Final full day of guiding for the Travelling Naturalist Cyprus group today which we spent in Paphos. We visited Paphos Sewage Works, Timi beach, Mandria, Asprokremmos Dam and Paphos Headland and throughout the day it got windier which hampered our birding. But even so we had great views of two Bimaculated Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, a Eurasian Stone Curlew and Western Yellow Wagtail at Mandria; at least ten Spur-winged Lapwing at Paphos Sewage Works and a bush full of feeding and resting warblers at the Headland which included several Eastern Subalpine and Ruppell’s Warbler. As we left the Headland we saw a lovely male Whinchat – one of the first of spring.
First day out guiding with the Travelling Naturalist group currently in Cyprus. Day around Paphos Headland and Archaeological site. Highlights: Black-headed Wagtail, Long-legged Buzzard, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Cyprus, Isabelline and Black-eared Wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Common Hoopoe, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Ruppell’s Warbler and Water Pipit. Photo of one of many Crested Lark.
The Wallcreeper is regular winter visitor in the Avakas Gorge. I don’t usually go to find it as I really hate walking over slippery rocks etc but anyhow – I went today and here is the proof! Two cropped and very grainy photos of the lovely Wallcreeper that was flying around the area for at least an hour this morning.
Enjoyed some good birding the last two days with plenty of European Bee-eaters as well as European Roller, Red-footed Falcon, Red-rumped Swallow (see photo), Cyprus Wheatear, Black-headed and Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Garden Warbler, European Golden Oriole, Spotted Flycatcher, European Turtle Dove, Long-legged Buzzard, Eurasian Hobby, Eleonora’s and Peregrine Falcon and Alpine Swift.
Photos of a few of the birds at Paphos Headland early this afternoon. Birds of note included:
Greater Sandplover 3 hunkered down
Eurasian Golden Plover 58
Common Sandpiper 2
Ruddy Turnstone 2
Eurasian Skylark 12
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
Spent the day in the Paphos area walking around the Headland and inside the archaeological site. A few signs of migration included some Isabelline Wheatear, Eurasian Hoopoe and overflying flocks of Great Cormorant heading north but otherwise quite quiet.
Paphos Archaeological Site
A day out on Tuesday with many of the sightings reminiscent of a UK birding day out. After popping in quickly to Zakaki I got a quick view of the Red Knot there – a rare and irregular winter visitor and passage migrant to Cyprus – I headed to Paphos where many of the birds were familiar northern European birds wintering here. A Eurasian Griffon Vulture flying over the motorway and Black Francolin, Long-legged Buzzard and Finsch’s Wheatear were the best reminders that I was actually in Cyprus!
Red Knot 1
Eurasian Griffon Vulture 1
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Black Francolin 1
Asprokremmos Dam area
Water Pipit 4
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Corn Bunting 1h
Eurasian Golden Plover 2
Common Linnet c60
Paphos Sewage Works
Cattle Egret 1
Common Buzzard 1
Eurasian Teal 1 in flight
European Serin c80
Red-throated Pipit 3
Finsch’s Wheatear 1m & 1f
Cyprus Warbler 1m
Corn Bunting 1 singing
Three days out with Peter who I had previously taken out this time last year. Although once again he was too late for Cyprus Wheatear we had some great birds and a good time with one of the highlights being a Peregrine Falcon roosting on Akrotiri Salt Lake for the second year running, photo friendly Eurasian Penduline Tits and Jack Snipe, an unexpected Cyprus Warbler at Phinikas, five Finsch’s Wheatear including a female for a change and good views of Eurasian Stone Curlew, Hen Harrier and Eurasian Griffon Vulture to name just three – oh and hundreds of Common Stonechat!
Highlights per location visited:
Tuesday 1st November- Morning around Paphos
Paphos Sewage Works – Cattle Egret 2, Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1, Spur-winged Lapwing 8, Red-throated Pipit 4+, Yellow Wagtail 1 juv, Common Starling 1
Mandria – Eurasian Skylark, Red-throated Pipit c14, Water Pipit 2
Agia Varvara – Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1, Chukar 6, Northern Wheatear 1m, Chiffchaff 3, Willow Warbler 2, Red-backed Shrike 1 juv, Spanish Sparrow 4, European Serin c10, Corn Bunting 1
Monday 7th November – Day around Akrotiri Peninsula
Phasouri Reed-beds – Western Marsh Harrier 2, Eurasian Skylark h, Eurasian Penduline Tit 2, European Robin 6+
Akrotiri Gravel Pits – Western Marsh Harrier 1, Woodlark 2
Lady’s Mile – Western Marsh Harrier 1, Common Ringed Plover 2, Kentish Plover 100+, Little Stint c20, Dunlin c30, Armenian Gull 2 ad and 2 juv, Slender-billed Gull 4, Corn Bunting 4
Akrotiri Salt Lake – Grey Heron c60, Greater Flamingo c90, Peregrine Falcon 1 juv, Common Snipe 1, Water Pipit 2
Zakaki Marsh – Little Egret 2, Great Egret 1, Eurasian Teal 3, Water Rail 2+, Jack Snipe 1, Bluethroat 1, Song Thrush 1, Moustached Warbler 1, Common Starling 14, Common Reed Bunting 1
Kensington Cliffs – Eurasian Griffon Vulture 3
Friday 11th November – Day around Paphos
Mandria – European Shag 1, Hen Harrier 1 ringtail, Long-legged Buzzard 1, Eurasian Stone Curlew 25, European Golden Plover 1 flew over, Eurasian Skylark 40+, Meadow Pipit c60, Red-throated Pipit 20+, Western Black Redstart 1
Nata Ford – Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1, Bonelli’s Eagle 1 ad, Chukar 8, Song Thrush 4+, Eurasian Blackbird 1m, European Serin 6+, Corn Bunting 1
Phinikas (Asprokremmos Dam) – Great Cormorant 3, Eurasian Teal c90, Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1, Whiskered Tern 1, Little Owl 1, Common Kingfisher 1, Meadow Pipit 50+, Water Pipit 1, Western Black Redstart 4, Finsch’s Wheatear 3m, Blue Rock Thrush 1m, Cyprus Warbler 1m, European Serin 4, Common Linnet 3
Anarita Park – Long-legged Buzzard 1, Little Owl 1, Finsch’s Wheatear 1m and 1f, Spanish Sparrow 50+, Corn Bunting 3
Full species list – 80 species
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Dunlin, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Common Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Armenian Gull, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Water Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin, Bluethroat, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Eurasian Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Moustached Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Common Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting.
Picking Bernie and Gill up in Latchi we headed for the Smygies/Agios Minas area behind Neochorio. We saw the first of many European Bee-eater there as well as two Cretzschmar’s Bunting, a Whinchat, a Cyprus Wheatear, a couple of Spotted Flycatcher and an adult Masked Shrike. A covey of ten Chukar kept us entertained especially as a juvenile tried to climb into an olive tree as we drove past.
At Arodes we found another Cyprus Wheatear and spent some time watching and checking the ID pointers of a female Eastern Black-eared Wheatear. We also saw a male Spanish Sparrow, several Sardinian and Willow Warbler and juvenile Red-backed and Masked Shrike. The sound and sight of more European Bee-eater dominated the area. Driving from Kathikas through Arkoudaleia and Miliou we saw a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and a Lesser Grey Shrike.
We spent some time at the shallow end of Evretou Dam. There were many Yellow Wagtail, Barn Swallow and a couple of Sand Martin, yet more European Bee-eater as well as one each of Black-winged Stilt, Dunlin, Little Stint, Ruff and Common Kingfisher. Here we also saw a Long-legged Buzzard and more unexpectedly a Common Kestrel noisily mobbing an adult Northern Goshawk. The latter spectacle interrupted our lunch as we sat and ate our sandwiches in a small olive grove. We weren’t complaining though!
On the south coast outside Paphos we visited the Sewage Works and Mandria. Here we enjoyed Spur-winged Lapwing, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Western Marsh Harrier, more than 300 Yellow Wagtail, three European Roller, three Tawny Pipit, at least thirty Greater Short-toed Lark, Isabelline and Northern Wheatear and a couple more Whinchat, Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrike.
A good day out with a mixture of species seen. European Bee-eaters provided the soundtrack of the day with the Northern Goshawk and the European Rollers providing the birding moments of the day.
Full list of birds seen – European Shag, Western Marsh Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Yellow Wagtail races – flava, feldegg, thunbergii, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting.
The day out with Joan and Keith started with a walk around the Headland with the aim of finding the Greater Sand Plover that overwinter there. We found four of them after a bit of searching in the rocks where they were hunkered down. We also watched a Common Kingfisher hovering over the sea and saw a Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper, a Northern Wheatear and two Crested Lark. Several of the fields around Paphos Sewage Works were being watered and at least twelve Spur-winged Lapwing were feeding there, as were many Hooded Crow and Western Jackdaw. Other birds of note there were a couple of Whinchat and Eurasian Hoopoe, a Eurasian Stone Curlew, at least ten Yellow Wagail, a Green Sandpiper and the first of many Willow Warbler that were at all locations visited.
At Mandria we got good views of a flock of migrating European Bee-eater which came down close to us and then headed out to sea. We watched a flock of more than 150 Yellow Wagtails in a field of cut alfalfa and in the ploughed fields found two Isabelline and two Northern Wheatear, several Whinchat, a Tawny Pipit and a mobile flock of at least thirty Greater Short-toed Lark. In the west of the area there was a European Roller and two Lesser Grey Shrike on some wires. A Spur-winged Lapwing seen on the beach could have been a migrant. An unusual bird sitting on the offshore rocks with the European Shag was later identified as nothing more interesting than a Muscovy Duck….not sure how it got there!
We ate our lunch under the trees in the amenities area of the Asprokremmos Dam. European Bee-eater passed over head and European Goldfinch, Spotted Flycatcher, Sardinian Warbler and a Masked Shrike were all flying around and feeding in the conifers. We had a quick scan of the dam itself but saw nothing until we spotted a Peregrine Falcon sitting near the Dam head. Moving onto Agia Varvara we found some water in a couple of the ‘soakaways’. There we found a very smart male Red-backed Shrike, several Yellow Wagtail including a male Black-headed, more Willow Warbler, two Tree Pipit, a Spanish Sparrow, Chukar, Zitting Cisticola and some more European Bee-eaters.
The current development at Minthis Hills appears to have disturbed the birds although we did see some more European Bee-eater, a Masked Shrike and a fly-by Eurasian Hobby.
A good day out in fun company – odd not to have seen any large raptors, migrant or resident – but we had a good mixture of species.
Total birds – 46
European Shag, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Whimbrel, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail inc flava and feldegg, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet.
A chance to see some migrating birds off the north west coast of the island and to join the BirdLife Cyprus annual boat trip from Latchi to Cape Arnaouti. Highlight of that for local birders was a Eurasian Oystercatcher seen flying E along the rocky shore – never common here it has been five years since I last saw one in Cyprus, although at least one has been seen on this coast so far this autumn. Also seen over the two days were Purple and Grey Heron, Baltic Gull, Little and Cattle Egret, Garganey, White-winged Tern, Common Redshank, Peregrine Falcon, Western Marsh Harrier, a ring-tailed Harrier – probably a juvenile Pallid, Yellow Wagtail, Little Ringed Plover, Eurasian Shag and migrating Common Black-headed Gull. Plus several flying fish!