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.
Unfortunately the best bird I saw over the weekend was not very user friendly – a brief glimpse of a male Namaqua Dove on the track at Petounta for a few seconds before it flew away and was not to be refound – despite a couple of hours search in total over the two days. Anyhow, elsewhere there were Lesser Kestrel and Montagu’s Harrier yesterday at Kivisili where today there were also five Red-footed Falcon (see photos). Calandra Lark were displaying at Pervolia where migrating Yellow Wagtail, Red-throated Pipit, Sand Martin, Red-rumped and Barn Swallow and Common Swift were present. Glossy Ibis and Little Egret were seen migrating along the coast and a couple of European Pied Flycatcher were in the trees at Kiti Dam and Spiros Pool.
We were made to work hard for the birds we saw today but David, Ann and I managed in the end to get a good variety of species and excellent views of two of David’s main targets – Greater Sandplover and Red-footed Falcon. This time of year is often very quiet bird-wise and today was no exception. We saw no large migrating raptors although we did see resident Long-legged Buzzard and Bonelli’s Eagle.
We started with a walk around Paphos Headland specifically to see the Greater Sandplover that overwinter there and have been present now for a few months. We found three of them and with them were two Ruddy Turnstone, a Common Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. A Common Kingfisher was hovering and fishing close to the shore. We then headed to the Paphos Sewage Plant where we had great views of several Spur-winged Lapwing, Spanish Sparrow and many Willow Warbler. The latter were everywhere we went today feeding mainly in trackside weeds. In the distance we saw a Long-legged Buzzard being mobbed by Hooded Crows and a group of nearly 50 migrating Great Cormorant.
The area behind Agia Varvara village was quieter than on recent visits there but we did see another Common Kingfisher, Spanish Sparrow bathing in a large puddle, several Spotted Flycatcher and Whinchat as well as a juvenile Red-backed Shrike. The Red-footed Falcon feeding in a ploughed field at Mandria were real stars and it was also interesting to watch around half of those present suddenly take off and, gaining height, move south. The rest remained on the field, some hunting and others just sitting on the field. In other fields we found more than two hundred Western Yellow Wagtail, around twenty Greater Short-toed Lark, several Northern Wheatear, a male Black Francolin, a European Turtle Dove and then a lone European Bee-eater was spotted sitting on a wire – always a popular species.
Moving on to the area behind Asprokremmos Dam we found a juvenile Cyprus Wheatear as well as more Whinchat and Western Yellow Wagtail. The Dam itself was quiet but a Bonelli’s Eagle brightened things up as it flew over us near the Dam wall. We decided to head for Armou Hills as our final destination A ‘Steppe’ Grey Shrike had been found there in late September and re seen again at the end of last week. But there our luck run out. We didn’t find it and had to console ourselves with another Cyprus Wheatear, several Northern Wheatear, more Whinchat, a juvenile Red-backed Shrike and another fly past Long-legged Buzzard.
Total species seen: Black Francolin, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Grey Heron, European Shag, Great Cormorant, Common Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Greater Sandplover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Bonelli’s Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Barn Swallow, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, European Goldfinch.
A few hours out around Paphos with Robert and Jean started at Paphos Sewage Plant where our first birds were a pair of Grey Wagtail and then a lovely male Black Francolin who stood at the road side in front of us feeding for several minutes. Many Spur-winged Lapwing were feeding in the fields – it seems they had a successful breeding season at this location. We also found a Northern Wheatear, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and several Willow Warbler – a few late migrants still around.
In the valley behind Agia Varvara we were treated to a flyby from two Long-legged Buzzard and came across a European Stonechat – one of the first of the autumn, soon they will be everywhere. More Willow Warbler and Whinchat were present as was a juvenile Red-backed Shrike. We found a small area of water and a Common Kingfisher was seen there.
