More Common Crane migrating over the island today. Over 50 reported over Tala, Paphos while I had 95 over Achna Dam around 9:30 this morning. Also at Achna were:
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
A couple of hours birding close to Nicosia. Lots of the usual winter visitors around: Common Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, European Robin, Chiffchaff, Eurasian Blackcap. The more interesting sightings were:
Agios Sozomenos, Nicosia
Spanish Sparrow 22 + 25
Eurasian Skylark 16
Little Owl 1
Blue Rock Thrush 1f
Spectacled Warbler 7
Western Black Redstart 4
Finsch’s Wheatear 2m and 1f
Hen Harrier 1f
Corn Bunting 18
Red-throated Pipit 2h and 1 seen in breeding plumage (see photos)
Northern Lapwing 70+ flying
Vathi Gonia Water Treatment Plant, Nicosia
Ferruginous Duck 4
Headed east today and managed to avoid the rain and get the two birds I had hoped for – a Great Crested Grebe at Akhna Dam (a scarce winter visitor to Cyprus, and missing from my Cyprus 2016 list) and the Steppe Grey Shrike at Cape Greco.
Great Crested Grebe 1
Northern Lapwing 4
Common Redshank 5
Common Ringed Plover 4
Little Stint 3
Common Snipe 1
Little Bittern 1 juv
Common Starling c80
Water Pipit 8+
Hen Harrier 1f
Cattle Egret 1
Grey Heron 2
Eurasian Wigeon 2
Cape Greco Sea Caves area
Finsch’s Wheatear 1f
Steppe Grey Shrike 1
Blue Rock Thrush 1f
Little Egret 1
Grey Plover 1
Greater Sand Plover 1
Common Sandpiper 1
Common Kingfisher 1
A morning around a few Paphos sites with Stephen and Lorraine. The main target species was the wintering Finsch’s Wheatear but first we headed to Paphos Headland for a short walk to track down the Greater Sand Plover that winter there. They were not easy to find this morning but eventually we found three of them feeding close to the water’s edge. A fly-by first winter Mediterranean Gull was a surprise – never seen in Cyprus in large numbers it is rarely seen in the west of the island. Twenty ducks flew offshore heading SW which we decided were probably Northern Pintail. Other wintering waders were good Cyprus birds although familiar to British birders – around fifty Eurasian Golden Plover, a Whimbrel and two Ruddy Turnstone. Small flocks of Eurasian Skylark were flying around as were European Goldfinch and Common Linnet – and of course there were plenty of Common Stonechat.
We then headed inland to check out Anarita Park which is a well-known wintering site for Finsch’s Wheatear. We quickly found a female flitting between rocks and plant stalks and after some perseverance we had good views of a male in another area. We also saw three Little Owl and several Woodlark. Our last stop was at the Paphos Sewage Plant where the fields were full of Meadow Pipit. Eighteen Northern Lapwing were feeding in a recently harvested field and two Spur-winged Lapwing also found. Large flocks of Common Woodpigeon were flying around. We found a Western Black Redstart in the olive trees as well as wintering European Robin and Common Chiffchaff.
Although most of the species seen on a Cyprus winter’s day were well known to Steven and Lorraine, our great views of Greater Sand Plover, Finsch’s Wheatear and Spur-winged Lapwing made up for that.
Full list of species:
Great Cormorant, Common Kestrel, Northern Pintail, Greater Sand Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Finsch’s Wheatear, Sardinian Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet
Most of my time out today was spent doing the Waterbird count around Larnaca. After the rain a few weeks ago there is still some water in parts of the Salt Lake and isolated patches of water contained some good birds. Best birds were a Common Crane flying over the Sewage Works, a Gadwall and three Black-necked Grebe on the Sewage Pools, eight Eurasian Stone Curlew and eight Eurasian Curlew, hunting Western Marsh and female Hen Harrier, flocks of Eurasian Skylark, two Bluethroat (see photo), six Temminck’s Stint, a Water Rail and around thirty Common Snipe in the north east corner of the Salt Lake.
Akhna Dam had less birds than when I visited a month ago although there was a Great White Pelican there and some recently arrived thrushes including Song and Mistle Thrush and Fieldfare. More than sixty Spur-winged Lapwing were at Oroklini together with twenty four Northern Lapwing, around fifty Greater Flamingo and a Great Egret.
The three fem/juv White-headed Duck were still at Oroklini at dusk this evening. I also noticed a couple of Northern Pintail, over forty Northern Lapwing, at least fifty Spur-winged Lapwing, four Common Ringed Plover, an Armenian Gull as well as the usual Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Coot, Little Grebe, Common Moorhen and more than 200 Cattle Egret coming into roost. On the nearby beach gull numbers were lower than I would expect in December. Three Armenian Gull were in the water with around 150 Common Black-headed Gull.
Did the waterbird count around Larnaca Salt Lake today. Some interesting birds around despite the general lack of water. The Sewage Works pools had c750 Northern Shoveler, c490 Eurasian Teal, c130 Mallard, a Gadwall, 219 Greater Flamingo, a Ruff, two Ruddy Shelduck, a Common Shelduck, six Greater White-fronted Geese, a Tufted Duck, 11 Ferruginous Duck, 13 Black-necked Grebe, a Mediterranean and Armenian Gull and 11 Northern Lapwing. In the fields there were many Eurasian Skylark, some Red-throated Pipit, plenty of Spanish Sparrow and flocks of European Goldfinch, European Greenfinch and Common Linnet. On the Airport Pools South there was a flock of 330 Eurasian Golden Plover.
There is not a lot of water on the main Salt Lake and a lot of the birds mentioned below were seen in the north east corner where it is quite boggy: 9 Greater Flamingo , 2 Heuglin’s Gull , 1 Mediterranean Gull , 2 Armenian Gull , 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 39 Common Shelduck , c170 Kentish Plover, 4 Common Ringed Plover, 11 Corn Bunting, a Common Reed Bunting, 5 Common Snipe, 2 Water Pipit, 2 Spur-winged Lapwing, Water Rail (h), Eurasian Teal c175 and two Marsh Sandpiper.