The area is drying out but along with Larnaca Sewage Works, it is still probably the best birding location on the island at the moment. Plenty of Little Ringed Plover (see photo), Kentish Plover and Little Stint along with Glossy Ibis, Slender-billed Gull, a Broad-billed Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Common Snipe, two Collared Pratincole, a Temminck’s Stint and a Gull-billed Tern. A female Western Marsh Harrier is putting the birds up frequently as she quarters the area and Elenora’s Falcon fly over from time to time.
Other commitments meant that I was a bit late doing the monthly waterbird count for April but luck was on my side in doing it today as I also checked for the Bar-tailed Lark that had been seen in the area near the Sewage Works yesterday. Having failed to see it yesterday I wasn’t very hopeful but not only did I see it but also found a female Hooded Wheatear close by!
Other sightings included:
Larnaca Sewage Works area (pools and surrounds in front and down to sea)
Bar-tailed Lark 1
Hooded Wheatear 1f
Spur-winged Lapwing 16 (see photo)
Yellow Wagtail 3
White-winged Tern 1
Common Sandpiper 3
Black-winged Stilt 8
Wood Sandpiper 2
Northern Shoveler 2m
Little Stint 6
Sand Martin 1
Semi-collared Flycatcher 1f
Collared Flycatcher 1f
Larnaca Airport Pools North
Red-necked Phalarope 3
Black-winged Stilt 12
Slender-billed Gull 12
Black-headed Gull 1 breeding plumage
Spotted Redshank 1 near full breeding plumage
Common Greenshank 3
Curlew Sandpiper 1
Little Stint 45
Kentish Plover 2
Greater Flamingo 3
Larnaca Salt Lake
Great White Egret 1
Glossy Ibis 2
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Greater Flamingo 4
Spur-winged Lapwing 4
Little Stint 16
Marsh Sandpiper 2
Little Ringed Plover 2
The first day out of what promises to be a busy spring season for Cyprus Birding Tours, was with Peter and Sian. We had arranged to go to Anarita Park and Akrotiri to show Peter those locations. Our target species were Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear and Finsch’s Wheatear. After heavy rain over night the weather was mainly sunny if hazy as we headed for Anarita Park. Flocks of finches – Common Linnet, European Serin, European Goldfinch and Greenfinch greeted us as did a Eurasian Hoopoe. Corn Bunting were singing and we heard a Great Spotted Cuckoo although we didn’t see one there. After a few false starts we found both Cyprus and Finsch’s Wheatear as well as a couple of Isabelline and Northern and a very smart Eastern Black-eared. We were told by a local birder that a male Lesser Kestrel was hunting near the road and we passed by there and had good views of it. We briefly saw a male Cyprus Warbler as well as a Chukar, two male and a female Blue Rock Thrush, some male Spanish Sparrow and a few Woodlark.
We then headed to the Agia Varvara valley hoping to get better views of the Cyprus Warbler. We were in luck and found a male singing there which kept us entertained for a while until we were interrupted by a fox dashing through the undergrowth nearby being chased by three dogs. We then moved on to Kourio Stadium where we ate our lunch in the shade of a carob tree watching Isabelline, Northern and Cyprus Wheatear and added Red-rumped Swallow to our list of species.
Two Eurasian Hoopoe flew over Phasouri Reed-beds but we didn’t find much else there. We drove to check the coast of the Gravel Pits and assumed we had found Garganey floating on the sea. Putting the scope on them it was a surprise to see five Gadwall and around twenty Eurasian Teal. Driving through the Gravel Pits area we came across five Little Ringed Plover, a Ruff and a Green Sandpiper, two Kentish Plover, a Great Spotted Cuckoo, two Isabelline Wheatear, a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, five Lesser Whitethroat, a Woodchat Shrike and many mosquitos. A quick scan over the Salt Lake revealed a couple of hundred Greater Flamingo and a Western Marsh Harrier quartering the shore.
On Lady’s Mile we found just a couple of Kentish Plover and Ruff, a Black-winged Stilt, a Spotted Redshank and a Common Redshank. A couple of Slender-billed Gull with a lovely pink tinge to their plumage were floating offshore with some Common Black-headed Gull and at least one Armenian and Caspian Gull. We then spent a short time in the hide at Zakaki Marsh where we could hear Eurasian Penduline Tit calling. Finally two males were spotted by Peter feeding in a tamarisk bush to the left of the hide. Also present were a Little Egret, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot and five Common Starling.
The last stop was Kensington Cliffs but unfortunately we were too late to see any Eurasian Griffon Vulture but we did see at least six Alpine Swift. We returned to Paphos happy with our days birding.
Total species – 72
Little Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Common Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Caspian Gull, Armenian Gull, Rock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Finsch’s Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting
As we left Paphos, seven Black-crowned Night Heron flew over the road outside Gareth’s hotel. On arrival at Phassouri we stopped to find several European Serin singing in the eucalyptus plantation and then a Black Francolin at the start of the reed beds. Two Squacco Heron, several Little Egret and a Purple Heron were feeding on the edge of the reeds where we could hear Eurasian Reed and Sedge Warbler singing. A large snipe flew out of the reeds and into some low vegetation near to us and we were delighted to realise it was a Great Snipe. To aid our ID a Common Snipe also flew over and the differences were obvious. In among the many Common Swift flying over we picked out at least three Pallid Swift and several Red-rumped Swallow were also seen. A male Common Redstart was in the plantations.