We spent some time in the fields at Mandria where a small group of Red-footed Falcon were feeding and flying around. Suddenly they all took off and we watched them circling up as they gained height and soon were lost to sight and we assumed they migrated south. We then realised that a ring-tail harrier was being chased around the same fields by several Hooded Crows. Eventually we were able to get good views of the underparts and identified it as a female Montagu’s Harrier. There were a good number of both Yellow and White Wagtails in the fields as well as yet more Whinchat and Northern Wheatear.
We finished our time out around Asprokremmos Dam. We heard a Cyprus Warbler and had brief views of a female in flight but were disappointed not to see the male at all. An Eleonora’s Falcon was seen flying above us and another new bird for the day was a Tawny Pipit. A quiet morning at the end of migration but Robert and Jean had several lifers with the Long-legged Buzzard and Red-footed Falcons a special treat.
David, Diane and I spent the day out birding around Larnaca visiting Achna Dam, Ormeidia, Oroklini, Larnaca Sewage Works area, Pervolia, Kivisili and Panagia Stazousa. We had a good selection of species including Greater Sandplover, the endemic Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler, White-winged and Whiskered Tern, Red-footed Falcon, Montagu’s Harrier, Ferruginous Duck, Chukar and Spur-winged Lapwing.
Highlights per location:
Achna Dam – Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe, Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher
Ormedeia Beach – Greater Sandplover, Kentish Plover, Whinchat, European Shag
Oroklini – Little Ringed Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing
Meneou Pool – Eurasian Thick-knee, Masked Shrike
Larnaca Sewage Works area – Ferruginous Duck, Northern Pintail, Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, White-winged Tern (inc 1 in breeding plumage), Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-backed Shrike, Sand Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Western Yellow Wagtail
Pervolia area – Montagu’s Harrier 1 juv, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Tawny Pipit, Northern Wheatear
Kivisilli fields – Common Hoopoe 1, Red-footed Falcon 1 juv, Tree Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat
Panagia Stazousa – Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, European Stonechat, European Bee-eater
Total number of species seen – 74
Chukar, Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, European Shag, Eurasian Thick-knee, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Greenfinch
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
Three days out with Mark, Willem, Oscar and Sjors around Akrotiri, Larnaca and Paphos produced a total of 112 different species/forms with a wide variety of types of birds and a few surprises. The only down side was the real lack of passerine migrants which were much decreased from mid-April but we had good visible migration of larger species especially Glossy Ibis and other herons as well as a Black Stork and the unexpected sight of three Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters over our heads at Phasouri.
Wednesday 26th April
This was spent around the various sites of the Akrotiri peninsula. We started at the hide overlooking Zakaki Marsh where we saw Ferruginous Duck through the reeds but had better views of a Baillons Crake in front of the hide where it competed for our attention with a Water Rail and a male and female Little Bittern. There were plenty of Eurasian Reed Warbler as well as a couple of Squacco Heron, Little Egret and Glossy Ibis. A singing Black Francolin came into the open and was well seen. Two Pallid Swift flew over the area and a Wood Sandpiper fed in the mud. Moving to Lady’s Mile a good selection of migrating waders included many Ruff, Black-winged Stilt and Little Stint, a lone Temminck’s Stint, a couple of Marsh and Wood Sandpiper and Dunlin and some Curlew Sandpiper. Several pairs of Kentish Plover were present as was a greyish Little Egret. Closer to the Salt Lake itself at the Zakaki runoff we saw a Black Stork thermalling up to the north as well as a distant White-winged Tern and Collared Pratincole. A group of more than sixty Gull-billed Tern were on the shore with some Slender-billed Gull and at least six Little Tern. A few Yellow Wagtail including thunbergi and feldegg race males were in the vegetation and we also found a female Black-eared Wheatear.
