Good start this morning out guiding for the Travelling Naturalist group with a showy male Cyprus Warbler to keep us entertained at Anarita Park. Other good birds included Spotted Crake and Peregrine Falcon at Agia Varvara; Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Long-legged Buzzard and Red-rumped Swallow at Anarita Park; and an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler at Asprokremmos Dam. Plenty of Corn Buntings (photo) at all locations visited.
No sign today of the Black-winged Kite that was seen at Phasouri Reed-beds yesterday morning which was disappointing. Spent some time watching this female Common Kingfisher which cheered me up (See photo). Elsewhere around Akrotiri I found Spotted Crake, Water Rail, Little Bittern, Great Reed Warbler, Red-throated Pipit, Bluethroat, Common Crane, a Western Marsh and a Hen Harrier, two European Honey Buzzard, four Eleonora’s Falcon and a few Eurasian Sparrowhawk so I can’t really complain!
A spur of the moment visit to Akrotiri today. I didn’t see any raptor migration but had some good birds in any case.
Interesting sightings include:
Akrotiri Salt Lake/Zakaki run off area
Hen Harrier 1 ring tail
Common Ringed Plover 26+
Common Snipe 2
Red-throated Pipit 8
Little Stint 24+
Western Marsh Harrier 6
Temminck’s Stint 1
Kentish Plover 150+
Greater Flamingo 400+ incl melanistic bird
Northern Wheatear 1
Spotted Crake 3 seen and another heard elsewhere
Collared Pratincole 1
Sedge Warbler 1
Spanish Sparrow 40+
Eleonora’s Falcon 4
Zakaki Marsh hide
Black-headed Gull 6
Grey Heron 20+
Grey Wagtail 1
Water Rail 4
Spotted Crake 1
Bluethroat 1 with white on head
Squacco Heron 1
Little Egret 1
Spanish Sparrow 15
Phasouri Reed-beds Tower hide
Masked Shrike 1 juv
Western Marsh Harrier 1 maybe 2
Eurasian Reed Warbler 1
Common Kingfisher 1
Little Bittern 1 juv
Akrotiri Gravel Pits
Northern Wheatear 1m
A good day around Akrotiri with highlights two Spotted Crake, a juvenile Common Crane and three Little Swift plus my first Bluethroats, Common Stonechat and Common Buzzard of the winter. Raptor migration has slowed to a trickle but I did see small numbers of Red-footed and Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier and a single Osprey.
A lovely day out today visiting Paralimni Lake, Cape Greco, Agia Napa Sewage Works and Ormedeia. A few record photos of a Citrine Wagtail and Spotted Crake seen at Paralimni, a Greater Short-toed Lark at Cape Greco and a Masked Shrike at Agia Napa Sewage Works.
Other interesting species seen were Bimaculated Lark, Pallid Harrier, Woodchat Shrike, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, singing Olivaceous and Willow Warbler, Audouin’s Gull, migrating Garganey and two stunning male Common Redstart.
Spent much longer out birding than I had originally intended but it was worth it with the best birds being a sub adult Bonelli’s Eagle, two Long-legged Buzzard, three (maybe four) Finsch’s Wheatear, Red-throated Pipit, Spotted Crake, Water Pipit and a female Merlin which scattered the waders at Oroklini Marsh.
Interesting birds seen:
Bonelli’s Eagle 1 ad
Long-legged Buzzard 2 (see photo)
Peregrine Falcon 1
Finsch’s Wheatear 1m and 2f (prob 3f)
Red-throated Pipit 7+
Black Redstart 5
Spanish Sparrow 30+
Greater Flamingo 15
Spur-winged Lapwing 52+
Northern Lapwing 18
Black-headed Gull 13
Armenian Gull 1 ad
Northern Pintail 3
Little Stint 37
Common Ringed Plover 1
Common Redshank 8
Marsh Sandpiper 1
Common Snipe 2
Spotted Crake 1
Water Pipit 2
Grey Heron 1
Eurasian Golden Plover 27
Two days out with Ashley who was in Cyprus with the single purpose of seeing the Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear and Black Francolin and then some general birding.
Wednesday 29th March
We started on Wednesday morning in the Panagia Stazousa valley where we soon heard the strange buzzing of a male Cyprus Wheatear on territory and got some great views of it while at the same time two Cyprus Warbler were singing and competing for territory nearby. We had excellent views of them as well and were two thirds of the way through our target before our first hour was over. In the end we saw at least four singing male Cyprus Wheatear and at least twelve male and a female Cyprus Warbler in the area. Very satisfying to see so many of the warblers. A singing Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler in the same area was an added bonus. We also saw four Great Spotted Cuckoo -two of whom were seem copulating while the male fed the female a caterpillar taken from the nest of a processionary moth caterpillar. We watched him trying to extract another one but the female had lost interest by the time he was successful. A Long-legged Buzzard flew over, a Eurasian Scops Owl called and we found five Cretzschmar’s Bunting. Two Eurasian Hoopoe flew into a pine while we were watching a group of European Serin in the same tree.
Driving through the fields beneath the village of Kivisilli we stopped to admire another Eurasian Hoopoe and eight Lesser Kestrel hunting over the fields and dropping down to catch insects. A small group of Greater Short-toed Lark were in a ploughed field. We heard several Black Francolin calling at Petounta Point but only saw one briefly in flight. We had better views of another Long-legged Buzzard and several Northern and Isabelline Wheatear as well as a Common Redstart. But driving towards Pervolia we had more luck and finally had a singing male Black Francolin out in the open and not too far away so that our views were ruined by heat haze. In the fields near Pervolia village we had close up views of five Calandra Lark, around 60 Yellow Wagtail, 20 Red-throated Pipit and 50+ Greater Short-toed Lark.
After a picnic lunch by the seaside we moved to the hide overlooking Larnaca Sewage Works. There were not many waterfowl left there now although there were two Ruddy Shelduck which were a lovely surprise. Lesser Whitethroat were in the bushes in front of the hide – they were present at all the locations we visited over the two days. A Purple Heron flew over but didn’t stop while another Great Spotted Cuckoo rested briefly in front of the hide. Spur-winged Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Common Ringed Plover, Common and Green Sandpiper fed around the water’s edge. Before leaving the area we found more Black-winged Stilt, a lone Greater Flamingo and 13 Slender-billed Gull on Meneou Pool.
A quick stop to scan the main Salt Lake gave us a few more Greater Flamingo, two breeding plumage Black-necked Grebe and more Slender-billed Gull. In the north east corner our best birds were a female Little Crake and a Spotted Crake as well as Marsh Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe, Ruff, Spur-winged Lapwing, Wood and Green Sandpiper, Bluethroat, Water Pipit, Yellow Wagtail and Eurasian Reed Warbler. We finished the day there with targets met and a total of 80 species seen.
Thursday 30th March
Our first stop today was Oroklini Marsh where we found a Glossy Ibis and a Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing, three winter plumage Black-necked Grebe, a Ferruginous Duck, two male and a female Red-crested Pochard, Garganey, plenty of Cattle Egret and two Little Egret and an overflying male Pallid Harrier and a hunting female Western Marsh Harrier. Several Eurasian Reed Warbler and a single Sedge Warbler were singing. We found another Pallid Harrier, this time a sub-adult male, sitting on Paralimni Lake and another male flew over. Also there were two Eurasian Golden Plover, many Ruff, many wheatear – mainly Northern but also Isabelline, Eastern Black-eared and Cyprus, a couple of Little Ringed Plover and a Common Greenshank.
We ate our lunch at the picnic site at Cape Greco after a short walk that had us thinking there was nothing around having just heard a Common Nightingale and seen a couple of Lesser Whitethroat and Eurasian Blackcap. Then a male Pallid Harrier flew by as did five Alpine Swift. We had good views of a dark-throated and pale throated Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and two male Cyprus Warbler at a distance. A drive around the rest of the area was then more productive and we saw two Water Pipit, 12 Greater Short-toed Lark, several Cyprus Wheatear including a pair with the female collecting nest material, a showy Eurasian Wryneck sitting on a rock in the sun, five Tawny Pipit, a male Masked Shrike in the same bush as three male Subalpine Warbler and a male Ruppell’s Warbler. A quick visit to the Larnaca area produced our final birds which were another male Masked Shrike and 18 Baltic Gull migrating off shore.
Two great days out with Ashley with a wide variety of species.
Total species and forms seen – 101
Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Spotted Crake, Little Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Baltic Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Scops Owl, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Water Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail (flava), Black-headed Wagtail (feldegg), superciliaris intergrade, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale h, Bluethroat, Common Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler h, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
Went over to the east of the island again today to try my luck with the Asian Buff-bellied Pipit found at Akhna on Saturday. This is the 5th record of the species in Cyprus. Was lucky enough to find it, take a record photo before it flew off and see some other good birds.
Asian Buff-bellied Pipit 1
Water Pipit 20+
Meadow Pipit 40+
Eurasian Wigeon 1m and 1f
Common Shelduck 1 imm
Peregrine Falcon 1
Grey Plover 1
Common Ringed Plover 4
Great Cormorant 3
Common Chaffinch 6
Eurasian Blackbird 1
Song Thrush 10+
Common Linnet 3
European Serin 2+
Finsch’s Wheatear 2m and 1f
Blue Rock Thrush 3m and 1f
Western Black Redstart 11
Great Cormorant 20 heading SW
Greater Flamingo c60
Water Rail 1
Spotted Crake 1
Cattle Egret c100
Song Thrush 1
Common Starling 16
Northern Lapwing 3
A morning out with Rob and Payel started at the hide overlooking Zakaki Marsh. We had excellent views of Bluethroat and Moustached Warbler which kept us entertained for a long time. Only I caught a brief glimpse of a Spotted Crake but we all saw two Water Rail run in front of the hide. We also saw Water and Meadow Pipit, Common Reed Bunting, Western Black Redstart, Common Starling, Northern Pintail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot and Eurasian Teal. The short drive from there to Lady’s Mile gave us the chance to look closely at a Zitting Cisticola and of course several Common Stonechat. Common Linnet, White Wagtail and a Common Kingfisher were also in the area.
Five Kentish Plover flew over us and a lone Dunlin fed on the marshy area of Lady’s Mile. We spent some time looking at the gulls on the water and picked out an adult Caspian and an adult Armenian Gull in with the many Common Black-headed Gull. We headed into the area behind Lady’s Mile hoping to find the ‘Steppe’ Grey Shrike that had been there recently. We quickly found a shrike – but not the right one! A late migrating juvenile Red-backed Shrike was sitting on the bushes recently occupied by the Cyprus rarity which was nowhere to be seen.
Nothing of interest was to be seen at Phasouri Reed-beds so we headed inland to Germasogeia Dam. Our main target there was the endemic Cyprus Warbler. We soon heard Chukar on the hillsides and in the trees and bushes found European Serin, Eurasian Blackcap, Corn Bunting and Spanish Sparrow. We heard European Robin and saw several Zitting Cisticola but although we could hear the scolding of a Cyprus Warbler we had to wait a while for one to appear. Finally, we saw one and it sang briefly in front of us. Another was also in the area but not seen well. There was only a little water in the dam and the only wetland species we saw were Great Cormorant.
A good morning out with the highlight the showing Bluethroat at the hide.
Total species seen: 45
Great Cormorant, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Common Black-headed Gull, Caspian Gull, Armenian Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Bluethroat, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Moustached Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Common Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting
Second day out with Ann and Peter and we started at Zakaki Marsh. We quickly found two newly arrived Sedge Warbler and a couple of Eurasian Reed Warbler and heard a Spotted Crake. Unfortunately we couldn’t see it, although apparently it had been on view before our arrival. Two Spur-winged Lapwing flew over. In the nearby vegetation we found Spectacled and Willow Warbler and were treated to good views of a male Black Francolin. On Lady’s Mile we found Armenian and Caspian Gull as well as a couple of Little Egret, a juvenile Greater Flamingo, a Black-tailed Godwit, three Common Redshank, some Kentish Plover, three Dunlin and more than fifty Little Stint. In the scrub were several Isabelline Wheatear and a male Northern Wheatear as well as several large flocks of European Goldfinch, European Greenfinch and Common Linnet.
It was very windy in the Gravel Pits area and workmen in the church grounds prevented us from checking those but as we drove across the area we heard a familiar call – it was Eurasian Penduline Tit. We stopped to investigate and then spent some time watching at least ten of them – mainly males – feeding in tamarisk bushes and calling to each other as they flitted around. We also found three Eurasian Hoopoe, that looked as if they had just flown in from the sea, and watched three Western Marsh Harrier and a Common Buzzard patrol the area. A male Merlin flew quickly over the old rabbit sheds. A flock of Spanish Sparrow also caught our attention.
We decided to head to Germasogeia Dam and then return to Zakaki later in the afternoon. At the Finikaria end of the dam we came across a Long-legged Buzzard and flocks of Spanish Sparrow and several singing Corn Bunting. A single male Cretzschmar’s Bunting was sitting high on a hawthorn bush. Checking out the remaining pools in the shallows we had great views of two Common Snipe and a Jack Snipe and it was especially interesting to compare their size when they flew. A single Alpine Swift flew low over our heads and a Water Pipit came down to the water’s edge to drink. At least five Black-headed Wagtail were flying around.
As the sun started to go down we headed back to Zakaki for a final check for the Spotted Crake. No luck again but we found Cattle and Little Egret there as well as two Ferruginous Duck and a Spur-winged Lapwing that flew in front of the hide.
Despite the wind making it difficult to find migrant passerines during the day we were pleased with the species we did see – a good variety in our 65 day total.
Total species seen – 65
Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, Ferruginous Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Chukar h, Black Francolin, Spotted Crake h, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Common Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Armenian Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Black-headed Wagtail (feldegg), White Wagtail, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Corn Bunting
The second day out with Mark and Sally saw us find several of Mark’s target species, enjoy two rare visitors to Cyprus at close quarters and was a fitting end to a great year of guided tours for me. We visited Lower Ezousas Pools (morning and late afternoon), Paphos Sewage Works, Asprokremmos Dam and Mandria and brought the total of species seen on the two days out to sixty four.
Highlights today included:
Lower Ezousas Pools: Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Water Rail 3+, Common Kingfisher, Woodlark 10, Grey Wagtail 1, Bluethroat 1, Moustached Warbler 4+, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler 2, Bearded Reedling 2, Spotted Crake (seen by me).
Paphos Sewage Works – Spur-winged Lapwing 14, Northern Lapwing 18
Asprokremmos Dam area – Little Owl, Common Kingfisher, Woodlark 2, Spectacled Warbler 4, Cyprus Warbler 2m and 1f, European Serin c50, Corn Bunting 7
Mandria – Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Chukar, Northern Lapwing 1, Yellow-legged Gull c70, Eurasian Skylark 150+
Total species seen today – 51
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Common Moorhen, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin, Bluethroat, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Moustached Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Bearded Reedling, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting
Spent the morning doing survey work in the Larnaca area. Migrating waders were thin on the ground for the time of year but wherever there was some remaining water there were Ruff, Little Stint, Dunlin and Wood Sandpiper. There were several Kentish Plover on Meneou Pool and one pair had two small chicks. Black-winged Stilt were only on the Sewage Works Pools which also had a pair of Garganey as well as the resident Mallard, Little Grebe and Coot.
A flock of Little Egret with one Cattle Egret among them flew along the coast at Spiros Pool and there were six Sguacco Heron on the beach. Two Common Tern flew over and a Little Tern was fishing offshore. On the north shore of the main Salt Lake, there was a Spotted Crake and many singing Reed Warbler.
A couple of Eastern Olivaceous Warbler were heard during the morning and other birds of interest included a male Northern Wheatear, several male Black-headed Wagtail, a male Common Redstart, two Woodchat Shrike and a male Red-backed Shrike. Two Great Spotted Cuckoo and a couple of Turtle Dove were in the Meneou area and some European Bee-eater were heard passing over there. Other Bee-eaters were seen at Kiti Dam and Cape Kiti. A couple of Spotted Flycatcher and a female Collared Flycatcher were also at Kiti Dam.