A relaxing morning in the Troodos area. Several family parties seen – of Masked Shrike, Northern Wren, Olivaceous Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Eurasian Jay as well as several Spotted Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Common Chaffinches, European Goldfinch and Greenfinch. Also a couple of Eurasian Crag Martin, two Grey Wagtail and a Common Hoopoe. This Masked Shrike looked the worse for wear – after a tiring breeding season I’m guessing.
Today the Travelling Naturalist group visited Akrotiri starting at Kensington Cliffs where we saw a Griffon Vulture and a male Cyprus Warbler. During the day we found many migrants in the area including Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Western Yellow Wagtail, Common Redstart, Ruppell’s and Subalpine Warbler, Little Ringed Plover, Eurasian Bittern, Common Hoopoe (photo). Black-eared Wheatear, Red-throated & Tree Pipit and ‘Steppe’ Buzzard.
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.
As well as the Demoiselle Cranes at Akrotiri on 16th March I also found several Great Spotted Cuckoo (photo), a Common Hoopoe, Water Pipit, Baltic and Slender-billed Gull, some Little Ringed Plover (photo) and a Purple Heron.
Some of the more interesting sightings:
Larnaca Sewage Works
Still some winter visitors around – Eurasian Siskins, Hawfinches and Bramblings but migrant breeders are now in evidence – I found two male and one female Masked Shrike as well as a Common Hoopoe (see photo).
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
Saw at least 18 Ruppell’s Warbler today at Cape Greco – mainly males although there were a couple of females. More seemed to arrive as the day went on.
Cape Greco area
Greater Short-toed Lark 30 in one flock
Tawny Pipit 2
Cyprus Warbler 5m and 1f with nesting material in bill
Grey Heron 1 flying E
Common Buzzard 2
Isabelline Wheatear 3
Ruppell’s Warbler (almost certainly an undercount) 16m and 2f
Long-legged Buzzard 2
Common Hoopoe 2
Northern Wheatear 1m and 1f
Agia Napa Sewage Works
Ruppell’s Warbler 1
Spur-winged Lapwing 1
Black-necked Grebe 5 (3 in breeding plumage)
Ferruginous Duck 1
Cretzschmar’s Bunting 4
Eurasian Blackcap 1m
Numbers of ducks decreasing but still good numbers of Northern Shoveler and Common Teal as well as 24+ Black-necked Grebe, a pair of Gadwall, some Eurasian Wigeon and Common Pochard. More than 1000 Greater Flamingo in the area, although no sign today of a melanistic one seen yesterday, as well as nearly 1000 Common Shelduck on the main Salt Lake. A couple of hundred Slender-billed Gull were on the Salt Lake as well as some Caspian and Armenian Gull and plenty of Black-headed. But the best was an adult Pallas’s Gull in full breeding plumage in the north-east corner together with a Baltic Gull, two Heuglin’s Gull and a Mediterranean Gull. Waders included at least 16 Common Snipe, five Ruff, a few Eurasian Stone Curlew and hundreds of Dunlin and Little Stint.
The only spring migrants I saw were some Barn Swallows, an Isabelline Wheatear (see photo) and a Common Hoopoe. I then went along the coast towards Agios Theodoros where the Great Grey Shrike (probable aucheri intergrade) was still present and I managed to get a view of one of two Short-toed Snake Eagle that have also been in that area for a few days.
David, Diane and I spent the day out birding around Larnaca visiting Achna Dam, Ormeidia, Oroklini, Larnaca Sewage Works area, Pervolia, Kivisili and Panagia Stazousa. We had a good selection of species including Greater Sandplover, the endemic Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler, White-winged and Whiskered Tern, Red-footed Falcon, Montagu’s Harrier, Ferruginous Duck, Chukar and Spur-winged Lapwing.
Highlights per location:
Achna Dam – Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe, Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher
Ormedeia Beach – Greater Sandplover, Kentish Plover, Whinchat, European Shag
Oroklini – Little Ringed Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing
Meneou Pool – Eurasian Thick-knee, Masked Shrike
Larnaca Sewage Works area – Ferruginous Duck, Northern Pintail, Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, White-winged Tern (inc 1 in breeding plumage), Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-backed Shrike, Sand Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Western Yellow Wagtail
Pervolia area – Montagu’s Harrier 1 juv, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Tawny Pipit, Northern Wheatear
Kivisilli fields – Common Hoopoe 1, Red-footed Falcon 1 juv, Tree Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat
Panagia Stazousa – Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, European Stonechat, European Bee-eater
Total number of species seen – 74
Chukar, Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, European Shag, Eurasian Thick-knee, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Greenfinch
Picking David, Jan and Rachael from Polis our first stop of the day was behind the village of Neo Horio after which we moved on to the deserted village of Androlikou and then to the valley behind Arodes via Pittokopos. We briefly visited Kannaviou Dam which had very little bird life and then drove through the Sarama valley to finish at Evretou Dam. The call of European Bee-eater was the sound track of the day as they passed over heading south in large numbers – some of them passing low over us or perching on low trees by the side of tracks meaning we had plenty of opportunities to enjoy their vibrant colours. Other highlights included a couple of male Red-backed Shrike, at least two European Golden Oriole, a Common Hoopoe, several Cyprus Wheatear, a male and a female Black-eared Wheatear and a couple of Black Francolin. Two Long-legged Buzzard were the only identifiable large raptors although a probableBonelli’s Eagle was seen above Arodes before disappearing into the haze. Juvenile Red-backed Shrike and Spotted Flycatcher were everywhere we went as were many Willow Warbler.
Highlights per location:
Neo Horio – Smygies – Chukar, European Bee-eater, Common Hoopoe, Red-backed Shrike, Olivaceous Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear
Neo Horio – Androlikou – Red-backed Shrike, Cyprus Wheatear, European Bee-eater
Androlikou -Pittokopos – European Bee-eater, Red-backed Shrike, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear
Arodes – Long-legged Buzzard, Red-backed Shrike (male), Masked Shrike, Willow Warbler 30+, Spotted Flycatcher, Black-eared Wheatear 1m and 1f, Cyprus Wheatear, Whinchat,
Kathikas – Long-egged Buzzard
Kannaviou – Coal Tit h, Cyprus Warbler singing (odd location for that species)
Sarama valley – European Turtle Dove, European Bee-eater, European Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher, Cyprus Wheatear
Evretou Dam – Chukar, Black Francolin, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Garganey, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, European Bee-eater, Western Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Nelson wanted to see Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear on his short stay in Cyprus with anything else a bonus. I was a bit apprehensive as Cyprus Warbler can be quite skulking at this time of year and it was possible that Cyprus Wheatear could have moved on. But we started early at Cape Greco and luckily a couple of male Cyprus Warbler were flitting around in an area where they usually breed and are regularly seen in the spring. We also had good views of a couple of females and one juvenile. One of the males even decided to sing – we were very pleased. We also saw a couple of Spectacled Warbler, Isabelline Wheatear and several Red-backed Shrike. Moving closer to the coast we soon found a very smart juvenile Cyprus Wheatear which sat very still to enable both Nelson and Molly to watch him at their leisure. We were very pleased to see good numbers of Chukar as well. European Bee-eater were migrating overhead – many heard only although finally three or four passed low in front of us. Six Purple Heron migrated over as well as did Red-rumped Swallow and Sand Martin. We added Lesser Grey Shrike, Northern Wheatear, Willow Warbler and another Cyprus Wheatear before heading towards Agia Napa Sewage Works.
A surprise find on the pools there was a single Ferruginous Duck. Four Spur-winged Lapwing were flying around the area calling and two Common Sandpiper were feeding on the edge of the pool. We stopped to watch a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier gaining height over the area and migrating south. An Eleonora’s Falcon was being mobbed by two Common Kestrel below him. We added yet more Red-backed Shrike to the mornings totals but also a male, female and juvenile Masked Shrike which gave us a chance to compare their different plumages. A Spotted Flycatcher was another new species there.
Moving to Agia Napa Football Fields we found several Cattle Egret, another Isabelline Wheatear, a Common Hoopoe, a juvenile Red-backed Shrike and at least 60 Yellow Wagtail feeding on the fields. Our last stop was at Macronissos Beach where at first it seemed we wouldn’t find anything but more scanning produced two Greater Sandplover and three Kentish Plover – two bonus species on which to finish our morning.
Total species seen – 40
Chukar, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Coot, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Spur-winged Plover, Common Sandpiper, Montagu’s Harrier, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail, European Goldfinch