Quick visit to Agios Sozomenos outside Nicosia this morning. Very quiet apart from some Red-throated Pipits, a Cyprus Wheatear and a group of five Whinchat (one photographed below) and a male European Stonechat together on the edge of a field. The European Stonechat was my first of the winter – soon they will be so common everywhere until late March.
Some of the more interesting sightings included: an Osprey migrating west early, a group of 20+ Collared Pratincole, nine Ruddy Turnstone feeding together – which is a high count for Cyprus, six Gull-billed Tern, two Whimbrel, more than 30 Eurasian Stone Curlew, two Black-eared Wheatear, many juv Red-backed Shrike and Whinchat and then a juv Common Cuckoo resting on my veranda when I got home.
Photos of the small flock of Greater Flamingo on the Salt Lake and three of the Ruddy Turnstone group.
A good day around Akrotiri despite being in the wrong places at the time when three Short-toed Snake Eagles passed over. Anyhow saw nearly 70 migrating European Honey Buzzard as well as six Black Kite and several Montagu’s Harrier. Elenora’s Falcon were hunting over the area and hundreds of European Bee-eater were migrating through. Nearly two hundred Kentish Plover were on Lady’s Mile together with a few Little Stint and single Sanderling and Dunlin.
Photo below of a juvenile Kentish Plover in the midday sun on Lady’s Mile.
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.
Several smart male Red-backed Shrikes were around the Larnaca coastal area this morning.
More sea watching today and some good waders around – Eurasian Oystercatcher moving very quickly west close to shore, flock of 14 Common Redshank, another of 28 Ruff, a juvenile Collared Pratincole and single Ruddy Turnstone and Little Ringed Plover. Also small flocks of Grey and Purple Heron and Glossy Ibis, single Cattle Egret and Black-crowned Night Heron, Garganey, a lone Elenora’s Falcon heading east and two Slender-billed Gull. The photos are the best of a bad bunch of photos taken today – blame the speed of the birds, the harsh light and of course the photographer!
Very hot and humid but signs of migration included Greater Flamingo, Grey Heron, Ruff, Little Stint, Little Ringed Plover, Lesser Grey, Red-backed and Masked Shrike, Common Hoopoe, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Teal, Garganey, Isabelline and Northern Wheatear, Western Yellow Wagtail, a single White Stork, Common Kingfisher (photo) and unusually a moulting Mediterranean Gull (photo) on the beach.
Spent most of the day sea watching in the Polis Chrysochou Bay. The bird of the day was this Whimbrel (photo) which flew in off the sea and started feeding on the beach in front me. Also migrating were some Grey and Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis and Garganey. Other waders seen were a flock of eight Common Sandpiper, four distant Pied Avocet flying west over the sea and two Grey Plover which flew into the bay as I was leaving and couldn’t see where they had landed.
A few days in the Akamas area 6th – 8th August produced several adult and juvenile Masked Shrike, a male and a female Woodchat Shrike and among the first return migrating Lesser Grey Shrike and Red-backed Shrike. Sea watching was quiet with not much movement yet, although I had several Gull-billed and Whiskered Tern, a flock of 22 Common Sandpiper and an ‘in off’ European Roller as well as a Western Yellow Wagtail feeding in a coastal feed.
Back in Larnaca today I found a resting group of Grey Heron and Little Egret and saw a small group of Glossy Ibis flying over. Little Tern are still fishing offshore and a group of c80 Greater Flamingo are on the Salt Lake which still has some water. Another Lesser Grey Shrike was also there and while I was looking at an Olivaceous Warbler in a track side bush this juvenile Masked Shrike came to check me out.
The Black-winged Stilt appear to have had a successful breeding season in the Larnaca area. Lots of juveniles of all age and sizes around.
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.
After all the wet weather during last winter, its great to find that a species that hasn’t bred in Cyprus since 1982 has bred this spring at two locations – Great Crested Grebe. This pair has five young and was seen this morning. Distant photo.