Today the Travelling Naturalist group visited Akrotiri starting at Kensington Cliffs where we saw a Griffon Vulture and a male Cyprus Warbler. During the day we found many migrants in the area including Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Western Yellow Wagtail, Common Redstart, Ruppell’s and Subalpine Warbler, Little Ringed Plover, Eurasian Bittern, Common Hoopoe (photo). Black-eared Wheatear, Red-throated & Tree Pipit and ‘Steppe’ Buzzard.
Another good day out with the Travelling Naturalist Cyprus group. Today we visited Cape Drepanum, Arodes and Smygies and we had the luck to witness first hand the amazing numbers of Painted Lady butterflies currently migrating through Cyprus. We estimate we saw at least 200,000 through the day. We also saw some good birds including more Cyprus Wheatear, migrating flocks of Grey Heron and Little Egret, Blue-headed Wagtail, Chukar, Hen Harrier, Black-eared Wheatear and a Great Spotted Cuckoo pair. We rounded the day off finding several new orchid species.
First day out guiding with the Travelling Naturalist group currently in Cyprus. Day around Paphos Headland and Archaeological site. Highlights: Black-headed Wagtail, Long-legged Buzzard, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Cyprus, Isabelline and Black-eared Wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Common Hoopoe, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Ruppell’s Warbler and Water Pipit. Photo of one of many Crested Lark.
Spent most of the day at Cape Greco looking for early migrants. Some putting in an appearance – see list below – but the best was a lovely male Common Redstart of the samamisicus race (see photos). Also visited Oroklini Marsh and a couple of Agia Napa beaches where there were ten Greater Sandplovers (see photos).
Still some migrating waders around today with two Ruddy Turnstone and six Broad-billed Sandpipers the highlights. Plenty of Ruff, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper, Common Ringed Plover and Black-winged Stilt. Also two Black-tailed Godwit and Marsh Sandpiper and a few Little Ringed Plover, a Curlew Sandpiper and a Common Greenshank. Still a large flock of Little Tern on Lady’s Mile so hopefully they will stay to breed. I also found two Woodchat Shrike and four Red-backed Shrike with a Black-eared Wheatear, a Whinchat, a female Common Redstart and several Spotted Flycatcher.
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 an enjoyable day out with Tony and Greta at several of the Paphos birding locations. We started at Paphos Sewage Plant where there were several Spur-winged Lapwing, including a couple of juveniles, feeding in the fields. A male Red-backed Shrike and a European Turtle Dove were sitting on wires and at the same time as a large flock of migrating European Bee-eater starting migrating over the area we also saw a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier, a European Honey Buzzard and a Western Marsh Harrier gaining height and heading out over the sea. In the fields were a couple of Whinchat, a covey of Chukar and a large flock of Western Yellow Wagtail. After watching a flock of Spanish Sparrow we then found a Long-legged Buzzard perched on the top of a pylon which we then saw dive down into the dry river bed nearby – it didn’t fly up while we were there so we guessed it had caught something and was eating it out of sight.
More European Bee-eaters were in the Agia Varvara valley as were juvenile Red-backed Shrike, Willow, Sardinian and Cetti’s Warbler, Whinchat and a Northern Wheatear. The best birds here though were two European Golden Oriole which flew into the same eucalyptus trees under whose shade we were taking a quick coffee break! On to Mandria and down near the coast at Lark Corner we watched some Greater Short-toed Lark, Whinchat, Nothern Wheatear and also a Tawny Pipit feeding. Behind us were three juvenile Collared Pratincole feeding in another field close to the water sprinklers. In another area we found three European Roller, a Lesser Grey Shrike and yet more European Bee-eater passing over.
The area near Anarita Mast behind Asprokremmos Dam was full of European Bee-eater as well and we found several Whinchat, more Yellow Wagtail, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Northern Wheatear, a couple of Tawny Pipit and another Lesser Grey Shrike all perched on the perimeter fence there. As we turned to leave a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier flew into view and we spent some time watching it quartering the area and feeding on at least one lizard that it caught as we watched – probably the day’s highlight. A pair of Cyprus Warbler were not so obliging and although we had very brief views of a male and a female they were disappointing. A Black-eared Wheatear close by was much easier to see.
We finished the day in and inland from Kouklia Village. We had good views of several Laughing Dove that now breed there and found another Northern Wheatear. We then moved inland to see if we would have more luck with the other endemic – the Cyprus Wheatear. Things didn’t look promising even though we visited an area I had seen many a few weeks previously, until finally one flew across the road in front of us – another brief view but at least this time we could see it properly!
List of species seen –
Chukar, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Spur-winged Lapwing, Collared Pratincole, Yellow-legged Gull, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, European Goldfinch
Picking David, Jan and Rachael from Polis our first stop of the day was behind the village of Neo Horio after which we moved on to the deserted village of Androlikou and then to the valley behind Arodes via Pittokopos. We briefly visited Kannaviou Dam which had very little bird life and then drove through the Sarama valley to finish at Evretou Dam. The call of European Bee-eater was the sound track of the day as they passed over heading south in large numbers – some of them passing low over us or perching on low trees by the side of tracks meaning we had plenty of opportunities to enjoy their vibrant colours. Other highlights included a couple of male Red-backed Shrike, at least two European Golden Oriole, a Common Hoopoe, several Cyprus Wheatear, a male and a female Black-eared Wheatear and a couple of Black Francolin. Two Long-legged Buzzard were the only identifiable large raptors although a probableBonelli’s Eagle was seen above Arodes before disappearing into the haze. Juvenile Red-backed Shrike and Spotted Flycatcher were everywhere we went as were many Willow Warbler.
Highlights per location:
Neo Horio – Smygies – Chukar, European Bee-eater, Common Hoopoe, Red-backed Shrike, Olivaceous Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear
Neo Horio – Androlikou – Red-backed Shrike, Cyprus Wheatear, European Bee-eater
Androlikou -Pittokopos – European Bee-eater, Red-backed Shrike, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear
Arodes – Long-legged Buzzard, Red-backed Shrike (male), Masked Shrike, Willow Warbler 30+, Spotted Flycatcher, Black-eared Wheatear 1m and 1f, Cyprus Wheatear, Whinchat,
Kathikas – Long-egged Buzzard
Kannaviou – Coal Tit h, Cyprus Warbler singing (odd location for that species)
Sarama valley – European Turtle Dove, European Bee-eater, European Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher, Cyprus Wheatear
Evretou Dam – Chukar, Black Francolin, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Garganey, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, European Bee-eater, Western Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting