No sign today of the Black-winged Kite that was seen at Phasouri Reed-beds yesterday morning which was disappointing. Spent some time watching this female Common Kingfisher which cheered me up (See photo). Elsewhere around Akrotiri I found Spotted Crake, Water Rail, Little Bittern, Great Reed Warbler, Red-throated Pipit, Bluethroat, Common Crane, a Western Marsh and a Hen Harrier, two European Honey Buzzard, four Eleonora’s Falcon and a few Eurasian Sparrowhawk so I can’t really complain!
Spent the last few days in north west corner of island – joining BirdLife Cyprus’ members weekend there which included a boat trip to Cape Arnaouti from Latchi Harbour.
My birding highlights included Baltic Gull, Gull-billed Tern, flocks of Purple & Grey Heron and Glossy Ibis, several Red-backed and Masked Shrike, a migrating European Sparrowhawk, flocks of European Bee-eater (see photo), an Ortolan Bunting, several autumn plumage Cyprus Wheatear (see photo), Red-rumped Swallow, Alpine Swift, a juvenile Pallid Harrier, Whinchat and a Common Hoopoe.
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.