Second day guiding for Travelling Naturalist group in Cyprus travelling up to Troodos via Kouklia, Archimandrita, Agios Nikolaos and Platres. Highlights were good views of the endemic subspecies Coal Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper and Jay as well as Red Crossbill and low flying Pallid Swift. Also seen were several Cyprus Wheatear, European Serin, Corn Bunting and Laughing Dove at lower levels. Good collection of orchid species also seen as well as this crocus at Troodos.
Well the first day of the raptor count at Cape Greco produced two hunting Common Kestrel and one Eleonora’s Falcon. Still a bit early for raptor migration so expecting better things over the next ten days.
A few other migrants around there and at Agia Napa Football Fields but overall quite quiet.
Cape Greco 8 – 12
Elenora’s Falcon 1 hunting
Red-backed Shrike 1
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Olivaceous Warbler 1
Pallid Swift 4
Greater Short-toed Lark 1 over
Agia Napa Football Fields
Yellow Wagtail 17
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Lesser Grey Shrike 2
Masked Shrike 1
European Bee-eater h
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Some interesting waders on the Sewage Pools today although the Broad-billed Sandpipers that were there on Saturday seem to have moved on. Today I found an adult Ruddy Turnstone still in breeding plumage and a Eurasian Curlew – both of which are never common here. Also several Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and four Collared Pratincole (inc a juv). Still several Black-winged Stilt around as well as c30 Spur-winged Plover and at least 14 Kentish Plover.
In addition to four Greater Flamingo (photo) there were 11 Ferruginous Duck with Northern Shoveler numbers now up to 17. Six Garganey were preening and roosting as was at least one Common Teal.
Ten juvenile Yellow-legged Gull flew in and single juvenile White-winged Tern and Gull-billed Tern were feeding over the water. A Squacco Heron flew over heading east and two Pallid Swift flew over in with many Barn Swallow.
Back in Larnaca and out early to do the monthly waterbird count there. Good to find three Broad-billed Sandpiper and a Grey Plover on the Sewage Works pools but very dry elsewhere with just a small stream of water in the Kamares end of the main Salt Lake.
Larnaca Sewage Works
Ferruginous Duck 22
European Coot 40
Spur-winged Lapwing 29
Black-winged Stilt 11
Little Grebe 6
Yellow-legged Gull 22
Broad-billed Sandpiper 3
Little Stint 15
Kentish Plover 5
Green Sandpiper 2
Northern Shoveler 4
Common Teal 2
Grey Plover 1
Yellow Wagtail h
Common Sandpiper 6
Grey Heron 1
Temminck’s Stint 1
Yellow-legged Gull 17
Kentish Plover 26 inc several juvs
Larnaca Airport Coast
Yellow-legged Gull 36
Pallid Swift 2
Larnaca Salt Lake (Tekke area)
Masked Shrike 3 imm
Larnaca Salt Lake (Kamares area)
Spur-winged Lapwing 10 inc 1 juv
Common Redshank 1 (see photo).
Green Sandpiper 1
Common Kingfisher 1
Well I knew it had been hot in Cyprus while I had been away but I had hoped that at 7am it would be bearable. It wasn’t really but there were a few interesting species around. At least 18 Pallid Swift were over Agia Napa Sewage Works where almost every bush seemed to have several Eastern Olivaceous Warbler in it. I also saw eight Eastern Orphean Warbler but I am sure there were more unseen. A lone Cyprus Wheatear was also there as were several Spectacled Warbler.
A male Lesser Grey Shrike was at the Agia Napa Football Fields together with a Woodchat Shrike. Nearly 50 Cattle Egret were feeding on the watered pitches together with a couple of Black Francolin.
At Oroklini Marsh there were at least 22 Spur-winged Lapwing – several of them juvenile – and 25 Black-winged Stilt (again with several juvenile). At least twenty Little Stint were feeding in what is left of the water with some Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff and a single Marsh Sandpiper.
As we left Paphos, seven Black-crowned Night Heron flew over the road outside Gareth’s hotel. On arrival at Phassouri we stopped to find several European Serin singing in the eucalyptus plantation and then a Black Francolin at the start of the reed beds. Two Squacco Heron, several Little Egret and a Purple Heron were feeding on the edge of the reeds where we could hear Eurasian Reed and Sedge Warbler singing. A large snipe flew out of the reeds and into some low vegetation near to us and we were delighted to realise it was a Great Snipe. To aid our ID a Common Snipe also flew over and the differences were obvious. In among the many Common Swift flying over we picked out at least three Pallid Swift and several Red-rumped Swallow were also seen. A male Common Redstart was in the plantations.
The pool near the deserted sheds was drying up and we found Little Stint, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, Common Redshank and Dunlin feeding there. Two Woodchat Shrike were in the nearby tamarisks. On the Gravel Pits we found more than ten Whinchat and several Northern Wheatear as well as a singing Common Nightingale and a resting Common Buzzard. In the church gardens there were two Lesser Whitethroat, a Tree Pipit, an Ortolan Bunting, an Eastern Orphean Warbler, a couple of Willow Warbler and male and female Blackcap.
We could only find about fifteen Greater Flamingo on the Salt Lake and in the waterlogged area along the south side of the lake we saw a Black-tailed Godwit and several Glossy Ibis. A couple of Eastern Olivaceous Warbler could be heard singing. On Lady’s Mile we quickly found several Slender-billed Gull which had been one of Gareth’s targets. In the end we counted around 40 of these birds and also two Common Black-headed Gull, a couple of second calendar year Armenian Gull, a scruffy second calendar year Caspian Gull and several Yellow-legged Gull. A Spotted Redshank attaining its black breeding plumage was the star of the waders there which included Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff and Kentish Plover.
We didn’t have to wait long in the Zakaki Marsh hide before we saw a male Little Crake and then a female also appeared to our right. Five Ferruginous Duck were on the water with two sleeping Northern Shoveler and a Green Sandpiper. Little Egret, Common Moorhen and Glossy Ibis were feeding on the mid between the reed stands where Sedge and Eurasian Reed Warbler were seen. Two Laughing Dove flew into the port area as we drove by but we couldn’t relocate them for better views.
We decided to make a quick visit to Kensington Cliffs on our way back to Paphos and Anarita Park. It proved to be a good decision as we found six Eleonora’s Falcon, newly arrived and flying around the area. Both Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler were singing on bushes below us as was a Sardinian Warbler. After some searching we finally located at least two Alpine Swift. As we drove past Pissouri a Great Spotted Cuckoo flew across the motorway in front of us. We found another one on a rock at Anarita Park – our last location of the day. Here we found around ten Lesser Kestrel and a lone male Red-footed Falcon as well as three European Roller, a Common Whitethroat and two Tawny Pipit. Unfortunately only I managed to see a male Pallid Harrier flying low and then out of sight being followed by a couple of Hooded Crows. A good location at which to finish a great day’s birding.
Total number of species seen – 90
Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, Pallid Harrier, Common Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Little Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Great Snipe, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Baltic Gull,Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Armenian Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, European Roller, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Ortolan Bunting, Corn Bunting
Back out guiding after the summer break, we chose Troodos as our destination as temperatures were still in the high thirties. I picked up Paul and Reem from their Nicosia base and we headed into the mountains with our first stops the Livadhi tou Pashia and Kampos tou Livadiou picnic spots.
We found several Spotted Flycatcher family parties, juvenile and moulting adult Cyprus Wheatear, an adult Masked Shrike, a male European Blackbird, an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler family and good numbers of the endemic sub-species Coal Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper and Jay. Around Troodos Square we added Common and Pallid Swift as well as Eurasian Hoopoe and European Serin. We found two adult male Masked Shrike – one of which perched really close to us. Again we found plenty of Coal Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper.
Leaving Troodos to go to Zakaki we detoured and had our lunch at Tzelefos Bridge. There we found a Grey Wagtail and Common Kingfisher in the stream and plenty of Common Chaffinch. At Omodhos we watched several Red-rumped Swallow and continuing southwards we stopped to watch a large raptor gliding over the area near the turn off to Agios Therapon – a Griffon Vulture and a nice surprise for us.
We ended the day out in the hide at Zakaki where we had good views of Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Spur-winged Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Wood and Green Sandpiper, Reed Warbler and Black-headed Wagtail. Reem and Paul also had their first sighting of Collared Pratincole as an adult and a juvenile were roosting next to the many Mallards. Noting how much warmer it was down by the coast we were glad we had spent most of the day in the mountains birdwatching at a leisurely pace.
Total species seen – 43
Little Grebe, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Mallard, Griffon Vulture, Common Kestrel, Common Moorhen, Collared Pratincole, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Black-headed Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Common Kingfisher, Cyprus Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Jay, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Goldfinch