Spent two days on the Karpasia Peninsula and had a good variety of migrants including Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Pallid Harrier, Masked Shrike, Tawny Pipit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Northern, Isabelline and Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Tree and Red-throated Pipit, an ‘eastern’ Stonechat (female), Purple Heron, a lone Demoiselle Crane, Wryneck, Common Redstart, Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Whinchat, Eurasian Hoopoe, Common Nightingale, Lesser Kestrel, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Common Quail.
Two record shots taken in the gloomy dust haze below:
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Karpasia 26th March 2016 (c) Cyprus Birding Tours
Demoiselle Crane, Kouklia Dam 25th March 2016 (c) Cyprus Birding Tours
The weather rather dampened our expectations for our day out but in the end we managed some good species although not large numbers. Picking up Richard and Ethelyn from Coral Bay we headed first to Mavrokolympos Dam hoping to find a late Finsch’s Wheatear. We had no luck with that species but a couple of male Cyprus Wheatear were fighting over territory and at least two male Cyprus Warbler were singing. The heavens opened as we left and drove to Agia Varvara. Luckily it had stopped when we arrived there. We found a bedraggled Cretzschmar’s Bunting perched in a tamarisk and a Red-rumped Swallow on the wires looking the worse for wear. The orchards were full of European Serin, Common Chaffinch and European Goldfinch and we could hear European Blackcap singing in the olive groves. Two Great Spotted Cuckoo were calling and we watched as they were chased by a couple of Hooded Crow. I spotted a Peregrine Falcon but it speeded out of sight before Richard could find it. We had seen a male Western Marsh Harrier as we turned off the motorway and I hoped that we could maybe see other large raptors but the weather was definitely not helping.
We spent some time watching a mixed flock of finches and Spanish Sparrow on the road into Asprokremmos Dam where we also found a Chukar. Otherwise it was quiet there so we moved to the Paphos Sewage Plant where we found five Cattle Egret and a pair of noisy Spur-winged Lapwing. A small flock of around fifty Black-headed Wagtail were emerging from an alfalfa field to drink and bathe in a puddle and were joined by a couple of Meadow Pipit and a single Water Pipit. At Mandria we found the vagrant Namaqua Dove that has been present in the area for a couple of weeks before driving down to the coast. The strong wind meant that we ate our lunch in the car but we did find a couple of Isabelline and Northern Wheatear to watch as we did so.
As we headed inland to Anarita Park it began to rain hard again and as we waited in the car for it to stop I even contemplated calling it a day. But we could see the clouds clearing from the west so we were patient and were well rewarded with several species coming out to dry in the late afternoon sun. These included a male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, a male Finsch’s Wheatear and an Isabelline Wheatear shaking themselves dry, at least twelve Cretzschmar’s Bunting, a male Blue Rock Thrush, a female Cyprus Wheatear, three Red-rumped Swallow, two Lesser Whitethroat, a Woodlark and a calling Common Quail. A great end to a wet and windy day.
Total species seen 54
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Namaqua Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Black-headed Wagtail (feldegg), White Wagtail, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
Namaqua Dove, Mandria 15th March 2016 (c) Cyprus Birding Tours
Spent the afternoon birding around Akrotiri. The best bird was seen last at 18.10 when an Osprey flew over Lady’s Mile and headed north. Other birds seen included Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Spotted Redshank, Black-winged Stilt, Common Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Woodchat Shrike, Red-backed Shrike and Yellow Wagtail.
Black-tailed Godwit, Akrotiri Salt Lake 16th April 2015 (c) Cyprus Birding Tours
Three days out with Alan and Marilyn gave a good opportunity to catch up with many different resident and migrant species. They wanted the chance to get as many photos as possible and although not all the birds we saw were photo-friendly we found a wide variety of species and ended up with a three day total of 107 different birds: 59 on 24th, 51 on 26th (when the afternoon was very quiet at the sites we visited) and 71 on 27th.
Mavrokolympos Dam – Long-legged Buzzard 2, Chukar 3+, Cyprus Wheatear 3, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Common Whitethroat 1
Akoursos Valley – Eurasian Scops Owl 1h, Common Nightingale 1h, Cyprus Warbler 2m
Cape Drepanum – Great Cormorant 4, European Shag 3, Yellow-legged Gull 30+, Greater Short-toed Lark 4, Barn Swallow 30+ migrating N along coast, Subalpine Warbler 1m
Friday 27th March:
Zakaki Marsh – Little Egret 1, Little Crake 1m, Eurasian Reed Warbler 2+h, Sedge Warbler 1h
Phassouri Reed Beds – Squacco Heron 2, Cattle Egret 1, Purple Heron 3, Western Marsh Harrier 1, Common Crane 3 flying over heading N, Black Francolin 1+h, Common Quail 1h, Black-winged Stilt 1, Spur-winged Lapwing 1, Common Nightingale 1, European Blackcap 3
Flooded Phassouri old rabbit farm area – Great Egret 1, Black-winged Stilt 1, Little Ringed Plover c10, Kentish Plover 1, Ruff c50, Common Snipe 1, Marsh Sandpiper 2, Sand Martin 1, Yellow Wagtail inc Black and Blue headed and ‘dombrowski’ intergrade, Masked Shrike 2
Akrotiri Gravel Pits and coast – Great Egret 3 in from sea over area, ‘Baltic’ Gull 1 migrating with 10 Yellow-legged Gull offshore, Common Black-headed Gull c60 in bay, Eurasian Hoopoe 4, Common Redstart 1f, Desert Wheatear 1m, Cyprus Warbler 1h, Masked Shrike 1, Ortolan Bunting 1
Bishop’s Pool – Black-crowned Night Heron 3, Ferruginous Duck 2
Lady’s Mile – Black-winged Stilt 29, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover 1+ flew with flock of Kentish Plover, Marsh Sandpiper 1, Common Greenshank 4, Slender-billed Gull 8
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Purple Heron, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Ferruginous Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Little Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Crane, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Common Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, ‘Baltic’ Gull (Lesser Black-backed Gull), Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Scops Owl h, Little Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, ‘dombrowski’ Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Western Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler h, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Rüppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Hawfinch, Ortolan Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
A day out with Pat and Chris looking for regional specialties and migrants stared at Geroskippou where we found Isabelline Wheatear , Red-rumped Swallow and Eurasian Hoopoe. Moving on to Paphos Sewage Works, we quickly found our target species with at least eight Spur-winged Lapwing visible from the road. Offshore we found five Armenian Gull floating in the bay and a the first of the day’s many Corn Bunting were found when a large flock flew out of the reeds there. European Serin were plentiful flying around the area and we saw one, maybe two, Hawfinch flying with some Chaffinch while four Cattle Egret were feeding in the fields. Another Hawfinch was with a finch flock on the approach road to Asprokremmos Dam. In the area behind the dam we found two male Cyprus Warbler, several Sardinian and Spectacled Warbler, two Red-throated Pipit, at least two Eurasian Hoopoe, two Little Owl, four Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and some Chukar. Up to eight Alpine Swift were flying overhead with a group of hirundines which included many Barn Swallow and Common House Martin. A flock of ten migrating Grey Heron flew over the dam heading north.
Heading towards the sea at Mandria we stopped to look at a group of at least ten Red-rumped Swallow mixed with other hirundines and then found three more Hawfinch near an olive grove. Close to the beach we saw three Isabelline Wheatear and at least six Northern Wheatear. Two small flocks totalling around thirty Greater Short-toed Lark were feeding in the area as were Serin, Linnet, Goldfinch and Spanish Sparrow and a lone Little Ringed Plover. We spent some time trying to locate a calling Black Francolin but only saw it fly away from us together with a flock of nearly a hundred Corn Bunting.
As we headed to the last stop of the day at Anarita Park, we stopped just before Agia Varvara when a Great Spotted Cuckoo flew by. We were able to relocate it and watch it through the ‘scope before it flew out of sight. We rounded off a good day’s birding with some new species at Anarita Park – Ruppell’s Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Lesser Whitethroat and Cretzschmar’s Bunting – as well as yet more Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, many more Corn Bunting and a great view of a Cetti’s Warbler unusually out in the open. As the sun set I returned Pat and Chris to their hotel after an enjoyable day’s birding.
Total number of species seen – 59
Great Cormorant, European Shag, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Yellow-legged Gull, Armenian Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, 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, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Hawfinch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
Picked up Stuart and Ruth from Pissouri and headed to Kouklia Soakaways. We could hear Sedge, Eurasian Reed and Cetti’s Warbler in the reeds and watched a calling Cyprus Wheatear in a cultivated area. There was very little water in the river bed but we did find a Common Snipe, two Green Sandpiper and a Wood Sandpiper using one of the small pools still around. A Water Rail came out from the reeds for a while and we had great views of it. We could also hear a couple of Common Nightingale singing and saw several Sardinian Warblers and Blackcap. As we left the area a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear caught our attention.
As we approached Asprokremmos Dam we saw a flock of herons flying over the dam wall. We quickly identified them as Purple Heron and watched as they flew over the carpark appearing to look for a place to roost. A Long-legged Buzzard chose one of the pines to sit in for several minutes and we found several Tree Pipit in the area. We then drove behind towards the aerial pausing to stop and see the resident Little Owl and a breeding pair of Cyprus Warbler. A male Pallid Harrier and female Western Marsh Harrier were overflying. In the carob grove we found both a Common and a Great Spotted Cuckoo and around the aerial we found several pairs of Spectacled Warbler, more Tree Pipit, Spanish Sparrow and Blackcap. Two surprise finds were a Whinchat and an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler – both early arrivals for the end of March.
After lunch at Mandria we found a couple of Isabelline Wheatear and a smart male Northern Wheatear as well as several Red-throated Pipit and Black-headed Wagtail. A male Western Marsh Harrier kept the many birdwatchers in the vicinity entertained and a small group of Black-crowned Night Heron flew north of the area. After being given the location of a Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush at Anarita we decided not to omit that site from the day’s itinerary and headed there. True to form there was no sign of the bird at the designated location and despite a search we couldn’t find it. We decided to carry on through the area and return there again on our way out. In what at first seemed an area devoid of birds we found a Eurasian Hoopoe, several Tawny Pipit, a male Ruppell’s Warbler, an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, a Common and several Lesser Whitethroat, many Chiffchaff, two Cretzschmar’s Bunting and lots of Corn Bunting. A Stonechat displaying the features of the Siberian race was flying around the area although I was unable to get a photograph of it to clinch its ID. A male Western Marsh Harrier was also quartering the fields.
We headed back to the area of our previous search for the Rock Thrush and this time it was waiting for us sitting on a large boulder! It allowed us to take photos and watch it for at least fifteen minutes. That seemed to finish the day on a high but we then managed to add four Greater Spotted Cuckoo in the field near the main road out of the area as well as a male Hen Harrier. A day full of some very interesting and co-operative birds!
Total number of species – 69
Great Cormorant, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin (heard), Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Wood-pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow Wagtail – feldegg, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, ‘Siberian’ Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Serin (heard), European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Anarita Park March 31st 2014 (c) Cyprus Birding Tours
Corn Bunting Anarita Park 31st March 2014 (c) Cyprus Birding Tours