The pool near the deserted sheds was drying up and we found Little Stint, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, Common Redshank and Dunlin feeding there. Two Woodchat Shrike were in the nearby tamarisks. On the Gravel Pits we found more than ten Whinchat and several Northern Wheatear as well as a singing Common Nightingale and a resting Common Buzzard. In the church gardens there were two Lesser Whitethroat, a Tree Pipit, an Ortolan Bunting, an Eastern Orphean Warbler, a couple of Willow Warbler and male and female Blackcap.
We could only find about fifteen Greater Flamingo on the Salt Lake and in the waterlogged area along the south side of the lake we saw a Black-tailed Godwit and several Glossy Ibis. A couple of Eastern Olivaceous Warbler could be heard singing. On Lady’s Mile we quickly found several Slender-billed Gull which had been one of Gareth’s targets. In the end we counted around 40 of these birds and also two Common Black-headed Gull, a couple of second calendar year Armenian Gull, a scruffy second calendar year Caspian Gull and several Yellow-legged Gull. A Spotted Redshank attaining its black breeding plumage was the star of the waders there which included Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff and Kentish Plover.
We didn’t have to wait long in the Zakaki Marsh hide before we saw a male Little Crake and then a female also appeared to our right. Five Ferruginous Duck were on the water with two sleeping Northern Shoveler and a Green Sandpiper. Little Egret, Common Moorhen and Glossy Ibis were feeding on the mid between the reed stands where Sedge and Eurasian Reed Warbler were seen. Two Laughing Dove flew into the port area as we drove by but we couldn’t relocate them for better views.
We decided to make a quick visit to Kensington Cliffs on our way back to Paphos and Anarita Park. It proved to be a good decision as we found six Eleonora’s Falcon, newly arrived and flying around the area. Both Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler were singing on bushes below us as was a Sardinian Warbler. After some searching we finally located at least two Alpine Swift. As we drove past Pissouri a Great Spotted Cuckoo flew across the motorway in front of us. We found another one on a rock at Anarita Park – our last location of the day. Here we found around ten Lesser Kestrel and a lone male Red-footed Falcon as well as three European Roller, a Common Whitethroat and two Tawny Pipit. Unfortunately only I managed to see a male Pallid Harrier flying low and then out of sight being followed by a couple of Hooded Crows. A good location at which to finish a great day’s birding.
Total number of species seen – 90
Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, Pallid Harrier, Common Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Chukar, Black Francolin, Little Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Great Snipe, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Baltic Gull,Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Armenian Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, European Roller, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Ortolan Bunting, Corn Bunting
A Melanistic Greater Flamingo was a strange sight at Akrotiri this morning. Black bird in a small flock of the usual pink ones!!
Apart from the black Greater Flamingo there were some interesting birds there including a Cream-coloured Courser which I saw flying away and an early morning appearance by a male and female Black-bellied Sandgrouse which I missed!
At Larnaca in the late afternoon there appeared to have been a late fall of Whinchat and other passerines.
Phassouri Reed Beds – Common Quail 1h, Sedge Warbler 1h, Squacco Heron 2, Woodchat Shrike 1
Pool near sheds – Wood Sandpiper 12, Green Sandpiper 2, Marsh Sandpiper 2, Collared Pratincole 1, Glossy Ibis 18 flying over, Great Egret 1 flying over, Grey Heron 7 flying over, Black-winged Stilt 5, Little Stint 6, Little Ringed Plover 6, Ruff 8, Spotted Redshank 1, Red-rumped Swallow 8, Common Snipe 2
Akrotiri Salt Lake – Melanistic Greater Flamingo in with c20 others
Akrotiri Gravel Pits area – c600 Garganey in bay, Tree Pipit 2, Glossy Ibis 9 + 12 + 21 flying over, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear 2m dark throat, Red-throated Pipit 1, Woodchat Shrike 1
Lady’s Mile – Cream-coloured Courser 1 (seen in flight), Marsh Sandpiper 3, Common Greenshank 3, Slender-billed Gull 2
Larnaca Airport Pools South – Little Gull 1, Greater Flamingo c30
Larnaca Sewage Works – Sand Martin 3, Whinchat 4m and 1f, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 1m, Wryneck 1, Common Redstart 1f, Common Whitethroat 1
Spiros Pool – Glossy Ibis 19, Little Egret 8
Went to Akrotiri for the morning hoping for some raptors – two Marsh Harrier, one juvenile Montagu’s Harrier, another ring-tailed too far away to ID and two Honey Buzzard was not the total I was hoping for – very disappointing.
There were good numbers of Turtle Dove around with some European Bee-eater passing over and several Lesser Grey Shrike and Whinchat. Both Bishop’s Pool and Zakaki Marsh had some interesting waders including Temminck’s and Little Stint, Common Greenshank, Dunlin, Spotted Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Ringed Plover and Collared Pratincole. At Zakaki there was a White-winged Tern and a Whiskered Tern was in the Gravel Pits area. Still several Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing at Zakaki, where there were also two Common Kingfisher and a couple of Ferruginous Duck. A Great Reed Warbler and Hoopoe were at Phassouri Reed Beds.