A good selection of migrants in the area including Lesser Whitethroat, Masked, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrike, Ortolan and Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Western Yellow Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Whitethroat and Willow Warbler (see photos). Best birds though were 13 Black Kite that migrated SW over the area around 8:20 am. Single Peregrine Falcon, Western Marsh Harrier and Pallid Harrier also seen.
A wet Waterbird count around Larnaca today with counting done in between the rain. Highlights were two Little Gull (rising to three in the afternoon) (see photo), two Greater Sandplover, two Great Spotted Cuckoo (see photo), a Marsh Sandpiper, my first Lesser Whitethroat and Red-rumped Swallow of the year, Eurasian Curlew, Baltic Gull, Black-winged Stilt, Water Pipit and singing Eurasian Reed Warbler.
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.
Spent the last two days in the Limassol area. The highlight was a Masked Shrike already on breeding territory at Prastio Kellakiou and two Bimaculated Lark in with a flock of Greater Short-toed Lark and Meadow Pipit on the coastline of Akrotiri Gravel Pits. Other interesting sightings during the two days:
Saturday 10th March
Water Rail 1h
Little Crake 1m
Penduline Tit 2
Slender-billed Gull 2 ad and 1 imm
Heuglin’s Gull 1
Armenian Gull c30
Caspian Gull 2 imm
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Common Hoopoe 3 (See photo)
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Cyprus Wheatear 1
Akrotiri Salt Lake/Zakaki run off
Little Ringed Plover 20+
Common Ringed Plover 20+
Kentish Plover c100
Little Stint c30
Northern Shoveler c50
Greater Flamingo 800+
Western Marsh Harrier 1 ad male
Common Snipe 12
Black-headed Wagtail 1m
Akrotiri Gravel Pits
Kentish Plover 2
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Northern Wheatear 1m
Ruppell’s Warbler 1m
Greater Short-toed Lark 4
Subalpine Warbler 1f
Eurasian Reed Warbler 4+h
Red-throated Pipit 1h
Alpine Swift 14
Cyprus Warbler 2h
Sunday 11th March
Cyprus Warbler 3 singing males and 1f
Eurasian Reed Warbler 1h
Masked Shrike 1m
Cyprus Warbler 4 singing males
Common Buzzard 1
Great Spotted Cuckoo 1 flew over road
Akrotiri Gravel Pits coast
Bimaculated Lark 2 (Record shot below)
Greater Short-toed Lark 20+
Isabelline Wheatear 2
Black-eared Wheatear 1f
Well the first day of the raptor count at Cape Greco produced two hunting Common Kestrel and one Eleonora’s Falcon. Still a bit early for raptor migration so expecting better things over the next ten days.
A few other migrants around there and at Agia Napa Football Fields but overall quite quiet.
Cape Greco 8 – 12
Elenora’s Falcon 1 hunting
Red-backed Shrike 1
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Olivaceous Warbler 1
Pallid Swift 4
Greater Short-toed Lark 1 over
Agia Napa Football Fields
Yellow Wagtail 17
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Lesser Grey Shrike 2
Masked Shrike 1
European Bee-eater h
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Although I could only get distant photos of Lesser Grey Shrike and a female Red-backed Shrike this morning at Cape Greco there was plenty moving about in the bushes near Agia Napa Sewage Works:
Eastern Orphean Warbler 12+ (probably double that)
Barred Warbler 1 juv (and one possible other)
Lesser Whitethroat 4
Olivaceous Warbler 20+
Cyprus Warbler 1m, 1f and 2 juv
Spectacled Warbler 6 (inc 2 juvs)
European Bee-eater h high over
Little Grebe 19
Common Sandpiper 1
Spur-winged Lapwing 1
Common Hoopoe 1
Lesser Grey Shrike 1 (see photo)
Woodchat Shrike 1 (see photo)
Red-backed Shrike 1f
Two days out with Ashley who was in Cyprus with the single purpose of seeing the Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear and Black Francolin and then some general birding.
Wednesday 29th March
We started on Wednesday morning in the Panagia Stazousa valley where we soon heard the strange buzzing of a male Cyprus Wheatear on territory and got some great views of it while at the same time two Cyprus Warbler were singing and competing for territory nearby. We had excellent views of them as well and were two thirds of the way through our target before our first hour was over. In the end we saw at least four singing male Cyprus Wheatear and at least twelve male and a female Cyprus Warbler in the area. Very satisfying to see so many of the warblers. A singing Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler in the same area was an added bonus. We also saw four Great Spotted Cuckoo -two of whom were seem copulating while the male fed the female a caterpillar taken from the nest of a processionary moth caterpillar. We watched him trying to extract another one but the female had lost interest by the time he was successful. A Long-legged Buzzard flew over, a Eurasian Scops Owl called and we found five Cretzschmar’s Bunting. Two Eurasian Hoopoe flew into a pine while we were watching a group of European Serin in the same tree.
Driving through the fields beneath the village of Kivisilli we stopped to admire another Eurasian Hoopoe and eight Lesser Kestrel hunting over the fields and dropping down to catch insects. A small group of Greater Short-toed Lark were in a ploughed field. We heard several Black Francolin calling at Petounta Point but only saw one briefly in flight. We had better views of another Long-legged Buzzard and several Northern and Isabelline Wheatear as well as a Common Redstart. But driving towards Pervolia we had more luck and finally had a singing male Black Francolin out in the open and not too far away so that our views were ruined by heat haze. In the fields near Pervolia village we had close up views of five Calandra Lark, around 60 Yellow Wagtail, 20 Red-throated Pipit and 50+ Greater Short-toed Lark.
After a picnic lunch by the seaside we moved to the hide overlooking Larnaca Sewage Works. There were not many waterfowl left there now although there were two Ruddy Shelduck which were a lovely surprise. Lesser Whitethroat were in the bushes in front of the hide – they were present at all the locations we visited over the two days. A Purple Heron flew over but didn’t stop while another Great Spotted Cuckoo rested briefly in front of the hide. Spur-winged Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Common Ringed Plover, Common and Green Sandpiper fed around the water’s edge. Before leaving the area we found more Black-winged Stilt, a lone Greater Flamingo and 13 Slender-billed Gull on Meneou Pool.
A quick stop to scan the main Salt Lake gave us a few more Greater Flamingo, two breeding plumage Black-necked Grebe and more Slender-billed Gull. In the north east corner our best birds were a female Little Crake and a Spotted Crake as well as Marsh Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe, Ruff, Spur-winged Lapwing, Wood and Green Sandpiper, Bluethroat, Water Pipit, Yellow Wagtail and Eurasian Reed Warbler. We finished the day there with targets met and a total of 80 species seen.
Thursday 30th March
Our first stop today was Oroklini Marsh where we found a Glossy Ibis and a Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing, three winter plumage Black-necked Grebe, a Ferruginous Duck, two male and a female Red-crested Pochard, Garganey, plenty of Cattle Egret and two Little Egret and an overflying male Pallid Harrier and a hunting female Western Marsh Harrier. Several Eurasian Reed Warbler and a single Sedge Warbler were singing. We found another Pallid Harrier, this time a sub-adult male, sitting on Paralimni Lake and another male flew over. Also there were two Eurasian Golden Plover, many Ruff, many wheatear – mainly Northern but also Isabelline, Eastern Black-eared and Cyprus, a couple of Little Ringed Plover and a Common Greenshank.
We ate our lunch at the picnic site at Cape Greco after a short walk that had us thinking there was nothing around having just heard a Common Nightingale and seen a couple of Lesser Whitethroat and Eurasian Blackcap. Then a male Pallid Harrier flew by as did five Alpine Swift. We had good views of a dark-throated and pale throated Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and two male Cyprus Warbler at a distance. A drive around the rest of the area was then more productive and we saw two Water Pipit, 12 Greater Short-toed Lark, several Cyprus Wheatear including a pair with the female collecting nest material, a showy Eurasian Wryneck sitting on a rock in the sun, five Tawny Pipit, a male Masked Shrike in the same bush as three male Subalpine Warbler and a male Ruppell’s Warbler. A quick visit to the Larnaca area produced our final birds which were another male Masked Shrike and 18 Baltic Gull migrating off shore.
Two great days out with Ashley with a wide variety of species.
Total species and forms seen – 101
Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Spotted Crake, Little Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Baltic Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Scops Owl, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Water Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail (flava), Black-headed Wagtail (feldegg), superciliaris intergrade, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale h, Bluethroat, Common Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler h, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
Found two newly arrived Cyprus Wheatear at Cape Greco today and just a hand full of other migrants – an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat and plenty of Isabelline Wheatear. Also saw several singing male Cyprus Warbler and a pair chasing, plus three Blue Rock Thrush, a flock of migrating Great Cormorant, Spanish Sparrows collecting nest material , a Eurasian Hoopoe and a male and female Finsch’s Wheatear. Two Greater Sandplover, a Grey Plover and an immature Slender-billed Gull were at Agia Trias.
The third day out with Ann and Peter didn’t develop as planned as we decided to twitch a Cyprus first. We started at Oroklini Marsh where we found Purple Heron, Cattle Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Ferruginous Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Greater Flamingo, Spur-winged Lapwing and Black Francolin as well as the more common wintering ducks Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler and resident Mallard, Little Grebe, Common Moorhen and Eurasian Coot. We moved on to the drainage channel at the nearby JUMBO toyshop where our targets of Temminck’s Stint and male Citrine Wagtail were soon found. A Common and Green Sandpiper and a couple of Spur-winged Lapwing were also there.
The plan for the day had then been to head for Larnaca Salt Lake and other Larnaca birding sites but having been told that a Cyprus first – a Brown-necked Raven – had been found earlier in the morning at Cape Greco, Ann asked that we changed our plans and headed there. And we were certainly glad we did. On arrival we only just got out of the car when a male Pallid Harrier flew past us straight in off the sea. We turned around and into view then flew the Brown-necked Raven as if on cue. We watched it land on nearby rocks but were too excited to get our cameras to focus on it. We later rued the loss of a great photo opportunity. Several other birders including the raven’s finders, Keith and Raija Howard, then turned up and we spent some time discussing the bird and looking at Raija’s photos. A flock of migrating Northern Pintail flew E along the coast then turning and heading N over our heads. The first of many Northern and Isabelline Wheatear were around us.
After that the day couldn’t really go wrong and we found Ruppell’s Warbler, a female Pallid Harrier and male Western Marsh Harrier, Spectacled Warbler,Tawny Pipit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler, Common Nightingale and Red-rumped Swallow. As the afternoon drew on we relocated the Brown-necked Raven near the restored rubbish dump and then finished the day with good views of a female Desert Wheatear. Probably we would have had a greater number of species if we had kept with our previous plan but getting a lifer made that irrelevant we decided!
Total species seen – 64
Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Wigeon, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Temminck’s Stint, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Swift, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Citrine Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Brown-necked Raven, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.