Second day out guiding for Birdwatching Breaks and we visited the Akamas area. Highlights were a tree full of warblers including this Wood Warbler (photo), two adult Bonelli’s Eagles one of which flew right over our heads, a female Pallid Harrier, lots of Cyprus Wheatear setting up territories, at least two calling Cyprus Scops Owl, a small flock of Tree Pipit, more than 100 migrating Red-rumped Swallow, two Ortolan Bunting, Collared and Pied Flycatcher and a Eurasian Wryneck.
Wood Warbler, Androlikou 12th April 2019 (c) Cyprus Birding Tours
Three days out with Mark, Willem, Oscar and Sjors around Akrotiri, Larnaca and Paphos produced a total of 112 different species/forms with a wide variety of types of birds and a few surprises. The only down side was the real lack of passerine migrants which were much decreased from mid-April but we had good visible migration of larger species especially Glossy Ibis and other herons as well as a Black Stork and the unexpected sight of three Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters over our heads at Phasouri.
Wednesday 26th April
This was spent around the various sites of the Akrotiri peninsula. We started at the hide overlooking Zakaki Marsh where we saw Ferruginous Duck through the reeds but had better views of a Baillons Crake in front of the hide where it competed for our attention with a Water Rail and a male and female Little Bittern. There were plenty of Eurasian Reed Warbler as well as a couple of Squacco Heron, Little Egret and Glossy Ibis. A singing Black Francolin came into the open and was well seen. Two Pallid Swift flew over the area and a Wood Sandpiper fed in the mud. Moving to Lady’s Mile a good selection of migrating waders included many Ruff, Black-winged Stilt and Little Stint, a lone Temminck’s Stint, a couple of Marsh and Wood Sandpiper and Dunlin and some Curlew Sandpiper. Several pairs of Kentish Plover were present as was a greyish Little Egret. Closer to the Salt Lake itself at the Zakaki runoff we saw a Black Stork thermalling up to the north as well as a distant White-winged Tern and Collared Pratincole. A group of more than sixty Gull-billed Tern were on the shore with some Slender-billed Gull and at least six Little Tern. A few Yellow Wagtail including thunbergi and feldegg race males were in the vegetation and we also found a female Black-eared Wheatear.
There were still a couple of hundred Greater Flamingo on the Salt Lake. A quick visit to Bishops Pool was notable for better views of Ferruginous Duck than at Zakaki as well as a good number of migrating Sand Martin over the water and some late Common Teal. An Eleonora’s Falcon flew over close to Sylvana’s as did a couple of European Turtle Dove and we also found two European Roller on the wires there. There was little of note around Agios Georgios Church so we drove across the Gravel Pits to Phasouri Reed beds finding a Grey Plover and a Whinchat on the way. At the reed-beds we saw another pair of Little Bittern, a single Cattle Egret, a Common Snipe, five Ferruginous Duck, three Glossy Ibis (with another 12 seen migrating over the area, another Wood Sandpiper, more Ruff and plenty of Eurasian Reed Warblers. As we were leaving three Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters flew over us – their call slightly different from their European counterparts. They were heading back towards the Gravel Pits area and we decided to go back there in the hope of re finding them.
We didn’t find them again but the decision to go back to there was a good one as we then saw two Greater Spotted Cuckoo, a Common Cuckoo, a European Roller, and a female Red-footed Falcon. Where had they been earlier? We finished the day at Kensington Cliffs where although Griffon Vulture let us down we had a wonderful aerial display from at least six Eleonora’s Falcon and many Alpine Swift.
Thursday 27th April
We headed for the Larnaca area today and started at the fields just outside Kivisili village. There were at least twenty Red-footed Falcon feeding and resting there as well as around eight kestrels that we could ID as Lesser as well as several Common as well. In the distance a female ring-tailed Harrier was quartering the fields – from the brief views of the underwing I managed it was most likely a female Pallid. We had just brief views of a Greater Spotted Cuckoo and Little Owl and found two recently fledged Corn Bunting. More than thirty Greater Short-toed Lark were feeding at Petounta Point and we saw our first group of migrating Glossy Ibis of the day (a total of at least 250 birds seen during the day), three migrating Purple Heron and two groups of Little Egret. The wooded area near Kiti Dam wall was quieter than it had been when I had visited on Monday – another reminder of the fact that migrant warbler passage seems to be largely over. But we did have two Spur-winged Lapwing, a male Golden Oriole and a single Great Spotted Cuckoo.
