Managed to avoid most of the rain showers today and even had a good walk around Achna Dam – trying to find (and failing) the Pied Kingfisher that has been seen there on a couple of occasions over the last ten days. But despite that, at the three locations I visited I managed to see some good birds including Black-necked Grebe, Squacco Heron, Great Egret, Glossy Ibis, ‘Baltic’ Gull, Purple Heron, Marsh Sandpiper, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Black-winged Stilt, Temminck’s Stint, Garganey, Olivaceous Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Cyprus Wheatear and Warbler, Tawny Pipit, Black-eared Wheatear and Woodchat Shrike.
I hadn’t been sure where to go birding today until I heard last night that local birder John East had found a female Red-breasted Merganser at Akrotiri Gravel Pits. The last record was in 2014 so not to be missed. The bird was keeping close company with a Great Crested Grebe and a Black-necked Grebe who had been on the pool for several days and I was pleased to get a few photos. Also around Akrotiri today:
Akrotiri Gravel Pits
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
European Serin 7
Red-breasted Merganser 1f
Great Crested Grebe 1
Black-necked Grebe 1
Little Grebe 1
Western Marsh Harrier 1f and 1 sub-ad male
Eurasian Skylark 1
Water Rail 1h
Black-headed Gull 300+
Armenian Gull 6+
Caspian Gull 1+
Greater Flamingo 48 juvs
Pied Avocet 2
Common Buzzard 1
Akrotiri Salt Lake
Greater Flamingo c1200
Common Buzzard 1
For their second day out I took Peter and Jean to Paphos Sewage Plant, Timi Beach and Mandria and then inland to Kidasi. We finished the day at Kouklia village and then watching hundreds of Eurasian Jackdaw and Hooded Crow come into roost at Secret Valley where thirty plus Greater Cormorant also flew in and added to the spectacle.
Although we failed to see the Bimaculated Lark at Mandria despite checking through a lot of Eurasian Skylark we did find a lone Calandra Lark there as well as seeing a flyby Audouin’s Gull, a very late male Pallid Harrier and both a male and female Hen Harrier. We also enjoyed a male Finsch’s Wheatear at Kidasi.
Highlights per locations:
Paphos Sewage Plant – Spur-winged Lapwing 4, Eurasian Sparrowhawk 2, Common Buzzard, Red-throated Pipit 2+, Black Redstart
Timi Beach – Common Kingfisher
Mandria – Yellow-legged Gull c200, Audouin’s Gull 1, Hen Harrier 1m and 1f, Pallid Harrier 1m, Eurasian Skylark 100+, Calandra Lark 1, Black Redstart, Spanish Sparrow, White Wagtail
Kidasi – Finsch’s Wheatear 1m
Mamonia – Corn Bunting
Kouklia Village – Laughing Dove 5+
Secret Valley – Chukar, Great Cormorant 35+, Eurasian Jackdaw 300+, Common Kingfisher
More Common Crane migrating over the island today. Over 50 reported over Tala, Paphos while I had 95 over Achna Dam around 9:30 this morning. Also at Achna were:
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.
Concluding the tour with The Travelling Naturalist group we had the following highlights:
26th March – The main effort of the day went into finding different flora in Akamas but the birding highlights were Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Tree Pipit.
27th March – We headed for Troodos via Kouklia, Archimandrita and Agios Nikolaos. Highlights were two Eurasian Griffon Vulture plus Coal Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Red Crossbill, European Serin, Laughing Dove, Cyprus and Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Great Spotted Cuckoo and Eurasian Sparrowhawk, plus a Spur-winged Lapwing and a Long-eared Hedgehog outside hotel in morning.
28th March – Concluding a successful week’s guiding we explored the beach near the hotel this morning, finishing with a quick visit close to Larnaca airport. Highlights Ruddy Turnstone, Pallid Harrier, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Kentish Plover, Slender-billed Gull, Ruddy Turnstone, Spur-winged Lapwing and migrating Common Shelduck.
Three days out with Peter who I had previously taken out this time last year. Although once again he was too late for Cyprus Wheatear we had some great birds and a good time with one of the highlights being a Peregrine Falcon roosting on Akrotiri Salt Lake for the second year running, photo friendly Eurasian Penduline Tits and Jack Snipe, an unexpected Cyprus Warbler at Phinikas, five Finsch’s Wheatear including a female for a change and good views of Eurasian Stone Curlew, Hen Harrier and Eurasian Griffon Vulture to name just three – oh and hundreds of Common Stonechat!
Highlights per location visited:
Tuesday 1st November- Morning around Paphos
Paphos Sewage Works – Cattle Egret 2, Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1, Spur-winged Lapwing 8, Red-throated Pipit 4+, Yellow Wagtail 1 juv, Common Starling 1
Mandria – Eurasian Skylark, Red-throated Pipit c14, Water Pipit 2
Agia Varvara – Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1, Chukar 6, Northern Wheatear 1m, Chiffchaff 3, Willow Warbler 2, Red-backed Shrike 1 juv, Spanish Sparrow 4, European Serin c10, Corn Bunting 1
Monday 7th November – Day around Akrotiri Peninsula
Phasouri Reed-beds – Western Marsh Harrier 2, Eurasian Skylark h, Eurasian Penduline Tit 2, European Robin 6+
Akrotiri Gravel Pits – Western Marsh Harrier 1, Woodlark 2
Lady’s Mile – Western Marsh Harrier 1, Common Ringed Plover 2, Kentish Plover 100+, Little Stint c20, Dunlin c30, Armenian Gull 2 ad and 2 juv, Slender-billed Gull 4, Corn Bunting 4
Akrotiri Salt Lake – Grey Heron c60, Greater Flamingo c90, Peregrine Falcon 1 juv, Common Snipe 1, Water Pipit 2
Zakaki Marsh – Little Egret 2, Great Egret 1, Eurasian Teal 3, Water Rail 2+, Jack Snipe 1, Bluethroat 1, Song Thrush 1, Moustached Warbler 1, Common Starling 14, Common Reed Bunting 1
Kensington Cliffs – Eurasian Griffon Vulture 3
Friday 11th November – Day around Paphos
Mandria – European Shag 1, Hen Harrier 1 ringtail, Long-legged Buzzard 1, Eurasian Stone Curlew 25, European Golden Plover 1 flew over, Eurasian Skylark 40+, Meadow Pipit c60, Red-throated Pipit 20+, Western Black Redstart 1
Nata Ford – Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1, Bonelli’s Eagle 1 ad, Chukar 8, Song Thrush 4+, Eurasian Blackbird 1m, European Serin 6+, Corn Bunting 1
Phinikas (Asprokremmos Dam) – Great Cormorant 3, Eurasian Teal c90, Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1, Whiskered Tern 1, Little Owl 1, Common Kingfisher 1, Meadow Pipit 50+, Water Pipit 1, Western Black Redstart 4, Finsch’s Wheatear 3m, Blue Rock Thrush 1m, Cyprus Warbler 1m, European Serin 4, Common Linnet 3
Anarita Park – Long-legged Buzzard 1, Little Owl 1, Finsch’s Wheatear 1m and 1f, Spanish Sparrow 50+, Corn Bunting 3
Full species list – 80 species
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Dunlin, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Common Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Armenian Gull, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Water Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin, Bluethroat, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Eurasian Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Moustached Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Common Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting.
Some interesting birds at Akhna Dam this morning where there is still a good level of water. The star was a juvenile Little Bittern but also there were a Grey Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit, four Dunlin, a juvenile Ruff, a Common Snipe, Common Redshank and Little Stint. Also a Little Egret, Grey Heron, six Eurasian Teal and three Northern Pintail. A Bluethroat, two Yellow Wagtail, nine Water Pipit and several Corn Bunting and White Wagtail were around the edges. A couple of Barn Swallow and a Sand Martin flew over.
At Macronissos Beach there were six Greater Sand Plover and around forty Kentish Plover. They were spooked by a Eurasian Sparrowhawk that flew along the coast and were very uneasy for a while afterwards.
Spent the day around Akrotiri – not lots of birds around – quality rather than quantity. Was pleased though to see European Honey Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, juvenile Northern Goshawk, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-footed Falcon and Eleonora’s Falcon. Three White Stork were feeding in an alfalfa field. Flocks of European Bee-eater, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin and Red-rumped Swallow still passing through. Plenty of Whinchat, a couple of Northern Wheatear, two Lesser Grey Shrike and some juvenile Red-backed Shrikes. As far as waders were concerned still several Dunlin,plenty of Little Stint, Common Ringed Plover and lots of Kentish Plover – plus five Sanderling and two Spur-winged Lapwing.
Found my target species today at Agios Sozomenos – a newly arrived male Finsch’s Wheatear (well he wasn’t there on Wednesday!) was setting up his winter territory there. An interesting selection of raptors was flying over the area – all receiving close attention from the local Western Jackdaws – first a juvenile Bonelli’s Eagle, then a Long-legged Buzzard, a Common Buzzard and finally a Eurasian Sparrowhawk all had to run the gauntlet. The only raptor that the Jackdaw’s didn’t bother was a Peregrine Falcon flying around the cliffs.
I only saw one White Stork in the nearby clover fields but I understand that two had been present earlier in the morning.
As soon as Richard, Lynda and I arrived at Phassouri Reed Beds, our attention was drawn to the small falcons in the trees and on the aerial wires in the distance. A flock of Red-footed Falcons of all sexes and ages; and in just ten minutes they stared to circle over the area and head southwards on their migration. A wonderful site and we had great views of them. Large raptors were thinner on the ground although we saw several Western Marsh Harrier (including an adult male), a few European Honey Buzzard, a couple of European Sparrowhawk and a Lesser Kestrel. European Bee-eater were passing over as were flocks of Barn Swallow. A surprise find was a Common Nightingale that flew out of a road side hedge and onto the road in front of us.
There were many Whinchat and Red-backed Shrike and we also found a European Stonechat and a large flock of White Wagtail – winter visitors that will soon be very common. A more elusive winter visitor was found in the reeds – a Bluethroat. A Common Kingfisher and Squacco Heron were also present. A couple of Tree Pipits were present, a late juvenile Masked Shrike was by the roadside and we had good views of Spotted Flycatcher and Zitting Cisticola. On the lake in the Gravel Pits area there was a Ruddy Turnstone – not a common bird to Cyprus.
We drove along Lady’s Mile where we found Spectacled Warbler, Northern Wheatear and yet more Whinchat in the scrub. On the mud flats were Kentish Plover, Dunlin and Little Stint. An adult and a juvenile Greater Flamingo were also there and we were able to watch the grey juvenile feeding. As we approached the hide at Zakaki I noticed a flock of egrets and was surprised to find when we got nearer that it was of eighteen Great Egrets and not the more usual Little Egrets. They were very flighty and soon disappeared further into the channel and out of sight from the hide. Also present were several Grey Heron, a couple of Little Egret and a very smart Eurasian Spoonbill. Mallard, Teal and Garganey were present. In the reeds we saw Cetti’s Warbler, another Bluethroat and a Great Reed Warbler. A couple of Yellow Wagtail were also around.
I decided to return to Phassouri to eat our lunch and watch for any more raptors passing over early in the afternoon. More Red-footed Falcon and Western Marsh Harrier were around as were European Bee-eater. But we were in the right place at the right time, as we were told by other local birders that a Lesser Spotted Eagle had been seen a few minutes earlier near the bee-hives. We headed there and joined them in watching the bird fly up from the eucalyptus plantation and continue its journey. We also found a Common Buzzard and saw a Steppe Buzzard migrating before we left to return to Paphos.
On the way back we visited Asprokremmos Dam where we found a flock of Spanish Sparrow and saw a Long-legged Buzzard being mobbed by a Hooded Crow. There were not many birds at Paphos Sewage Works other than White Wagtail in the alfalfa fields so we went to check out the Ezousas Soakaways. There were many Willow Warbler in the vegetation in the area but we also found two Common Snipe, a Garganey, a Squacco Heron, a female Blackcap and a Common Kingfisher. A Water Rail was heard and there were three Turtle Doves flying around as two Red-footed Falcon passed over.
Thanks to Richard and Lynda for a good day’s birding with a good variety of interesting raptors.
Total species seen – 65
Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Garganey, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Black Francolin, Water Rail h, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Dunlin, Common Snipe, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Wood Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Great Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet