Out again guiding for Birdwatching Breaks – today trying to dodge the heavy rain around Paphos with some success. Good views of a very mobile flock of Greater Short-toed Lark at Mandria with Eurasian Turtle Dove, Tawny Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail and Squacco Heron also seen there. Several Collared Flycatcher seen at Timi as were a couple of Laughing Dove at Kouklia. Ending the day at Lady’s Mile and Zakaki Marsh we saw several Spotted Flycatcher, three Eurasian Spoonbill (see photo), a male Little Bittern and a Great Reed Warbler.
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.
Still some migrating waders around today with two Ruddy Turnstone and six Broad-billed Sandpipers the highlights. Plenty of Ruff, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper, Common Ringed Plover and Black-winged Stilt. Also two Black-tailed Godwit and Marsh Sandpiper and a few Little Ringed Plover, a Curlew Sandpiper and a Common Greenshank. Still a large flock of Little Tern on Lady’s Mile so hopefully they will stay to breed. I also found two Woodchat Shrike and four Red-backed Shrike with a Black-eared Wheatear, a Whinchat, a female Common Redstart and several Spotted Flycatcher.
A good morning around Agios Sozomenos to the south east of Nicosia. Still some migrant breeders and passage migrants around while several European Stonechat setting up territories showed that winter on the way. Two late European Roller, a flock of more than forty Red-throated Pipit, a late Lesser Grey Shrike (see photo) and a Bonelli’s Eagle perched on the cliffs were the highlights.
European Roller 2
Red-throated Pipit 45+
White Wagtail 20+
Yellow Wagtail 12
Bonelli’s Eagle 1 ad perched on cliffs
Red-backed Shrike 2 juv
Lesser Grey Shrike 1 juv
Cattle Egret 6
Spanish Sparrow 20+
Little Owl 1
European Stonechat 16+ (setting up territories all over area)
Cyprus Wheatear 3
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Peter, Pat, Paul and Janet were staying in Nicosia so we had a bit of a drive before we could start our morning’s birding. We headed to Achna Dam where water levels are still good and where I had seen some good birds on a trip there last week. We spent some time there getting good views of three Great White Egret, an immature Whiskered Tern, a Common Kingfisher and two Northern Pintail. A group of five Glossy Ibis feeding on the far shore left the area after a while – probably continuing their migration south. Ten newly arrived Northern Lapwing flew into the area from the north. Several Cattle and Little Egret and Grey Heron were also present and a couple of Willow Warbler were feeding in the shorter reeds. As we returned to the car we spotted two Dunlin, a Little Stint and a Little Ringed Plover feeding in a muddy area. A juvenile Western Marsh Harrier was quartering the area and we saw it fly up from the ground with something in its talons. Unfortunately although we heard several European Bee-eater flying over the area they were too high for us to see.
We searched the rocky beach at Ormedeia for a Greater Sandplover but had no joy so we had to make do with a single Kentish Plover and three more Northern Lapwing. A quick stop at Oroklini Marsh enabled us to see a large group of almost forty Spur-winged Lapwing as well as a couple of Common Redshank, a Little Ringed Plover and a Ruff.
We finished our morning driving through the valley of Panagia Stazousa as we headed back to Nicosia. We were hoping that there would still be some Cyprus Wheatear around and we were not disappointed. At least four were still present and dutifully obliged by sitting out in the open on the top of low bushes. While watching one of them we spotted a juvenile Red-backed Shrike and when it flew further away we were pleased to also see a juvenile Masked Shrike in another bush. Several Whinchat were seen resting as they migrated through the island. We also had brief views of a Spotted Flycatcher and a female Eurasian Blackcap but a female Common Redstart was more co-operative and sat low in a shrub enabling us to watch her through the telescope. An unexpected bird to finish the morning on. A morning on which we managed to see a good variety of species – a few more than I had anticipated.
Total species – 40
Northern Pintail, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stint, Common Redshank, Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, European Bee-eater (h), Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, White Wagtail, European Goldfinch
We were made to work hard for the birds we saw today but David, Ann and I managed in the end to get a good variety of species and excellent views of two of David’s main targets – Greater Sandplover and Red-footed Falcon. This time of year is often very quiet bird-wise and today was no exception. We saw no large migrating raptors although we did see resident Long-legged Buzzard and Bonelli’s Eagle.
We started with a walk around Paphos Headland specifically to see the Greater Sandplover that overwinter there and have been present now for a few months. We found three of them and with them were two Ruddy Turnstone, a Common Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. A Common Kingfisher was hovering and fishing close to the shore. We then headed to the Paphos Sewage Plant where we had great views of several Spur-winged Lapwing, Spanish Sparrow and many Willow Warbler. The latter were everywhere we went today feeding mainly in trackside weeds. In the distance we saw a Long-legged Buzzard being mobbed by Hooded Crows and a group of nearly 50 migrating Great Cormorant.
The area behind Agia Varvara village was quieter than on recent visits there but we did see another Common Kingfisher, Spanish Sparrow bathing in a large puddle, several Spotted Flycatcher and Whinchat as well as a juvenile Red-backed Shrike. The Red-footed Falcon feeding in a ploughed field at Mandria were real stars and it was also interesting to watch around half of those present suddenly take off and, gaining height, move south. The rest remained on the field, some hunting and others just sitting on the field. In other fields we found more than two hundred Western Yellow Wagtail, around twenty Greater Short-toed Lark, several Northern Wheatear, a male Black Francolin, a European Turtle Dove and then a lone European Bee-eater was spotted sitting on a wire – always a popular species.
Moving on to the area behind Asprokremmos Dam we found a juvenile Cyprus Wheatear as well as more Whinchat and Western Yellow Wagtail. The Dam itself was quiet but a Bonelli’s Eagle brightened things up as it flew over us near the Dam wall. We decided to head for Armou Hills as our final destination A ‘Steppe’ Grey Shrike had been found there in late September and re seen again at the end of last week. But there our luck run out. We didn’t find it and had to console ourselves with another Cyprus Wheatear, several Northern Wheatear, more Whinchat, a juvenile Red-backed Shrike and another fly past Long-legged Buzzard.
Total species seen: Black Francolin, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Grey Heron, European Shag, Great Cormorant, Common Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Greater Sandplover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Bonelli’s Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Barn Swallow, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Western Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, European Goldfinch.
Spent an enjoyable day out with Tony and Greta at several of the Paphos birding locations. We started at Paphos Sewage Plant where there were several Spur-winged Lapwing, including a couple of juveniles, feeding in the fields. A male Red-backed Shrike and a European Turtle Dove were sitting on wires and at the same time as a large flock of migrating European Bee-eater starting migrating over the area we also saw a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier, a European Honey Buzzard and a Western Marsh Harrier gaining height and heading out over the sea. In the fields were a couple of Whinchat, a covey of Chukar and a large flock of Western Yellow Wagtail. After watching a flock of Spanish Sparrow we then found a Long-legged Buzzard perched on the top of a pylon which we then saw dive down into the dry river bed nearby – it didn’t fly up while we were there so we guessed it had caught something and was eating it out of sight.
More European Bee-eaters were in the Agia Varvara valley as were juvenile Red-backed Shrike, Willow, Sardinian and Cetti’s Warbler, Whinchat and a Northern Wheatear. The best birds here though were two European Golden Oriole which flew into the same eucalyptus trees under whose shade we were taking a quick coffee break! On to Mandria and down near the coast at Lark Corner we watched some Greater Short-toed Lark, Whinchat, Nothern Wheatear and also a Tawny Pipit feeding. Behind us were three juvenile Collared Pratincole feeding in another field close to the water sprinklers. In another area we found three European Roller, a Lesser Grey Shrike and yet more European Bee-eater passing over.
The area near Anarita Mast behind Asprokremmos Dam was full of European Bee-eater as well and we found several Whinchat, more Yellow Wagtail, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Northern Wheatear, a couple of Tawny Pipit and another Lesser Grey Shrike all perched on the perimeter fence there. As we turned to leave a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier flew into view and we spent some time watching it quartering the area and feeding on at least one lizard that it caught as we watched – probably the day’s highlight. A pair of Cyprus Warbler were not so obliging and although we had very brief views of a male and a female they were disappointing. A Black-eared Wheatear close by was much easier to see.
We finished the day in and inland from Kouklia Village. We had good views of several Laughing Dove that now breed there and found another Northern Wheatear. We then moved inland to see if we would have more luck with the other endemic – the Cyprus Wheatear. Things didn’t look promising even though we visited an area I had seen many a few weeks previously, until finally one flew across the road in front of us – another brief view but at least this time we could see it properly!
List of species seen –
Chukar, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Spur-winged Lapwing, Collared Pratincole, Yellow-legged Gull, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, European Goldfinch
Picking David, Jan and Rachael from Polis our first stop of the day was behind the village of Neo Horio after which we moved on to the deserted village of Androlikou and then to the valley behind Arodes via Pittokopos. We briefly visited Kannaviou Dam which had very little bird life and then drove through the Sarama valley to finish at Evretou Dam. The call of European Bee-eater was the sound track of the day as they passed over heading south in large numbers – some of them passing low over us or perching on low trees by the side of tracks meaning we had plenty of opportunities to enjoy their vibrant colours. Other highlights included a couple of male Red-backed Shrike, at least two European Golden Oriole, a Common Hoopoe, several Cyprus Wheatear, a male and a female Black-eared Wheatear and a couple of Black Francolin. Two Long-legged Buzzard were the only identifiable large raptors although a probableBonelli’s Eagle was seen above Arodes before disappearing into the haze. Juvenile Red-backed Shrike and Spotted Flycatcher were everywhere we went as were many Willow Warbler.
Highlights per location:
Neo Horio – Smygies – Chukar, European Bee-eater, Common Hoopoe, Red-backed Shrike, Olivaceous Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear
Neo Horio – Androlikou – Red-backed Shrike, Cyprus Wheatear, European Bee-eater
Androlikou -Pittokopos – European Bee-eater, Red-backed Shrike, Whinchat, Cyprus Wheatear
Arodes – Long-legged Buzzard, Red-backed Shrike (male), Masked Shrike, Willow Warbler 30+, Spotted Flycatcher, Black-eared Wheatear 1m and 1f, Cyprus Wheatear, Whinchat,
Kathikas – Long-egged Buzzard
Kannaviou – Coal Tit h, Cyprus Warbler singing (odd location for that species)
Sarama valley – European Turtle Dove, European Bee-eater, European Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher, Cyprus Wheatear
Evretou Dam – Chukar, Black Francolin, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Garganey, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, European Bee-eater, Western Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting
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 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