A quick detour via a post box in Kiti village produced a pair of Laughing Dove obviously breeding nearby. They are spreading throughout Larnaca. Around Larnaca Sewage Works and its pools we found another European Turtle Dove, a Common Cuckoo, a family party of Spectacled Warbler, a Great Reed Warbler, several Blackcap and Spotted Flycatcher, a male Black-eared Wheatear and a Whinchat. More visible migration – this time Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis and large flocks of Spanish Sparrow. On the pools themselves we had two White-winged Tern and two Collared Pratincole flying around in front of the hide as well as several Spur-winged Lapwing, some Black-winged Stilt, Ruff and Little Stint and a single Baltic Gull.
We found at least three Calandra Lark on the fields outside Pervolia as well as a male Northern Wheatear, a couple of Yellow Wagtail, plenty of Zitting Cisitcola and two male Black Francolin disputing their territories. Two Common Cuckoo were on wires near Meneou Pool – one of them a ‘rufous’ female. Our last stop was for a look at the waders on the Airport Pools (North) where the highlight was three Red-necked Phalarope.
Friday 28th April
A completely different day for our last day out which after a brief check of the fields at Mandria was concentrating in the Akamas. At Mandria we watched a group of swifts, including several Alpine come in off the sea and also found some Yellow Wagtail, a few fly over Red-throated Pipit and a single Tawny Pipit. We then heading to the valley behind Arodes village where our main target was the Black-headed Bunting. In the end, we found three singing males but also had good views of several Cyprus Wheatear, a singing male Cyprus Warbler, a fly over Eleonora’s Falcon and at least three male and two female Golden Oriole wwith at least four European Roller were in the area. There were plenty of Spotted Flycatcher, two Great Spotted Cuckoo and Red-rumped Swallow around as well.
Driving on through Pittokopos to Androlikou we found two more singing male Black-headed Bunting, Chukar, a male Lesser Kestrel and two Red-throated Pipit obligingly sitting on telegraph wires. Androlikou village had at least four European Roller and a couple of Cyprus Wheatear. A Common Hoopoe was singing from the top of a carob tree and as usual for the day there were several Spotted Flycatcher and singing Olivaceous Warbler.
A walk around the caravan site at the Baths of Aphrodite gave us another pair of Eurasian Golden Oriole, several Blackcap and a stunning male Red-backed Shrike. We also heard a Scops Owl but it wasn’t roosting anywhere visible. Two more were heard towards the Smygies picnic site and although Mark saw a small owl fly off again we couldn’t locate one for a proper view. We added Masked Shrike, European Serin and Cretzschmar’s Bunting to our list and saw two more European Roller. There were many migrating swifts and swallows including Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow and Northern House Martin. A walk around some fields and carob groves produced another male Red-backed Shrike, a Tree Pipit, Whinchat and a male black and white Flycatcher which was probably a Pied. We heard some European Bee-eater fly over but couldn’t locate them against a sunny sky.
Thanks to Mark, Willem, Sjors and Oscar for three good days birding and some great birds.
Total species/forms seen – 112
Chukar, Black Francolin, Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Western Water Rail, Baillons Crake, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Black Stork, Glossy Ibis, Common Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Little Egret, European Shag, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Red-necked Phalarope, Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Slender-billed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Baltic Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, White-winged Tern, Little Owl, Scops Owl, Western Marsh Harrier, Ring-tailed Harrier probably female Pallid, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Hoopoe, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tree Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail inc thunbergi, flava and feldegg races, White Wagtail, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, European Goldfinch, European Goldfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
A good day out birding with Byron started at Akrotiri Salt Lake where we scanned the area for roosting Demoiselle Cranes. None were present but although we were unlucky with that species we had a successful day enabling Byron to get many of his target species which included – Chukar, Black Francolin, Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Spur-winged Lapwing, Kentish Plover, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Long-legged Buzzard, Eleonora’s Falcon, Slender-billed Gull, Spectacled Warbler, Pallid Swift and Masked Shrike.
Highlights per location visited:
Akrotiri Salt Lake – Lesser Grey Shrike, European Bee-eater, Red-backed Shrike
Akrotiri Gravel Pits – Greater Flamingo c20 along coast, European Honey Buzzard 3 gaining height over area 9.30 am, Black Francolin, Common Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Broad-billed Sandpiper (thanks to local birder Tony who told us where the bird had moved to when it was absent from Lady’s Mile), Common Kingfisher, Tawny Pipit, Common Whitethroat, Northern Wheatear, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 2h and seen briefly
Lady’s Mile – Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eleonora’s Falcon (one over high up)
Phasouri Reed-beds – Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, European Roller, Eurasian Roller, Yellow Wagtail inc feldegg and thunbergii, Cattle Egret, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike
Knowing that migration was now virtually over, this day out with Steve and Mary concentrated on finding migrant breeders and allowed them to see several lifers which included Black Francolin, Chukar, European Stone Curlew, Spur-winged Lapwing, Cyprus Wheatear, Laughing Dove, Alpine Swift, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and Cretzschmar’s and Black-headed Bunting. The bird of the day was a male Black-headed Bunting singing perched on a large cow-parsley flower head!
Highlights per location:
Paphos Sewage Works – Black Francolin 2m and 1f, Spur-winged Lapwing 6+
Petra tou Romiou – Eleonora’s Falcon 2, Peregrine Falcon 1, Alpine Swift 10+
Kouklia – Laughing Dove 2
Anarita Park – Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 1 pale throated male, Spanish Sparrow, Little Owl, Cetti’s Warbler – 1 fledgling, European Roller 3, Cyprus Wheatear 1 male with two fledglings, Chukar 2 ad and 12 young
Road to Episkopi – European Roller 2, Cyprus Wheatear 6+
Ezousas Valley, Episkopi – European Roller 2, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 1 seen well, European Turtle Dove 2
Minthis Hills – European Roller 1, Cyprus Wheatear 2, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 1 singing male and another adult with a young bird
Arodes – Black Francolin 1h, Eleonora’s Falcon 1, European Roller 4, Cyprus Wheatear 4+, Red-rumped Swallow 1, Black-headed Bunting 1 singing male
Androlikou – Cyprus Wheatear 6 plus one young bird, European Roller 1, Eurasian Scops Owl 1 h, Little Owl 1h
All species seen: Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Eurasian Scops Owl, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Roller, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting
As the temperature slowly creeps up on a daily basis and the water on the coastal sites begins to evaporate, I decided to split the day out with Lynne and Kevin between the Akrotiri sites and two inland areas close to Limassol. We started the day at Germasogeia Dam where we headed for the Finikaria end of the dam, stopping on the way to watch a Cyprus Wheatear and a flock of Spanish Sparrow. At Finikaria we spotted two Little Owls in a carob tree and then stopped to enjoy a calling Black Francolin by the trackside. We then watched a singing male Sardinian Warbler which was chased off its singing perch by a male Cyprus Warbler which then took over. All around us we could hear Zitting Cisticola and calling Cetti’s Warbler. A Cetti’s called from a fig tree near to where we were standing and for once we were able to watch this elusive species. Near the water we heard Eurasian Reed Warbler and saw two Water Pipit in their pinkish summer plumage. A Squacco Heron was feeding on the water’s edge. We heard calling Great Spotted Cuckoo and were pleased when the pair finally flew close to us.
We then headed to the coast and spent a while in the hide at Zakaki. We checked the reed edges for crakes but no joy so we watched a large flock of hirundine coming down to drink there. They were mainly Common House Martin but they were joined by a few Red-rumped Swallow and Sand Martin as well as the usual Barn Swallow. Six Cattle Egret and six Little Egret were resting there and a lone Ferruginous Duck was present.
Lady’s Mile was even quieter than the day before. We saw Lesser Whitethroat and a lone Northern Wheatear while the Spotted Redshank was still on the water together with five Greater Flamingo, some Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Dunlin and Kentish Plover. At the entrance to Bishop’s Pool we found a male and a female Eurasian Pied Flycatcher in the acacias. Around the Gravel Pits we found more Northern Wheatear and two female Eastern Black-eared Wheatear as well as a female Blue Rock Thrush. Four Greater Short-toed Lark flew over as did six migrating Grey Heron. Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat and Eurasian Blackcap were feeding in the tamarisks and we saw a couple of Whinchat and heard two singing Common Nightingale.
We then headed inland again to Prastio Kellakiou. There we finished our day out surrounded by calling Cretzschmar’s Bunting, courting Masked Shrike, singing Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and some fly-by Red-rumped Swallow. There were several European Serin, European Chaffinch and Spanish Sparrow around and we watched an adult Great Tit feeding a couple of young fledglings in a fig tree. I was surprised to hear a couple of calling Coal Tit but our final bird of the day – a calling Eurasian Scops Owl was more expected but very welcome.
Total species – 69
Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Water Rail (h), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Dunlin, Spotted Redshank, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Eurasian Scops Owl, Little Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tree Pipit, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Eurasian Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Prastio April 7th 2016 (c) Cyprus Birding Tours
Masked Shrike, Prastio 7th April 2016 (c) Cyprus Birding Tours
Lavender, Prastio April 7th 2016 (c) Cyprus Birding Tours