A good day around Akrotiri with highlights two Spotted Crake, a juvenile Common Crane and three Little Swift plus my first Bluethroats, Common Stonechat and Common Buzzard of the winter. Raptor migration has slowed to a trickle but I did see small numbers of Red-footed and Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier and a single Osprey.
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 record photo of one of four Gull-billed Terns at the Sewage Pools this morning. Three other tern species also present – seven Little Tern, one Whiskered and one White-winged Tern. Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing had chicks of varying sizes. On the water there were five Ferruginous Ducks in with the Mallard and around the edge there was a Little Ringed Plover, a Common and Green Sandpiper and some Kentish Plover. I only saw the best bird as I drove up to the hide – a Osprey was being chased over the area by Hooded Crows and heading east. A juvenile had been reported there towards the end of June and I guess it may well be the same bird.
An unexpected visit to Larnaca this morning and good to see some water at the wetlands after the rain earlier in the week. Notable were an Osprey, a Pied Avocet and two Ruddy Shelduck at the Sewage Works and more than sixty Spur-winged Lapwing at Oroklini Marsh (see photo). Water levels at Oroklini were good and there was also a Black-necked Grebe there as well as many Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler. A Common Buzzard was chased away from the area by Hooded Crows.
With not much water anywhere on the island at the moment I spent a couple of hours at Akhna Dam today. There is still some water here. Highlight was a fly over Osprey but I also had:
Common Redshank 3
Common Greenshank 1
Curlew Sandpiper 1
Common Ringed Plover 3
Glossy Ibis 1
Ruff 2 juv
Common Quail 1
Common Snipe 1
Spur-winged Lapwing 6
Common Kingfisher 1
A day around the Paphos birding spots with Brenda and George today. We started at Petra tou Romiou where we had a dozen overhead Alpine Swift, singing male Cyprus Wheatear and Warbler as well as two distant Eleonora’s Falcon and close up views of a Peregrine Falcon. We then explored the area behind Asprokemmos Dam near the mast where we spent some time watching a family party of Spectacled Warbler, saw a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, a couple of Whinchat, a pair of Red-rumped Swallow and a migrating Purple Heron. On approaching the Dam itself we were pleased to see an Osprey flying over the area. In the trees of the amenities area near the Dam we found two male Collared Flycatcher, two Spotted Flycatcher and a Eurasian Hoopoe.
Moving to the Sewage Works we quickly found our target species – the Spur-winged Lapwing. There were at least seven birds around the Plant buildings and in fields. We watched at least 35 migrating Glossy Ibis and also found our only Yellow Wagtails of the day – two Black-headed around a small puddle of water. On arrival at the coast of Mandria we saw seventeen Northern Pintail flying E along the coast. In a field we found three Spur-winged Lapwing and a Ruff and a male Red-backed Shrike on a tree near the picnic site where we ate our lunch.
Moving inland we headed to the Ezousas Valley behind Agia Varvara village. A lone Garganey was on one of the pools there and we also found Spanish Sparrow, Eurasian Turtle Dove and Eurasian Reed Warbler. We finished the day in Anarita Park. There we found three pairs of Great Spotted Cuckoo, two Little Owl, a hunting female Pallid Harrier, around twenty Lesser Kestrel, a European Roller, a Woodchat Shrike, two Whinchat and a Long-legged Buzzard. As at our first stop we also had Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler. A good end to a good day’s birding.
Total species seen – 54
Little Egret, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Osprey, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Black-headed Wagtail, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Corn Bunting
It was good to meet up with Carl and Riss again and enjoy some friendly birding around Paphos. We checked out several locations that were new to them so they could visit themselves later in their holiday and found some good species on the way. It was much quieter than it has been over the last two weeks and we especially noted a big reduction in the number of European Bee-eaters around.
The star turns of the day were a male Western Marsh Harrier we saw with prey (probably a female Black Francolin) in its talons even though it then disappeared into an alfalfa field and defied all our attempts to relocate it; an Osprey we watched fishing at Asprokremmos Dam; and a lone male Red-footed Falcon on wires near the small church at Mandria.
Long-legged Buzzard were seen at Agia Varvara, Mandria and Kouklia Soakaways. We found a Cyprus and Isabelline Wheatear at Agia Varvara and several Greater Short-toed Lark and Tawny Pipit in the fields of Mandria where there were also many Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat and Northern Wheatear. In the wetter areas at Agia Varvara there were three Common Snipe. There we also heard a Water Rail and managed to see rather than hear two Cetti’s Warbler.
A juvenile Eleonora’s Falcon was perched in a tree at Petra tou Romiou where two Hooded Crow and three other Eleonora’s joined it for a while – it got a bit crowded! Other good birds included at least two Whiskered Tern on Asprokremmos Dam, two European Roller at Mandria, four Spur-winged Lapwing at Paphos Sewage Works and a Grey Wagtail at Kouklia Soakaways.
European Shag, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar, Water Rail (h), Common Moorhen, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Snipe, Whiskered Tern, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Yellow Wagtail inc feldegg and flava races, Grey Wagtail, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet
Good movement over Cape Greco from 8am to 12pm this morning. Flocks totaling 54 Purple Heron and 16 Grey Heron were heading south and there were unseen European Bee-eaters flying over as well as plenty of Barn Swallow, a few Sand Martin and a flock of around 40 Red-rumped Swallow. Four European Rollers were in the area.
The stars though were the raptors. It was interesting to see that the 230+ European Honey Buzzard that passed over or were seen gaining height in the distance approached from the north, north east or east and the Harriers from the north or north west. There were forty Western Marsh Harrier including ten males and a male and two ringtail Montagu’s Harriers throughout the morning. One of the early birds was an Osprey and a European Sparrowhawk over the view point as I arrived. I counted at least eight Black Kite – mainly in with the Honey Buzzard. On two occasions kettles of Honey Buzzard rose up over the ridge to the east of the observation point and over my head. Great views.
Spent the afternoon birding around Akrotiri. The best bird was seen last at 18.10 when an Osprey flew over Lady’s Mile and headed north. Other birds seen included Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Spotted Redshank, Black-winged Stilt, Common Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Woodchat Shrike, Red-backed Shrike and Yellow Wagtail.