My first for spring 2020. One of my favourite birds.
A good selection of migrants in the area including Lesser Whitethroat, Masked, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrike, Ortolan and Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Western Yellow Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Whitethroat and Willow Warbler (see photos). Best birds though were 13 Black Kite that migrated SW over the area around 8:20 am. Single Peregrine Falcon, Western Marsh Harrier and Pallid Harrier also seen.
Good start this morning out guiding for the Travelling Naturalist group with a showy male Cyprus Warbler to keep us entertained at Anarita Park. Other good birds included Spotted Crake and Peregrine Falcon at Agia Varvara; Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Long-legged Buzzard and Red-rumped Swallow at Anarita Park; and an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler at Asprokremmos Dam. Plenty of Corn Buntings (photo) at all locations visited.
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.
Enjoyed some good birding the last two days with plenty of European Bee-eaters as well as European Roller, Red-footed Falcon, Red-rumped Swallow (see photo), Cyprus Wheatear, Black-headed and Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Garden Warbler, European Golden Oriole, Spotted Flycatcher, European Turtle Dove, Long-legged Buzzard, Eurasian Hobby, Eleonora’s and Peregrine Falcon and Alpine Swift.
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
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
Start of the autumn season with a morning’s guiding with Jonathan, looking for Cyprus endemics in particular and anything we could find in general, bearing in mind the time of year and the heat! In the end, we had no luck with the Cyprus Warbler – apart of one possible flying out of and then disappearing into bushes at Petra tou Romiou but found plenty of Cyprus Wheatear – both adults, juveniles and newly fledged and had good views of the Coal Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper – both endemic sub-species.
Starting in the village of Kouklia where we checked out the small Laughing Dove population now doing well there and were surprised to also see a European Turtle Dove in the village. Late or migrating Common Swift were heard overhead. Moving inland from the village towards Oreites we had good views of European Roller and saw the first of many Masked Shrike and Cyprus Wheatear – there were many adults and juveniles around of both species all along our route. Further on towards Archimandrita we had good views of an Olivaceous Warbler in a pine tree and three European Roller flying around making a lot of noise.
We were pleased to find one Cretzschmar’s Bunting feeding by the side of the road as we headed towards Dora and a bit further on a family group of the same species. Red-rumped Swallow and Barn Swallow were overhead and then Jonathan spotted a European Bee-eater in the distance. We could hear them calling but it took us a while to relocate them.
Stopping for a coffee under some pine trees near Tzelefos Bridge we saw and heard several Coal Tit and Jonathan remarked how different they were from the ones he saw at home in the UK. By the stream at the start of the Mylikouri trail were several Short-toed Treecreeper – another of the Cyprus endemic sub-species but we didn’t come across any Jays – especially as there were many people around the area near the bridge where I had expected we should find one. We added Spotted Flycatcher, Northern Wren and Common Chaffinch to the day list. Two birds of prey appeared over a ridge as we left the area but dropped down before we could get our binoculars on them – more than likely Long-legged Buzzard but we weren’t sure enough to add them to the day list and they didn’t reappear.
It was now getting very hot and there were few birds out and about in the Omodos vineyards. We heard more European Bee-eater and saw more Masked Shrike, Cyprus Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow and Sardinian Warbler.
We finished at Petra tou Romiou for a last look for Cyprus Warbler. We saw a likely candidate flitting around nearby bushes but didn’t have good enough views to confirm ID. We did however see three Eleonora’s Falcon flying around the area which was some compensation. Thanks to Jonathan for an interesting morning out.
Chukar, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Olivaceous Warbler, Northern House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sardinian Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper, Northern Wren, Spotted Flycatcher, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, European Goldfinch, Cretzschmar’s 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
Spent the morning around Akrotiri where it was quiet with the best birds at least three Little Bittern at Zakaki Marsh, a group of a couple of hundred Greater Flamingo still on the Salt Lake where there were also Little Tern, Black-winged Stilt and Slender-billed Gull.
Akrotiri Salt Lake/Zakaki Run off
Greater Flamingo 300+
Slender-billed Gull 6
Little Tern 6+
Black-winged Stilt 21
Little Egret 2
Grey Heron 2
Little Stint c40
Yellow Wagtail 1 in flight
Little Egret 6 inc grey morph
Squacco Heron 2
European Turtle Dove 2
But the best part of the day was the two hours I spent at Prastio Kellakiou in the late afternoon. Full of migrant breeders – Eurasian Hoopoe, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Masked Shrike, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, European Turtle Dove and Cyprus’ endemic sub-species Coal Tit and Jay. But the star was the hardworking male Black-headed Bunting who was kept busy feeding two fledglings in the shade of some olive trees (see the photo below that was taken at a distance). At least four other Black-headed Bunting males and one female were also in the area.
Spent the morning at several locations north of Paphos with Mark looking for migrant breeders including Black-headed Bunting and Cretzschmar’s Bunting. Despite the unseasonal heavy rain as we drove through Akoursos to Kathikas the weather brightened up and we were treated to good views of several of the colourful migrant breeders that are now on territories as well as some later passage migrants such as Woodchat Shrike and European Bee-eater.
Highlights per location:
Akoursos – European Roller 2
Kathikas – Black-headed Bunting 1m and 1f, Corn Bunting
Arodes – Black Francolin 2h, Great Spotted Cuckoo 2, European Bee-eater 3, European Roller 5, European Golden Oriole 2m and 1f, Woodchat Shrike 1, Cyprus Wheatear, Spanish Sparrow 20+, Black-headed Bunting 2m
Pittokopos – Androlikou road – European Roller 3 including one rolling and displaying, Cyprus Wheatear 2, Black-headed Bunting 2m, Corn Bunting 6+
Androlikou – Cyprus Wheatear 4, European Roller 1, European Bee-eater 22
Neo Chorio/Smygies – Long-legged Buzzard 1, European Turtle Dove 1, Cyprus Wheatear 3, Olivaceous Warbler, European Serin, Red-rumped Swallow, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 2 singing males seen, others heard
This year a day out in mid-May means finding very few passerine migrants, the need to concentrate on breeding birds and visiting a wetland to increase the variety of species seen. Luckily Robert had a list of realistic target species which made our day easier although we had to work hard to find the Black-headed Wagtail. The other species Robert hoped to see were Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Black Francolin, Chukar, Little Owl, Spur-winged Lapwing and Masked Shrike.
Starting at Cape Greco, the first bird we saw was a singing male Cyprus Warbler which was a great start. We explored the area and found another two males and two females together with a couple of juveniles. We soon heard the distinctive call of the Cyprus Wheatear and spotted a singing male on a low bush. Several others were later seen as were a couple of European Turtle Dove, a Spectacled Warbler, a male and female Red-backed Shrike as well as a couple of Sand Martin. A couple of Black-headed Buntings were singing near the Sea Caves area where we also found our only Chukar of the day.
We then headed to Akhna Dam where several Spur-winged Lapwing were found as was a male Garganey, a couple of Ruff and Common Sandpiper, some Little Egret, a Grey Heron and a Glossy Ibis. Several Eurasian Reed Warbler were heard singing and a flock of around 30 Common Swift and seven Alpine Swift were flying over the area and coming down to drink – a great sight. We visited both hides at Oroklini and Robert got great views of another of his targets here – this time a male Black Francolin was out in the open calling for quite a while. We also saw more Spur-winged Lapwing here as well as Black-winged Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Little, Whiskered and White-winged Tern and Garganey. There were several recently hatched young Cattle Egret in the colony and we also spotted a Spur-winged Lapwing chick with one of its parents.
We then went inland to Panagia Stazousa to try and find a Masked Shrike and a Little Owl. We found the Little Owl perched outside its nest site but it took a while to find a Masked Shrike until eventually a male flew into view. We also saw more Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear as well as Olivaceous Warbler, a European Roller, a fly-over Eurasian Hobby and two Long-legged Buzzard. We heard Cretzschmar’s Bunting but couldn’t get decent views of them.
Our next stop was on the eastern side of Larnaca Salt Lake where there was still some water and I was hoping may be a suitable location for the feldegg race of the Yellow Wagtail – Black-headed Wagtail. We found some water and the bonus of three Broad-billed Sandpiper (a regular but scarce passage migrant to Cyprus) feeding with Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper and some stunning Curlew Sandpiper. A Squacco Heron was also present and we heard the call of a Yellow Wagtail and saw a couple fly over but were unable to see which race they were. Finally, a male Blue-headed was spotted feeding next to some reeds and then to its right there was a male Black-headed. All of the target species seen we went south of the airport to see what was on the Sewage Pools there. There were several Little Tern and a couple of White-winged Tern as well as two Yellow-legged Gull, some Spur-winged Lapwing and several Ruff. New birds for the day were a single Gull-billed Tern feeding over the water and a Collared Pratincole which we saw head out towards the coast.
We finished our day there pleased with our efforts.
Total species seen 66
Chukar, Black Francolin, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Little Owl, Long-legged Buzzard, European Roller, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Barn Swallow, Collared Sand Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting