More Common Crane migrating over the island today. Over 50 reported over Tala, Paphos while I had 95 over Achna Dam around 9:30 this morning. Also at Achna were:
A group of five Common Crane on Meneou Pool (distant photo below) and ten seen migrating from the main Salt Lake were the highlights of the waterbird count around Larnaca today. Also of interest were a Common Pochard, more than 20 Northern Pintail, 11 Ferruginous Duck, two Sanderling, large flocks of White Wagtail with a few Yellow Wagtail and Red-throated Pipit with them, more than 50 Spur-winged Lapwing in the area, two Whiskered Tern, a Black-necked Grebe and a lone European Bee-eater.
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
A good day around the Larnaca area doing the December waterbird count. Although one of the Sewage Pools is still empty the other one had some good birds including six Greater White-fronted Goose, a Ruddy Shelduck, an immature Great White Pelican, two Common Shelduck, five Black-necked Grebe, nine Eurasian Wigeon, four Common Pochard and two Northern Pintail. Twelve Eurasian Golden Plover were on Spiros Pool and six Eurasian Curlew were in the nearby fields which also had many Eurasian Skylark and Meadow Pipit feeding in them.
Nearly 700 Greater Flamingo were on the main Salt Lake as were around 140 Common Shelduck. An unexpected find were three Common Crane – maybe the same birds that were at Akrotiri Salt Lake recently (see record photo). Flocks of Kentish Plover, Dunlin and Little Stint were feeding on the edges of the water. Towards the north east corner there were more than 20 Common Snipe and a single Temminck’s Stint. Water and Meadow Pipit were around and were put up by hunting Western Marsh and Hen Harrier and two Common Buzzard. In the reeds I found three Moustached Warbler and two Bluethroat, a Water Rail and a Jack Snipe, as well as many Common Chiffchaff, two Grey Wagtail and a first winter Yellow Wagtail.
Most of my time out today was spent doing the Waterbird count around Larnaca. After the rain a few weeks ago there is still some water in parts of the Salt Lake and isolated patches of water contained some good birds. Best birds were a Common Crane flying over the Sewage Works, a Gadwall and three Black-necked Grebe on the Sewage Pools, eight Eurasian Stone Curlew and eight Eurasian Curlew, hunting Western Marsh and female Hen Harrier, flocks of Eurasian Skylark, two Bluethroat (see photo), six Temminck’s Stint, a Water Rail and around thirty Common Snipe in the north east corner of the Salt Lake.
Akhna Dam had less birds than when I visited a month ago although there was a Great White Pelican there and some recently arrived thrushes including Song and Mistle Thrush and Fieldfare. More than sixty Spur-winged Lapwing were at Oroklini together with twenty four Northern Lapwing, around fifty Greater Flamingo and a Great Egret.
Larnaca Airport Coast
Spanish Sparrow c300
Red-throated Pipit 24
Yellow Wagtail 1
Larnaca Sewage Works
Common Crane 9 (also seen later gaining height and heading out S over the sea)
Eurasian Spoonbill 1
Mediterranean Gull 1
Slender-billed Gull 6
Grey Plover 1
Northern Lapwing 1
Ruddy Turnstone 1
Marsh Sandpiper 1
Black-winged Stilt 8+
Little Stint 12+
Common Ringed Plover 5
Common Redshank 10+
Greater Flamingo 62
Ferruginous Duck 4
Tufted Duck 1m and 1f
Common Pochard 1f
Northern Pintail 4
The six Common Crane were back on the Sewage Pools this morning and the long-staying Ruddy Shelduck was still there. There were many Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Eurasian Coot, Little Grebe, Little Stint, Dunlin, Kentish Plover, Common Ringed Plover and several Black-winged Stilt. There were also single Grey Plover, Ruddy Turnstone and Northern Lapwing as well as more than sixty Greater Flamingo.
Also in the area was a late Northern Wheatear and at least six Red-throated Pipits. There were plenty of Common Stonechat setting up territories and away from the coast at Panagia Stazousa I counted at least 12. There were also several singing European Robin, a Little Owl and two late Cyprus Wheatear in that area.
Not a lot of water, even the Sewage Works Pools are emptying but some interesting birds with a Red-breasted Flycatcher (not a male though 😦 ) as a bonus!
Larnaca Sewage Works
Spur-winged Lapwing 9
Greater Flamingo 66
Northern Shoveler c300
Eurasian Teal c150
Black-winged Stilt 13
Grey Heron 2
Great Egret 1 (flew off heading E)
Little Stint c40
Ruddy Shelduck 1
Northern Lapwing 1
Kentish Plover 16
Common Ringed Plover 17
Marsh Sandpiper 1
Eleonora’s Falcon 2 flew over fast heading W
Red-breasted Flycatcher 1
Spur-winged Lapwing 30
Common Crane 6 (in pm were on Sewage Pools)
Common Ringed Plover 25
Water Rail 1h
Common Redshank 1
Common Snipe 1h
Yellow-legged Gull 27 flew over
Red-throated Pipit 2+h
Larnaca Desalination Fields
Spanish Sparrow 40+
Red-throated Pipit 1
Yellow-legged Gull 30+
Caspian Gull 1
Armenian Gull 1+
Joined the BirdLife Cyprus trip to the Karpasia this weekend with the highlights 86+ Common Crane heading S over Agios Therissos 16.50 9th October, six on southern coast 17.45 9th October, three in same area 08.00 am 10th October, c80 again there 08.00am 11th October and 17 in off sea Agios Phylonas 11.00am 11th October. Around 12.45 11th October 28 Great White Pelican were seen circling up and gaining height to the east of the village of Galinoporni on the south coast and then heading SE out to sea.
