Second day guiding for Travelling Naturalist group in Cyprus travelling up to Troodos via Kouklia, Archimandrita, Agios Nikolaos and Platres. Highlights were good views of the endemic subspecies Coal Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper and Jay as well as Red Crossbill and low flying Pallid Swift. Also seen were several Cyprus Wheatear, European Serin, Corn Bunting and Laughing Dove at lower levels. Good collection of orchid species also seen as well as this crocus at Troodos.
Plenty of the ‘usual suspects’ around Troodos this morning. Especially good views of Masked Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher, Eurasian Jay, Cyprus Wheatear and Red-rumped Swallow. A male Blue Rock Thrush was singing at Amiantos.
Below is a photo of a Eurasian Jay – a Cyprus endemic sub species – taking a bath in one of the many water troughs at a picnic site.
Spent the day visiting several of the Troodos picnic sites which are usually a good area to find migrant and resident breeders and find some endemic sub-species. Some of the plumage of the breeding birds was looking very worn.
Spotted Flycatcher 1 ad and at least 4 juvs
Red-rumped Swallow 1
Eurasian Blackbird pair seen and 1 other male singing
Common Hoopoe 1
Masked Shrike 2m and 1f (1m having bath in stream)
Coal Tit 3 juvs
Northern Wren 1 having bath in stream
Livadi tou Pashia
Eurasian Blackbird 2m and 1f
European Serin 2+
Northern Wren 2
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 4+
Masked Shrike 1 pair feeding unseen juvs and another feeding 3 fledged juvs
plus 3 other males
Eurasian Jay 3 juvs, one seen fighting with male Blackbird
Northern House Martin 100+
Masked Shrike 3m
Eurasian Blackbird 3 singing males
Red Crossbill 2
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 2h
Platres Old Road and start of Caledonia Trail
Cyprus Wheatear 1m singing
Eurasian Blackbird 4m
Grey Wagtail 1 ad
Northern Wren 2
European Serin 1+
Troodos Botanical Gardens
Grey Wagtail 1ad
Cyprus Wheatear 1 ad
Red-rumped Swallow 2
Northern House Martin 30+
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 several hours at a few Troodos picnic sites. As well as the usual enedemic sub-species Coal Tit, Eurasian Jay and Short-toed Tree Creeper there was a good selection of winter visitors around including this Yellowhammer (see record shot photo). Until recently Yellowhammers were vagrants but small numbers are recorded most years now.
A male and two female Hawfinch spent at least an hour hiding behind branches and leaves at Troodos today, finally coming down the drink as the light faded!
Platania Picnic Site
Eurasian Siskin c12
Grey Wagtail 1
Some sightings from the Troodos area and the Omodos vineyards. Many Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Common Chaffinch, Coal Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper also seen:
Masked Shrike 1m and 1f
I had previously taken Gareth out in April 2015 when we had visited Akrotiri and managed to see 90 species. We knew that we couldn’t reach that total today around Paphos but we had some great birding moments – quality rather than quantity being the order of the day. We started at Anarita Park where we saw seven species of raptor – Bonelli’s Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, Amur Falcon and Red-footed Falcon. We also found both the Cyprus endemics – Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler, at least six Great Spotted Cuckoo, watched a displaying European Roller, enjoyed the feeding antics of many European Bee-eater and in return were watched by two Little Owls.
We spent several hours at Anarita Park and then moved on to Petra tou Romiou where we saw at least three Eleonora’s Falcon, an Alpine Swift and then – my birds of the day – a female Peregrine Falcon with two young birds flying out over the sea and near the cliff face. A great spectacle watching them trying out aerial manouvres and chasing each other. A quick detour into the village of Kouklia meant we found two of Cyprus’ newest colonisers, Laughing Dove. Usually noted as a vagrant to Cyprus, a population of escapees has bred for several years in Agia Napa and Limassol and they are now spreading, although the exact origin of the Kouklia birds is unclear. While eating our lunch in the Agia Varvara valley we added Squacco Heron and Spotted Flycatcher to our day list and again were entertained by European Bee-eaters.
We then drove to the area around Kannaviou Dam. There was little on the dam itself – a single Purple Heron but in the nearby wooded area we found two of Cyprus’ endemic sub-species – Coal Tit and Eurasian Jay – as well as Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Masked Shrike, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and European Serin. There was no sign though of any Black-headed Buntings which have been seen near the Dam in previous years. So we headed towards Kathikas where we heard at least two singing males and got good views of one in the vineyards. A nearby soaring Long-legged Buzzard completed a great day’s birding.
Total species – 50
Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Western Marsh Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Amur Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting
All the usual suspects at Troodos today – plenty of Coal Tits, Winter Wren, Short-toed Treecreeper, Eurasian Jay, Common Chaffinch and Eurasian Blackbird. Of more interest was a male Yellowhammer and a Mistle Thrush at Almirolivado, two Goldcrest at Livadi tou Pashia and at least twelve European Siskin at Platania.
Photograph below of a Coal Tit at Livadi tou Pashia. One of the Cyprus endemic sub-species.