There were still a couple of hundred Greater Flamingo on the Salt Lake. A quick visit to Bishops Pool was notable for better views of Ferruginous Duck than at Zakaki as well as a good number of migrating Sand Martin over the water and some late Common Teal. An Eleonora’s Falcon flew over close to Sylvana’s as did a couple of European Turtle Dove and we also found two European Roller on the wires there. There was little of note around Agios Georgios Church so we drove across the Gravel Pits to Phasouri Reed beds finding a Grey Plover and a Whinchat on the way. At the reed-beds we saw another pair of Little Bittern, a single Cattle Egret, a Common Snipe, five Ferruginous Duck, three Glossy Ibis (with another 12 seen migrating over the area, another Wood Sandpiper, more Ruff and plenty of Eurasian Reed Warblers. As we were leaving three Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters flew over us – their call slightly different from their European counterparts. They were heading back towards the Gravel Pits area and we decided to go back there in the hope of re finding them.
We didn’t find them again but the decision to go back to there was a good one as we then saw two Greater Spotted Cuckoo, a Common Cuckoo, a European Roller, and a female Red-footed Falcon. Where had they been earlier? We finished the day at Kensington Cliffs where although Griffon Vulture let us down we had a wonderful aerial display from at least six Eleonora’s Falcon and many Alpine Swift.
Thursday 27th April
We headed for the Larnaca area today and started at the fields just outside Kivisili village. There were at least twenty Red-footed Falcon feeding and resting there as well as around eight kestrels that we could ID as Lesser as well as several Common as well. In the distance a female ring-tailed Harrier was quartering the fields – from the brief views of the underwing I managed it was most likely a female Pallid. We had just brief views of a Greater Spotted Cuckoo and Little Owl and found two recently fledged Corn Bunting. More than thirty Greater Short-toed Lark were feeding at Petounta Point and we saw our first group of migrating Glossy Ibis of the day (a total of at least 250 birds seen during the day), three migrating Purple Heron and two groups of Little Egret. The wooded area near Kiti Dam wall was quieter than it had been when I had visited on Monday – another reminder of the fact that migrant warbler passage seems to be largely over. But we did have two Spur-winged Lapwing, a male Golden Oriole and a single Great Spotted Cuckoo.
A quick detour via a post box in Kiti village produced a pair of Laughing Dove obviously breeding nearby. They are spreading throughout Larnaca. Around Larnaca Sewage Works and its pools we found another European Turtle Dove, a Common Cuckoo, a family party of Spectacled Warbler, a Great Reed Warbler, several Blackcap and Spotted Flycatcher, a male Black-eared Wheatear and a Whinchat. More visible migration – this time Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis and large flocks of Spanish Sparrow. On the pools themselves we had two White-winged Tern and two Collared Pratincole flying around in front of the hide as well as several Spur-winged Lapwing, some Black-winged Stilt, Ruff and Little Stint and a single Baltic Gull.
We found at least three Calandra Lark on the fields outside Pervolia as well as a male Northern Wheatear, a couple of Yellow Wagtail, plenty of Zitting Cisitcola and two male Black Francolin disputing their territories. Two Common Cuckoo were on wires near Meneou Pool – one of them a ‘rufous’ female. Our last stop was for a look at the waders on the Airport Pools (North) where the highlight was three Red-necked Phalarope.
Friday 28th April
A completely different day for our last day out which after a brief check of the fields at Mandria was concentrating in the Akamas. At Mandria we watched a group of swifts, including several Alpine come in off the sea and also found some Yellow Wagtail, a few fly over Red-throated Pipit and a single Tawny Pipit. We then heading to the valley behind Arodes village where our main target was the Black-headed Bunting. In the end, we found three singing males but also had good views of several Cyprus Wheatear, a singing male Cyprus Warbler, a fly over Eleonora’s Falcon and at least three male and two female Golden Oriole wwith at least four European Roller were in the area. There were plenty of Spotted Flycatcher, two Great Spotted Cuckoo and Red-rumped Swallow around as well.
Driving on through Pittokopos to Androlikou we found two more singing male Black-headed Bunting, Chukar, a male Lesser Kestrel and two Red-throated Pipit obligingly sitting on telegraph wires. Androlikou village had at least four European Roller and a couple of Cyprus Wheatear. A Common Hoopoe was singing from the top of a carob tree and as usual for the day there were several Spotted Flycatcher and singing Olivaceous Warbler.
A walk around the caravan site at the Baths of Aphrodite gave us another pair of Eurasian Golden Oriole, several Blackcap and a stunning male Red-backed Shrike. We also heard a Scops Owl but it wasn’t roosting anywhere visible. Two more were heard towards the Smygies picnic site and although Mark saw a small owl fly off again we couldn’t locate one for a proper view. We added Masked Shrike, European Serin and Cretzschmar’s Bunting to our list and saw two more European Roller. There were many migrating swifts and swallows including Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow and Northern House Martin. A walk around some fields and carob groves produced another male Red-backed Shrike, a Tree Pipit, Whinchat and a male black and white Flycatcher which was probably a Pied. We heard some European Bee-eater fly over but couldn’t locate them against a sunny sky.
Thanks to Mark, Willem, Sjors and Oscar for three good days birding and some great birds.
Total species/forms seen – 112
Chukar, Black Francolin, Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Western Water Rail, Baillons Crake, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Black Stork, Glossy Ibis, Common Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Little Egret, European Shag, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Red-necked Phalarope, Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Slender-billed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Baltic Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, White-winged Tern, Little Owl, Scops Owl, Western Marsh Harrier, Ring-tailed Harrier probably female Pallid, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Hoopoe, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tree Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail inc thunbergi, flava and feldegg races, White Wagtail, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, European Goldfinch, European Goldfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting, Cretzschmar’s 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 few days in Droushia exploring the area and doing some birding. Passed by Mandria, Timi and Paphos Sewage Works on Friday morning where there were a few Red-footed Falcon, a couple of European Roller, single migrating European Honey Buzzard, dark morph Booted Eagle and Black Kite, three migrating Western Marsh Harrier, a couple of Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrike, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat and newly arrived White Wagtail, a flock of Yellow Wagtail and a fly over Red-throated Pipit.
In the Akamas area and down in Polis Chrysochou Bay there were migrating Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey and Purple Heron, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater and Red-footed Falcon. Also seen were an Eastern Black-eared and Northern Wheatear, several Whinchat and Cyprus Wheatear, Red-backed Shrike, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Common Redstart. Unexpected birds were a European Nightjar flushed from an olive grove by a hunting Common Kestrel, a Common Kingfisher flying over the Baths of Aphrodite and a Northern Goshawk flushed from a large carob tree as I drove past near Fasli.
Spent the day around Akrotiri – not lots of birds around – quality rather than quantity. Was pleased though to see European Honey Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, juvenile Northern Goshawk, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-footed Falcon and Eleonora’s Falcon. Three White Stork were feeding in an alfalfa field. Flocks of European Bee-eater, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin and Red-rumped Swallow still passing through. Plenty of Whinchat, a couple of Northern Wheatear, two Lesser Grey Shrike and some juvenile Red-backed Shrikes. As far as waders were concerned still several Dunlin,plenty of Little Stint, Common Ringed Plover and lots of Kentish Plover – plus five Sanderling and two Spur-winged Lapwing.
A day out around Paphos with John and Madeleine. As we had been out together in both May 2014 and 2015, this year we were aiming for a general birdwatch in the Paphos area. We visited Anarita Park, Episokopi (Paphos), Minthis Hills, Kannaviou, Panagia, Evretou Dam and Kathikas. A good variety of habitats in which we saw mainly migrant breeders but also several late passage migrants including a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear at Anarita Park. Unfortunately, that area was much quieter than it has been recently. The vagrant Amur Falcon and most of the other migrating falcons having moved on.
Highlights per location:
Anarita Park – Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel 1m, Red-footed Falcon 1f, Great Spotted Cuckoo 5, European Roller 2, Little Owl, Red-rumped Swallow, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 1m pale throated, Cyprus Warbler 1m
Anarita Park to Episkopi (Paphos) track -European Roller 6
Episkopi (Ezousas valley) – Bonelli’s Eagle, European Roller 2, European Turtle Dove, Red-rumped Swallow, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher
Episkopi Rocks – Peregrine Falcon 2
Minthis Hills – Cretzschmar’s Bunting 1m
Kannaviou area – European Turtle Dove, European Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Spotted Flycatcher,Coal Tit, Masked Shrike, European Serin, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Panagia area – Common House Martin 50+, Red-rumped Swallow c10, Masked Shrike 1, Coal Tit, Eurasian Jay, European Bee-eater
Evretou Dam – Purple Heron, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Spanish Sparrow, Eurasian Hoopoe
Kathikas – Black-headed Bunting 2 singing males
Total species seen: 53
Purple Heron, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting
Neil and Christine had specific targets so the day was arranged to ensure we had the best chance to see them. The presence of a male Amur Falcon at Anarita Park changed the locations we had originally intended to visit but we still found all of them – although the Black Francolin refused to show from inside the cereal crop from which it was calling loudly – very frustrating!
The target species were Long-legged Buzzard, Spur-winged Lapwing, Chukar, Black Francolin, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Cyprus Warbler, plus the Amur Falcon.
The Chukar turned out to be a roadside tick as one ran along the side of the road as we headed to Anarita Park from Neil and Christine’s Limassol base. Four then flew across the motorway. Flocks of swifts and hirundines were everywhere throughout the day – migrants probably bought down lower by the unsettled weather. We saw our first Alpine Swift in one of these flocks as we approached Anarita and we saw several more of these throughout the day plus good numbers of Sand and Common House Martin, Common Swift and Barn Swallow as well as one Red-rumped Swallow.
The Amur Falcon was the perfect bird – sitting on wires in front of us as we parked the car in Anarita Park where it was with several small falcons. In the area we found several male and female Red-footed Falcon and Lesser Kestrel. After watching them for a while we checked out the rest of the area and found a Cyprus Wheatear, three Little Owl, a Great Spotted Cuckoo and heard a Cyprus Warbler which remained deep in the hawthorn bush. More accommodating was a male Cretzschmar’s Bunting which we found busily collecting seeds. We watched it until it flew away towards the goat farm. Flocks of European Bee-eater flew over.
Moving on to Paphos Sewage Plant again we quickly found our target – the Spur-winged Lapwing. We counted at least six near the plant and in the nearby fields. Two Eurasian Turtle Dove were on the wires and again hirundines and swifts were everywhere. We had a couple of probably Pallid Swift but they were a little too distant for us to be 100 per cent sure. Mandria was quiet and little was seen apart from five Little Egret moving west along the coast. After a quick check of the area behind Asprokremmos Dam where we watched European Bee-eater on the wires we then headed back towards Limassol and inland to Omodos.
The weather was now cloudy, windy with scattered showers. However, we were pleased to see a Long-legged Buzzard flying over the area and find at least seven singing male Black-headed Bunting and one female. Several Cretzschmar’s Bunting were singing and European Serin, Cyprus Wheatear and Corn Bunting were reasonably common. We then decided to check Germasogeia Dam where we spent quite a while listening to a Black Francolin calling in a field of uncut cereal. He didn’t come out into the open however but at least Neil will recognize the call when he hears it again!
Our last stop was at Prastio Kellakiou. It was now very over cast but before the heavens opened we had brief views of a Cyprus Warbler family party, saw a fly-by Great Spotted Cuckoo, a male Masked Shrike, at least two singing male Black-headed Bunting and three Cretzschmar’s Bunting.
We headed back to Limassol in the rain- both the rain and the Black Francolin having defeated us but with the other targets met it didn’t seem important that the overall count for the day was low.
Full species list:
Little Egret, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Amur Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin h, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting