Headed towards Paphos yesterday for first day here without a lock down and restrictions on movement. Spent some time in the Akamas where I found plenty of European Roller, a Woodchat Shrike, several Black-headed Bunting, two Cretzschmar’s Bunting (see photo of female), European Turtle Dove, Red-rumped Swallow and Cyprus Wheatear. On the way home I visited Agia Varvara soakaways where there is still some water and spent time watching a Little Bittern and a Squacco Heron (see photo) fishing.
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.
I picked up James and Lizzie from Kakopetria and we headed towards Troodos stopping at a few locations on the way to the Square. At Platania we found Red-rumped Swallow and at the Botanical Gardens at Amiantos we found our first of the Cyprus endemic sub-species – the Eurasian Jay as well as a large group of hirundines which although mainly Northern House Martin also included several more Red-rumped Swallow and two Eurasian Crag Martin. An Eastern Olivaceous Warbler sang out in the open on a small conifer so we spend some time watching it. A couple of male Cyprus Wheatear were also seen and at least one male Eurasian Blackbird was singing. As we left the area I spotted a large thrush on a rock and we were pleased to see a male Blue Rock Thrush as we got out of the car. I also heard a singing Cretzschmar’s Bunting but we couldn’t see it.
We then spent some time at the Livadi tou Pashia picnic site where we had good views of two other endemic sub-species – Coal Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper. Several Northern Wren and European Serin were heard and finally a male Masked Shrike flew into view. We then headed to Troodos Square seeing more Masked Shrike and Cyprus Wheatear on the way. At least eight Pallid Swift were in a large flock of swifts at the square.
The rest of the morning was spent in the Omodos area and especially on the road from there to Agios Nikolaos. The stars there were the singing male Black-headed Buntings but we also saw some Corn Bunting, more Masked Shrike and Cyprus Wheatear, a smart male Spanish Sparrow and finally a singing male Cyprus Warbler – strangely singing from some electricity wires. The last species for the day was Cretzschmar’s Bunting as we found two males near Agios Nikolaos.
A lovely way to spend a morning in the early summer catching up with the Cyprus endemics and migrant breeders.
Full species list:
Common Woodpigeon, European Collared Dove, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, Common Kestrel, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Northern House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Eurasian Crag Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper, Northern Wren, Eurasian Blackbird, Blue Rock Thrush, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, European Serin, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Did a couple of Common Bird Monitoring Surveys in the Cape Greco area and then stopped off at Oroklini Marsh on the way home. Several Cyprus Warblers and a singing male Black-headed Bunting on territories at Cape Greco with Long-legged Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon and Eleonora’s Falcon fly overs. A Whiskered Tern was on Oroklini Marsh as were several Black-winged Stilt (see photo), plenty of Cattle Egret, a few Ruff and some Spur-winged Lapwing.
Spent the morning around Akrotiri where it was quiet with the best birds at least three Little Bittern at Zakaki Marsh, a group of a couple of hundred Greater Flamingo still on the Salt Lake where there were also Little Tern, Black-winged Stilt and Slender-billed Gull.
Akrotiri Salt Lake/Zakaki Run off
Greater Flamingo 300+
Slender-billed Gull 6
Little Tern 6+
Black-winged Stilt 21
Little Egret 2
Grey Heron 2
Little Stint c40
Yellow Wagtail 1 in flight
Little Egret 6 inc grey morph
Squacco Heron 2
European Turtle Dove 2
But the best part of the day was the two hours I spent at Prastio Kellakiou in the late afternoon. Full of migrant breeders – Eurasian Hoopoe, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Masked Shrike, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, European Turtle Dove and Cyprus’ endemic sub-species Coal Tit and Jay. But the star was the hardworking male Black-headed Bunting who was kept busy feeding two fledglings in the shade of some olive trees (see the photo below that was taken at a distance). At least four other Black-headed Bunting males and one female were also in the area.
Spent the morning at several locations north of Paphos with Mark looking for migrant breeders including Black-headed Bunting and Cretzschmar’s Bunting. Despite the unseasonal heavy rain as we drove through Akoursos to Kathikas the weather brightened up and we were treated to good views of several of the colourful migrant breeders that are now on territories as well as some later passage migrants such as Woodchat Shrike and European Bee-eater.
Highlights per location:
Akoursos – European Roller 2
Kathikas – Black-headed Bunting 1m and 1f, Corn Bunting
Arodes – Black Francolin 2h, Great Spotted Cuckoo 2, European Bee-eater 3, European Roller 5, European Golden Oriole 2m and 1f, Woodchat Shrike 1, Cyprus Wheatear, Spanish Sparrow 20+, Black-headed Bunting 2m
Pittokopos – Androlikou road – European Roller 3 including one rolling and displaying, Cyprus Wheatear 2, Black-headed Bunting 2m, Corn Bunting 6+
Androlikou – Cyprus Wheatear 4, European Roller 1, European Bee-eater 22
Neo Chorio/Smygies – Long-legged Buzzard 1, European Turtle Dove 1, Cyprus Wheatear 3, Olivaceous Warbler, European Serin, Red-rumped Swallow, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 2 singing males seen, others heard
This year a day out in mid-May means finding very few passerine migrants, the need to concentrate on breeding birds and visiting a wetland to increase the variety of species seen. Luckily Robert had a list of realistic target species which made our day easier although we had to work hard to find the Black-headed Wagtail. The other species Robert hoped to see were Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Black Francolin, Chukar, Little Owl, Spur-winged Lapwing and Masked Shrike.
Starting at Cape Greco, the first bird we saw was a singing male Cyprus Warbler which was a great start. We explored the area and found another two males and two females together with a couple of juveniles. We soon heard the distinctive call of the Cyprus Wheatear and spotted a singing male on a low bush. Several others were later seen as were a couple of European Turtle Dove, a Spectacled Warbler, a male and female Red-backed Shrike as well as a couple of Sand Martin. A couple of Black-headed Buntings were singing near the Sea Caves area where we also found our only Chukar of the day.
We then headed to Akhna Dam where several Spur-winged Lapwing were found as was a male Garganey, a couple of Ruff and Common Sandpiper, some Little Egret, a Grey Heron and a Glossy Ibis. Several Eurasian Reed Warbler were heard singing and a flock of around 30 Common Swift and seven Alpine Swift were flying over the area and coming down to drink – a great sight. We visited both hides at Oroklini and Robert got great views of another of his targets here – this time a male Black Francolin was out in the open calling for quite a while. We also saw more Spur-winged Lapwing here as well as Black-winged Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Little, Whiskered and White-winged Tern and Garganey. There were several recently hatched young Cattle Egret in the colony and we also spotted a Spur-winged Lapwing chick with one of its parents.
We then went inland to Panagia Stazousa to try and find a Masked Shrike and a Little Owl. We found the Little Owl perched outside its nest site but it took a while to find a Masked Shrike until eventually a male flew into view. We also saw more Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear as well as Olivaceous Warbler, a European Roller, a fly-over Eurasian Hobby and two Long-legged Buzzard. We heard Cretzschmar’s Bunting but couldn’t get decent views of them.
Our next stop was on the eastern side of Larnaca Salt Lake where there was still some water and I was hoping may be a suitable location for the feldegg race of the Yellow Wagtail – Black-headed Wagtail. We found some water and the bonus of three Broad-billed Sandpiper (a regular but scarce passage migrant to Cyprus) feeding with Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper and some stunning Curlew Sandpiper. A Squacco Heron was also present and we heard the call of a Yellow Wagtail and saw a couple fly over but were unable to see which race they were. Finally, a male Blue-headed was spotted feeding next to some reeds and then to its right there was a male Black-headed. All of the target species seen we went south of the airport to see what was on the Sewage Pools there. There were several Little Tern and a couple of White-winged Tern as well as two Yellow-legged Gull, some Spur-winged Lapwing and several Ruff. New birds for the day were a single Gull-billed Tern feeding over the water and a Collared Pratincole which we saw head out towards the coast.
We finished our day there pleased with our efforts.
Total species seen 66
Chukar, Black Francolin, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Little Owl, Long-legged Buzzard, European Roller, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Barn Swallow, Collared Sand Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Seen in the Akamas area today were:
European Golden Oriole 1m seen and heard
European Bee-eater 2
Eurasian Blackcap 1m subsong
Black-headed Bunting 2m
Bonelli’s Eagle 2 ad
Cyprus Warbler 1m
Peregrine Falcon 1
European Roller 4
Great Spotted Cuckoo 1
Little Owl 1
Red-backed Shrike 1m
Woodchat Shrike 1
European Roller 1
Droushia to Pittokopos Road
Black-headed Bunting 1m
Pittokopos to Androlikou Road
Black-headed Bunting 1m
European Roller 2
European Roller 4
Common Hoopoe 1
Red-backed Shrike 1m
Woodchat Shrike 1
Squacco Heron 1 on breakwater
European Roller 2
Black-headed Bunting 1m
Red-backed Shrike 1f
Cretzschmar’s Bunting 2 bathing in stream
Thrush Nightingale feeding near stream
Common Redstart 1f bathing in stream
European Bee-eater 50+ see photo
Couldn’t find the Desert Finch again at Cape Greco this afternoon but did find a few late migrants – several Spotted Flycatcher, three Woodchat Shrike, a Northern Wheatear and a few European Bee-eater. There were many Spectacled Warbler families as well as two singing male Black-headed Bunting on territory and at least one pair of Cyprus Wheatear.
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 out with Peter and Jeanette around some of the Limassol and Larnaca sites didn’t quite go according to plan but we still picked up some good species including their targets of Black Francolin and Spur-winged Lapwing. We started at Germasogeia Dam and had intended to go around the Akrotiri peninsula after that but on hearing the news that a Bar-tailed Lark had been found near Larnaca Sewage Works we decided to try our luck and headed that way to see if we could find it.
Unfortunately we couldn’t find the lark but Peter and Jeanette weren’t phased as they were able to get good view of other species they had hoped to see on our day out and we took the opportunity to visit some other Larnaca locations before finishing the day at Prastio Kellekiou outside Limassol as originally planned.
Highlights per location:
Germasogeia Dam – Glossy Ibis, Long-legged Buzzard, Little Owl, Laughing Dove, Greater Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Cyprus Wheatear, Great Reed Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
Kofinou – European Roller
Larnaca Sewage Works area – Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Little Tern, White-winged Tern, Black Francolin, Black-headed Wagtail (feldegg), Common Whitethroat, Common Nightingale, Collared Flycatcher 1f
Pervolia – Common Quail h, Calandra Lark, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat
Kiti Dam – Black Francolin h, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher 1f, European Golden Oriole 1m
Prastio Kellakiou – European Turtle Dove 1h, Red-rumped Swallow, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Garden Warbler h, Coal Tit, Masked Shrike, Spanish Sparrow, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting
Full species list – 71
Little Grebe, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Eurasian Coot, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Ruff, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, White-winged Tern, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, European Roller, Greater Short-toed Lark, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail spp, Black-headed Wagtail (feldegg), Common Nightingale, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, Western Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting
Some sightings from the Troodos area and the Omodos vineyards. Many Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Common Chaffinch, Coal Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper also seen:
Masked Shrike 1m and 1f