Did a couple of Common Bird Monitoring Surveys in the Cape Greco area and then stopped off at Oroklini Marsh on the way home. Several Cyprus Warblers and a singing male Black-headed Bunting on territories at Cape Greco with Long-legged Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon and Eleonora’s Falcon fly overs. A Whiskered Tern was on Oroklini Marsh as were several Black-winged Stilt (see photo), plenty of Cattle Egret, a few Ruff and some Spur-winged Lapwing.
Seen in the Akamas area today were:
European Golden Oriole 1m seen and heard
European Bee-eater 2
Eurasian Blackcap 1m subsong
Black-headed Bunting 2m
Bonelli’s Eagle 2 ad
Cyprus Warbler 1m
Peregrine Falcon 1
European Roller 4
Great Spotted Cuckoo 1
Little Owl 1
Red-backed Shrike 1m
Woodchat Shrike 1
European Roller 1
Droushia to Pittokopos Road
Black-headed Bunting 1m
Pittokopos to Androlikou Road
Black-headed Bunting 1m
European Roller 2
European Roller 4
Common Hoopoe 1
Red-backed Shrike 1m
Woodchat Shrike 1
Squacco Heron 1 on breakwater
European Roller 2
Black-headed Bunting 1m
Red-backed Shrike 1f
Cretzschmar’s Bunting 2 bathing in stream
Thrush Nightingale feeding near stream
Common Redstart 1f bathing in stream
European Bee-eater 50+ see photo
Good to see John and Madeleine again for another day’s birding. We visited a few Paphos locations in the morning before spending the rest of the day around Akrotiri. Eight species of raptor seen including Red-footed Falcon, Lesser Kestrel and Montagu’s Harrier at Anarita early morning and later on a Peregrine Falcon and two Eleonora’s Falcon hunting the waders on Akrotiri Salt Lake where we were surprised to find a female Hen Harrier as well. We saw many different waders including Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Temminck’s Stint plus great views of Collared Pratincole and White-winged Tern.
Highlights per location visited:
Agia Varvara – Black Francolin 2, European Turtle Dove, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Lesser Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Spotted Flycatcher
Agia Varvara village reservoir- Ruff, Temminck’s Stint, Wood Sandpiper, European Roller, Red-rumped Swallow
Anarita Park – Montagu’s Harrier 1m, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater h, Lesser Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Cyprus Warbler, Corn Bunting
Kouklia village – Laughing Dove
Akrotiri Gravel Pits – Great Spotted Cuckoo 2, European Turtle Dove 4, Little Egret, Kentish Plover, Willow Warbler, European Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher 1f
Phasouri Reed Beds – Ferruginous Duck, Glossy Ibis 6, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Ruff, Olivaceous Warbler, Black-headed Wagtail 1m, European Serin
Akrotiri Salt Lake – Greater Flamingo, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Little Tern, White-winged Tern, Hen Harrier 1f, European Bee eater, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon
Lady’s Mile – Little Egret, Common Ringed Plover, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Little Tern
Zakaki Marsh – European Bee-eater, Squacco Heron
Total species seen – 75
Black Francolin, Ferruginous Duck, Mallard, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Common Swift, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, White-winged Tern, Hen Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Black-headed Wagtail, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, European Goldfinch, European Serin, Corn Bunting
A good day’s birding around Limassol with Hlynur which ended outside Larnaca at Kivisili, adding several more target species to the day’s tally. We started at Kensington Cliffs where we found three Eurasian Griffon Vulture, three Eleonora’s Falcon, several Alpine Swift and a young Peregrine Falcon flying around the area. We heard a male Cyprus Wheatear singing and had distant views. We could hear several singing male Sardinian Warbler but luckily caught good views of a male Cyprus Warbler in a dead bush.
We then headed to Akrotiri Gravel Pits where we found very few migrant passerines which was the story of the day. We had just one Tawny Pipit and two Whinchat there although we did have a couple of Woodchat Shrike and a Eurasian Hoopoe. But the stars of that area were the ten Greater Sandplover in breeding plumage we found resting on the coast with a Grey Plover and several Kentish Plover nearby. Three Glossy Ibis were at Phasouri Reed-beds where we also had another 12 migrating over the area, another Woodchat Shrike, three Cattle Egret and good views of several Eurasian Reed Warbler.
