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
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
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.
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
My first count of the BirdLife Cyprus autumn raptor monitoring at Cape Greco is usually very quiet giving me a chance to renew my acquaintance with the local Common Kestrels. So although not very busy the steady stream of raptors around there this morning was a pleasant change. At least three Eleonora’s Falcon, a Perergine Falcon and a Eurasian Hobby flew over the Cava Viewpoint on several occasions and did not appear to be migrating. (Poor, hazy record shots below). A group of eight adult and two juvenile Greater Flamingo flew from west to east and then heading SE out to sea. A trickle of migrating Western Marsh Harrier were seen either circling up and gaining height or heading out S over the sea. At least 15 passed through as well as six European Honey Buzzard. A couple of other large raptors were too distant for a certain ID. Also migrating over were seven Red-rumped Swallows, a handful of Barn Swallows and some European Bee-eater.
On finishing I passed by the Agia Napa Football Fields which is a good location to visit at this time of year and as most years there were a good number of Lesser Grey Shrike (15+) and also a male Red-backed Shrike, a European Roller, two Isabelline Wheatear, two Spotted Flycatcher, seven Yellow Wagtail, a Whinchat, a European Roller and around thirty Cattle Egret.
Just like the first morning out with Jon, on 3rd August, today’s highlight was an unexpected sighting of a species not on the list of likely birds for the day. This time it was a juvenile Northern Goshawk which flew in front of us at Mavrokolympos Dam chasing six Chukar. It almost caught one of them and we saw the bird briefly on the ground before it returned across the valley and was lost to sight. The decision to visit the Dam turned out to be a good one as not only did we see the first migrating Lesser Grey Shrike of the autumn but also got great views of a male Cyprus Warbler, saw several Cyprus Wheatear, four Green Sandpiper and had a fly-past Eleonora’s Falcon.
We then spent some time in the valley behind Arodes where we found another Lesser Grey Shrike, two Woodchat Shrike, several Masked Shrike, some European Turtle Dove and a European Roller as well as two Eurasian Hobby. A European Serin flew overhead and we saw a flock of at least twenty Chukar – but not with a chasing raptor this time. Returning to Paphos we drove over Minthis Hills which gave Jon the chance to get a good view of a Spectacled Warbler.
Species list – Little Grebe, Northern Goshawk, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar, Green Sandpiper, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, European Roller, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Cyprus Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Great Tit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch
A morning out with Fulco and his son Tijmen was spent at a few locations to the north of Paphos. We visited Arodes, Androlikou, Neochorio and Kathikas and the highlights were Masked Shrike, two adult Bonelli’s Eagle, Eurasian Hobby, Long-legged Buzzard, Cyprus Wheatear and Cretzschmar’s Bunting. We also saw several Chukar, a male Black Francolin and Eurasian Turtle Dove. We spent some time sea watching near Latchi but there was no movement of migrants at the time.
Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Cyprus Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Photographs below taken during trip by Fulco van’t Holt (c) Fulco van’t Holt.
A very different morning at Cape Greco today. Few birds around compared to yesterday, although I spent an hour checking out the football pitches at Agia Napa which were full of migrants feeding on the watered pitches:
Cape Greco 8.00am – 12.00pm
Black Kite 1
Montagu’s Harrier 1 ringtail
Marsh Harrier 6 (1 male)
European Honey Buzzard 9
European Hobby 1
European Bee-eater two flocks heard and another 17 seen
Ortolan Bunting 4
Ruff 15 migrating off shore
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Agia Napa Football Fields
European Bee-eater 17
Lesser Grey Shrike 2
Masked Shrike 3
Eurasian Hoopoe 6
Yellow Wagtail 50+
Isabelline Wheatear 3
Red-backed Shrike 4
Tawny Pipit 1
Cattle Egret 12
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Red-rumped Swallow 8
Alpine Swift 8
Meneou Beach 6.00am
Red-rumped Swallow 50+
Barn Swallow 30+
Sand Martin 3
Red-backed Shrike 1
European Bee-eater c60