Change of scenery this morning with a trip to Cape Greco. Although it was really hot, a quick trip around the area produced a good selection of migrants including European Honey Buzzard, juvenile Pallid Harrier, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat (see photo), Red-backed and Masked Shrike, Isabelline Wheatear, Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. Still several Cyprus Wheatear around. At Macronissos Beach there were two Greater Sandplover and a couple of Tawny Pipit.
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.
Second day out guiding for Birdwatching Breaks and we visited the Akamas area. Highlights were a tree full of warblers including this Wood Warbler (photo), two adult Bonelli’s Eagles one of which flew right over our heads, a female Pallid Harrier, lots of Cyprus Wheatear setting up territories, at least two calling Cyprus Scops Owl, a small flock of Tree Pipit, more than 100 migrating Red-rumped Swallow, two Ortolan Bunting, Collared and Pied Flycatcher and a Eurasian Wryneck.
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.
Raptor counts at Cape Greco this autumn have been quiet so far but there was more activity this morning with several Black Kite (photo), European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh, Pallid and Montagu’s Harrier and Peregrine Falcon migrating south over the area.
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.
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.
For their second day out I took Peter and Jean to Paphos Sewage Plant, Timi Beach and Mandria and then inland to Kidasi. We finished the day at Kouklia village and then watching hundreds of Eurasian Jackdaw and Hooded Crow come into roost at Secret Valley where thirty plus Greater Cormorant also flew in and added to the spectacle.
Although we failed to see the Bimaculated Lark at Mandria despite checking through a lot of Eurasian Skylark we did find a lone Calandra Lark there as well as seeing a flyby Audouin’s Gull, a very late male Pallid Harrier and both a male and female Hen Harrier. We also enjoyed a male Finsch’s Wheatear at Kidasi.
Highlights per locations:
Paphos Sewage Plant – Spur-winged Lapwing 4, Eurasian Sparrowhawk 2, Common Buzzard, Red-throated Pipit 2+, Black Redstart
Timi Beach – Common Kingfisher
Mandria – Yellow-legged Gull c200, Audouin’s Gull 1, Hen Harrier 1m and 1f, Pallid Harrier 1m, Eurasian Skylark 100+, Calandra Lark 1, Black Redstart, Spanish Sparrow, White Wagtail
Kidasi – Finsch’s Wheatear 1m
Mamonia – Corn Bunting
Kouklia Village – Laughing Dove 5+
Secret Valley – Chukar, Great Cormorant 35+, Eurasian Jackdaw 300+, Common Kingfisher
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
Although we managed to keep dry, a lot of our day out was spent dodging coming storms until one finally caught up with us at Lady’s Mile on Akrotiri. This definitely affected the species that we saw. However, Stuart, Sue and I did manage to fit in some good birds including male Pallid and female Hen Harrier, Lesser Kestrel including two very smart males, Semi-collared and Collared Flycatchers, a male Ortolan Bunting, several male Common Redstart with one of the samamisicus race and the stars of the day – a Baillon’s and male Little Crake at Zakaki Marsh to end the day.
Highlights per location:
Timi Beach – Grey Heron, Ruff, Kentish Plover and Common Greenshank all on beach. Eurasian Stone Curlew, Common Nightingale, Corn Bunting, Greater Short-toed Lark, Isabelline and Northern Wheatear
Anarita Park – Hen Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Great Spotted Cuckoo h, Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Cyprus and Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Whinchat, Tree Pipit. Common Redstart, Ehrenberg’s Redstart
Paphos Sewage Works – Cattle Egret, Spur-winged Lapwing, Collared Flycatcher, Common Redstart
Akrotiri Gravel Pits area – Pallid Harrier, Greater Short-toed Lark, Ruff, Common Nightingale, Common Redstart, Semi-collared Flycatcher 1m, Collared Flycatcher 5m and 1f, Common Whitethroat, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, Cyprus Wheatear
Akrotiri Salt Lake – Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Hoopoe
Lady’s Mile – Black-winged Stilt, Ruff
Zakaki Marsh – Glossy Ibis, Baillon’s Crake, Little Crake, Great Reed Warbler, Eurasian Penduline Tit h, Black Francolin h
Total species and forms seen – 70
Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Little Crake, Baillon’s Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Common Greenshank, Common Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Armenian Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Common Redstart, Ehrenberg’s Redstart, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, Great Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit h, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, Western Jackdaw, House Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Ortolan Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
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
Concluding the tour with The Travelling Naturalist group we had the following highlights:
26th March – The main effort of the day went into finding different flora in Akamas but the birding highlights were Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Tree Pipit.
27th March – We headed for Troodos via Kouklia, Archimandrita and Agios Nikolaos. Highlights were two Eurasian Griffon Vulture plus Coal Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Red Crossbill, European Serin, Laughing Dove, Cyprus and Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Great Spotted Cuckoo and Eurasian Sparrowhawk, plus a Spur-winged Lapwing and a Long-eared Hedgehog outside hotel in morning.
28th March – Concluding a successful week’s guiding we explored the beach near the hotel this morning, finishing with a quick visit close to Larnaca airport. Highlights Ruddy Turnstone, Pallid Harrier, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Kentish Plover, Slender-billed Gull, Ruddy Turnstone, Spur-winged Lapwing and migrating Common Shelduck.