A wet Waterbird count around Larnaca today with counting done in between the rain. Highlights were two Little Gull (rising to three in the afternoon) (see photo), two Greater Sandplover, two Great Spotted Cuckoo (see photo), a Marsh Sandpiper, my first Lesser Whitethroat and Red-rumped Swallow of the year, Eurasian Curlew, Baltic Gull, Black-winged Stilt, Water Pipit and singing Eurasian Reed Warbler.
Spent the last few days in north west corner of island – joining BirdLife Cyprus’ members weekend there which included a boat trip to Cape Arnaouti from Latchi Harbour.
My birding highlights included Baltic Gull, Gull-billed Tern, flocks of Purple & Grey Heron and Glossy Ibis, several Red-backed and Masked Shrike, a migrating European Sparrowhawk, flocks of European Bee-eater (see photo), an Ortolan Bunting, several autumn plumage Cyprus Wheatear (see photo), Red-rumped Swallow, Alpine Swift, a juvenile Pallid Harrier, Whinchat and a Common Hoopoe.
Plenty of the ‘usual suspects’ around Troodos this morning. Especially good views of Masked Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher, Eurasian Jay, Cyprus Wheatear and Red-rumped Swallow. A male Blue Rock Thrush was singing at Amiantos.
Below is a photo of a Eurasian Jay – a Cyprus endemic sub species – taking a bath in one of the many water troughs at a picnic site.
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.
The main bulk of migrating raptors have not yet put in an appearance so I was hoping that there would be some around at Cape Greco this morning. No such luck unfortunately with just one Western Marsh Harrier the only large raptor seen.
Cape Greco 8.15 – 11.45
Western Marsh Harrier 1
Eurasian Hobby 1
Eleonora’s Falcon 1
Grey Heron 1
Little Egret 1
Purple Heron 25
Willow Warbler 1
Yellow Wagtail 8 heading S out to sea
European Bee-eater h
Red-rumped Swallow 40+
Sand Martn 20+
Agia Napa Football Fields
Yellow Wagtail 90+
Common Hoopoe 2
Red-backed Shrike 3 juv
Lesser Grey Shrike 1
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Larnaca Airport Pools South
Eurasian Thick-knee 35
A good day out again with Terry and Sarah around Akrotiri and then west to Mandria, Timi Beach and Asprokremmos Dam. Another very warm day with just a trickle of migrating raptors but we pieced together some good species and enjoyed ourselves in any case.
Highlights per location:
Phassouri Reed-beds – Black Francolin 1m and 1f, European Turtle Dove 20+, Pallid Swift 2, European Honey Buzzard 7, Western Marsh Harrier 3, Montagu’s Harrier 3 juv, Black Kite 2, European Bee-eater 200+, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Kestrel, Red-backed, Lesser Grey and Masked Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail
Bishop’s Pool – Black-crowned Night Heron, Purple Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin
Lady’s Mile – Dunlin 3, Kentish Plover, Little Stint
Zakaki Marsh – Common Kingfisher, Great Reed Warbler
Mandria – Chukar, Eleonora’s Falcon, European Roller, Lesser Grey Shrike, Greater Short-toed Lark, Northern & Isabelline Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, European Shag
Timi Beach – Greater Short-toed Lark c30
Asprokremmos Dam – Spotted Flycatcher, Eleonora’s Falcon
After picking up Carole, John and Philip from Pissouri Bay we headed towards Akrotiri for a day’s birding. Our first stop was at Kensington Cliffs where we had good views of Eleonora’s Falcon and their acrobatics. A ring-tailed Harrier was flying close to the cliffs but we couldn’t get any ID features. As we left we saw an Isabelline Wheatear. At Phasouri Reed-beds we visited the new tower hide and were treated to the wonderful sight of several European Bee-eater coming down to drink at a nearby pool. Two juvenile Montagu’s Harrier were flying around the area as was a female Western Marsh Harrier. We also saw a European Turtle Dove and a couple of Willow Warbler before our attention was drawn to a Eurasian Hobby over us and then a small group of larger raptors gaining height – European Honey Buzzards and a lone Black Kite. We then found a Lesser Grey Shrike, a European Roller and a small flock of Western Yellow Wagtail near the other new hide. A couple of Whinchat and a very smart male Red-backed Shrike were also present.