There were around 500 Greater Flamingo still on the Salt Lake and we found some nearby shade to eat our lunch where we were surrounded by singing Sardinian and Olivaceous Warbler. A large flock of migrating Spanish Sparrow were in tall grasses near the road on the way to Lady’s Mile. Lady’s Mile had a good variety of waders which included Curlew Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, many Ruff, Marsh Sandpiper, Little Stint, two Dunlin, two Common Ringed Plover and at least thirty Black-winged Stilt. We then spent some time in the hide at Zakaki Marsh where a female Little Crake put in a brief appearance. There were three more Glossy Ibis there and a couple of Squacco Heron. As well as Cetti’s and Eurasian Reed Warbler in the reeds we also found a Sedge Warbler.
We then headed inland to Prastio Kellakiou where we had further chances to see Cyprus Wheatear and Warbler and also found two of the endemic sub-species – Eurasian Jay and Coal Tit. But our target birds there were Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Masked Shrike and we were pleased to find several males of the former singing on territories and both a male and female Masked Shrike. We also heard a European Turtle Dove ‘purring’ and a Eurasian Hoopoe calling in the distance.
Our final location were the fields behind Kivisili where we found two male Red-footed Falcon and a female as well as four Lesser Kestrel after spotting two Little Owl on an old building in the village of Alethriko on our way there. Two Great Spotted Cuckoo flew over the area and we heard a Eurasian Stone Curlew. As we left the area two Stone Curlew flew up so we were able to see them well and then finally, after hearing many all day, we saw a Black Francolin calling from a low branch of an olive tree. A great way to end a good day’s birding in which several species I would have expected to see were absent but others more than made up for that.
Total species: 76
Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Western Marsh Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Little Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
A day around Paphos with Ann and Peter – the third year running that we have been out together. We started at Timi Beach and Anarita Park and then went further inland to new sites for them – Episkopi (Paphos), Arodes and Evretou Dam. We had a total of 55 species with highlights from each location as follows:
European Shag, Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Chukar, Northern Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow
Lesser Kestrel 2m and 2f, Little Owl 1, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue Rock Thrush, Isabelline Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear 1m, Cyprus Warbler 3 singing males, Ruppell’s Warbler 1m, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting, Common Nightingale h, Woodlark
Peregrine Falcon 2, Cyprus Wheatear 1, Sardinian Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow
Bonelli’s Eagle, Cyprus Wheatear
Eurasian Hoopoe, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Chukar
Total species – 55
European Shag, Eurasian Teal, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Eurasian Coot, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Eurasian Magpie, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Goldfinch, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
The first of two day’s out with Barry and we spent our time around Cape Greco moving to Paralimni Lake later in the day. We started at Agia Trias beach where there were still two Greater Sand Plover on the beach together with a Grey Plover, Common Sandpiper and a Common Kingfisher. We spent several hours exploring Cape Greco on foot and by car and were pleased with the species we found which included three singing male Cyprus Warbler, Spectacled and Ruppell’s Warbler, Isabelline, Cyprus, Northern and Finsch’s Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow, a Pallid Harrier, at least seven Eurasian Hoopoe, Blue Rock Thrush, Baltic Gull and Little Egret migrating offshore, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Greater Short-toed Lark. Still plenty of Western Black Redstart and Common Stonechat around as well as several Chukar and lots of finches.
Although it was very windy when we finally got to Kermia Beach we were glad we made the effort as our target species for that location was there – two Audouin’s Gull. Although they were dozing when we arrived two Yellow-legged Gull flew in and woke them up for us. We went slightly inland to Agia Napa Sewage Works where we saw two male Blue Rock Thrush, more Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Isabelline Wheatear and a very smart male Masked Shrike. On the treated water pools there were Eurasian Coot and Little Grebe as well as two each of Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper. We did a detour to the Agia Napa Football fields where we found another Cretzschmar’s Bunting and two Laughing Doves.
Finishing the day at Paralimni Lake we set up the ‘scope and scanned the area. A Peregrine Falcon was sitting on a rock towards the middle and an adult Long-legged Buzzard was nearby in a low bush. We found a couple more Isabelline Wheatear and another Masked Shrike. There were several species of wader – Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Eurasian Golden Plover and Dunlin. As we sat to go over our sightings and drink a final cup of tea late in the afternoon we watched a small flock of Common Starling coming into roost. A good day out hopefully with more species to come later in the week on our second day out.
Total species – 64
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Little Egret, Mallard, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Dunlin, Ruff, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Audouin’s Gull, Baltic Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Masked Shrike, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Visited some of the Limassol sites today and although it was quite quiet (unless you like Common Black-headed Gulls!) I still saw some interesting birds, including a pair of Bonelli’s Eagle, and finished the afternoon watching seven Eurasian Griffon Vultures circling over Kensington Cliffs.
Bonelli’s Eagle 2ad over dam wall
Grey Wagtail 2
Water Rail 1h
Cyprus Warbler 1h in song
Cyprus Warbler 1h
Little Egret 1
Western Marsh Harrier 1
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Siberian Stonechat 1 poss
Common Black-headed Gull c700
Common Gull 3
Sandwich Tern 1
Eurasian Blackbird 1
Eurasian Griffon Vulture 7+ (seven seen in air at same time and then others flying in ones and twos which could have been same birds)
Yellow-legged Gull c20
Peregrine Falcon 2
Cyprus Warbler 2m seen
The first guided trip of 2017 was a morning around two of the Nicosia birding spots. Josh and Toni were hoping to see Finsch’s Wheatear and Blue Rock Thrush so we headed straight to Agios Sozomenos where we had a good chance of both. Entering the area we had good views of Zitting Cisticola and heard and saw a singing Corn Bunting in the distance. We stopped to scan the area for Finsch’s Wheatear and as we saw a flash of white wheatear rump fly off, a brown bird started singing on the top of a thorny bush. We were pleased to see that it was a Bluethroat which very obligingly sat out in the open for several minutes. A Spectacled Warbler and several Chiffchaffs flitted in and out of the bush at the same time. When the Bluethroat flew off we searched again for the Finsch’s Wheatear but no joy. We moved along the road and a grey-brown bird flew across the rocks – a female Finsch’s Wheatear. We stopped and watched her and then continued around the corner where we came across a male Finsch’s Wheatear. One of our two target species seen and well watched. We returned to the deserted village where two Long-legged Buzzard and a Peregrine Falcon treated us to fly-bys.
In the fields, we found plenty of Meadow Pipit, Zitting Cisticola, Common Stonechat and a large flock of noisy European Serin that sat obligingly in a small tree next to the track. We watched a male Spanish Sparrow feeding while others flitted unseen between the bushes. Large flocks of the resident Western Jackdaw flew over the area. As we had not managed to find the Blue Rock Thrush we decided to spend a little longer re checking the cliffs and rocks. Still no joy with that species although we found the male Finsch’s Wheatear we had missed earlier (minus the Bluethroat this ime) and then, best of all – a pair of adult Bonelli’s Eagle that treated us to an aerial display for at least ten minutes. The highlight of the morning.
Moving on to Athalassa Dam we found most of the expected waterfowl including a Ferruginous Duck and six Tufted Duck (scarce for Cyprus). Here the highlights were three adult and two immature Black-crowned Night Heron and the unseasonal Whiskered Tern that has been in the area for most of the winter. A great morning out with a good list of species for a January morning out away from the coast, and thanks to Josh and Toni for their company.
Total number of species: 45
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Black-crowned Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Whiskered Tern, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin, Bluethroat, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Finsch’s Wheatear, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting.
Went to Paralimni Lake and sites around Cape Greco. Not a lot to see but some good views of male and female Finsch’s Wheatear, hunting Hen Harrier, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon, my first Audouin’s Gull for a couple of months and a Greater Sand Plover.
Common Kingfisher 1
Went over to the east of the island again today to try my luck with the Asian Buff-bellied Pipit found at Akhna on Saturday. This is the 5th record of the species in Cyprus. Was lucky enough to find it, take a record photo before it flew off and see some other good birds.
Asian Buff-bellied Pipit 1
Water Pipit 20+
Meadow Pipit 40+
Eurasian Wigeon 1m and 1f
Common Shelduck 1 imm
Peregrine Falcon 1
Grey Plover 1
Common Ringed Plover 4
Great Cormorant 3
Common Chaffinch 6
Eurasian Blackbird 1
Song Thrush 10+
Common Linnet 3
European Serin 2+
Finsch’s Wheatear 2m and 1f
Blue Rock Thrush 3m and 1f
Western Black Redstart 11
Great Cormorant 20 heading SW
Greater Flamingo c60
Water Rail 1
Spotted Crake 1
Cattle Egret c100
Song Thrush 1
Common Starling 16
Northern Lapwing 3
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.
Peter and Pat were staying in Nicosia so we spent the morning at two sites nearby the capital with a view to seeing Cyprus Warbler and, if we were really lucky, a late Cyprus Wheatear. Our luck didn’t extend as far as the Cyprus Wheatear – they all seem to have left now – but we saw a good variety of species in the late autumn sun.
Starting at Agios Sozomenos the first bird we saw was a male Hen Harrier flying towards the car! We stopped and watched it quartering the alfalfa fields putting up several Meadow Pipits as it did so. Two Cattle Egret were unmoved and remained feeding near the water sprinkler. We moved on and stopped to watch a late migrating juvenile Red-backed Shrike. As we got out of the car a female Hen Harrier flew up. Great to see both sexes of this winter visitor. A few Eurasian Skylark were seen in the distance at the edge of a field and they were put to flight by one of several Common Kestrel. At least one Common Stonechat seemed to be perched on every bush or stem we passed and we gave up counting quite early on. Plenty of Western Jackdaw and Hooded Crow as well.
A Little Owl watched us as we searched the cliffs for a Finsch’s Wheatear – a localised winter visitor to Cyprus. This area usually has several individuals but we had no luck at our first stop. We did see a Western Black Redstart, a couple of Common Chaffinch and of course some Common Stonechats. We heard a European Robin staking its territory. We had a quick look in the Sewage Pool at Vathi Gonia and added Little Grebe, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Eurasian Coot and two Green Sandpiper to the morning’s list. A Peregrine Falcon flew over but disappeared quickly over the top of the ridge.
Driving back to recheck the cliffs we quickly spotted a male Finsch’s Wheatear flitting across the road from left to right. Usually they will move away from the road if you stop but this one didn’t and we spent some time watching him quite close to the car. Returning to the abandoned village we were entertained by two Spectacled Warbler flying near us as we drank a welcome cup of coffee. We checked the fields again as we left the area and found a group of Spanish Sparrow and a Zitting Cisticola.
We then spent an hour in the Panagia Stazousa valley. We heard many European Robin setting up territories as well as seeing a female Eurasian Blackcap and hearing several singing males. Several Common Chaffinch, many Western Jackdaw, flocks of European Goldfinch, a few Meadow Pipit and again lots of Common Stonechat were around. A single European Serin flew over and we saw three Corn Bunting and another flock of Spanish Sparrow – but although we had heard a couple of Cyprus Warbler contact and alarm calls it looked as if we were to be denied a decent view of one. A female popped into view from a fig tree but she didn’t hang around for long. But as we were heading back along the valley towards Nicosia I spotted some movement to our left and there sitting and even singing for us on the top of a bush was a male Cyprus Warbler. We watched him for several minutes before he flew off. A great end to the morning – although not to be upstaged another male and female flew briefly into the road side vegetation as we drove past.
A good morning out and proof that it’s not always necessary to head the island’s birding ‘hot-spots’ to see a good variety of species.
Full species list
Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Hen Harrier, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Coot, Green Sandpiper, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Finsch’s Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crown, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting