A quick visit to Athalassa Dam, outside Nicosia this morning – very peaceful and with some good views of some interesting birds.
Interesting birds seen this morning around Larnaca area:
Willow Warbler 1
Five Barn Swallows, two House Martin and a Common Swift today at Athalassa Park reminded me that spring is on the way. On and around the water were two Great Egret, six Grey Heron, two Black-crowned Night Heron, two Cattle Egret, c40 Great Cormorant, a male Common Pochard, 18+ Ferruginous Duck, 3 Tufted Duck, three Grey Wagtail, a Common Snipe and lots of Little Grebe, Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Teal and Mallard.
Walked around the lake at Athalassa Park this morning. Birds of interest were:
Great Egret 5 (maybe 6)
Grey Heron 3
Black-crowned Night Heron 5 (4ad)
Cattle Egret 2
Great Cormorant 11
Ferruginous Duck 14+
Tufted Duck 3 (on smaller Sewage Pool)
Grey Wagtail 2+
Water Rail h
Plus lots of Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen, Little Grebe
The first of two days out with Mark and Sally around the Paphos area; today we visited Acheleia Dam, Anarita Park, Minthis Hills, Kannaviou Dam and surrounds, and Evretou Dam.
A good surprise on the small Acheleia or Pianina Dam was a Ferruginous Duck – one of Mark’s targets that I had not expected to find around Paphos. Pleased with our start we headed to Anarita Park where we found a couple of Woodlark, flocks of European Goldfinch and plenty of Common Stonechat on our arrival. Scanning the rocks for wintering Finsch’s Wheatear we found two males that appeared to be fighting over territory and a female to the left of them. To the north we found another male (although we weren’t sure it wasn’t one of the two earlier seen arguing) and another female. We then spent some time watching a male Blue Rock Thrush who was showing better than a female we had seen earlier. A Little Owl was on its usual rock and we spotted another roosting in an olive tree.
We had no joy finding a Cyprus Wheatear there, nor at Minthis Hills our next stop, with all seeming to have moved on. We found several flocks of wintering birds there – European Serin, Common Linnet and Meadow Pipit. At Polemi we saw a Common Buzzard and moving on to Kannaviou we stopped and scanned the Dam first. A Great Egret was the best of the water birds there which also included two Grey Heron, many Eurasian Coot, some Mallard, Little Grebe and a single Great Cormorant. Two male Western Black Redstart were flying around and arguing near the dam wall in front of us. Eating our lunch in the nearby forest we were surrounded by flocks of Common Chaffinch, plenty of European Robin, some European Serin and Sardinian Warbler. We explored the area and finally managed to get views of around six Coal Tit – an endemic Cyprus sub-species.
Another Great Egret was on Evretou Dam and a Common Snipe was feeding around the edge. We were treated to fly pasts from both a Long-legged Buzzard and a Peregrine Falcon and spent some time watching the flocks of Corn Bunting. Two Common Starling were a good bird for that area of Cyprus. Large flocks of both Common Woodpigeon and Western Jackdaw were flying around. As the sunset we watched eight Great Cormorant coming into roost on water side trees.
Total species seen – 44
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Mallard, Ferruginous Duck, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Snipe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting
A day out around the south east of Cyprus today with Neil. At Cape Greco we found a late Cyprus Wheatear and a male Cyprus Warbler gave us good views. We had not joy finding any Finsch’s Wheatear which don’t seem to have arrived on their winter territories in this part of the island yet. We had good views of a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Great Egret, a female and juvenile male Blue Rock Thrush and Chukar, and were very pleased to find two Greater Sand Plover at Agia Trias. Twenty migrating Slender-billed Gulls were seen off Kermia Beach and we found two late migrating juvenile Red-backed Shrike and Northern Wheatear.
Highlights per location:
Akhna Dam – Great Egret, Eurasian Wigeon 1f, Common Quail 1h, Spur-winged Lapwing, Zitting Cisticola, Spanish Sparrow
Agia Thekla – Little Egret, Red-throated Pipit
Kermia Beach – Northern Shoveler 2 on sea, Slender-billed Gull 20 E to W off shore, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 1m
Cape Greco – Northern Wheatear 2, Cyprus Wheatear 1, Blue Rock Thrush 2, Spectacled Warbler, Cyprus Warbler 1m, Red-backed Shrike 2 juv
Agia Trias – Yellow-legged Gull 3, Greater Sand Plover 2, Common Sandpiper 1, Common Kingfisher 1
Agia Napa Football Fields – Cattle Egret 11
Paralimni Lake – Little Egret 10, Water Rail h, Spur-winged Lapwing
Total species seen – 47
Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Quail, Eurasian Coot, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Red-throated Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Common Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet
Not a lot of water, even the Sewage Works Pools are emptying but some interesting birds with a Red-breasted Flycatcher (not a male though 😦 ) as a bonus!
Larnaca Sewage Works
Spur-winged Lapwing 9
Greater Flamingo 66
Northern Shoveler c300
Eurasian Teal c150
Black-winged Stilt 13
Grey Heron 2
Great Egret 1 (flew off heading E)
Little Stint c40
Ruddy Shelduck 1
Northern Lapwing 1
Kentish Plover 16
Common Ringed Plover 17
Marsh Sandpiper 1
Eleonora’s Falcon 2 flew over fast heading W
Red-breasted Flycatcher 1
Spur-winged Lapwing 30
Common Crane 6 (in pm were on Sewage Pools)
Common Ringed Plover 25
Water Rail 1h
Common Redshank 1
Common Snipe 1h
Yellow-legged Gull 27 flew over
Red-throated Pipit 2+h
Larnaca Desalination Fields
Spanish Sparrow 40+
Red-throated Pipit 1
Yellow-legged Gull 30+
Caspian Gull 1
Armenian Gull 1+
Some good birds seen around the area of Larnaca Salt Lake both north and south of the airport today, which included the famous black Greater Flamingo which today was on the main Salt Lake. Waders of note included eight Pied Avocet, four Eurasian Dotterel, two Whimbrel flying offshore, three Red-necked Phalarope, more than thirty Common Greenshank and plenty of Black-winged Stilt. Several migrating Grey Heron and Little Egret were around and three Squacco Heron went east along the coast in the morning with a flock of sixteen Great Egret flying over the area just before 9 am. There were several Slender-billed Gull on the main Salt Lake where there was also a European Roller and four European Bee-eaters flew over heading north. Eight Garganey were on the Larnaca Sewage Pools and a few Eurasian Teal still remain from the winter.
The fields were full of Red-throated Pipit and Yellow Wagtail early in the morning with several Greater Short-toed Lark and I found one Eurasian Wryneck. I also saw two Western Marsh Harrier and a female Pallid Harrier.
A few hours out around Nicosia today produced four male Finsch’s Wheatear at Agios Sozomenos where there were also many Western Black Redstart and a male Peregrine Falcon. At Athalassa Park there was a juvenile Peregrine Falcon flying around, two Great Egret, two Common Kingfisher, a Grey Wagtail, several Eurasian Teal, and a few Grey Heron and Little Egret.
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