A great day out around Paphos guiding for Birdwatching Breaks. Starting with Little Bittern and Baillon’s Crake at Agia Varvara we then saw a singing male Cyprus Warbler and at least seven Great Spotted Cuckoo (one photographed). We had European Bee-eater over our heads in off the sea at Mandria, while we were searching for the female Caspian Plover seen there earlier. We caught up with the Caspian Plover after lunch and then moved onto Timi where we found two male and a female Citrine Wagtail. The day finished with good views of a Scops Owl.
Out doing a Roller survey at Panagia Stazousa this morning when I noticed this juvenile Little Owl watching me.
Back in Cyprus after a few weeks away and time to get the 2018 year list under way. Visiting Manglis Lake and Agios Sozomenos in Nicosia with the Black-necked Grebe I found at the former in mid December still present and good views of Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Little Owl and Finsch’s Wheatear at the latter.
Black-necked Grebe 1
Northern Shoveler 13
Common Teal 1m
Little Egret 1
Great Cormorant 1
Cattle Egret 1
Red-throated Pipit 6
European Serin 2
Spectacled Warbler 3 singing males
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Bonelli’s Eagle 2
Little Owl 1 (see photo)
Northern Lapwing c50
Common Buzzard 2
Finsch’s Wheatear 1m and 1f
Corn Bunting 2 singing
I spent Wednesday morning and all day Friday taking Katrin and Volker around several of the main Paphos birding locations. On Wednesday morning we concentrated on finding the two endemics – Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear. To maximise our chances we spent a couple of hours at Mavrokolymbos Dam. Luckily we found two Cyprus Wheatear that have still not headed south for the winter. We heard a couple of Cyprus Warbler too in an area where I have found them in the past. They were not as obliging as the wheatears – we can say that we definitely saw them but only briefly as they flitted between bushes, usually diving quickly out of sight again. A Long-legged Buzzard perched on a low rock also kept us entertained until finally the local Hooded Crows forced it to leave the area. Two Eurasian Hobby flew briefly into view and we heard many newly arrived European Robin, saw some Spanish Sparrow, found many Sardinian Warbler, a female Black Redstart and a late migrant Spotted Flycatcher. The only water bird in the area was a Grey Heron.
We checked the road to Akoursos for Cyprus Warbler as well and again we were made to struggle for good views. A male played very hard to get and while a female was also around. Driving towards Kathikas we found a good number of Corn Bunting and a Lesser Whitethroat. A surprise near Pegeia was a female Merlin that flew in front of the car.
On Friday the aim was to have a general bird watch and see what was around. We started at Paphos Headland where we were pleased to find three Greater Sandplover in their usual location on the beach despite being warned by a local birder that they weren’t present. We also found a Common Sandpiper and four Ruddy Turnstone which late migrant Whinchat and Northern Wheatear were also present together with some of the numerous European Stonechat and Crested Lark that we would see during the day. At Paphos Sewage Plant we also found our target species quite quickly – Spur-winged Lapwing – although behind the fences today and not feeding in the fields as we had hoped. We spent some time watching a mixed flock of Meadow and Red-throated Pipit in an unploughed field together with a good number of White Wagtail and a few Western Yellow Wagtail. Six Eurasian Skylark flew over – all these species highlighting the fact that winter visitors are well and truly here.
We then visited Anarita Park where we failed to find our target species – a Finsch’s Wheatear. One had been reported back on territory in mid week but we had no joy today even after trying several areas where they usually winter. We did find some compensation in a very smart male Blue Rock Thrush. We also found Chukar, a Little Owl, four Northern Wheatear, two Whinchat and a Cyprus Wheatear. Moving down to the coast we drove around the fields at Mandria and were pleased to finally see a raptor – a ringtail Hen Harrier that flew over the western part of the area being chased by Hooded Crows. Here we also found two juvenile Red-backed Shrike.
Over looking Asprokremmos Dam from near Anarita Mast we were treated to a fly over from an Eleonora’s Falcon and then a young Osprey fishing in the Dam itself. Also trying to feed over the water was an immature Whiskered Tern. An odd bird for this location but a new one for our trip list was a Northern Lapwing. Several Great Cormorant and Grey Heron were also on the water.
We finished our day checking the Ha Potami valley and then headed back into Paphos after seeing a good variety of species during what is a relatively quiet period bird-wise.
Species list- Chukar, Mallard, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dover, Common Coot, Grey Heron, Great Cormorant, Greater Sandplover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, Little Owl, Osprey, Hen Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Eleonora’s Falcon, Merlin, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Eurasian Skylark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Willow Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Robin, Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Red-throated Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Corn Bunting
A good morning around Agios Sozomenos to the south east of Nicosia. Still some migrant breeders and passage migrants around while several European Stonechat setting up territories showed that winter on the way. Two late European Roller, a flock of more than forty Red-throated Pipit, a late Lesser Grey Shrike (see photo) and a Bonelli’s Eagle perched on the cliffs were the highlights.
European Roller 2
Red-throated Pipit 45+
White Wagtail 20+
Yellow Wagtail 12
Bonelli’s Eagle 1 ad perched on cliffs
Red-backed Shrike 2 juv
Lesser Grey Shrike 1 juv
Cattle Egret 6
Spanish Sparrow 20+
Little Owl 1
European Stonechat 16+ (setting up territories all over area)
Cyprus Wheatear 3
Spotted Flycatcher 1
The morning out today around Akamas with Grahame and Susie was notable for the number of European Rollers, Masked Shrike and Lesser Grey Shrike. We were especially pleased to see six of the latter sitting on low trees close to each other outside Pittokopos and Grahame was pleased to see so many European Rollers – his target species for the morning,
Highlights per location:
Neo Horio to Androlikou – Masked Shrike, European Turtle Dove, Chukar, Cyprus Wheatear
Androlikou to Pittokopos – Lesser Grey Shrike 6, Masked Shrike, Woodchat Shrike 1m, European Roller 6+, European Turtle Dove, Common Kestrel 7+ hawking over area together, Corn Bunting
Arodes – Lesser Grey Shrike 2, Masked Shrike, European Roller 5+, Little Owl 2 juv, Olivaceous Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Cyprus Wheatear
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
This year a day out in mid-May means finding very few passerine migrants, the need to concentrate on breeding birds and visiting a wetland to increase the variety of species seen. Luckily Robert had a list of realistic target species which made our day easier although we had to work hard to find the Black-headed Wagtail. The other species Robert hoped to see were Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Black Francolin, Chukar, Little Owl, Spur-winged Lapwing and Masked Shrike.
Starting at Cape Greco, the first bird we saw was a singing male Cyprus Warbler which was a great start. We explored the area and found another two males and two females together with a couple of juveniles. We soon heard the distinctive call of the Cyprus Wheatear and spotted a singing male on a low bush. Several others were later seen as were a couple of European Turtle Dove, a Spectacled Warbler, a male and female Red-backed Shrike as well as a couple of Sand Martin. A couple of Black-headed Buntings were singing near the Sea Caves area where we also found our only Chukar of the day.
We then headed to Akhna Dam where several Spur-winged Lapwing were found as was a male Garganey, a couple of Ruff and Common Sandpiper, some Little Egret, a Grey Heron and a Glossy Ibis. Several Eurasian Reed Warbler were heard singing and a flock of around 30 Common Swift and seven Alpine Swift were flying over the area and coming down to drink – a great sight. We visited both hides at Oroklini and Robert got great views of another of his targets here – this time a male Black Francolin was out in the open calling for quite a while. We also saw more Spur-winged Lapwing here as well as Black-winged Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Little, Whiskered and White-winged Tern and Garganey. There were several recently hatched young Cattle Egret in the colony and we also spotted a Spur-winged Lapwing chick with one of its parents.
We then went inland to Panagia Stazousa to try and find a Masked Shrike and a Little Owl. We found the Little Owl perched outside its nest site but it took a while to find a Masked Shrike until eventually a male flew into view. We also saw more Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear as well as Olivaceous Warbler, a European Roller, a fly-over Eurasian Hobby and two Long-legged Buzzard. We heard Cretzschmar’s Bunting but couldn’t get decent views of them.
Our next stop was on the eastern side of Larnaca Salt Lake where there was still some water and I was hoping may be a suitable location for the feldegg race of the Yellow Wagtail – Black-headed Wagtail. We found some water and the bonus of three Broad-billed Sandpiper (a regular but scarce passage migrant to Cyprus) feeding with Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper and some stunning Curlew Sandpiper. A Squacco Heron was also present and we heard the call of a Yellow Wagtail and saw a couple fly over but were unable to see which race they were. Finally, a male Blue-headed was spotted feeding next to some reeds and then to its right there was a male Black-headed. All of the target species seen we went south of the airport to see what was on the Sewage Pools there. There were several Little Tern and a couple of White-winged Tern as well as two Yellow-legged Gull, some Spur-winged Lapwing and several Ruff. New birds for the day were a single Gull-billed Tern feeding over the water and a Collared Pratincole which we saw head out towards the coast.
We finished our day there pleased with our efforts.
Total species seen 66
Chukar, Black Francolin, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Little Owl, Long-legged Buzzard, European Roller, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Barn Swallow, Collared Sand Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Mark, Jill and I spent the morning visiting a few of the Paphos birding locations with a view to showing them a different variety of species. Our first stop was at Anarita Park where we watched the Lesser Kestrels hunting over the area and also found singing male Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear, a European Roller, a Great Spotted Cuckoo, several Ortolan Bunting, Woodchat Shrike, a Little Owl, many Whinchat, a Tree Pipit and a male and female Black-eared Wheatear.
We searched for the crakes I had found at Agia Varvara the day before but other than brief inflight views of one we had no luck today. It was impossible to say which of the two we had seen in flight and it didn’t show again. There were two Lesser Kestrel in the area as well as a small group of Yellow Wagtail, a Spotted Flycatcher and yet more Whinchat. We found at least 14 Spur-winged Lapwing in the fields near Paphos Sewage Plant and saw a tiny Eurasian Stone Curlew chick with its parent in an olive grove there. A group of mainly Blue-headed Wagtail came to a puddle to drink, a Black Francolin flew across our path and a smart male Spanish Sparrow came into the open on a road side reed as we left.
An enjoyable morning out with the highlight being excellent views of the endemics.
Full species list:
Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Black Francolin, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Spru-winged Lapwing, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, European Roller, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Blue-headed Wagtail (flava), Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, Ortolan Bunting, Corn Bunting
This was the second time that I had taken Esther and Marcel out and it was good to see them again. After the numbers of migrants around in the last two weeks it was much quieter today but we still had some good birds including great views of a singing male Cyprus Warbler, a pair of Long-legged Buzzard over our heads, a Great Reed Warbler and a Baillon’s Crake.
Highlights per location:
Timi Beach – Eurasian Stone Curlew, Red-rumped Swallow
Agia Varvara – Black Francolin, Little Crake, Baillon’s Crake, European Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Black-headed Wagtail, Great Reed Warbler (1 seen and another heard only), Cyprus Warbler 1 singing male
Paphos Sewage Plant – Spur-winged Lapwing 8, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Yellow Wagtial, Spotted Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher 1f
Mandria – Purple Heron, Laughing Dove, Greater Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail 50+, Whinchat, Olivaceous Warbler, Woodchat Shrike
Anarita Park – Black-crowned Night Heron 1 over village, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Little Owl, Whinchat, Black-eared Wheatear, Cyprus Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Collared Flycatcher 1f, Woodchat Shrike
Full list of species:
Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Little Crake, Baillon’s Crake, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail (feldegg), White Wagtail, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, bunting spp probably Ortolan, Corn Bunting
Another windy day out which again disrupted the planned itinerary and the birds we saw but nevertheless we did manage to find some interesting species which included great views of both Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Masked Shrike.
Picking up Brian and Wendy from their hotel in Limassol we headed inland to Germasogeia Dam. The first bird we found was a Little Owl sitting in the open on the branch of a carob tree and then we watched some singing Corn Bunting. We stopped to listen for Cyprus Warbler and were quickly rewarded by at least two singing males and a secretive female. The males were very obliging and allowed Brian good views of the first of his targets. After looking at the ID pointers of on a female Eastern Black-eared Wheatear we moved to the stream. Here we spent some time looking at two Cretzschmar’s Bunting feeding on the track and then a singing Cyprus Wheatear on the slope above us. Leaving and heading back towards Akrotiri we saw another male Cyprus Warbler feeding on a fig tree.
As I had feared it was already windy around Akrotiri but we did the best we could! We saw a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and also an Isabelline and Northern. There were several Tree Pipit around and a single Ortolan Bunting was feeding on the ground near the church. Waders of interest were a Marsh Sandpiper, two Wood Sandpiper, some Ruff and two Little Ringed Plover. After watching a Squacco Heron feed on a very large lizard we checked out the new cleared areas of Phasouri Reed Beds and saw four Ferruginous Duck and another Wood Sandpiper as well as a group of 12 Ruff feeding in the grass.
Along Lady’s Mile we had close views of several Greater Flamingo, another Marsh Sandpiper, a Common Greenshank, plenty of Ruff, two Kentish Plover, three Yellow-legged Gull and two Armenian Gull. It was now even windier so we spent just ten minutes in the hide at Zakaki where a Squacco Heron flew in and three Ferruginous Duck were seen at the back of the pool.
We decided to head inland again and went to Prastio Kellakiou where we found three male Masked Shrike, a few more Cretzschmar’s Bunting, European Serin, another Cyprus Warbler, several Cyprus Wheatear, Common Chaffinch, two Red-rumped Swallow and heard the endemic Coal Tit.
Overall we were pleased with the species we had seen but disappointed that the wind had certainly limited the number that would have been expected for a day out in April during spring migration.
Species seen –
Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, Ferruginous Duck, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Ruff, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Yellow-legged Gull, Armenian Gull, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Tree Pipit, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Ortolan Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
Picking up Bob, John, Lesley and John from Pissouri we headed straight to Timi Beach to start our day. Thirteen Black-winged Stilt were flying along the coast while two Little Egret and a couple of Yellow-legged Gull sat on offshore rocks. On the grassy areas we found several Isabelline and Northern Wheatear as well as a single Cyprus Wheatear. Two Eurasian Stone Curlew were in the ploughed field and in the bushes we watched a Common Nightingale, a Common Whitethroat and an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler which was in song. Three female Black-headed Wagtail were also present.
We then headed inland to Anarita Park. As we arrived the wind started to blow and that was the story of the rest of the day out. There appeared to have been a clear out of birds compared to yesterday although we did have two male Lesser Kestrel in with several females, a couple of Alpine Swift, at least four Tree Pipit, a couple of Northern, Cyprus and Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, two Cretzschmar’s Bunting and a male Ruppell’s Warbler – not all bad!
A quick visit to Agia Varvara added two more Lesser Kestrel, a Green Sandpiper, two Whinchat, a fly over Red-throated Pipit, a Eurasian Hoopoe and a female Eastern Black-eared Wheatear. We then went to Asprokremmos Dam where the wind was still very strong but we managed to see a male Collared Flycatcher, a Little Owl and a Woodchat Shrike as well as the area’s usual European Goldfinch and vocal European Serin.
A change of plan to try and avoid the wind and we headed inland to the head of the dam to what was once Nata Ford and is now a bridge. On the way we found a large group of nearly 200 Spanish Sparrow and another Eurasian Hoopoe. On the Xeros river we watched a Marsh Sandpiper, a Little Ringed Plover, several Green Sandpiper, some Yellow Wagtail and both Barn Swallow and Red-rumped Swallow coming down to collect mud. A noisy Great Spotted Cuckoo flew into nearby trees and on the return drive we found a female Collared Flycatcher. Driving through Anarita Village we were pleased to see a male Pallid Harrier over an orchard although disappointed it was moving so quickly and was soon out of sight.
A quick visit to Paphos Sewage Works gave us good views of Spur-winged Lapwing and Cattle Egret and a Long-legged Buzzard high above us before we returned to Pissouri where a smart male Masked Shrike was perched on a hawthorn bush as we parked. A good bird on which to finish a day on which we had worked pretty hard in the wind for the birds we did find!
Total birds seen – 64
Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin h, Common Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Little Ringed Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Marsh Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tree Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, flava, feldegg and supercilaris, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Collared Flycatcher, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting