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.
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.
A chance to see some migrating birds off the north west coast of the island and to join the BirdLife Cyprus annual boat trip from Latchi to Cape Arnaouti. Highlight of that for local birders was a Eurasian Oystercatcher seen flying E along the rocky shore – never common here it has been five years since I last saw one in Cyprus, although at least one has been seen on this coast so far this autumn. Also seen over the two days were Purple and Grey Heron, Baltic Gull, Little and Cattle Egret, Garganey, White-winged Tern, Common Redshank, Peregrine Falcon, Western Marsh Harrier, a ring-tailed Harrier – probably a juvenile Pallid, Yellow Wagtail, Little Ringed Plover, Eurasian Shag and migrating Common Black-headed Gull. Plus several flying fish!