Out again guiding for Birdwatching Breaks – today trying to dodge the heavy rain around Paphos with some success. Good views of a very mobile flock of Greater Short-toed Lark at Mandria with Eurasian Turtle Dove, Tawny Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail and Squacco Heron also seen there. Several Collared Flycatcher seen at Timi as were a couple of Laughing Dove at Kouklia. Ending the day at Lady’s Mile and Zakaki Marsh we saw several Spotted Flycatcher, three Eurasian Spoonbill (see photo), a male Little Bittern and a Great Reed Warbler.
Spent a few hours at Athalassa Dam and saw the following:
Great Egret 3
Little Egret 2
Grey Heron 6
Great Cormorant 50+
Eurasian Spoonbill 1 juv
Cattle Egret 1
Black-crowned Night Heron 1 ad
Common Kingfisher 2
Grey Wagtail 2
Ferruginous Duck 2
Western Marsh Harrier 1
Black-winged Stilt 2
Common Snipe 1
Northern Shoveler 8
Eurasian Teal 30+
Little Grebe, Eurasian Coot and Common Moorhen
Common Chaffinch, European Robin, Common Chiffchaff and White Wagtail.
Hooded Crow and Common Woodpigeon
A quick visit to Athalassa Dam, outside Nicosia this morning – very peaceful and with some good views of some interesting birds.
Larnaca Airport Coast
Spanish Sparrow c300
Red-throated Pipit 24
Yellow Wagtail 1
Larnaca Sewage Works
Common Crane 9 (also seen later gaining height and heading out S over the sea)
Eurasian Spoonbill 1
Mediterranean Gull 1
Slender-billed Gull 6
Grey Plover 1
Northern Lapwing 1
Ruddy Turnstone 1
Marsh Sandpiper 1
Black-winged Stilt 8+
Little Stint 12+
Common Ringed Plover 5
Common Redshank 10+
Greater Flamingo 62
Ferruginous Duck 4
Tufted Duck 1m and 1f
Common Pochard 1f
Northern Pintail 4
Much quieter around Akrotiri today than it was when I visited on Tuesday, with a big clear out of waders especially. Still some good sightings though: two male Honey Buzzard over Phassouri Plantations being mobbed by Hooded Crows; two Eleonora’s Falcon putting up a flock of around one hundred marsh terns – mainly White-winged – over Akrotiri Salt Lake; good views of three White-winged, 14 Little and two Gull-billed Tern at the Zakaki outflow; and a European Roller behind Lady’s Mile.
On the Larnaca Sewage Works Pools there were twelve White-winged Tern and a Eurasian Spoonbill was on Spiros Pool where the numbers of waders has also decreased compared to the last few days.
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
Joined up with the BirdLife Cyprus field trip this morning at Akrotiri Salt Lake. The target species were Demoiselle Crane but there was no sign of these although a group of Greater Flamingo seen flying in the distance raised hopes for a few seconds. A couple of European Roller and a Lesser Grey Shrike were seen while scanning for the cranes. A good collection of birds were at Bishop’s Pool including a Black-tailed Godwit, some Ruff, several Wood and Green Sandpiper, Little Stint, some Yellow Wagtail and at least four Eleonora’s Falcon one of which perched in one of the eucalyptus trees for a while.
A Broad-billed Sandpiper was on Lady’s Mile with several Little Stint, three Common Ringed Plover and many Kentish Plover. A Eurasian Spoonbill was on the muddy mound at Zakaki where there was also a couple of Little Egret, a Squacco and a Purple Heron, a Ferruginous Duck and a Garganey, several Little Stint, a Green Sandpiper, two juvenile Collared Pratincole, some Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing. Several Eurasian Reed Warbler were in the reeds as was a Great Reed Warbler. A Common Kingfisher was fishing in the area.
A flock of nineteen Common Sandpiper were on the coast near the airport at Larnaca this morning and another five were on the Sewage Works Pools. Two were also at Akhna with five Green and two Wood Sandpiper. A Spotted Redshank in breeding plumage flew over Spiros Pool and another was at Akhna. Two Ferruginous Duck and the long-staying Common Shelduck were in with the Mallard on the Sewage Works Pool. There were Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing at the Sewage Pools, at Akhna and also at Oroklini. Three chicks were at the Sewage Pools and also at Oroklini.
A Temminck’s Stint, an adult Gull-billed Tern and three Greenshank were at Akhna with two Little Stint and a Common Redshank on the Sewage Pools. There was a Squacco Heron, nine Cattle Egret, nine Grey Heron, two Little Egret and six Glossy Ibis at Akhna and sleeping towards the back of the main pool of Oroklini were three Eurasian Spoonbill. Behind them was a Black-tailed Godwit.
Other than waterbirds I found a juvenile Masked Shrike near the Sewage Pools, a European Roller and two Eurasian Hoopoe near Tekke Mosque with another Hoopoe at Akhna. A male Black-headed Wagtail flew very close to me on the edge of the Salt Lake and may have been doing some kind of distraction display.
Was at Agia Napa Sewage Works early this morning and found a couple of male Black-headed Bunting and a female. Not much else around as the heat of summer starts to take hold. Heard several Spectacled Warbler and there were nearly twenty Little Grebe on the sewage pools. Leaving the area an Eleonora’s Falcon flew over the road being mobbed by a Common Kestrel.
Knowing that there was still water in Akhna Dam and there had been some good sightings there recently I decided to pay it a visit. The first bird I saw there was a Eurasian Spoonbill which made the detour worthwhile. There were four Squacco Heron, twelve Black-winged Stilt, a Common Sandpiper, a Common Greenshank, a Little Egret and two Grey Herons as well as nearly twenty Spur-winged Lapwing. There were several juvenile Spur-winged Lapwing. Cattle Egret flew in while I was there and the seven adults had five young birds with them. Eurasian Reed Warbler were heard in the reeds and a European Roller flew over the area, rolling while trying to catch an insect which was not giving in easily. After the dry winter and spring it was good to visit an area with water in it for a change, even if there was no sign of the Black Tern that had been there last month.