Best bird was an immature Bonelli’s Eagle (see photo) being mobbed by a Common Kestrel but also saw three Finsch’s Wheatear, a female Blue Rock Thrush and a singing male Spectacled Warbler. There were many Eurasian Skylark, Red-throated and Meadow Pipit in the fields as well as a large flock of more than 80 Northern Lapwing (see photo).
Visited several sites this morning before the heavens opened and the rain ruined any chance of birding in the afternoon.
Hen Harrier 1 ring -tail
Black-necked Grebe 2
Greater Sandplover 4 (see photograph)
Eurasian Shag 1
Common Starling 2
Hen Harrier 1 ring-tail
House Sparrow 500+
Spanish Sparrow 20+
Common Buzzard 2
Northern Wheatear 1m
Blue Rock Thrush 1m
House Sparrow 300+
Spanish Sparrow 50+
Eurasian Collared Dove 80+
Laughing Dove 4
Common Kingfisher 1
Audouin’s Gull 1
Common Shelduck 1 flying W
A sunny but cool winter’s day around some of the Paphos birding sites with Martin and Beverley produced a variety of species and showed that most of our regular winter visitors have arrived. Unfortunately for Martin and Beverly a lot of those are common in the UK but even so we picked up several new species for them and they were also pleased to see three female Hen Harriers which are not easy to see in England any longer.
We started at Paphos Sewage Plant where six Spur-winged Lapwing were feeding in a recently mown field along with four Northern Lapwing, plenty of Meadow Pipit, just two Red-throated Pipits and some Eurasian Skylark. Of course we saw many European Stonechat as well as the first of many of the day’s Black Redstart. In the valley behind Agia Varvara village we found a small group of Woodlark and then European Serin. Here we saw the first of our female Hen Harrier as well as a distant Long-legged Buzzard and Eurasian Sparrowhawk. Two Common Snipe were feeding in a small area of water. Also in the area was a very late Willow Warbler as well as several Common Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler and Spanish Sparrow.
Our next stop was Anarita Park where our target species was the Finsch’s Wheatear. A male was waiting for us – or so it seemed – as we arrived on one of the usual territories and then proceeded to keep us entertained for almost half an hour as it fed, flying from rocks down to the grass and back again. Another male was seen on a large boulder in the distance. A couple of flocks of Woodlark and Meadow Pipit were flying around. We then drove down to the coast and around the fields at the coast of Mandria. We had reasonable views of two Red-throated Pipits and watched several Eurasian Skylark in the fields. A Black Redstart entertained us while we ate our picnic lunch and several Yellow-legged Gull flew over. We decided to make a short stop near Kouklia Fish Farm where a pair of Slavonian Grebe had been offshore since late last week. Unfortunately we couldn’t find them but we did get great views of five Chukar that we had not managed at other locations.
We took the opportunity to visit Kouklia village where at least five Laughing Dove were found near the archaeological site there and then we moved to our last location of the day – Asprokremmos Dam. We spent some time on the dam wall where we watched another female Hen Harrier fly up stream and a lovely male Blue Rock Thrush feeding on the boulders. Driving up to the mast we found many Corn Bunting as well as more Woodlark, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch and a large flock of Common Linnet. On the water was a large group of Great Cormorant – another winter visitor – as well as some Common Teal and a single Northern Shoveler. Now the sun was setting the temperature started to drop and we called it a day and I drove Martin and Beverley back to their Paphos hotel.
Species seen – Chukar, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Common Coot, Grey Heron, Great Cormorant, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Snipe, Yellow-legged Gull, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Willow Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, European Robin, Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, European Stonechat, Finsch’s Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Red-throated Pipit, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, European Goldfinch, European Serin, Corn Bunting
This was the third year that I had taken Peter and Jean out and we started the first of two days out this autumn at Mavrokolympos Dam, continued through Akoursos to Kathikas, spent a couple of hours in the valley behind Arodes before driving to Kannaviou Dam. We finished the day as light was fading at Evretou Dam after a drive through the Saramas Valley.
Highlights per location:
Mavrokolympos Dam – Chukar h, Rock Dove, Grey Heron, Woodlark, Cyprus Warbler 1m and 1f, Blue Rock Thrush 1f, Meadow Pipit 37 over in one group
Kathikas – Long-legged Buzzard
Arodes – Common Quail 1 flushed from under our feet, Great Cormorant c30 seen migrating in a flock heading S, Hen Harrier 1f, Bonelli’s Eagle 2 ad (pair), Northern Goshawk 1 (prob this species), Woodlark, Black Redstart, Corn Bunting
Kannaviou – Chukar, Coal Tit (Cyprus endemic sub-species), Common Chaffinch, European Serin
Saramas Valley – Song Thrush, Black Redstart, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chiffchaff c20, Corn Bunting 30+, White Wagtail
Evretou Dam – Western Marsh Harrier 1f hunting, Long-legged Buzzard 1 perched in tree overlooking village, Black Redstart
I spent Wednesday morning and all day Friday taking Katrin and Volker around several of the main Paphos birding locations. On Wednesday morning we concentrated on finding the two endemics – Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear. To maximise our chances we spent a couple of hours at Mavrokolymbos Dam. Luckily we found two Cyprus Wheatear that have still not headed south for the winter. We heard a couple of Cyprus Warbler too in an area where I have found them in the past. They were not as obliging as the wheatears – we can say that we definitely saw them but only briefly as they flitted between bushes, usually diving quickly out of sight again. A Long-legged Buzzard perched on a low rock also kept us entertained until finally the local Hooded Crows forced it to leave the area. Two Eurasian Hobby flew briefly into view and we heard many newly arrived European Robin, saw some Spanish Sparrow, found many Sardinian Warbler, a female Black Redstart and a late migrant Spotted Flycatcher. The only water bird in the area was a Grey Heron.
We checked the road to Akoursos for Cyprus Warbler as well and again we were made to struggle for good views. A male played very hard to get and while a female was also around. Driving towards Kathikas we found a good number of Corn Bunting and a Lesser Whitethroat. A surprise near Pegeia was a female Merlin that flew in front of the car.
On Friday the aim was to have a general bird watch and see what was around. We started at Paphos Headland where we were pleased to find three Greater Sandplover in their usual location on the beach despite being warned by a local birder that they weren’t present. We also found a Common Sandpiper and four Ruddy Turnstone which late migrant Whinchat and Northern Wheatear were also present together with some of the numerous European Stonechat and Crested Lark that we would see during the day. At Paphos Sewage Plant we also found our target species quite quickly – Spur-winged Lapwing – although behind the fences today and not feeding in the fields as we had hoped. We spent some time watching a mixed flock of Meadow and Red-throated Pipit in an unploughed field together with a good number of White Wagtail and a few Western Yellow Wagtail. Six Eurasian Skylark flew over – all these species highlighting the fact that winter visitors are well and truly here.
We then visited Anarita Park where we failed to find our target species – a Finsch’s Wheatear. One had been reported back on territory in mid week but we had no joy today even after trying several areas where they usually winter. We did find some compensation in a very smart male Blue Rock Thrush. We also found Chukar, a Little Owl, four Northern Wheatear, two Whinchat and a Cyprus Wheatear. Moving down to the coast we drove around the fields at Mandria and were pleased to finally see a raptor – a ringtail Hen Harrier that flew over the western part of the area being chased by Hooded Crows. Here we also found two juvenile Red-backed Shrike.
Over looking Asprokremmos Dam from near Anarita Mast we were treated to a fly over from an Eleonora’s Falcon and then a young Osprey fishing in the Dam itself. Also trying to feed over the water was an immature Whiskered Tern. An odd bird for this location but a new one for our trip list was a Northern Lapwing. Several Great Cormorant and Grey Heron were also on the water.
We finished our day checking the Ha Potami valley and then headed back into Paphos after seeing a good variety of species during what is a relatively quiet period bird-wise.
Species list- Chukar, Mallard, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dover, Common Coot, Grey Heron, Great Cormorant, Greater Sandplover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, Little Owl, Osprey, Hen Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Eleonora’s Falcon, Merlin, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Eurasian Skylark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Willow Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Robin, Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Red-throated Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Corn Bunting
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