More sea watching today and some good waders around – Eurasian Oystercatcher moving very quickly west close to shore, flock of 14 Common Redshank, another of 28 Ruff, a juvenile Collared Pratincole and single Ruddy Turnstone and Little Ringed Plover. Also small flocks of Grey and Purple Heron and Glossy Ibis, single Cattle Egret and Black-crowned Night Heron, Garganey, a lone Elenora’s Falcon heading east and two Slender-billed Gull. The photos are the best of a bad bunch of photos taken today – blame the speed of the birds, the harsh light and of course the photographer!
Spent most of the day sea watching in the Polis Chrysochou Bay. The bird of the day was this Whimbrel (photo) which flew in off the sea and started feeding on the beach in front me. Also migrating were some Grey and Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis and Garganey. Other waders seen were a flock of eight Common Sandpiper, four distant Pied Avocet flying west over the sea and two Grey Plover which flew into the bay as I was leaving and couldn’t see where they had landed.
A few days in the Akamas area 6th – 8th August produced several adult and juvenile Masked Shrike, a male and a female Woodchat Shrike and among the first return migrating Lesser Grey Shrike and Red-backed Shrike. Sea watching was quiet with not much movement yet, although I had several Gull-billed and Whiskered Tern, a flock of 22 Common Sandpiper and an ‘in off’ European Roller as well as a Western Yellow Wagtail feeding in a coastal feed.
Back in Larnaca today I found a resting group of Grey Heron and Little Egret and saw a small group of Glossy Ibis flying over. Little Tern are still fishing offshore and a group of c80 Greater Flamingo are on the Salt Lake which still has some water. Another Lesser Grey Shrike was also there and while I was looking at an Olivaceous Warbler in a track side bush this juvenile Masked Shrike came to check me out.
Another good day out with the Travelling Naturalist Cyprus group. Today we visited Cape Drepanum, Arodes and Smygies and we had the luck to witness first hand the amazing numbers of Painted Lady butterflies currently migrating through Cyprus. We estimate we saw at least 200,000 through the day. We also saw some good birds including more Cyprus Wheatear, migrating flocks of Grey Heron and Little Egret, Blue-headed Wagtail, Chukar, Hen Harrier, Black-eared Wheatear and a Great Spotted Cuckoo pair. We rounded the day off finding several new orchid species.
Did the waterbird count this morning around Larnaca. Most of the birds were at the Sewage Works – Greater Flamingo, Little and Cattle Egret, Grey and Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Kentish and Common Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Sanderling, Ruff, Marsh Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Redshank, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, Garganey, Ferruginous Duck. Plus migrating Montagu’s and Pallid Harrier, lots of European Bee-eater, an Isabelline and Northern Wheatear, Red-backed (see photo), Masked and Lesser Grey Shrike. Good morning’s birding.
Sea watching at Polis Chrysochou this morning 6.30 – 8.30 am produced good numbers of migrating Glossy Ibis plus Purple, Grey and Squacco Heron, Cattle and Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt (see photo), Garganey, Gull-billed Tern, Common Sandpiper and Kingfisher and European Bee-eater.
Migration slowly getting busier with c50 Collared Pratincole in the fields near Larnaca Sewage Works and a group of 13 Common Sandpiper resting on the rocks on the nearby coast this morning. Feeding on the Sewage Pools were Gull-billed, Whiskered and White-winged Tern. A couple of Slender-billed and Black-headed Gull were present as were more than 100 Greater Flamingo, a couple of Black-winged Stilt, 23 Ferruginous Duck, a Common Greenshank, six Grey Heron and six Cattle Egret, plenty of Spur-winged Lapwing and both the long-staying unseasonable Great Crested Grebes.
Out around Nicosia again today visiting Manglis Lake, Athalassa Dam and Agios Sozomenos. Best birds were:
Great Egret 1
Little Egret 1
Black-necked Grebe 1
Grey Wagtail 1
Great Egret 2
Little Egret 1
Grey Heron 6
Black-crowned Night Heron 3ad and 1imm
Great Cormorant 60+
Black-necked Grebe 3
Ferruginous Duck 9
Eurasian Blackbird 1h
European Serin 2+
Plus plenty of Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Hen Harrier 1 being chased away by Long-legged Buzzard
Spanish Sparrow 30+
Bonelli’s Eagle 1 ad and 1 imm
Finsch’s Wheatear 1m and 1f
Common Quail 1h calling from edge of field of alfalfa
Red-throated Pipit 2h
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.
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
A visit to Manglis Lake in the suburbs of Nicosia this morning showed the importance of this and other wetlands to wintering birds here in Cyprus. There were nearly 50 Greater Cormorant, four Grey Heron, a Great Egret, a Little Egret, more than 20 Eurasian Coot, three Moorhen and a Little Grebe all feeding and resting there.
A quick visit to Athalassa Dam, outside Nicosia this morning – very peaceful and with some good views of some interesting birds.