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.
Yesterday I saw a godwit fly from the beach into Larnaca Sewage Works pools and disappear from sight. It was impossible to get good enough views to ID it as the sun was unhelpfully shining into my field of vision. This morning I found this Bar-tailed Godwit on the nearby beach, and I assume it was the same bird as yesterday’s. They are scarce visitors to Cyprus although they seem to becoming more regular. Was able to get a few photos although the sun was yet again in the wrong place!
Good to see John and Madeleine again for another day’s birding. We visited a few Paphos locations in the morning before spending the rest of the day around Akrotiri. Eight species of raptor seen including Red-footed Falcon, Lesser Kestrel and Montagu’s Harrier at Anarita early morning and later on a Peregrine Falcon and two Eleonora’s Falcon hunting the waders on Akrotiri Salt Lake where we were surprised to find a female Hen Harrier as well. We saw many different waders including Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Temminck’s Stint plus great views of Collared Pratincole and White-winged Tern.
Highlights per location visited:
Agia Varvara – Black Francolin 2, European Turtle Dove, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Lesser Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Spotted Flycatcher
Agia Varvara village reservoir- Ruff, Temminck’s Stint, Wood Sandpiper, European Roller, Red-rumped Swallow
Anarita Park – Montagu’s Harrier 1m, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater h, Lesser Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Cyprus Warbler, Corn Bunting
Kouklia village – Laughing Dove
Akrotiri Gravel Pits – Great Spotted Cuckoo 2, European Turtle Dove 4, Little Egret, Kentish Plover, Willow Warbler, European Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher 1f
Phasouri Reed Beds – Ferruginous Duck, Glossy Ibis 6, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Ruff, Olivaceous Warbler, Black-headed Wagtail 1m, European Serin
Akrotiri Salt Lake – Greater Flamingo, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Little Tern, White-winged Tern, Hen Harrier 1f, European Bee eater, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon
Lady’s Mile – Little Egret, Common Ringed Plover, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Little Tern
Zakaki Marsh – European Bee-eater, Squacco Heron
Total species seen – 75
Black Francolin, Ferruginous Duck, Mallard, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Common Swift, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, White-winged Tern, Hen Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Black-headed Wagtail, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, European Goldfinch, European Serin, Corn Bunting
After picking Paul and Eileen up from their hotel in Pissouri we headed straight to Akrotiri for a morning’s birding. Although it was possibly even windier than the day before this time we saw several migrating European Honey Buzzard and Western Marsh Harrier as well as a continual stream of European Bee-eater. A couple of Eleonora’s Falcon were hunting over the peninsula. Also found around the reed-beds area was a female Black Francolin – one of Paul’s targets – , a Lesser Grey Shrike, six Whinchat and a couple of European Turtle Dove. Moving onto Akrotiri Gravel Pits we saw at least one more Western Marsh Harrier and at least eleven more European Honey Buzzard. Waders in the area included a Bar-tailed Godwit (a scarce bird for Cyprus), Kentish Plover and Dunlin as well as an adult Greater Flamingo.
Another wader for the morning was the Black-winged Stilt at Bishop’s Pool. There we also added two to our Honey Buzzard total and saw two more Eleonora’s Falcon. On the approach road to the pool we were especially pleased to see two migrating Lesser Kestrel – another of Paul’s targets for the morning. At Lady’s Mile we found a photogenic juvenile Greater Flamingo and searched through the waders there to find more Kentish Plover and Dunlin, as well as a Sanderling, a couple of Common Redshank, Common Ringed Plover and Dunlin. Another two Honey Buzzard flew over us battling against the wind.
Our morning out drew to a close with a return to Phasouri Reed-beds to watch a small group of European Bee-eaters calling and swooping over the area as they hunted insects to provide them with energy to continue their migration.
Total species – 42
Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Whinchat, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler, Great tit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch.
It’s always good to spend some time out with Terry and Sarah and today was no exception. We headed straight to Akrotiri with the intention of trying to catch some of the raptor migration passing over the area. Most of the raptors we saw were European Honey Buzzard and Western Marsh Harrier but many of them were passing over quite low, meaning we had good views and we also watched a group of Grey Heron feeding at Zakaki Marsh chase off one of the Marsh Harrier over that location. Waders included the Cyprus rarity – a Bar-tailed Godwit, lots of Kentish Plover, a juvenile Ruff, a Sanderling and several each of Dunlin and Curlew Sandpiper. A single Greater Flamingo feeding on Lady’s Mile gave some photo opportunities and we found a couple of Ferruginous Duck on a quick visit to Bishop’s Pool.
Plenty of European Bee-eater were migrating over throughout the day, many of them very high and we saw a lot of Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin and Barn Swallow as well as several late Common Swift. Not so many shrikes around as in early September but we saw a couple of juvenile Red-backed Shrike and Lesser Grey Shrike.
An afternoon visit to Kensington Cliffs gave us the chance to enjoy the acrobatics of both adult and juvenile Eleonora’s Falcon, who in turn mobbed a migrating European Honey Buzzard and then two of the resident Eurasian Griffon Vulture returning from their inland feeding stations. On the way back to Paphos we stopped at Asprokremmos Dam where there was a European Golden Oriole feeding in a ficus tree – thanks to Alan and Lynn for showing us the location – and we also found a female European Pied Flycatcher.
Number of species seen – 60
Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, European Honey Buzzard, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Western Marsh Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch.