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.
While doing the waterbird count at Larnaca Sewage Works this morning, I remarked to another birder there that this time last year a Terek Sandpiper had been found at the Sewage Works. An hour later at Oroklini Marsh the first bird I saw from the hide was this Terek Sandpiper! Not annual here this would be the 15th Cyprus record of the species since 2000 if accepted. Sorry for the awful photos but it was just too far for anything decent.
Also seen this morning in the Larnaca area:
Laughing Dove 1
Barn Swallow 3
Larnaca Airport Pools South
Eurasian Thick-knee 4
Grey Heron 4 over flying W
Larnaca Sewage Works
Black Kite 2 flying low heading W 7:35
Greater Flamingo 418 inc 67 juvs
Black-winged Stilt 30
Northern Shoveler 33
Little Stint 29
Common Ringed Plover 6
White-winged Tern 4
Gull-billed Tern 2
Spur-winged Lapwing 7
Marsh Sandpiper 3+
Curlew Sandpiper 1
Black-headed Gull 2
Yellow-legged Gull 30
Common Kingfisher 1
Ferruginous Duck 1
Common Sandpiper 1
Whiskered Tern 1
Kentish Plover 2
Common Teal 9
Larnaca Airport Coast
Common Sandpiper 1
Yellow-legged Gull 24
Kentish Plover 2
Western Marsh Harrier 1f
Larnaca Salt Lake
Spur-winged Lapwing 2
Black-headed Wagtail 1m
Laughing Dove 2
Terek Sandpiper 1
Curlew Sandpiper 4
Spur-winged Lapwing 107
Black-winged Stilt 8
Common Redshank 4
Marsh Sandpiper 4
Little Stint 5
Common Ringed Plover 2
Little Ringed Plover 6
Whiskered Tern 1
A good selection of birds including non-breeders and returning migrants today at Akrotiri. Breeding Black-winged Stilt and Kentish Plover with young of all ages as well as a Whiskered Tern, two Curlew Sandpiper, a Greater Sandplover, several Little Ringed Plover, a Wood Sandpiper, some Common Redshank, a Squacco Heron, several Black-headed Wagtail and three Common Greenshank.
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
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
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
Two days out with Martin and Rosemary to several of the Paphos hotspots gave us several lifers for Martin, despite the strong winds and lack of numbers of migrants around at the moment which limited the species we could have seen. However we were pleased with our species list in the end, although we felt we had worked hard to get some of the birds!
Highlights from locations visited:
Saturday 19th March:
Baths of Aphrodite: Long-legged Buzzard, Cyprus Wheatear, European Serin, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Yellow-legged Gull
Neo Chorio/Smygies: Chukar, Red-rumped Swallow, Cyprus Wheatear, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
Droushia: Long-legged Buzzard, Blue Rock Thrush
Arodes: Little Owl, Cyprus Wheatear 4+, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 1m pale throated, Finsch’s Wheatear 1m
Mioliou: Eurasian Hoopoe
Evretou Dam: Common Quail 3h, Black Francolin 2, Little Ringed Plover 2, Great Spotted Cuckoo 2, Black-headed Wagtail 2, Isabelline Wheatear 1
Monday 21st March:
Minthis Hills: Chukar, Woodlark, Cyprus Wheatear, Tree Pipit, Cyprus Warbler 1 singing male, Ruppell’s Warbler 1m and 1f, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 4 singing males, Corn Bunting
Agia Varvara: Green Sandpiper 4, Red-rumped Swallow 30+, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 10+
Anarita Park: Long-legged Buzzard, Common Quail, Little Owl, Red-rumped Swallow, Tree Pipit, Common Redstart 1m, Isabelline Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear 6+, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 2m dark throated, Finsch’s Wheatear 1f, Blue Rock Thrush 1m, Eastern Orphean Warbler 2, Spanish Sparrow c100
Asprokremmos Dam area: Long-legged Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Chukar, Red-rumped Swallow 30+, Tree Pipit, Cyprus Wheatear, Spectacled Warbler
Mandria: Black Francolin, Western Black Redstart, Black-headed Wagtail c300
Around the Larnaca wetlands today. Very few Greater Flamingo around but there are still a couple of hundred Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal on the Sewage Pools. One Black-necked Grebe is still present as is a Ruddy Shelduck, five Ferruginous Duck, four Northern Pintail and two male and a female Red-crested Pochard. Most of the pools had double figures of Black-winged Stilt and plenty of Common Black-headed Gull and some Slender-billed Gull. Four hundred Slender-billed Gull were on the main Salt Lake as were four male Garganey and a large flock of Ruff, more than forty Common Redshank, some Dunlin and LIttle Stint and Kentish Plover. Several pairs of Spur-winged Lapwing were around as was a Common Snipe and some Green and Common Sandpiper.
