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
A day around Paphos with Ann and Peter – the third year running that we have been out together. We started at Timi Beach and Anarita Park and then went further inland to new sites for them – Episkopi (Paphos), Arodes and Evretou Dam. We had a total of 55 species with highlights from each location as follows:
European Shag, Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Chukar, Northern Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow
Lesser Kestrel 2m and 2f, Little Owl 1, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue Rock Thrush, Isabelline Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear 1m, Cyprus Warbler 3 singing males, Ruppell’s Warbler 1m, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting, Common Nightingale h, Woodlark
Peregrine Falcon 2, Cyprus Wheatear 1, Sardinian Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow
Bonelli’s Eagle, Cyprus Wheatear
Eurasian Hoopoe, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Chukar
Total species – 55
European Shag, Eurasian Teal, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Eurasian Coot, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Eurasian Magpie, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Goldfinch, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
The first of two day’s out with Barry and we spent our time around Cape Greco moving to Paralimni Lake later in the day. We started at Agia Trias beach where there were still two Greater Sand Plover on the beach together with a Grey Plover, Common Sandpiper and a Common Kingfisher. We spent several hours exploring Cape Greco on foot and by car and were pleased with the species we found which included three singing male Cyprus Warbler, Spectacled and Ruppell’s Warbler, Isabelline, Cyprus, Northern and Finsch’s Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow, a Pallid Harrier, at least seven Eurasian Hoopoe, Blue Rock Thrush, Baltic Gull and Little Egret migrating offshore, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Greater Short-toed Lark. Still plenty of Western Black Redstart and Common Stonechat around as well as several Chukar and lots of finches.
Although it was very windy when we finally got to Kermia Beach we were glad we made the effort as our target species for that location was there – two Audouin’s Gull. Although they were dozing when we arrived two Yellow-legged Gull flew in and woke them up for us. We went slightly inland to Agia Napa Sewage Works where we saw two male Blue Rock Thrush, more Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Isabelline Wheatear and a very smart male Masked Shrike. On the treated water pools there were Eurasian Coot and Little Grebe as well as two each of Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper. We did a detour to the Agia Napa Football fields where we found another Cretzschmar’s Bunting and two Laughing Doves.
Finishing the day at Paralimni Lake we set up the ‘scope and scanned the area. A Peregrine Falcon was sitting on a rock towards the middle and an adult Long-legged Buzzard was nearby in a low bush. We found a couple more Isabelline Wheatear and another Masked Shrike. There were several species of wader – Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Eurasian Golden Plover and Dunlin. As we sat to go over our sightings and drink a final cup of tea late in the afternoon we watched a small flock of Common Starling coming into roost. A good day out hopefully with more species to come later in the week on our second day out.
Total species – 64
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Little Egret, Mallard, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Dunlin, Ruff, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Audouin’s Gull, Baltic Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Masked Shrike, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Found two newly arrived Cyprus Wheatear at Cape Greco today and just a hand full of other migrants – an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat and plenty of Isabelline Wheatear. Also saw several singing male Cyprus Warbler and a pair chasing, plus three Blue Rock Thrush, a flock of migrating Great Cormorant, Spanish Sparrows collecting nest material , a Eurasian Hoopoe and a male and female Finsch’s Wheatear. Two Greater Sandplover, a Grey Plover and an immature Slender-billed Gull were at Agia Trias.
A break from the rain today and I started at Akhna Dam which now has almost double the amount of water than when I last visited. Plenty of Eurasian Coot and some Grey Heron but more interesting was the female Red-crested Pochard, two Great Crested Grebe and the immature Great White Pelican that has been in the area since mid November 2016. At the coast at Agia Trias I found three Grey Plover, two Greater Sand Plover and three Common Sandpiper (see photo). An immature Slender-billed Gull flew in for a few minutes and then flew off again south (see photo).
A quick look at Cape Greco with only a female Blue Rock Thrush, a female Hen Harrier and Cyprus Warbler of note. Single Little Egret were on Kermia Beach, Makronissos Beach and Dekeleia. Nearly twenty Armenian Gull, a big male Caspian Gull and an adult Mediterranean Gull were on Oroklini Beach and a large flock of Common Starling were flying around before roosting. There were four Temminck’s Stint and six Common Ringed Plover at the JUMBO drainage channel. I finished the day at the Larnaca Sewage Works hide. No sign of the Pallas’ Gull that have been there for a few days but there were seven Greater White-fronted Geese in the fields.
