After a hot morning at Kensington Cliffs helping with the BirdLife Cyprus vulture census I was pleased to hear that a Rose-coloured Starling had been seen an hour or so before at Akrotiri Gravel Pits. Luckily it was still around and although it wasn’t exactly photo friendly I did manage a record shot.
On Saturday I had been surprised to see Ruff on Spiros Pool which appeared to be completely dry; visiting the area briefly yesterday I saw a Western Marsh Harrier put up many waders from that location. I returned for a search today and found water in the area near the Sewage Plant and Desalination Buildings. A good collection of waders and mosquitos awaited me. These included a Black-tailed Godwit (probably the same as seen at the Sewage Works last week), two Grey Plover moulting from their breeding plumage, a Temminck’s Stint, a Sanderling, several Wood Sandpiper, two Dunlin, a Curlew Sandpiper, two Little Ringed Plover and around ten Common Ringed Plover, four Common Snipe and tens of Ruff and Little Stint. Several Black-winged Stilt were there and a juvenile Collared Pratincole flew away as I arrived. Four Greater Short-toed Lark flew over the area calling and there were at least three Yellow Wagtail. The Western Marsh Harrier was still quartering the area.
After the excitement of finding a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling on the coast near the airport boundary fence, I then watched a young Peregrine Falcon chase a feral pigeon while being mobbed by two Commom Kestrel.
As I arrived at the Sewage Works pools a Long-legged Buzzard was soaring over the area. On the water were an adult and two juvenile ‘Baltic’ Gulls, an eclipse plumage Northern Pintail, at least four Garganey, six Northern Shoveler and a Eurasian Teal. A few waders around the edge of the pools – Common Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Ruff, Common Ringed Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing and Black-winged Stilt.
Finally saw an adult Rose-coloured Starling when one was found this morning roosting inside the unfinished Environment Centre at Cape Greco. Luckily it was still there when I finished the Raptor Count in the area at midday, although it took some finding looking through the fence and the girders there. It had been one of my Cyprus targets for 2014!
Several flocks of Little Egret totalling 110 were migrating around Cape Greco this morning as were 23 Slender-billed Gull. Three flocks of at least 350 Spanish Sparrow passed over the area as well between 8.30 and 12.30. I was in the area to do the Raptor Count but the only raptor I saw was a European Hobby and of course the local Common Kestrel.
Birdwatching afterwards around Cape Greco produced Ortolan Bunting, Turtle Dove, Common Redstart, Northern Wheatear, Spotted, Pied and Collared Flycatcher, Common Whitethroat, European Bee-eater, Willow Warbler and Woodchat and Masked Shrike. And of course the Rose-coloured Starling!
A male Montagu’s Harrier was the only bird of note at Sotira Pools and a couple of Garganey and more than twenty Little Egret were at Oroklini.