Three days out with Alan and Marilyn gave a good opportunity to catch up with many different resident and migrant species. They wanted the chance to get as many photos as possible and although not all the birds we saw were photo-friendly we found a wide variety of species and ended up with a three day total of 107 different birds: 59 on 24th, 51 on 26th (when the afternoon was very quiet at the sites we visited) and 71 on 27th.
Highlights of each location were:
Tuesday 24th March:
Paphos Headland – Red-throated Pipit 10+, Common Nightingale 2h, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Common Whitethroat 4, Subalpine Warbler 4m, Rüppell’s Warbler 1f, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 6
Paphos Sewage Works – Spur-winged Lapwing 4, Sardinian Warbler, European Serin c50
Lower Ezousas River – Great Egret 2, Purple Heron 1, Green Sandpiper 1, Tree Pipit 1, Rüppell’s Warbler 2m, Black-headed Wagtail 3m
Mandria – Eurasian Hoopoe 3, Greater Short-toed Lark c20, Isabelline Wheatear 12, Northern Wheatear 16+, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 2, Hawfinch 2
Asprokremmos Dam area – Common Quail 1h, Chukar 2, Little Owl 1, Common Cuckoo 1, Eurasian Hoopoe 4, Tawny Pipit 2, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 2, Spectacled Warbler 1, Cyprus Warbler 1m and 1f, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler 2, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 2
Thursday 26th March:
Anarita Park – Bonelli’s Eagle 1 immature, Lesser Kestrel 4, Great Spotted Cuckoo 4, Little Owl 1, Wryneck 1, Red-rumped Swallow 1, Tawny Pipit 2, Common Stonechat 2, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 1m, Cyprus Wheatear 2m, Cyprus Warbler 1m, Corn Bunting 12+
Tsada Hills – Hen Harrier 1m, Long-legged Buzzard 1, Spectacled Warbler 1, Cyprus Wheatear 2, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 1
Mavrokolympos Dam – Long-legged Buzzard 2, Chukar 3+, Cyprus Wheatear 3, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Common Whitethroat 1
Akoursos Valley – Eurasian Scops Owl 1h, Common Nightingale 1h, Cyprus Warbler 2m
Cape Drepanum – Great Cormorant 4, European Shag 3, Yellow-legged Gull 30+, Greater Short-toed Lark 4, Barn Swallow 30+ migrating N along coast, Subalpine Warbler 1m
Friday 27th March:
Zakaki Marsh – Little Egret 1, Little Crake 1m, Eurasian Reed Warbler 2+h, Sedge Warbler 1h
Phassouri Reed Beds – Squacco Heron 2, Cattle Egret 1, Purple Heron 3, Western Marsh Harrier 1, Common Crane 3 flying over heading N, Black Francolin 1+h, Common Quail 1h, Black-winged Stilt 1, Spur-winged Lapwing 1, Common Nightingale 1, European Blackcap 3
Flooded Phassouri old rabbit farm area – Great Egret 1, Black-winged Stilt 1, Little Ringed Plover c10, Kentish Plover 1, Ruff c50, Common Snipe 1, Marsh Sandpiper 2, Sand Martin 1, Yellow Wagtail inc Black and Blue headed and ‘dombrowski’ intergrade, Masked Shrike 2
Akrotiri Gravel Pits and coast – Great Egret 3 in from sea over area, ‘Baltic’ Gull 1 migrating with 10 Yellow-legged Gull offshore, Common Black-headed Gull c60 in bay, Eurasian Hoopoe 4, Common Redstart 1f, Desert Wheatear 1m, Cyprus Warbler 1h, Masked Shrike 1, Ortolan Bunting 1
Bishop’s Pool – Black-crowned Night Heron 3, Ferruginous Duck 2
Lady’s Mile – Black-winged Stilt 29, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover 1+ flew with flock of Kentish Plover, Marsh Sandpiper 1, Common Greenshank 4, Slender-billed Gull 8
Anarita Park – Lesser Kestrel 6, Woodchat Shrike 1, Spanish Sparrow c30
List of all 107 birds seen:
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Purple Heron, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Ferruginous Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Little Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Crane, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Common Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, ‘Baltic’ Gull (Lesser Black-backed Gull), Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Scops Owl h, Little Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, ‘dombrowski’ Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Western Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler h, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Rüppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Hawfinch, Ortolan Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
A couple of hours around Cape Greco with John and his family produced some late migrants and numerous Common Stonechat taking up their territories. We found plenty of other winter visitors in the area – Common Chaffinch, Eurasian Skylark, European Robin and just one Western Black Redstart. We spent some time trying to find the Cyprus Warbler and were finally rewarded with one singing male out in the open and another flitting from bush to bush. We also found Spectacled and Sardinian Warbler as well as a couple of Spanish Sparrow and a flock of around 20 Corn Bunting.
A migrating flock of Common Crane flew over us at around 11.00 am and at the same time two European Bee-eater also passed over heading SE. A few minutes before them we had seen a male Eurasian Sparrowhawk circling up and then an Elenora’s Falcon. At both the Cape and around the Agia Napa Sewage Works we found several Eurasian Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat as well as some Willow Warbler and just one Chiffchaff. Other late migrants included an Isabelline Wheatear two Northern Wheatear, a Red-backed Shrike, some migrating Barn Swallow, a Sand Martin and one Red-rumped Swallow.
As we finished our morning out a Long-legged Buzzard quartered the rocks at the back of Agia Napa Sewage Works. A majestic bird to watch and a good way to end our brief trip around the Cape Greco area.
Thirty six species seen:
Little Grebe, Mallard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Common Crane, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting