Unfortunately the best bird I saw over the weekend was not very user friendly – a brief glimpse of a male Namaqua Dove on the track at Petounta for a few seconds before it flew away and was not to be refound – despite a couple of hours search in total over the two days. Anyhow, elsewhere there were Lesser Kestrel and Montagu’s Harrier yesterday at Kivisili where today there were also five Red-footed Falcon (see photos). Calandra Lark were displaying at Pervolia where migrating Yellow Wagtail, Red-throated Pipit, Sand Martin, Red-rumped and Barn Swallow and Common Swift were present. Glossy Ibis and Little Egret were seen migrating along the coast and a couple of European Pied Flycatcher were in the trees at Kiti Dam and Spiros Pool.
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.
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:
Peter, Pat, Paul and Janet were staying in Nicosia so we had a bit of a drive before we could start our morning’s birding. We headed to Achna Dam where water levels are still good and where I had seen some good birds on a trip there last week. We spent some time there getting good views of three Great White Egret, an immature Whiskered Tern, a Common Kingfisher and two Northern Pintail. A group of five Glossy Ibis feeding on the far shore left the area after a while – probably continuing their migration south. Ten newly arrived Northern Lapwing flew into the area from the north. Several Cattle and Little Egret and Grey Heron were also present and a couple of Willow Warbler were feeding in the shorter reeds. As we returned to the car we spotted two Dunlin, a Little Stint and a Little Ringed Plover feeding in a muddy area. A juvenile Western Marsh Harrier was quartering the area and we saw it fly up from the ground with something in its talons. Unfortunately although we heard several European Bee-eater flying over the area they were too high for us to see.
We searched the rocky beach at Ormedeia for a Greater Sandplover but had no joy so we had to make do with a single Kentish Plover and three more Northern Lapwing. A quick stop at Oroklini Marsh enabled us to see a large group of almost forty Spur-winged Lapwing as well as a couple of Common Redshank, a Little Ringed Plover and a Ruff.
We finished our morning driving through the valley of Panagia Stazousa as we headed back to Nicosia. We were hoping that there would still be some Cyprus Wheatear around and we were not disappointed. At least four were still present and dutifully obliged by sitting out in the open on the top of low bushes. While watching one of them we spotted a juvenile Red-backed Shrike and when it flew further away we were pleased to also see a juvenile Masked Shrike in another bush. Several Whinchat were seen resting as they migrated through the island. We also had brief views of a Spotted Flycatcher and a female Eurasian Blackcap but a female Common Redstart was more co-operative and sat low in a shrub enabling us to watch her through the telescope. An unexpected bird to finish the morning on. A morning on which we managed to see a good variety of species – a few more than I had anticipated.
Total species – 40
Northern Pintail, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stint, Common Redshank, Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, European Bee-eater (h), Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, White Wagtail, European Goldfinch
Although I was at Cape Greco to do a raptor survey it was the flocks of herons that kept me busy counting this morning. Around 450 Purple Heron and 150 Grey Heron passed by off the east of the Cape in several flocks. A lone Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Egret and 11 Glossy Ibis also headed south off the coast and a surprise spot was a juvenile Greater Flamingo migrating in with a flock of Purple Herons.
Photo of a distant mixed flock of Grey and Purple Heron.
A morning’s birding with Anthony and Sarah around Akrotiri hoping to see a good variety of species. We started at Zakaki Marsh where many Grey Heron were flying down to feed behind the reeds. A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron flew up from in front of the hide as we arrived and although we could hear many more we only got good views of one adult as it flew over the area. A Squacco Heron also flew across and a female Western Marsh Harrier quartered the reeds before swooping into the reeds where it presumably caught prey. An adult Water Rail was feeding in front of the hide and several Eurasian Reed Warbler were flitting in the reeds. Anthony and Sarah were especially pleased to see the Common Kingfisher that perched on a reed in front of the hide for several minutes.
Moving to the eastern edge of the Salt Lake we found an Isabelline Wheatear, a Lesser Grey Shrike and a female and a male Red-backed Shrike. An adult and a juvenile European Roller sat on the wires along Lady’s Mile and were very obliging. The Salt Lake itself had very little water but we spent some time watching the dozen or so Eleonora’s Falcon that were resting on the Salt flats and drinking and bathing in the water from the run off – a great spectacle.
There were several Kentish Plover feeding on Lady’s Mile itself as well as a couple of Little Stint and Dunlin which we saw as we drove to Bishop’s Pool. The first birds we saw there were a couple of Ferruginous Duck and then three Glossy Ibis feeding at the back of the pool. Two Black-winged Stilt were also there as were four Green Sandpiper and a Wood Sandpiper. A couple of Little Egret were feeding around the edge and some Northern Shoveler were resting in with the resident Mallard and Little Grebe. A couple of European Turtle Dove flew over. We could have spent longer there to be honest but we moved on the Akrotiri Gravel Pits adding Red-rumped Swallow and Sand Martin to the morning’s list as we went.
We had another Lesser Grey Shrike in the church yard as well as an Olivaceous Warbler, two Spotted Flycatcher and another two Isabelline Wheatear. It was now getting warmer and the birds were quieter although we did find a Common Greenshank and a Kentish Plover as we went through the area to our last stop at Phasouri Reed-beds. We heard and then saw a Yellow Wagtail and our last new bird of the morning was a Whinchat sitting on a fence. A good morning’s birding at the start of autumn migration although we were disappointed not to see any large raptors.
Total number of species – 45
Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Swift, Western Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Western Marsh Harrier, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, House Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail.
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
Spent several hours sea watching in Polis Chrysochou Bay today. Plenty of Glossy Ibis on the move as well as Little Egret and a single Grey Heron. Bird of the day was a juvenile Greater Sandplover that flew onto the beach near me around 7.30 am and then flew off east after about 15 minutes. It was probably the large plover that I saw later migrating west in with a flock of Glossy Ibis.
Birds seen during the day there and inland included:
Polis Chrysochou Bay
From 7.00 am – 8.30am and 11.00am to 16.00 pm
Grey Heron 1
Glossy Ibis flocks of c60 + 34 + 38+ 11 + 52 + c100 + 45 + 18 + c80 (see photo)
Little Egret 27 flying over area all day
Greater Sandplover 1 on beach in morning then flying W later with flock of Glossy Ibis 12:10
Wader spp 18 probably Common Redshank flying offshore heading W
Common Ringed Plover in off sea and inland
Common Kingfisher 1
European Shag 1 offshore
Alpine Swift 2
Common Sandpiper 5
European Roller 3
Lesser Grey Shrike 1 imm
Pittokopos to Androlikou track
European Roller 5
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Lesser Grey Shrike 2 ad
Woodchat Shrike 2m
Cyprus Warbler 1m and 1f
Masked Shrike 1m and 1 juv
Cyprus Wheatear 2
Eleonora’s Falcon 1 over
Migrating duck, wader and heron spp usually start appearing offshore on the northern coast of Cyprus at this time of year. This morning between 7.00 and 8.30 am I had six Cattle Egret (see photo), around 20 Glossy Ibis, four Garganey and nine Common Sandpiper. Larger flocks would be expected from second week of August onwards until mid/late September.
There seemed to have been a clear out of birds overnight and there were less around than yesterday but still some migrants around including a Broad-billed Sandpiper on the Salt Lake. Other birds included:
Larnaca Sewage Works
Grey Heron 2
Little Tern 7
Yellow-legged Gull 1
Black-crowned Night Heron 1 along coast being mobbed by Hooded Crow
Little Stint 3
Common Sandpiper 1
Mallard 18 plus 1 female with 10 ducklings
Little Grebe 6
Common Coot 11
Sand Martin 20+
Barn Swallow 200+
Common Swift 50+
Northern House Martin 10+
Red-backed Shrike 1m
Greater Short-toed Lark 2
Larnaca Salt Lake
Little Owl 1
Eurasian Thick-knees (Stone Curlew) 1 h
Spur-winged Lapwing 16
Wood Sandpiper 5
Broad-billed Sandpiper 1
Little Stint 22
Temminck’s Stint 1
Glossy Ibis 8
Curlew Sandpiper 2
Squacco Heron 1 (see photos)
Black-crowned Night Heron 2 over road near Airport
Good to see John and Madeleine again for another day’s birding. We visited a few Paphos locations in the morning before spending the rest of the day around Akrotiri. Eight species of raptor seen including Red-footed Falcon, Lesser Kestrel and Montagu’s Harrier at Anarita early morning and later on a Peregrine Falcon and two Eleonora’s Falcon hunting the waders on Akrotiri Salt Lake where we were surprised to find a female Hen Harrier as well. We saw many different waders including Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Temminck’s Stint plus great views of Collared Pratincole and White-winged Tern.
Highlights per location visited:
Agia Varvara – Black Francolin 2, European Turtle Dove, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Lesser Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Spotted Flycatcher
Agia Varvara village reservoir- Ruff, Temminck’s Stint, Wood Sandpiper, European Roller, Red-rumped Swallow
Anarita Park – Montagu’s Harrier 1m, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater h, Lesser Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Cyprus Warbler, Corn Bunting
Kouklia village – Laughing Dove
Akrotiri Gravel Pits – Great Spotted Cuckoo 2, European Turtle Dove 4, Little Egret, Kentish Plover, Willow Warbler, European Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher 1f
Phasouri Reed Beds – Ferruginous Duck, Glossy Ibis 6, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Ruff, Olivaceous Warbler, Black-headed Wagtail 1m, European Serin
Akrotiri Salt Lake – Greater Flamingo, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Little Tern, White-winged Tern, Hen Harrier 1f, European Bee eater, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon
Lady’s Mile – Little Egret, Common Ringed Plover, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Little Tern
Zakaki Marsh – European Bee-eater, Squacco Heron
Total species seen – 75
Black Francolin, Ferruginous Duck, Mallard, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Common Swift, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, White-winged Tern, Hen Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Black-headed Wagtail, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, European Goldfinch, European Serin, Corn Bunting
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