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 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.
A relaxing morning in the Troodos area. Several family parties seen – of Masked Shrike, Northern Wren, Olivaceous Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Eurasian Jay as well as several Spotted Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Common Chaffinches, European Goldfinch and Greenfinch. Also a couple of Eurasian Crag Martin, two Grey Wagtail and a Common Hoopoe. This Masked Shrike looked the worse for wear – after a tiring breeding season I’m guessing.
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.
Spent the last few days in north west corner of island – joining BirdLife Cyprus’ members weekend there which included a boat trip to Cape Arnaouti from Latchi Harbour.
My birding highlights included Baltic Gull, Gull-billed Tern, flocks of Purple & Grey Heron and Glossy Ibis, several Red-backed and Masked Shrike, a migrating European Sparrowhawk, flocks of European Bee-eater (see photo), an Ortolan Bunting, several autumn plumage Cyprus Wheatear (see photo), Red-rumped Swallow, Alpine Swift, a juvenile Pallid Harrier, Whinchat and a Common Hoopoe.
Plenty of the ‘usual suspects’ around Troodos this morning. Especially good views of Masked Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher, Eurasian Jay, Cyprus Wheatear and Red-rumped Swallow. A male Blue Rock Thrush was singing at Amiantos.
Below is a photo of a Eurasian Jay – a Cyprus endemic sub species – taking a bath in one of the many water troughs at a picnic site.
A lovely day out today visiting Paralimni Lake, Cape Greco, Agia Napa Sewage Works and Ormedeia. A few record photos of a Citrine Wagtail and Spotted Crake seen at Paralimni, a Greater Short-toed Lark at Cape Greco and a Masked Shrike at Agia Napa Sewage Works.
Other interesting species seen were Bimaculated Lark, Pallid Harrier, Woodchat Shrike, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, singing Olivaceous and Willow Warbler, Audouin’s Gull, migrating Garganey and two stunning male Common Redstart.
Still some winter visitors around – Eurasian Siskins, Hawfinches and Bramblings but migrant breeders are now in evidence – I found two male and one female Masked Shrike as well as a Common Hoopoe (see photo).
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
Peter, Pat, Paul and Janet were staying in Nicosia so we had a bit of a drive before we could start our morning’s birding. We headed to Achna Dam where water levels are still good and where I had seen some good birds on a trip there last week. We spent some time there getting good views of three Great White Egret, an immature Whiskered Tern, a Common Kingfisher and two Northern Pintail. A group of five Glossy Ibis feeding on the far shore left the area after a while – probably continuing their migration south. Ten newly arrived Northern Lapwing flew into the area from the north. Several Cattle and Little Egret and Grey Heron were also present and a couple of Willow Warbler were feeding in the shorter reeds. As we returned to the car we spotted two Dunlin, a Little Stint and a Little Ringed Plover feeding in a muddy area. A juvenile Western Marsh Harrier was quartering the area and we saw it fly up from the ground with something in its talons. Unfortunately although we heard several European Bee-eater flying over the area they were too high for us to see.
We searched the rocky beach at Ormedeia for a Greater Sandplover but had no joy so we had to make do with a single Kentish Plover and three more Northern Lapwing. A quick stop at Oroklini Marsh enabled us to see a large group of almost forty Spur-winged Lapwing as well as a couple of Common Redshank, a Little Ringed Plover and a Ruff.
We finished our morning driving through the valley of Panagia Stazousa as we headed back to Nicosia. We were hoping that there would still be some Cyprus Wheatear around and we were not disappointed. At least four were still present and dutifully obliged by sitting out in the open on the top of low bushes. While watching one of them we spotted a juvenile Red-backed Shrike and when it flew further away we were pleased to also see a juvenile Masked Shrike in another bush. Several Whinchat were seen resting as they migrated through the island. We also had brief views of a Spotted Flycatcher and a female Eurasian Blackcap but a female Common Redstart was more co-operative and sat low in a shrub enabling us to watch her through the telescope. An unexpected bird to finish the morning on. A morning on which we managed to see a good variety of species – a few more than I had anticipated.
Total species – 40
Northern Pintail, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stint, Common Redshank, Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, European Bee-eater (h), Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, White Wagtail, European Goldfinch
David, Diane and I spent the day out birding around Larnaca visiting Achna Dam, Ormeidia, Oroklini, Larnaca Sewage Works area, Pervolia, Kivisili and Panagia Stazousa. We had a good selection of species including Greater Sandplover, the endemic Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler, White-winged and Whiskered Tern, Red-footed Falcon, Montagu’s Harrier, Ferruginous Duck, Chukar and Spur-winged Lapwing.
Highlights per location:
Achna Dam – Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe, Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher
Ormedeia Beach – Greater Sandplover, Kentish Plover, Whinchat, European Shag
Oroklini – Little Ringed Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing
Meneou Pool – Eurasian Thick-knee, Masked Shrike
Larnaca Sewage Works area – Ferruginous Duck, Northern Pintail, Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, White-winged Tern (inc 1 in breeding plumage), Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-backed Shrike, Sand Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Western Yellow Wagtail
Pervolia area – Montagu’s Harrier 1 juv, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Tawny Pipit, Northern Wheatear
Kivisilli fields – Common Hoopoe 1, Red-footed Falcon 1 juv, Tree Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat
Panagia Stazousa – Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, European Stonechat, European Bee-eater
Total number of species seen – 74
Chukar, Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, European Shag, Eurasian Thick-knee, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Greenfinch
Nelson wanted to see Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear on his short stay in Cyprus with anything else a bonus. I was a bit apprehensive as Cyprus Warbler can be quite skulking at this time of year and it was possible that Cyprus Wheatear could have moved on. But we started early at Cape Greco and luckily a couple of male Cyprus Warbler were flitting around in an area where they usually breed and are regularly seen in the spring. We also had good views of a couple of females and one juvenile. One of the males even decided to sing – we were very pleased. We also saw a couple of Spectacled Warbler, Isabelline Wheatear and several Red-backed Shrike. Moving closer to the coast we soon found a very smart juvenile Cyprus Wheatear which sat very still to enable both Nelson and Molly to watch him at their leisure. We were very pleased to see good numbers of Chukar as well. European Bee-eater were migrating overhead – many heard only although finally three or four passed low in front of us. Six Purple Heron migrated over as well as did Red-rumped Swallow and Sand Martin. We added Lesser Grey Shrike, Northern Wheatear, Willow Warbler and another Cyprus Wheatear before heading towards Agia Napa Sewage Works.
A surprise find on the pools there was a single Ferruginous Duck. Four Spur-winged Lapwing were flying around the area calling and two Common Sandpiper were feeding on the edge of the pool. We stopped to watch a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier gaining height over the area and migrating south. An Eleonora’s Falcon was being mobbed by two Common Kestrel below him. We added yet more Red-backed Shrike to the mornings totals but also a male, female and juvenile Masked Shrike which gave us a chance to compare their different plumages. A Spotted Flycatcher was another new species there.
Moving to Agia Napa Football Fields we found several Cattle Egret, another Isabelline Wheatear, a Common Hoopoe, a juvenile Red-backed Shrike and at least 60 Yellow Wagtail feeding on the fields. Our last stop was at Macronissos Beach where at first it seemed we wouldn’t find anything but more scanning produced two Greater Sandplover and three Kentish Plover – two bonus species on which to finish our morning.
Total species seen – 40
Chukar, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Coot, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Spur-winged Plover, Common Sandpiper, Montagu’s Harrier, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail, European Goldfinch