A visit to Manglis Lake in the suburbs of Nicosia this morning showed the importance of this and other wetlands to wintering birds here in Cyprus. There were nearly 50 Greater Cormorant, four Grey Heron, a Great Egret, a Little Egret, more than 20 Eurasian Coot, three Moorhen and a Little Grebe all feeding and resting there.
A couple of hours birding close to Nicosia. Lots of the usual winter visitors around: Common Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, European Robin, Chiffchaff, Eurasian Blackcap. The more interesting sightings were:
Agios Sozomenos, Nicosia
Spanish Sparrow 22 + 25
Eurasian Skylark 16
Little Owl 1
Blue Rock Thrush 1f
Spectacled Warbler 7
Western Black Redstart 4
Finsch’s Wheatear 2m and 1f
Hen Harrier 1f
Corn Bunting 18
Red-throated Pipit 2h and 1 seen in breeding plumage (see photos)
Northern Lapwing 70+ flying
Vathi Gonia Water Treatment Plant, Nicosia
Ferruginous Duck 4
Spent a few hours at Athalassa Dam and saw the following:
Great Egret 3
Little Egret 2
Grey Heron 6
Great Cormorant 50+
Eurasian Spoonbill 1 juv
Cattle Egret 1
Black-crowned Night Heron 1 ad
Common Kingfisher 2
Grey Wagtail 2
Ferruginous Duck 2
Western Marsh Harrier 1
Black-winged Stilt 2
Common Snipe 1
Northern Shoveler 8
Eurasian Teal 30+
Little Grebe, Eurasian Coot and Common Moorhen
Common Chaffinch, European Robin, Common Chiffchaff and White Wagtail.
Hooded Crow and Common Woodpigeon
A first winter Whiskered Tern was on my local Nicosia patch this morning.
Walked around the lake at Athalassa Park this morning. Birds of interest were:
Great Egret 5 (maybe 6)
Grey Heron 3
Black-crowned Night Heron 5 (4ad)
Cattle Egret 2
Great Cormorant 11
Ferruginous Duck 14+
Tufted Duck 3 (on smaller Sewage Pool)
Grey Wagtail 2+
Water Rail h
Plus lots of Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen, Little Grebe
Four birds on territories in the area – three males and a female. Also several Red-throated Pipit, Eurasian Skylark, Spectacled Warbler, Western Black Redstart and a Long-legged Buzzard.
Found my target species today at Agios Sozomenos – a newly arrived male Finsch’s Wheatear (well he wasn’t there on Wednesday!) was setting up his winter territory there. An interesting selection of raptors was flying over the area – all receiving close attention from the local Western Jackdaws – first a juvenile Bonelli’s Eagle, then a Long-legged Buzzard, a Common Buzzard and finally a Eurasian Sparrowhawk all had to run the gauntlet. The only raptor that the Jackdaw’s didn’t bother was a Peregrine Falcon flying around the cliffs.
I only saw one White Stork in the nearby clover fields but I understand that two had been present earlier in the morning.
Thanks to a tip off from a local birder, I went to fields to the south east of Nicosia this afternoon and found the two White Stork he had found there earlier today. I then took the opportunity to check if any Finsch’s Wheatear had arrived at nearby Agios Sozomenos but couldn’t find any. I did find two Cyprus Wheatear, a Blue Rock Thrush, a Purple Heron and many Cattle Egret in a watered field, at least one Red-throated Pipit and a Long-legged Buzzard. Little Owl were calling throughout the area and I saw three, although I am sure there were more.
A few hours in the Agios Sozmenos area late this afternoon produced four European Roller, a couple of hundred Corn Bunting in post breeding flocks, several calling Black Francolin, some Spanish Sparrow, at least three Green Sandpiper, Stone Curlew, Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing and a juvenile Great Spotted Cuckoo begging its Magpie parent for food.
Having been confined to Nicosia over the last few days I was pleased to find some interesting migrants on both my local patch and a bit further afield:
March 30th and 31st: Manglis Lake – Cretzschmar’s Bunting 1 singing male, two Tree Pipit and a Cattle Egret
April 1st: Agios Sozomenos – Woodchat Shrike 1, Masked Shrike 1, Eastern Black-throated Wheatear 2 dark throated males, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler 2 singing in eucalyptus trees, Eurasian Hoopoe 1, Tree Pipit 3, Yellow Wagtail c10, Eurasian Reed Warbler 2+h. Also there were two Little Owl, some singing male Spectacled Warbler (one seen carrying food into probable nest site), and both Western Jackdaw and Spanish Sparrow seen carrying nesting material.