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!
A good day around Akrotiri with highlights two Spotted Crake, a juvenile Common Crane and three Little Swift plus my first Bluethroats, Common Stonechat and Common Buzzard of the winter. Raptor migration has slowed to a trickle but I did see small numbers of Red-footed and Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier and a single Osprey.
The area is drying out but along with Larnaca Sewage Works, it is still probably the best birding location on the island at the moment. Plenty of Little Ringed Plover (see photo), Kentish Plover and Little Stint along with Glossy Ibis, Slender-billed Gull, a Broad-billed Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Common Snipe, two Collared Pratincole, a Temminck’s Stint and a Gull-billed Tern. A female Western Marsh Harrier is putting the birds up frequently as she quarters the area and Elenora’s Falcon fly over from time to time.
One of several juvenile Yellow-legged Gull currently to be found along Spiros Beach and Larnaca Sewage Works. Also in the area today were an Eleonora’s Falcon, Little and Gull-billed Tern, Temminck’s and Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Little Ringed Plover and Greater Flamingo.
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.
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
A few hours out around Paphos with Robert and Jean started at Paphos Sewage Plant where our first birds were a pair of Grey Wagtail and then a lovely male Black Francolin who stood at the road side in front of us feeding for several minutes. Many Spur-winged Lapwing were feeding in the fields – it seems they had a successful breeding season at this location. We also found a Northern Wheatear, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and several Willow Warbler – a few late migrants still around.
In the valley behind Agia Varvara we were treated to a flyby from two Long-legged Buzzard and came across a European Stonechat – one of the first of the autumn, soon they will be everywhere. More Willow Warbler and Whinchat were present as was a juvenile Red-backed Shrike. We found a small area of water and a Common Kingfisher was seen there.
We spent some time in the fields at Mandria where a small group of Red-footed Falcon were feeding and flying around. Suddenly they all took off and we watched them circling up as they gained height and soon were lost to sight and we assumed they migrated south. We then realised that a ring-tail harrier was being chased around the same fields by several Hooded Crows. Eventually we were able to get good views of the underparts and identified it as a female Montagu’s Harrier. There were a good number of both Yellow and White Wagtails in the fields as well as yet more Whinchat and Northern Wheatear.
We finished our time out around Asprokremmos Dam. We heard a Cyprus Warbler and had brief views of a female in flight but were disappointed not to see the male at all. An Eleonora’s Falcon was seen flying above us and another new bird for the day was a Tawny Pipit. A quiet morning at the end of migration but Robert and Jean had several lifers with the Long-legged Buzzard and Red-footed Falcons a special treat.
Migrating raptor numbers still seem to be low all over the island this autumn but at least I had a few at Cape Greco this morning. No where near what I would expect usually but good to get a European Honey Buzzard pass close over my observation point. Eleven others headed east further inland and I also spotted a male Western Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine Falcon, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk and an Eleonora’s Falcon. A European Roller headed southwards out to sea and a small number of Grey and Purple Heron migrated offshore.
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
The main bulk of migrating raptors have not yet put in an appearance so I was hoping that there would be some around at Cape Greco this morning. No such luck unfortunately with just one Western Marsh Harrier the only large raptor seen.
Cape Greco 8.15 – 11.45
Western Marsh Harrier 1
Eurasian Hobby 1
Eleonora’s Falcon 1
Grey Heron 1
Little Egret 1
Purple Heron 25
Willow Warbler 1
Yellow Wagtail 8 heading S out to sea
European Bee-eater h
Red-rumped Swallow 40+
Sand Martn 20+
Agia Napa Football Fields
Yellow Wagtail 90+
Common Hoopoe 2
Red-backed Shrike 3 juv
Lesser Grey Shrike 1
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Larnaca Airport Pools South
Eurasian Thick-knee 35
A good day out again with Terry and Sarah around Akrotiri and then west to Mandria, Timi Beach and Asprokremmos Dam. Another very warm day with just a trickle of migrating raptors but we pieced together some good species and enjoyed ourselves in any case.
Highlights per location:
Phassouri Reed-beds – Black Francolin 1m and 1f, European Turtle Dove 20+, Pallid Swift 2, European Honey Buzzard 7, Western Marsh Harrier 3, Montagu’s Harrier 3 juv, Black Kite 2, European Bee-eater 200+, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Kestrel, Red-backed, Lesser Grey and Masked Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail
Bishop’s Pool – Black-crowned Night Heron, Purple Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin
Lady’s Mile – Dunlin 3, Kentish Plover, Little Stint
Zakaki Marsh – Common Kingfisher, Great Reed Warbler
Mandria – Chukar, Eleonora’s Falcon, European Roller, Lesser Grey Shrike, Greater Short-toed Lark, Northern & Isabelline Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, European Shag
Timi Beach – Greater Short-toed Lark c30
Asprokremmos Dam – Spotted Flycatcher, Eleonora’s Falcon
After picking up Carole, John and Philip from Pissouri Bay we headed towards Akrotiri for a day’s birding. Our first stop was at Kensington Cliffs where we had good views of Eleonora’s Falcon and their acrobatics. A ring-tailed Harrier was flying close to the cliffs but we couldn’t get any ID features. As we left we saw an Isabelline Wheatear. At Phasouri Reed-beds we visited the new tower hide and were treated to the wonderful sight of several European Bee-eater coming down to drink at a nearby pool. Two juvenile Montagu’s Harrier were flying around the area as was a female Western Marsh Harrier. We also saw a European Turtle Dove and a couple of Willow Warbler before our attention was drawn to a Eurasian Hobby over us and then a small group of larger raptors gaining height – European Honey Buzzards and a lone Black Kite. We then found a Lesser Grey Shrike, a European Roller and a small flock of Western Yellow Wagtail near the other new hide. A couple of Whinchat and a very smart male Red-backed Shrike were also present.
Driving across Akrotiri Gravel Pits we saw a couple of juvenile Red-backed Shrike and a juvenile Masked Shrike and at the churchyard we found a Common Hoopoe, Spotted Flycatcher and a Northern Wheatear. We then spent some time at Bishop’s Pool. Disappointed not to see any Ferruginous Duck there but we did see a European Honey Buzzard being mobbed by two Eleonora’s Falcon, a Black-winged Stilt, a couple of Little Egret, a Common Redshank, some Northern Shoveler and Common Teal and an immature marsh tern which in the end we ID’d as a Whiskered Tern.
There were plenty of Kentish Plover and Little Stint on Lady’s Mile although we couldn’t see any other waders but there was a juvenile Greater Flamingo there. We spent a while then in the hide at Zakaki Marsh where we could hear several Black-crowned Night Heron – none of which was obliging enough to fly up to let us see them. We did though see a juvenile Western Water Rail and a Common Kingfisher although unfortunately only I saw a Great Reed Warbler sitting on the reeds with a large dragonfly in its bill. Two Western Marsh Harrier were quartering the area.
We ate our lunch back at Phasouri Reed-beds where we watched many Red-rumped Swallow migrating through. We added Lesser Kestrel to our list of species as one flew over head and saw a few more European Honey Buzzard and another juvenile Montagu’s Harrier. We then decided to head to Mandria to see if the Eurasian Dotterel that had been found there yesterday was still present. We were in luck and we spent some time looking at it through the ‘scope. It was surrounded by Greater Short-toed Lark so we had good views of them as well and also the Northern Wheatear and Lesser Grey Shrike nearby. We finished our day with a quick check of the amenities area of Asprokremmos Dam and added Long-legged Buzzard to our day list and also found another European Turtle Dove.
A good selection of species on a very hot September day.
Total number of species: 62
Black Francolin, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Western Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Black-crowned Night Heron (H), Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Common Redshank, Eurasian Dotterel, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Black Kite, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, House Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail, European Goldfinch.