Several Yellow Wagtail were in the area – mainly feldegg but also a couple of flava and a few intergrades. A Cyprus Wheatear was near Tekke Mosque and several Isabelline and Northern Wheatear were around. At Petounta Point two Sandwich Tern were offshore and three Little Ringed Plover and a Kentish Plover were in the flooded area.
After a storm in the early afternoon there were many Common Swift, Red-rumped Swallow and Barn Swallow in the area of Meneou Beach.
The weather rather dampened our expectations for our day out but in the end we managed some good species although not large numbers. Picking up Richard and Ethelyn from Coral Bay we headed first to Mavrokolympos Dam hoping to find a late Finsch’s Wheatear. We had no luck with that species but a couple of male Cyprus Wheatear were fighting over territory and at least two male Cyprus Warbler were singing. The heavens opened as we left and drove to Agia Varvara. Luckily it had stopped when we arrived there. We found a bedraggled Cretzschmar’s Bunting perched in a tamarisk and a Red-rumped Swallow on the wires looking the worse for wear. The orchards were full of European Serin, Common Chaffinch and European Goldfinch and we could hear European Blackcap singing in the olive groves. Two Great Spotted Cuckoo were calling and we watched as they were chased by a couple of Hooded Crow. I spotted a Peregrine Falcon but it speeded out of sight before Richard could find it. We had seen a male Western Marsh Harrier as we turned off the motorway and I hoped that we could maybe see other large raptors but the weather was definitely not helping.
We spent some time watching a mixed flock of finches and Spanish Sparrow on the road into Asprokremmos Dam where we also found a Chukar. Otherwise it was quiet there so we moved to the Paphos Sewage Plant where we found five Cattle Egret and a pair of noisy Spur-winged Lapwing. A small flock of around fifty Black-headed Wagtail were emerging from an alfalfa field to drink and bathe in a puddle and were joined by a couple of Meadow Pipit and a single Water Pipit. At Mandria we found the vagrant Namaqua Dove that has been present in the area for a couple of weeks before driving down to the coast. The strong wind meant that we ate our lunch in the car but we did find a couple of Isabelline and Northern Wheatear to watch as we did so.
As we headed inland to Anarita Park it began to rain hard again and as we waited in the car for it to stop I even contemplated calling it a day. But we could see the clouds clearing from the west so we were patient and were well rewarded with several species coming out to dry in the late afternoon sun. These included a male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, a male Finsch’s Wheatear and an Isabelline Wheatear shaking themselves dry, at least twelve Cretzschmar’s Bunting, a male Blue Rock Thrush, a female Cyprus Wheatear, three Red-rumped Swallow, two Lesser Whitethroat, a Woodlark and a calling Common Quail. A great end to a wet and windy day.
Total species seen 54
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Namaqua Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Black-headed Wagtail (feldegg), White Wagtail, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
It was still windy in Paphos this morning although less so than the previous two days. John and Joy wanted a morning out to see some East Mediterranean birds; so we visited Paphos Sewage Works first to find Spur-winged Lapwing. We only located two of them but we spent most of our time watching several Black-headed Wagtail in the lower end of the Ezousas river. Three Baltic Gull passed off shore heading west and five Little Ringed Plover flew in off the sea and heading inland. There were still some European Serin around and a noticeable passage of Common Swift, Barn Swallow and Common House Martin.
We found a single Red-rumped Swallow as we drove down to the sea at Mandria and then watched two Hooded Crow mobbing a Eurasian Sparrowhawk. More Black-headed Wagtail were around the area as were several flocks of Spanish Sparrow. Near the coast we found at least two Little Ringed Plover feeding on the grassy area where there were also several Isabelline and Northern Wheatear and a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear. A flock of around twenty five Greater Short-toed Lark were also feeding there.
Behind the Asprokremmos Dam we had to be very patient trying to find a Cyprus Warbler but finally a male appeared and sang for us. Nearby we had found a melanistic male Sardinian Warbler with an all-black head. We had a good selection of birds near the Mast including a migrating second calendar year male Western Marsh Harrier, Red-throated Pipit, Little Owl, Corn Bunting, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (dark throat), Chukar, Tawny Pipit and Cretszschmar’s Bunting.
Total species seen – 49
European Shag, Cattle Egret, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Baltic Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Ringed Plover, Little Owl, Common Swift, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Black-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin (h), Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting