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.
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
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
Had a great couple of hours this afternoon walking around the archaeological site at Paphos Headland where I found: Richard’s Pipit, Eastern Subalpine Warbler 1m, Ruppell’s Warbler 1m, Common Quail (h), Isabelline Wheatear, Little Egret (one flew over), Greater Short-toed Lark, Blue Rock Thrush, Eurasian Hoopoe and Western Black Redstart and Eurasian Blackcap 2m and 1f.
Picking up Pauline and Michael for the first of two days out we headed from Polis to the Paphos Archaeological site which we explored for more than two hours. Our highlights were a male Collared Flycatcher, a couple of Hoopoe, one maybe two male Subalpine Warbler, a male Rüppell’s Warber, several Lesser Whitethroat, a Common Whitethroat, two Common Nightingale, three Purple Heron and two Red-throated Pipit. The usual Isabelline and Northern Wheatear were around the ruins and in with the Yellow Wagtail flock we found a superciliaris form. Three Purple Heron were seen flying over.
Pauline was able to get quite close to the Cattle Egret and Spur-winged Lapwing at the Sewage Works and take photos of two of her day’s target species. While we ate lunch at Mandria a Eurasian Hoopoe flew in off the sea and gave more photo opportunities. We also found more Northern and Isabelline Wheatear as well as five Greater Short-toed Lark, a couple of Eurasian Skylark, several Meadow Pipit and Black- and Blue-headed Wagtail. A calling Black Francolin kept itself well hidden.
A late afternoon visit to Anarita Park produced a distant flying Long-legged Buzzard, a male and female Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear and a Little Owl. There was a flock of at least fifty Corn Bunting as well as many single singing birds. As we left I heard Great Spotted Cuckoo and we found a mating pair. One flew off while the other stayed feeding in a flower filled field ignoring the car from which Pauline managed to take many photos.
Our next day out will be in April and it will be interesting to see what different/extra species we will come across two weeks later into the spring migration period.
Total birds seen – fifty two:
Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Eurasian Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, superciliaris Yellow Wagtail form, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Collared Flycatcher, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting.
Harish and Deepa were visiting Cyprus on a birding break and we visited sites in Paphos and Limassol. They were especially keen to get photographs of new species – this being their first birding trip in Europe. To give them a chance to appreciate the new birds they asked not to be taken to wetland sites as they wanted to concentrate on passerines and raptors.
Day one – Saturday 15th March
We visited Cape Drepanum, Paphos Headland, Mandria and Anarita Park. We found several Sylvia warblers including resident Sardinian and migrant Subalpine and Rüppell’s. An unexpected bird at Cape Drepanum was a male singing Cyprus Warbler. We had good views of Isabelline and Northern Wheatear as well as Western Black Redstart, Blue-headed Wagtail, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat. We also found a male Finsch’s Wheatear at Anarita Park and a Black Francolin at Mandria.
Day two – Sunday 16th March
We started at Amathus and found at least eight singing male Cyprus Warbler as well as a female Blue Rock Thrush and five Chukar. A Masked Shrike, a Bluethroat, a Crag Martin and two migrating White Stork were the highlights at Germasogeia Dam although disappointingly we didn’t see any raptors there. We found several Western Marsh Harrier at Phassouri including a migrating adult male. A ringtail Hen Harrier and several Common Buzzard were also seen. There were many Northern Wheatear in the area and we found a Sedge Warbler, Black-headed Wagtail and another Bluethroat around the reed beds.
Offshore was a flock of at least 300 Garganey and around 150 Black-headed Gull and migrating Great Cormorant passed over. At least one Great Spotted Cuckoo was in the Gravel Pits area as well as three maybe four Hoopoe.
Two intensive days of birding in enjoyable company with a pleasing number of species considering we didn’t go looking for waterbirds as well.
Seventy two species
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, White Stork, Garganey, Mallard, Common Teal, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, European Coot, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Ruff, Common Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin, Bluethroat, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Rüppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting
Found two male Desert Wheatears in the Paphos area yesterday. One was at Mandria and had been present for a few days. The other was at Paphos Headland.