Real winter’s weather for our day and a half out birding. Picking up Richard and Brad from Larnaca Airport midday Saturday we headed for Oroklini Marsh. We spent time in both hides there and were out of the rain at least. On the Paralimni coast at Agia Trias we weren’t so lucky and a biting wind there cut our birding short, while the gathering gloom and storm clouds as we reached Makronissos Beach meant we could have done with a torch to help us find the birds. A chilly, cloudy start on Sunday found us in the hide at Larnaca Sewage Works and although we got quite cold in the wind, the weather improved as we got to the Salt Lake and the sun finally came out. We even managed to eat our picnic lunch outside in the Panagia Stazousa valley and stayed out until the sun set at Agios Sozomenos outside Nicosia.
Birding highlights per location:
Saturday 17th December:
Oroklini Marsh – Cattle Egret, Greater Flamingo, Common Pochard, Western Marsh Harrier, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing
Xylofagou – Long-legged Buzzard perched on road side electricity pole.
Agia Trias – Grey Plover 3, Common Sandpiper 1, Yellow-legged Gull 4, Common Kingfisher 1
Cape Greco – Chukar 10+
Makronissos Beach – Eurasian Skylark c40, Kentish Plover 37
Sunday 18th December:
Larnaca Airport Pools South – Eurasian Stone Curlew 4, Common Starling 1, Black Francolin 5m and 2f, Eurasian Skylark, Common Shelduck 4
Larnaca Sewage Works – Greater White-fronted Goose 6, Ruddy Shelduck 2, Common Shelduck 3, Great White Pelican 1 imm, Eurasian Wigeon 4, Northern Pintail 10m and 2f, Grey Plover 1, Western Marsh Harrier 1,
Larnaca Airport Coast – Eurasian Curlew 2, Western Black Redstart
Pervolia – Corn Bunting 11
Larnaca Salt Lake – Greater Flamingo c600, Common Shelduck c150, Western Marsh Harrier 1, Common Crane 3, Spur-winged Lapwing 4, Common Snipe c15, Green Sandpiper 1, Heuglin’s Gull 2, Caspian Gull, Water Pipit 4, Grey Wagtail, Bluethroat, European Goldfinch 50+
Panagia Stazousa – Hen Harrier 1f, Long-legged Buzzard 1, Common Buzzard 1, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin
Agios Sozomenos – Northern Lapwing, Bluethroat 2, Finsch’s Wheatear 1m and 1f, Blue Rock Thrush 1m
Total species seen: 77
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Great White Pelican, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Greater White-fronted Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Crane, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Kentish Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Heuglin’s Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin, Bluethroat, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Eurasian Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting
Went to Paralimni Lake and sites around Cape Greco. Not a lot to see but some good views of male and female Finsch’s Wheatear, hunting Hen Harrier, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon, my first Audouin’s Gull for a couple of months and a Greater Sand Plover.
Common Kingfisher 1
Headed east today and managed to avoid the rain and get the two birds I had hoped for – a Great Crested Grebe at Akhna Dam (a scarce winter visitor to Cyprus, and missing from my Cyprus 2016 list) and the Steppe Grey Shrike at Cape Greco.
Great Crested Grebe 1
Northern Lapwing 4
Common Redshank 5
Common Ringed Plover 4
Little Stint 3
Common Snipe 1
Little Bittern 1 juv
Common Starling c80
Water Pipit 8+
Hen Harrier 1f
Cattle Egret 1
Grey Heron 2
Eurasian Wigeon 2
Cape Greco Sea Caves area
Finsch’s Wheatear 1f
Steppe Grey Shrike 1
Blue Rock Thrush 1f
Little Egret 1
Grey Plover 1
Greater Sand Plover 1
Common Sandpiper 1
Common Kingfisher 1
Went over to the east of the island again today to try my luck with the Asian Buff-bellied Pipit found at Akhna on Saturday. This is the 5th record of the species in Cyprus. Was lucky enough to find it, take a record photo before it flew off and see some other good birds.
Asian Buff-bellied Pipit 1
Water Pipit 20+
Meadow Pipit 40+
Eurasian Wigeon 1m and 1f
Common Shelduck 1 imm
Peregrine Falcon 1
Grey Plover 1
Common Ringed Plover 4
Great Cormorant 3
Common Chaffinch 6
Eurasian Blackbird 1
Song Thrush 10+
Common Linnet 3
European Serin 2+
Finsch’s Wheatear 2m and 1f
Blue Rock Thrush 3m and 1f
Western Black Redstart 11
Great Cormorant 20 heading SW
Greater Flamingo c60
Water Rail 1
Spotted Crake 1
Cattle Egret c100
Song Thrush 1
Common Starling 16
Northern Lapwing 3
As the temperature slowly creeps up on a daily basis and the water on the coastal sites begins to evaporate, I decided to split the day out with Lynne and Kevin between the Akrotiri sites and two inland areas close to Limassol. We started the day at Germasogeia Dam where we headed for the Finikaria end of the dam, stopping on the way to watch a Cyprus Wheatear and a flock of Spanish Sparrow. At Finikaria we spotted two Little Owls in a carob tree and then stopped to enjoy a calling Black Francolin by the trackside. We then watched a singing male Sardinian Warbler which was chased off its singing perch by a male Cyprus Warbler which then took over. All around us we could hear Zitting Cisticola and calling Cetti’s Warbler. A Cetti’s called from a fig tree near to where we were standing and for once we were able to watch this elusive species. Near the water we heard Eurasian Reed Warbler and saw two Water Pipit in their pinkish summer plumage. A Squacco Heron was feeding on the water’s edge. We heard calling Great Spotted Cuckoo and were pleased when the pair finally flew close to us.
We then headed to the coast and spent a while in the hide at Zakaki. We checked the reed edges for crakes but no joy so we watched a large flock of hirundine coming down to drink there. They were mainly Common House Martin but they were joined by a few Red-rumped Swallow and Sand Martin as well as the usual Barn Swallow. Six Cattle Egret and six Little Egret were resting there and a lone Ferruginous Duck was present.
Lady’s Mile was even quieter than the day before. We saw Lesser Whitethroat and a lone Northern Wheatear while the Spotted Redshank was still on the water together with five Greater Flamingo, some Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Dunlin and Kentish Plover. At the entrance to Bishop’s Pool we found a male and a female Eurasian Pied Flycatcher in the acacias. Around the Gravel Pits we found more Northern Wheatear and two female Eastern Black-eared Wheatear as well as a female Blue Rock Thrush. Four Greater Short-toed Lark flew over as did six migrating Grey Heron. Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat and Eurasian Blackcap were feeding in the tamarisks and we saw a couple of Whinchat and heard two singing Common Nightingale.
We then headed inland again to Prastio Kellakiou. There we finished our day out surrounded by calling Cretzschmar’s Bunting, courting Masked Shrike, singing Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and some fly-by Red-rumped Swallow. There were several European Serin, European Chaffinch and Spanish Sparrow around and we watched an adult Great Tit feeding a couple of young fledglings in a fig tree. I was surprised to hear a couple of calling Coal Tit but our final bird of the day – a calling Eurasian Scops Owl was more expected but very welcome.
Total species – 69
Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Water Rail (h), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Dunlin, Spotted Redshank, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Eurasian Scops Owl, Little Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tree Pipit, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Eurasian Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
The fourth and final trip out with Ann and Peter this spring was back in Paphos for a four hour catch up with what was around. No Cyprus firsts today but we did have a good selection of migrants at Anarita Park although Mandria and Agia Varvara were quieter.
Two Lesser Kestrel greeted us as we entered the area and then we saw a female Woodchat Shrike and the first of five males. A couple of Tawny Pipit were feeding on one of the slopes and small groups of Tree Pipit were flying around. As we drove around the area we found two more Lesser Kestrel, a Little Owl, an Ortolan Bunting, several male and female Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, a couple of Northern and Isabelline Wheatear, a Great Spotted Cuckoo, two Whinchat and a male Blue Rock Thrush. We heard a male Eastern Subalpine Warbler singing from deep inside a bush but it did not emerge into the open. We did see a couple of Lesser and Common Whitethroat though as well as many of the resident Sardinian Warbler. We also heard a male Cyprus Warbler singing and found several Cyprus Wheatear setting up territory. Three Alpine Swift flew over as well as several Red-rumped Swallow.
It was quieter down at both Agia Varvara and Mandria although we did see a Common Quail come in off the sea and fly down into a barley field and find a Yellow Wagtail intergrade – superciliaris.
Total species -46
Common Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Common Moorhen, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail – superciliaris, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 3m and 2f, Blue Rock Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eastern Subalpine Warbler 1h, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin h, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Ortolan Bunting, Corn Bunting