Second day guiding for Travelling Naturalist group in Cyprus travelling up to Troodos via Kouklia, Archimandrita, Agios Nikolaos and Platres. Highlights were good views of the endemic subspecies Coal Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper and Jay as well as Red Crossbill and low flying Pallid Swift. Also seen were several Cyprus Wheatear, European Serin, Corn Bunting and Laughing Dove at lower levels. Good collection of orchid species also seen as well as this crocus at Troodos.
Back in Cyprus after a few weeks away and time to get the 2018 year list under way. Visiting Manglis Lake and Agios Sozomenos in Nicosia with the Black-necked Grebe I found at the former in mid December still present and good views of Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Little Owl and Finsch’s Wheatear at the latter.
Black-necked Grebe 1
Northern Shoveler 13
Common Teal 1m
Little Egret 1
Great Cormorant 1
Cattle Egret 1
Red-throated Pipit 6
European Serin 2
Spectacled Warbler 3 singing males
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Bonelli’s Eagle 2
Little Owl 1 (see photo)
Northern Lapwing c50
Common Buzzard 2
Finsch’s Wheatear 1m and 1f
Corn Bunting 2 singing
A few birds of interest at Agios Sozomenos earlier today:
Cattle Egret 17
Red-thoated Pipit c45
Eurasian Skylark c35
Corn Bunting 12
Finsch’s Wheatear 2f and 1m
Hen Harrier 1 ring-tail
Black Redstart 1m
Spanish Sparrow 55+
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
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
The morning out today around Akamas with Grahame and Susie was notable for the number of European Rollers, Masked Shrike and Lesser Grey Shrike. We were especially pleased to see six of the latter sitting on low trees close to each other outside Pittokopos and Grahame was pleased to see so many European Rollers – his target species for the morning,
Highlights per location:
Neo Horio to Androlikou – Masked Shrike, European Turtle Dove, Chukar, Cyprus Wheatear
Androlikou to Pittokopos – Lesser Grey Shrike 6, Masked Shrike, Woodchat Shrike 1m, European Roller 6+, European Turtle Dove, Common Kestrel 7+ hawking over area together, Corn Bunting
Arodes – Lesser Grey Shrike 2, Masked Shrike, European Roller 5+, Little Owl 2 juv, Olivaceous Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Cyprus Wheatear
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
Today I took Terry and Sarah out around Larnaca for the day for the first time, although we had been out together several times around Paphos. We started in the Panagia Stazousa valley where we watched singing Cyprus Warbler and found a male and female Collared Flycatcher, a pair of Great Spotted Cuckoo and several Cyprus Wheatear. We watched a Long-legged Buzzard perched in a tree being harassed by Eurasian Magpie and later saw a pair circling over the area. Several migrating Common Nightingale were heard ‘peeping’ and one managed a few bars of song as well. Two Tree Pipit were also heard and we saw several Spanish Sparrow.
Driving through Kivisili fields we were pleased to find at least ten Lesser Kestrel including a male that perched close to us on some electricity wires. Suddenly an immature Bonelli’s Eagle flew in from the north and the Lesser Kestrel were soon mobbing it until it left the area. Two female Western Marsh Harrier approached from the south and were watched gaining height to migrate northwards. Our next stop was Petounta Point where we saw a migrating male Western Marsh Harrier, two Baltic Gulls heading E offshore and several Northern and Isabelline Wheatear. In the small area of trees we could hear a couple of Common Nightingale and decided to have our lunch there and see what else we could find. A good decision as we had good views of both a male and female Ruppell’s Warbler, a couple of Lesser Whitethroat and finally a Common Nightingale. I also saw a male Subalpine Warbler and Common Redstart but unfortunately Terry and Sarah didn’t. We watched a Eurasian Hoopoe feeding and then a couple of Corn Bunting as we left the area.
A couple of Calandra Lark were singing over the fields near Pervolia and two Common Quail called near the road. In the distance, we could see a large flock of Yellow Wagtail feeding and three Eurasian Skylark flew in. We were greeted by large numbers of waders on the Airport Pools – plenty of Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff, Common Greenshank, Dunlin, Little Stint, Black-winged Stilt and a lone Red-necked Phalarope – a good bird for Cyprus. In with the Greater Flamingo was a single Slender-billed Gull, two Little Egret and two Gull-billed Tern. A couple of Kentish Plover were around the edge of the Pool.
It was very windy at the Sewage Works hide so we didn’t stay long and moved inland a bit to the north east corner of the main Salt Lake. We finished the day there and added Sedge and Eurasian Reed Warbler, Water Pipit, Common Kingfisher, Green Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover to the day list. A good day out with Terry and Sarah having the chance to see new birding locations on the island.
Total number of species seen – 74
Little Egret, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Western Marsh Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Common Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Baltic Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Tree Pipit, Water Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Common Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Collared Flycatcher, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Corn Bunting
First day out birding of 2017 on my return from UK. As I had missed out on adding Common Gull to my 2016 Cyprus list I was determined to get it for my 2017 list. So I decided to go to Lady’s Mile at Akrotiri where at least three of this uncommon Cyprus winter visitor have been present. I saw my target birds and in with the 1000+ wintering Common Black-headed Gull I also found a first winter Slender-billed Gull and three first winter Mediterranean Gulls. There were also several wintering Armenian and Caspian Gulls.
Other birds of interest in the area included:
Western Marsh Harrier 3 (in air at same time)
Eurasian Penduline Tit 1+ heard
Common Reed Bunting 1 heard
Western Marsh Harrier 2
Spanish Sparrow 20
Cyprus Warbler 1m
Corn Bunting 22
Long-legged Buzzard 2
Great Egret 1
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
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.