rumped Swallow.
The Amur Falcon was the perfect bird – sitting on wires in front of us as we parked the car in Anarita Park where it was with several small falcons. In the area we found several male and female Red-footed Falcon and Lesser Kestrel. After watching them for a while we checked out the rest of the area and found a Cyprus Wheatear, three Little Owl, a Great Spotted Cuckoo and heard a Cyprus Warbler which remained deep in the hawthorn bush. More accommodating was a male Cretzschmar’s Bunting which we found busily collecting seeds. We watched it until it flew away towards the goat farm. Flocks of European Bee-eater flew over.
Moving on to Paphos Sewage Plant again we quickly found our target – the Spur-winged Lapwing. We counted at least six near the plant and in the nearby fields. Two Eurasian Turtle Dove were on the wires and again hirundines and swifts were everywhere. We had a couple of probably Pallid Swift but they were a little too distant for us to be 100 per cent sure. Mandria was quiet and little was seen apart from five Little Egret moving west along the coast. After a quick check of the area behind Asprokremmos Dam where we watched European Bee-eater on the wires we then headed back towards Limassol and inland to Omodos.
The weather was now cloudy, windy with scattered showers. However, we were pleased to see a Long-legged Buzzard flying over the area and find at least seven singing male Black-headed Bunting and one female. Several Cretzschmar’s Bunting were singing and European Serin, Cyprus Wheatear and Corn Bunting were reasonably common. We then decided to check Germasogeia Dam where we spent quite a while listening to a Black Francolin calling in a field of uncut cereal. He didn’t come out into the open however but at least Neil will recognize the call when he hears it again!
Our last stop was at Prastio Kellakiou. It was now very over cast but before the heavens opened we had brief views of a Cyprus Warbler family party, saw a fly-by Great Spotted Cuckoo, a male Masked Shrike, at least two singing male Black-headed Bunting and three Cretzschmar’s Bunting.
We headed back to Limassol in the rain- both the rain and the Black Francolin having defeated us but with the other targets met it didn’t seem important that the overall count for the day was low.
Full species list:
Little Egret, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Amur Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin h, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting
A day out with Vanessa, Catherine, Les and David around Paphos where we saw some colourful and varied species. We started at Anarita Park where a pair of Great Spotted Cuckoo greeted us as we drove into the area. As we watched them several Lesser Kestrel could be seen hunting over fields and a female Pallid Harrier gained height to the south. Four Lesser Kestrel rested on a nearby pylon and we were able to see the ID pointers on both the male and females. Moving down the track we found at least eight male and two female Red-footed Falcon and also the male Amur Falcon that has caused great excitement amongst local birders since it was found on Thursday. A Cyprus first and we had the privilege of watching it fly and hunt over our heads! After a while we moved on and found a European Roller and both the Cyprus endemics – being able to watch a singing male Cyprus Wheatear on our right and a singing male Cyprus Warbler on our left. We also got close to the resident Little Owl and found another pair of Great Spotted Cuckoo.
Our next stop was the valley of Agia Varvara. On our way to check out the soakaways that still held some water we were distracted by a displaying European Roller that was also attracting the attention of the resident Hooded Crows who were not keen to having him setting up territory there. A great spectacle and with all respect to the Amur Falcon it was the highlight of the day. In the wet areas we found Purple and Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Ruff, Wood and Common Sandpiper, Common Snipe, and Yellow and White Wagtail. A surprise find were two Ortolan Bunting. We heard a Eurasian Turtle Dove and saw two European Bee-eater. We saw two Eurasian Turtle Dove at Mandria where we also found a Eurasian Stone Curlew in a ploughed field and added Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin and Eurasian Shag to the day list.
After a picnic lunch on the coast at Mandria, we moved to the Sewage Works at Paphos where we quickly located Catherine’s target – Spur-winged Lapwing. At least five were seen – the same number of Cattle Egret were also in the fields where they were joined by twelve Wood Sandpiper and two Glossy Ibis. At least three Eurasian Turtle Dove were with a large group of Common Woodpigeon and a Eurasian Hoopoe flew over the area. Near the beach we found a female Northern Wheatear.
Our next stop was Asprokremmos Dam where we had been told there were some Golden Orioles. We were pleased to find at least three males and a female although we would have been happier if they had perched out in the open instead of flying quickly across the area. A Eurasian Hoopoe called over the area and some European Bee-eater flew over. We finished the day near the cliffs at Petra tou Romiou where at least four Eleonora’s Falcon and eight Alpine Swift gave us aerial displays. A good way to finish our enjoyable and successful day out.
Total 57 species
European Shag, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Pallid Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Amur Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Black Francolin h, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail flava, Black-headed Wagtail feldegg, White Wagtail, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zittting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler h, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Great Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Ortolan Bunting, Corn Bunting
A day around the Paphos birding spots with Brenda and George today. We started at Petra tou Romiou where we had a dozen overhead Alpine Swift, singing male Cyprus Wheatear and Warbler as well as two distant Eleonora’s Falcon and close up views of a Peregrine Falcon. We then explored the area behind Asprokemmos Dam near the mast where we spent some time watching a family party of Spectacled Warbler, saw a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, a couple of Whinchat, a pair of Red-rumped Swallow and a migrating Purple Heron. On approaching the Dam itself we were pleased to see an Osprey flying over the area. In the trees of the amenities area near the Dam we found two male Collared Flycatcher, two Spotted Flycatcher and a Eurasian Hoopoe.
Moving to the Sewage Works we quickly found our target species – the Spur-winged Lapwing. There were at least seven birds around the Plant buildings and in fields. We watched at least 35 migrating Glossy Ibis and also found our only Yellow Wagtails of the day – two Black-headed around a small puddle of water. On arrival at the coast of Mandria we saw seventeen Northern Pintail flying E along the coast. In a field we found three Spur-winged Lapwing and a Ruff and a male Red-backed Shrike on a tree near the picnic site where we ate our lunch.
Moving inland we headed to the Ezousas Valley behind Agia Varvara village. A lone Garganey was on one of the pools there and we also found Spanish Sparrow, Eurasian Turtle Dove and Eurasian Reed Warbler. We finished the day in Anarita Park. There we found three pairs of Great Spotted Cuckoo, two Little Owl, a hunting female Pallid Harrier, around twenty Lesser Kestrel, a European Roller, a Woodchat Shrike, two Whinchat and a Long-legged Buzzard. As at our first stop we also had Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler. A good end to a good day’s birding.
Total species seen – 54
Little Egret, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Osprey, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Black-headed Wagtail, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Corn Bunting