Driving across Akrotiri Gravel Pits we saw a couple of juvenile Red-backed Shrike and a juvenile Masked Shrike and at the churchyard we found a Common Hoopoe, Spotted Flycatcher and a Northern Wheatear. We then spent some time at Bishop’s Pool. Disappointed not to see any Ferruginous Duck there but we did see a European Honey Buzzard being mobbed by two Eleonora’s Falcon, a Black-winged Stilt, a couple of Little Egret, a Common Redshank, some Northern Shoveler and Common Teal and an immature marsh tern which in the end we ID’d as a Whiskered Tern.
There were plenty of Kentish Plover and Little Stint on Lady’s Mile although we couldn’t see any other waders but there was a juvenile Greater Flamingo there. We spent a while then in the hide at Zakaki Marsh where we could hear several Black-crowned Night Heron – none of which was obliging enough to fly up to let us see them. We did though see a juvenile Western Water Rail and a Common Kingfisher although unfortunately only I saw a Great Reed Warbler sitting on the reeds with a large dragonfly in its bill. Two Western Marsh Harrier were quartering the area.
We ate our lunch back at Phasouri Reed-beds where we watched many Red-rumped Swallow migrating through. We added Lesser Kestrel to our list of species as one flew over head and saw a few more European Honey Buzzard and another juvenile Montagu’s Harrier. We then decided to head to Mandria to see if the Eurasian Dotterel that had been found there yesterday was still present. We were in luck and we spent some time looking at it through the ‘scope. It was surrounded by Greater Short-toed Lark so we had good views of them as well and also the Northern Wheatear and Lesser Grey Shrike nearby. We finished our day with a quick check of the amenities area of Asprokremmos Dam and added Long-legged Buzzard to our day list and also found another European Turtle Dove.
A good selection of species on a very hot September day.
Total number of species: 62
Black Francolin, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Western Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Black-crowned Night Heron (H), Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Common Redshank, Eurasian Dotterel, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Black Kite, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, House Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail, European Goldfinch.
A morning’s birding with Anthony and Sarah around Akrotiri hoping to see a good variety of species. We started at Zakaki Marsh where many Grey Heron were flying down to feed behind the reeds. A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron flew up from in front of the hide as we arrived and although we could hear many more we only got good views of one adult as it flew over the area. A Squacco Heron also flew across and a female Western Marsh Harrier quartered the reeds before swooping into the reeds where it presumably caught prey. An adult Water Rail was feeding in front of the hide and several Eurasian Reed Warbler were flitting in the reeds. Anthony and Sarah were especially pleased to see the Common Kingfisher that perched on a reed in front of the hide for several minutes.
Moving to the eastern edge of the Salt Lake we found an Isabelline Wheatear, a Lesser Grey Shrike and a female and a male Red-backed Shrike. An adult and a juvenile European Roller sat on the wires along Lady’s Mile and were very obliging. The Salt Lake itself had very little water but we spent some time watching the dozen or so Eleonora’s Falcon that were resting on the Salt flats and drinking and bathing in the water from the run off – a great spectacle.
There were several Kentish Plover feeding on Lady’s Mile itself as well as a couple of Little Stint and Dunlin which we saw as we drove to Bishop’s Pool. The first birds we saw there were a couple of Ferruginous Duck and then three Glossy Ibis feeding at the back of the pool. Two Black-winged Stilt were also there as were four Green Sandpiper and a Wood Sandpiper. A couple of Little Egret were feeding around the edge and some Northern Shoveler were resting in with the resident Mallard and Little Grebe. A couple of European Turtle Dove flew over. We could have spent longer there to be honest but we moved on the Akrotiri Gravel Pits adding Red-rumped Swallow and Sand Martin to the morning’s list as we went.
We had another Lesser Grey Shrike in the church yard as well as an Olivaceous Warbler, two Spotted Flycatcher and another two Isabelline Wheatear. It was now getting warmer and the birds were quieter although we did find a Common Greenshank and a Kentish Plover as we went through the area to our last stop at Phasouri Reed-beds. We heard and then saw a Yellow Wagtail and our last new bird of the morning was a Whinchat sitting on a fence. A good morning’s birding at the start of autumn migration although we were disappointed not to see any large raptors.
Total number of species – 45
Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Swift, Western Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Western Marsh Harrier, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, House Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail.
Just a few hours around Troodos this morning before it got too hot. Birds seen included:
Red-rumped Swallow 4 juvs
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Northern Goshawk 1h and seen briefly in flight
Amiantos Botanical Gardens
Cyprus Wheatear 1 ad and 4 juvs
Red-rumped Swallow 6
Masked Shrike 1m, 1f and 2 fledged juvs
Common Hoopoe 1
Northern House Martin 20+
Red Crossbill (see photo) c8 (inc at least 1 male and 2 juvs)
European Serin 8 inc juvs
Common Chaffinch 10+ inc 3 juvs
Eurasian Blackbird 1m and 1f
Eurasian Jay 2
Coal Tit c15
Red-rumped Swallow 2
Northern House Martin 20+
Spent the day visiting several of the Troodos picnic sites which are usually a good area to find migrant and resident breeders and find some endemic sub-species. Some of the plumage of the breeding birds was looking very worn.
Spotted Flycatcher 1 ad and at least 4 juvs
Red-rumped Swallow 1
Eurasian Blackbird pair seen and 1 other male singing
Common Hoopoe 1
Masked Shrike 2m and 1f (1m having bath in stream)
Coal Tit 3 juvs
Northern Wren 1 having bath in stream
Livadi tou Pashia
Eurasian Blackbird 2m and 1f
European Serin 2+
Northern Wren 2
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 4+
Masked Shrike 1 pair feeding unseen juvs and another feeding 3 fledged juvs
plus 3 other males
Eurasian Jay 3 juvs, one seen fighting with male Blackbird
Northern House Martin 100+
Masked Shrike 3m
Eurasian Blackbird 3 singing males
Red Crossbill 2
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 2h
Platres Old Road and start of Caledonia Trail
Cyprus Wheatear 1m singing
Eurasian Blackbird 4m
Grey Wagtail 1 ad
Northern Wren 2
European Serin 1+
Troodos Botanical Gardens
Grey Wagtail 1ad
Cyprus Wheatear 1 ad
Red-rumped Swallow 2
Northern House Martin 30+
I picked up James and Lizzie from Kakopetria and we headed towards Troodos stopping at a few locations on the way to the Square. At Platania we found Red-rumped Swallow and at the Botanical Gardens at Amiantos we found our first of the Cyprus endemic sub-species – the Eurasian Jay as well as a large group of hirundines which although mainly Northern House Martin also included several more Red-rumped Swallow and two Eurasian Crag Martin. An Eastern Olivaceous Warbler sang out in the open on a small conifer so we spend some time watching it. A couple of male Cyprus Wheatear were also seen and at least one male Eurasian Blackbird was singing. As we left the area I spotted a large thrush on a rock and we were pleased to see a male Blue Rock Thrush as we got out of the car. I also heard a singing Cretzschmar’s Bunting but we couldn’t see it.
We then spent some time at the Livadi tou Pashia picnic site where we had good views of two other endemic sub-species – Coal Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper. Several Northern Wren and European Serin were heard and finally a male Masked Shrike flew into view. We then headed to Troodos Square seeing more Masked Shrike and Cyprus Wheatear on the way. At least eight Pallid Swift were in a large flock of swifts at the square.
The rest of the morning was spent in the Omodos area and especially on the road from there to Agios Nikolaos. The stars there were the singing male Black-headed Buntings but we also saw some Corn Bunting, more Masked Shrike and Cyprus Wheatear, a smart male Spanish Sparrow and finally a singing male Cyprus Warbler – strangely singing from some electricity wires. The last species for the day was Cretzschmar’s Bunting as we found two males near Agios Nikolaos.
A lovely way to spend a morning in the early summer catching up with the Cyprus endemics and migrant breeders.
Full species list:
Common Woodpigeon, European Collared Dove, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, Common Kestrel, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Northern House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Eurasian Crag Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper, Northern Wren, Eurasian Blackbird, Blue Rock Thrush, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, European Serin, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting, Cretzschmar’s 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