Hundreds of European Honey Buzzard have migrated through the Akrotiri peninsula the last two days heading south.
Raptor counts at Cape Greco this autumn have been quiet so far but there was more activity this morning with several Black Kite (photo), European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh, Pallid and Montagu’s Harrier and Peregrine Falcon migrating south over the area.
Spent an enjoyable day out with Tony and Greta at several of the Paphos birding locations. We started at Paphos Sewage Plant where there were several Spur-winged Lapwing, including a couple of juveniles, feeding in the fields. A male Red-backed Shrike and a European Turtle Dove were sitting on wires and at the same time as a large flock of migrating European Bee-eater starting migrating over the area we also saw a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier, a European Honey Buzzard and a Western Marsh Harrier gaining height and heading out over the sea. In the fields were a couple of Whinchat, a covey of Chukar and a large flock of Western Yellow Wagtail. After watching a flock of Spanish Sparrow we then found a Long-legged Buzzard perched on the top of a pylon which we then saw dive down into the dry river bed nearby – it didn’t fly up while we were there so we guessed it had caught something and was eating it out of sight.
More European Bee-eaters were in the Agia Varvara valley as were juvenile Red-backed Shrike, Willow, Sardinian and Cetti’s Warbler, Whinchat and a Northern Wheatear. The best birds here though were two European Golden Oriole which flew into the same eucalyptus trees under whose shade we were taking a quick coffee break! On to Mandria and down near the coast at Lark Corner we watched some Greater Short-toed Lark, Whinchat, Nothern Wheatear and also a Tawny Pipit feeding. Behind us were three juvenile Collared Pratincole feeding in another field close to the water sprinklers. In another area we found three European Roller, a Lesser Grey Shrike and yet more European Bee-eater passing over.
The area near Anarita Mast behind Asprokremmos Dam was full of European Bee-eater as well and we found several Whinchat, more Yellow Wagtail, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Northern Wheatear, a couple of Tawny Pipit and another Lesser Grey Shrike all perched on the perimeter fence there. As we turned to leave a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier flew into view and we spent some time watching it quartering the area and feeding on at least one lizard that it caught as we watched – probably the day’s highlight. A pair of Cyprus Warbler were not so obliging and although we had very brief views of a male and a female they were disappointing. A Black-eared Wheatear close by was much easier to see.
We finished the day in and inland from Kouklia Village. We had good views of several Laughing Dove that now breed there and found another Northern Wheatear. We then moved inland to see if we would have more luck with the other endemic – the Cyprus Wheatear. Things didn’t look promising even though we visited an area I had seen many a few weeks previously, until finally one flew across the road in front of us – another brief view but at least this time we could see it properly!
List of species seen –
Chukar, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Spur-winged Lapwing, Collared Pratincole, Yellow-legged Gull, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, European Goldfinch
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.
A good day out again with Terry and Sarah around Akrotiri and then west to Mandria, Timi Beach and Asprokremmos Dam. Another very warm day with just a trickle of migrating raptors but we pieced together some good species and enjoyed ourselves in any case.
Highlights per location:
Phassouri Reed-beds – Black Francolin 1m and 1f, European Turtle Dove 20+, Pallid Swift 2, European Honey Buzzard 7, Western Marsh Harrier 3, Montagu’s Harrier 3 juv, Black Kite 2, European Bee-eater 200+, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Kestrel, Red-backed, Lesser Grey and Masked Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail
Bishop’s Pool – Black-crowned Night Heron, Purple Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin
Lady’s Mile – Dunlin 3, Kentish Plover, Little Stint
Zakaki Marsh – Common Kingfisher, Great Reed Warbler
Mandria – Chukar, Eleonora’s Falcon, European Roller, Lesser Grey Shrike, Greater Short-toed Lark, Northern & Isabelline Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, European Shag
Timi Beach – Greater Short-toed Lark c30
Asprokremmos Dam – Spotted Flycatcher, Eleonora’s Falcon
After picking up Carole, John and Philip from Pissouri Bay we headed towards Akrotiri for a day’s birding. Our first stop was at Kensington Cliffs where we had good views of Eleonora’s Falcon and their acrobatics. A ring-tailed Harrier was flying close to the cliffs but we couldn’t get any ID features. As we left we saw an Isabelline Wheatear. At Phasouri Reed-beds we visited the new tower hide and were treated to the wonderful sight of several European Bee-eater coming down to drink at a nearby pool. Two juvenile Montagu’s Harrier were flying around the area as was a female Western Marsh Harrier. We also saw a European Turtle Dove and a couple of Willow Warbler before our attention was drawn to a Eurasian Hobby over us and then a small group of larger raptors gaining height – European Honey Buzzards and a lone Black Kite. We then found a Lesser Grey Shrike, a European Roller and a small flock of Western Yellow Wagtail near the other new hide. A couple of Whinchat and a very smart male Red-backed Shrike were also present.
Driving across Akrotiri Gravel Pits we saw a couple of juvenile Red-backed Shrike and a juvenile Masked Shrike and at the churchyard we found a Common Hoopoe, Spotted Flycatcher and a Northern Wheatear. We then spent some time at Bishop’s Pool. Disappointed not to see any Ferruginous Duck there but we did see a European Honey Buzzard being mobbed by two Eleonora’s Falcon, a Black-winged Stilt, a couple of Little Egret, a Common Redshank, some Northern Shoveler and Common Teal and an immature marsh tern which in the end we ID’d as a Whiskered Tern.
There were plenty of Kentish Plover and Little Stint on Lady’s Mile although we couldn’t see any other waders but there was a juvenile Greater Flamingo there. We spent a while then in the hide at Zakaki Marsh where we could hear several Black-crowned Night Heron – none of which was obliging enough to fly up to let us see them. We did though see a juvenile Western Water Rail and a Common Kingfisher although unfortunately only I saw a Great Reed Warbler sitting on the reeds with a large dragonfly in its bill. Two Western Marsh Harrier were quartering the area.
We ate our lunch back at Phasouri Reed-beds where we watched many Red-rumped Swallow migrating through. We added Lesser Kestrel to our list of species as one flew over head and saw a few more European Honey Buzzard and another juvenile Montagu’s Harrier. We then decided to head to Mandria to see if the Eurasian Dotterel that had been found there yesterday was still present. We were in luck and we spent some time looking at it through the ‘scope. It was surrounded by Greater Short-toed Lark so we had good views of them as well and also the Northern Wheatear and Lesser Grey Shrike nearby. We finished our day with a quick check of the amenities area of Asprokremmos Dam and added Long-legged Buzzard to our day list and also found another European Turtle Dove.
A good selection of species on a very hot September day.
Total number of species: 62
Black Francolin, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Western Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Black-crowned Night Heron (H), Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Common Redshank, Eurasian Dotterel, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Black Kite, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, House Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail, European Goldfinch.
After visiting Akrotiri I spent the afternoon sea watching in Polis Chrysochou Bay. The photo is of two Whimbrel seen migrating W offshore. Other sightings included:
Polis Chrysochou Bay 12:00 – 19-:00
Common Ringed Plover 4 heading W along coast
Garganey three groups c300 in total
Purple Heron in off sea in two groups of 74 in total then seen heading inland 19:00
Audouin’s Gull 1 heading W
Glossy Ibis 52 in off from N and then inland
Eurasian Honey Buzzard 2 in off sea 14:40 and then lost to view
Whimbrel 2 heading W with another wader probably Ruff
Baltic Gull 1 heading W
Masked Shrike 1m
A few days in Droushia exploring the area and doing some birding. Passed by Mandria, Timi and Paphos Sewage Works on Friday morning where there were a few Red-footed Falcon, a couple of European Roller, single migrating European Honey Buzzard, dark morph Booted Eagle and Black Kite, three migrating Western Marsh Harrier, a couple of Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrike, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat and newly arrived White Wagtail, a flock of Yellow Wagtail and a fly over Red-throated Pipit.
In the Akamas area and down in Polis Chrysochou Bay there were migrating Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey and Purple Heron, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater and Red-footed Falcon. Also seen were an Eastern Black-eared and Northern Wheatear, several Whinchat and Cyprus Wheatear, Red-backed Shrike, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Common Redstart. Unexpected birds were a European Nightjar flushed from an olive grove by a hunting Common Kestrel, a Common Kingfisher flying over the Baths of Aphrodite and a Northern Goshawk flushed from a large carob tree as I drove past near Fasli.
Although raptors were thin on the ground this morning at Cape Greco – an Eleonora’s Falcon, four European Honey Buzzard and a Western Marsh Harrier to be precise – there was a noticeable movement of herons to the east of the area. As visibility was good it was possible to see flocks of herons heading southwards from the Karpasia area and then passing offshore to the east of Cape Greco and continuing out to sea. Between 8am and 11.30am more than 160 Grey Heron and 32 Purple Heron were counted. Plus a large flock of more than 140 individuals that were too far east of the observation point to be ID’d – seemed to be a mixture of Grey and Purple though.
After picking Paul and Eileen up from their hotel in Pissouri we headed straight to Akrotiri for a morning’s birding. Although it was possibly even windier than the day before this time we saw several migrating European Honey Buzzard and Western Marsh Harrier as well as a continual stream of European Bee-eater. A couple of Eleonora’s Falcon were hunting over the peninsula. Also found around the reed-beds area was a female Black Francolin – one of Paul’s targets – , a Lesser Grey Shrike, six Whinchat and a couple of European Turtle Dove. Moving onto Akrotiri Gravel Pits we saw at least one more Western Marsh Harrier and at least eleven more European Honey Buzzard. Waders in the area included a Bar-tailed Godwit (a scarce bird for Cyprus), Kentish Plover and Dunlin as well as an adult Greater Flamingo.
Another wader for the morning was the Black-winged Stilt at Bishop’s Pool. There we also added two to our Honey Buzzard total and saw two more Eleonora’s Falcon. On the approach road to the pool we were especially pleased to see two migrating Lesser Kestrel – another of Paul’s targets for the morning. At Lady’s Mile we found a photogenic juvenile Greater Flamingo and searched through the waders there to find more Kentish Plover and Dunlin, as well as a Sanderling, a couple of Common Redshank, Common Ringed Plover and Dunlin. Another two Honey Buzzard flew over us battling against the wind.
Our morning out drew to a close with a return to Phasouri Reed-beds to watch a small group of European Bee-eaters calling and swooping over the area as they hunted insects to provide them with energy to continue their migration.
Total species – 42
Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Whinchat, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler, Great tit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch.
It’s always good to spend some time out with Terry and Sarah and today was no exception. We headed straight to Akrotiri with the intention of trying to catch some of the raptor migration passing over the area. Most of the raptors we saw were European Honey Buzzard and Western Marsh Harrier but many of them were passing over quite low, meaning we had good views and we also watched a group of Grey Heron feeding at Zakaki Marsh chase off one of the Marsh Harrier over that location. Waders included the Cyprus rarity – a Bar-tailed Godwit, lots of Kentish Plover, a juvenile Ruff, a Sanderling and several each of Dunlin and Curlew Sandpiper. A single Greater Flamingo feeding on Lady’s Mile gave some photo opportunities and we found a couple of Ferruginous Duck on a quick visit to Bishop’s Pool.
Plenty of European Bee-eater were migrating over throughout the day, many of them very high and we saw a lot of Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin and Barn Swallow as well as several late Common Swift. Not so many shrikes around as in early September but we saw a couple of juvenile Red-backed Shrike and Lesser Grey Shrike.
An afternoon visit to Kensington Cliffs gave us the chance to enjoy the acrobatics of both adult and juvenile Eleonora’s Falcon, who in turn mobbed a migrating European Honey Buzzard and then two of the resident Eurasian Griffon Vulture returning from their inland feeding stations. On the way back to Paphos we stopped at Asprokremmos Dam where there was a European Golden Oriole feeding in a ficus tree – thanks to Alan and Lynn for showing us the location – and we also found a female European Pied Flycatcher.
Number of species seen – 60
Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, European Honey Buzzard, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Western Marsh Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch.
Another four hours raptor count at Cape Greco this morning with more, mainly Western Marsh Harriers, passing over. Followed up with a visit to Agia Napa Football fields.
Cape Greco 7:45 – 11.45
Western Marsh Harrier 16 (3m)
Pallid Harrier 1m and 1 juv
Montagu’s Harrier 3 juv
Ring-tailed Harrier 1
Eleonora’s Falcon 3
Purple Heron 9
Grey Heron 4
European Bee-eater 39
European Honey Buzzard 9
Lesser Grey Shrike 3
Cyprus Wheatear 2
Tawny Pipit 3 straight out to sea
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Agia Napa Football Fields
Lesser Grey Shrike 19
European Roller 1
Yellow Wagtail 9
Cattle Egret 14
Red-backed Shrike 2m and 1f
Isabelline Wheatear 2
Spotted Flycatcher 2
Eurasian Hoopoe 2