Pleased to have caught up with the two Slavonian Grebe that were found offshore by regular birding visitor Alison McArthur at Kouklia, Paphos late last Thursday. Still present Sunday morning although not playing ball for photographs! Two record shots below. Third Cyprus record if accepted.
For their second day out I took Peter and Jean to Paphos Sewage Plant, Timi Beach and Mandria and then inland to Kidasi. We finished the day at Kouklia village and then watching hundreds of Eurasian Jackdaw and Hooded Crow come into roost at Secret Valley where thirty plus Greater Cormorant also flew in and added to the spectacle.
Although we failed to see the Bimaculated Lark at Mandria despite checking through a lot of Eurasian Skylark we did find a lone Calandra Lark there as well as seeing a flyby Audouin’s Gull, a very late male Pallid Harrier and both a male and female Hen Harrier. We also enjoyed a male Finsch’s Wheatear at Kidasi.
Highlights per locations:
Paphos Sewage Plant – Spur-winged Lapwing 4, Eurasian Sparrowhawk 2, Common Buzzard, Red-throated Pipit 2+, Black Redstart
Timi Beach – Common Kingfisher
Mandria – Yellow-legged Gull c200, Audouin’s Gull 1, Hen Harrier 1m and 1f, Pallid Harrier 1m, Eurasian Skylark 100+, Calandra Lark 1, Black Redstart, Spanish Sparrow, White Wagtail
Kidasi – Finsch’s Wheatear 1m
Mamonia – Corn Bunting
Kouklia Village – Laughing Dove 5+
Secret Valley – Chukar, Great Cormorant 35+, Eurasian Jackdaw 300+, Common Kingfisher
A windy morning by the coast south of the airport at Larnaca. Wintering ducks and gulls were around.
Larnaca Airport Coast
Audouin’s Gull 1 ad flying W
Eurasian Golden Plover c30
Audouin’s Gull 1 imm
Caspian Gull 4 ad
Armenian Gull 3 ad + 4+ imm
Plus some other immature gulls!
Larnaca Sewage Works
Usual ducks etc plus
Common Pochard 1m and 4f types
Eurasian Wigeon 3
Ferruginous Duck 14
Northern Pintail c20
Black-necked Grebe 3
Greater White-fronted Goose 4
LIttle Stint 3
Common Redshank 1
Greater Flamingo 6
Black-headed Gull c60
Red-throated Pipit 1
Eurasian Skylark 2
Greater Flamingo 4 ad
Northern Lapwing 2
Spent much longer out birding than I had originally intended but it was worth it with the best birds being a sub adult Bonelli’s Eagle, two Long-legged Buzzard, three (maybe four) Finsch’s Wheatear, Red-throated Pipit, Spotted Crake, Water Pipit and a female Merlin which scattered the waders at Oroklini Marsh.
Interesting birds seen:
Bonelli’s Eagle 1 ad
Long-legged Buzzard 2 (see photo)
Peregrine Falcon 1
Finsch’s Wheatear 1m and 2f (prob 3f)
Red-throated Pipit 7+
Black Redstart 5
Spanish Sparrow 30+
Greater Flamingo 15
Spur-winged Lapwing 52+
Northern Lapwing 18
Black-headed Gull 13
Armenian Gull 1 ad
Northern Pintail 3
Little Stint 37
Common Ringed Plover 1
Common Redshank 8
Marsh Sandpiper 1
Common Snipe 2
Spotted Crake 1
Water Pipit 2
Grey Heron 1
Eurasian Golden Plover 27
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
Visited Achna Dam and Oroklini Marsh this morning after yesterday’s rain. Birds around included Hen and Western Marsh Harrier, Great Egret, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Snipe, Common Kingfisher, my first Meadow Pipits of the winter and a Bluethroat. Photos of a female Northern Pintail and a Western Marsh Harrier from Achna.
Winter is definitely coming, despite what the weather here tells us at the moment. A male (see photo) and female Finsch’s Wheatear were back on winter territories this morning at Agios Sozomenos. The male was very photo friendly, not so the female. Late migrants around were a lone Cyprus Wheatear, two Spotted Flycatcher and three juvenile Red-backed Shrike. Also around in large numbers were European Stonechat setting up their winter territories.
Yesterday I saw a godwit fly from the beach into Larnaca Sewage Works pools and disappear from sight. It was impossible to get good enough views to ID it as the sun was unhelpfully shining into my field of vision. This morning I found this Bar-tailed Godwit on the nearby beach, and I assume it was the same bird as yesterday’s. They are scarce visitors to Cyprus although they seem to becoming more regular. Was able to get a few photos although the sun was yet again in the wrong place!
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.