Best bird was an immature Bonelli’s Eagle (see photo) being mobbed by a Common Kestrel but also saw three Finsch’s Wheatear, a female Blue Rock Thrush and a singing male Spectacled Warbler. There were many Eurasian Skylark, Red-throated and Meadow Pipit in the fields as well as a large flock of more than 80 Northern Lapwing (see photo).
Nelson wanted to see Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear on his short stay in Cyprus with anything else a bonus. I was a bit apprehensive as Cyprus Warbler can be quite skulking at this time of year and it was possible that Cyprus Wheatear could have moved on. But we started early at Cape Greco and luckily a couple of male Cyprus Warbler were flitting around in an area where they usually breed and are regularly seen in the spring. We also had good views of a couple of females and one juvenile. One of the males even decided to sing – we were very pleased. We also saw a couple of Spectacled Warbler, Isabelline Wheatear and several Red-backed Shrike. Moving closer to the coast we soon found a very smart juvenile Cyprus Wheatear which sat very still to enable both Nelson and Molly to watch him at their leisure. We were very pleased to see good numbers of Chukar as well. European Bee-eater were migrating overhead – many heard only although finally three or four passed low in front of us. Six Purple Heron migrated over as well as did Red-rumped Swallow and Sand Martin. We added Lesser Grey Shrike, Northern Wheatear, Willow Warbler and another Cyprus Wheatear before heading towards Agia Napa Sewage Works.
A surprise find on the pools there was a single Ferruginous Duck. Four Spur-winged Lapwing were flying around the area calling and two Common Sandpiper were feeding on the edge of the pool. We stopped to watch a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier gaining height over the area and migrating south. An Eleonora’s Falcon was being mobbed by two Common Kestrel below him. We added yet more Red-backed Shrike to the mornings totals but also a male, female and juvenile Masked Shrike which gave us a chance to compare their different plumages. A Spotted Flycatcher was another new species there.
Moving to Agia Napa Football Fields we found several Cattle Egret, another Isabelline Wheatear, a Common Hoopoe, a juvenile Red-backed Shrike and at least 60 Yellow Wagtail feeding on the fields. Our last stop was at Macronissos Beach where at first it seemed we wouldn’t find anything but more scanning produced two Greater Sandplover and three Kentish Plover – two bonus species on which to finish our morning.
Total species seen – 40
Chukar, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Coot, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Spur-winged Plover, Common Sandpiper, Montagu’s Harrier, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail, European Goldfinch
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.
Spent an hour at Agios Sozomenos this morning. Everywhere looking very dry again despite the recent rain.
Hen Harrier 1m and 1f hunting in same area and putting up many Meadow Pipits
Bluethroat 1 singing
Finsch’s Wheatear 1m (also singing) and 1f
Northern Lapwing 32 (see photo)
Meadow Pipit 200+
Western Jackdaw 300+
Red-throated Pipit 1 seen
European Serin 4
Eurasian Blackbird 1f
Common Chaffinch 6+
Spectacled Warbler 6+
Western Black Redstart 2
Little Owl 1
A couple of hours birding close to Nicosia. Lots of the usual winter visitors around: Common Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, European Robin, Chiffchaff, Eurasian Blackcap. The more interesting sightings were:
Agios Sozomenos, Nicosia
Spanish Sparrow 22 + 25
Eurasian Skylark 16
Little Owl 1
Blue Rock Thrush 1f
Spectacled Warbler 7
Western Black Redstart 4
Finsch’s Wheatear 2m and 1f
Hen Harrier 1f
Corn Bunting 18
Red-throated Pipit 2h and 1 seen in breeding plumage (see photos)
Northern Lapwing 70+ flying
Vathi Gonia Water Treatment Plant, Nicosia
Ferruginous Duck 4
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
A good day out birding with Byron started at Akrotiri Salt Lake where we scanned the area for roosting Demoiselle Cranes. None were present but although we were unlucky with that species we had a successful day enabling Byron to get many of his target species which included – Chukar, Black Francolin, Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Spur-winged Lapwing, Kentish Plover, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Long-legged Buzzard, Eleonora’s Falcon, Slender-billed Gull, Spectacled Warbler, Pallid Swift and Masked Shrike.
Highlights per location visited:
Akrotiri Salt Lake – Lesser Grey Shrike, European Bee-eater, Red-backed Shrike
Akrotiri Gravel Pits – Greater Flamingo c20 along coast, European Honey Buzzard 3 gaining height over area 9.30 am, Black Francolin, Common Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Broad-billed Sandpiper (thanks to local birder Tony who told us where the bird had moved to when it was absent from Lady’s Mile), Common Kingfisher, Tawny Pipit, Common Whitethroat, Northern Wheatear, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 2h and seen briefly
Lady’s Mile – Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eleonora’s Falcon (one over high up)
Phasouri Reed-beds – Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, European Roller, Eurasian Roller, Yellow Wagtail inc feldegg and thunbergii, Cattle Egret, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike
Panagia Stazousa – Montagu’s Harrier 2m, Long-legged Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear 3, Cyprus Warbler 2m, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike
Larnaca Airport Pools South – European Bee-eater, Eurasian Stone Curlew
Larnaca Sewage Works – Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Montagu’s Harrier 1 juv, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-winged Stilt, Ruddy Turnstone, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Spur-winged Lapwing
Spiros Beach – Ruddy Turnstone 5
Petounta – Long-legged Buzzard
Agios Theodoros – Little Owl 2, Eurasian Scops Owl 1 h and seen, Black-crowned Night Heron 16 heading S
Total species – 79
Little Grebe, Black-crowned Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Greenshank, Ruddy Turnstone, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Scops Owl, Little Owl, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Blue-headed, Black-headed and Grey-headed Wagtail, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
Just like the first morning out with Jon, on 3rd August, today’s highlight was an unexpected sighting of a species not on the list of likely birds for the day. This time it was a juvenile Northern Goshawk which flew in front of us at Mavrokolympos Dam chasing six Chukar. It almost caught one of them and we saw the bird briefly on the ground before it returned across the valley and was lost to sight. The decision to visit the Dam turned out to be a good one as not only did we see the first migrating Lesser Grey Shrike of the autumn but also got great views of a male Cyprus Warbler, saw several Cyprus Wheatear, four Green Sandpiper and had a fly-past Eleonora’s Falcon.
We then spent some time in the valley behind Arodes where we found another Lesser Grey Shrike, two Woodchat Shrike, several Masked Shrike, some European Turtle Dove and a European Roller as well as two Eurasian Hobby. A European Serin flew overhead and we saw a flock of at least twenty Chukar – but not with a chasing raptor this time. Returning to Paphos we drove over Minthis Hills which gave Jon the chance to get a good view of a Spectacled Warbler.
Species list – Little Grebe, Northern Goshawk, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar, Green Sandpiper, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, European Roller, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Cyprus Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Great Tit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch
Two mornings out around Paphos with Paul and Debbie enabled us to see some of the area’s seasonal specialties. We also caught up with plenty of shrikes – mainly adult and juvenile Masked, but also two Woodchat Shrike at Arodes on 8th August. We had good views of Greater Sand Plover and Spur-winged Lapwing as well as seeing Black Francolin, Chukar, Eurasian Stone Curlew and European Turtle Dove. We saw Long-legged Buzzard on both days and Peregrine Falcon and European Hobby flew over us on 8th at Arodes.
Highlights per day:
Monday 1st August
Paphos Headland – Greater Sand Plover, Eurasian Shag, Yellow-legged Gull
Paphos Sewage Works – Cattle Egret, Spur-winged Lapwing, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Chukar, Black Francolin, Spanish Sparrow, Green Sandpiper
Minthis Hills – Masked Shrike, Long-legged Buzzard, Cyprus Wheatear, Spectacled Warbler, European Roller
Monday 8th August
Minthis Hills – European Roller, Masked Shrike, Spectacled Warbler, Zitting Cisticola
Arodes – Eurasian Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, European Turtle Dove, Masked Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear
Species list – European Shag, Cattle Egret, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, European Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, European Roller, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Cyprus Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet
Photographs © Paul Lowden
Not a lot of bird life around Agios Sozomenos this morning but I did find one displaying European Roller, Long-legged Buzzard, a male Red-backed Shrike and two European Bee-eater. The Red-backed Shrike was being followed around by a Spectacled Warbler which I assume had a nest in the vicinity. Many Western Jackdaw are breeding in the deserted village and the adjacent cliffs.
Two days out with Martin and Rosemary to several of the Paphos hotspots gave us several lifers for Martin, despite the strong winds and lack of numbers of migrants around at the moment which limited the species we could have seen. However we were pleased with our species list in the end, although we felt we had worked hard to get some of the birds!
Highlights from locations visited:
Saturday 19th March:
Baths of Aphrodite: Long-legged Buzzard, Cyprus Wheatear, European Serin, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Yellow-legged Gull
Neo Chorio/Smygies: Chukar, Red-rumped Swallow, Cyprus Wheatear, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
Droushia: Long-legged Buzzard, Blue Rock Thrush
Arodes: Little Owl, Cyprus Wheatear 4+, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 1m pale throated, Finsch’s Wheatear 1m
Mioliou: Eurasian Hoopoe
Evretou Dam: Common Quail 3h, Black Francolin 2, Little Ringed Plover 2, Great Spotted Cuckoo 2, Black-headed Wagtail 2, Isabelline Wheatear 1
Monday 21st March:
Minthis Hills: Chukar, Woodlark, Cyprus Wheatear, Tree Pipit, Cyprus Warbler 1 singing male, Ruppell’s Warbler 1m and 1f, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 4 singing males, Corn Bunting
Agia Varvara: Green Sandpiper 4, Red-rumped Swallow 30+, Cretzschmar’s Bunting 10+
Anarita Park: Long-legged Buzzard, Common Quail, Little Owl, Red-rumped Swallow, Tree Pipit, Common Redstart 1m, Isabelline Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear 6+, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 2m dark throated, Finsch’s Wheatear 1f, Blue Rock Thrush 1m, Eastern Orphean Warbler 2, Spanish Sparrow c100
Asprokremmos Dam area: Long-legged Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Chukar, Red-rumped Swallow 30+, Tree Pipit, Cyprus Wheatear, Spectacled Warbler
Mandria: Black Francolin, Western Black Redstart, Black-headed Wagtail c300