A very windy day at Akrotiri with limited raptor movement and those that were migrating keeping low over the Salt Lake. At least twenty Red-footed Falcons were roosting at Lady’s Mile with half of them hunkered down on the salt flats and rest on wires (see photo). Two Booted Eagles were seen – the long staying light morph is still around Phasouri (see photo). A small number of European Honey Buzzard braved the elements as did a couple of Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Black Kite, some Western Marsh Harrier and a juvenile Pallid Harrier. There is still a Whimbrel on Lady’s Mile (photo) and plenty of herons and egrets on Akrotiri Marsh together with the juvenile Black Stork, three Black-tailed Godwit, several Common Snipe, Common Teal, a single White Wagtail, three White-winged Tern and the usual migrating European Bee-eater, Barn Swallow and Sand Martin.
Some of the more interesting sightings included: an Osprey migrating west early, a group of 20+ Collared Pratincole, nine Ruddy Turnstone feeding together – which is a high count for Cyprus, six Gull-billed Tern, two Whimbrel, more than 30 Eurasian Stone Curlew, two Black-eared Wheatear, many juv Red-backed Shrike and Whinchat and then a juv Common Cuckoo resting on my veranda when I got home.
Photos of the small flock of Greater Flamingo on the Salt Lake and three of the Ruddy Turnstone group.
Spent most of the day sea watching in the Polis Chrysochou Bay. The bird of the day was this Whimbrel (photo) which flew in off the sea and started feeding on the beach in front me. Also migrating were some Grey and Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis and Garganey. Other waders seen were a flock of eight Common Sandpiper, four distant Pied Avocet flying west over the sea and two Grey Plover which flew into the bay as I was leaving and couldn’t see where they had landed.
Photos of a few of the birds at Paphos Headland early this afternoon. Birds of note included:
Greater Sandplover 3 hunkered down
Eurasian Golden Plover 58
Common Sandpiper 2
Ruddy Turnstone 2
Eurasian Skylark 12
After visiting Akrotiri I spent the afternoon sea watching in Polis Chrysochou Bay. The photo is of two Whimbrel seen migrating W offshore. Other sightings included:
Polis Chrysochou Bay 12:00 – 19-:00
Common Ringed Plover 4 heading W along coast
Garganey three groups c300 in total
Purple Heron in off sea in two groups of 74 in total then seen heading inland 19:00
Audouin’s Gull 1 heading W
Glossy Ibis 52 in off from N and then inland
Eurasian Honey Buzzard 2 in off sea 14:40 and then lost to view
Whimbrel 2 heading W with another wader probably Ruff
Baltic Gull 1 heading W
Masked Shrike 1m
A morning around a few Paphos sites with Stephen and Lorraine. The main target species was the wintering Finsch’s Wheatear but first we headed to Paphos Headland for a short walk to track down the Greater Sand Plover that winter there. They were not easy to find this morning but eventually we found three of them feeding close to the water’s edge. A fly-by first winter Mediterranean Gull was a surprise – never seen in Cyprus in large numbers it is rarely seen in the west of the island. Twenty ducks flew offshore heading SW which we decided were probably Northern Pintail. Other wintering waders were good Cyprus birds although familiar to British birders – around fifty Eurasian Golden Plover, a Whimbrel and two Ruddy Turnstone. Small flocks of Eurasian Skylark were flying around as were European Goldfinch and Common Linnet – and of course there were plenty of Common Stonechat.
We then headed inland to check out Anarita Park which is a well-known wintering site for Finsch’s Wheatear. We quickly found a female flitting between rocks and plant stalks and after some perseverance we had good views of a male in another area. We also saw three Little Owl and several Woodlark. Our last stop was at the Paphos Sewage Plant where the fields were full of Meadow Pipit. Eighteen Northern Lapwing were feeding in a recently harvested field and two Spur-winged Lapwing also found. Large flocks of Common Woodpigeon were flying around. We found a Western Black Redstart in the olive trees as well as wintering European Robin and Common Chiffchaff.
Although most of the species seen on a Cyprus winter’s day were well known to Steven and Lorraine, our great views of Greater Sand Plover, Finsch’s Wheatear and Spur-winged Lapwing made up for that.
Full list of species:
Great Cormorant, Common Kestrel, Northern Pintail, Greater Sand Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Finsch’s Wheatear, Sardinian Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet
A few hours out with Malcolm around Paphos. We started at Paphos Headland where four Greater Sand Plover were obligingly standing on the rocky shore and easily visible. A Common Snipe flying in from the sea and over the archaeological site calling was unusual. Apart from a few Crested Lark the other birds we saw were familiar to a British birder if good birds for Cyprus – a Whimbrel and a Ruddy Turnstone.
We then visited Mavrokolympos Dam with the specific purpose of finding the endemic Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler. We had good views of both and also found migrant Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike and Whinchat. We could hear many Chukar on the surrounding hills as well as some European Bee-eater migrating over head. There were also plenty of migrating Lesser Grey Shrike at both Mandria and Paphos Sewage Works – out next two stops. At Mandria we also found a smart male Red-backed Shrike, a flock of at least 300 Yellow Wagtail feeding on recently cut alfalfa, around twenty Greater Short-toed Lark, two Northern Wheatear and an Isabelline Wheatear. A Black Kite floated over and out to see as a Hooded Crow mobbed it and a Western Marsh Harrier put all the Yellow Wagtail to flight.
There were more Yellow Wagtail at Paphos Sewage Works again feeding in the recently cut fields. At least six Spur-winged Lapwing were also there and unusually we found two Glossy Ibis and a Eurasian Curlew also feeding in nearby fields. A few Red-rumped Swallow flew over and a Purple Heron passed over the area and headed out over the sea. Also seen here were a Eurasian Hoopoe, Willow Warbler, Chukar, Eurasian Stone Curlew and a Spotted Flycatcher,
A good mixture of different species found during an enjoyable morning’s birding.
Total species seen: 47
European Shag, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Black Kite, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Whimbrel, Common Snipe, Eurasian Curlew, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue-headed Wagtail, Grey-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch
Some good birds seen around the area of Larnaca Salt Lake both north and south of the airport today, which included the famous black Greater Flamingo which today was on the main Salt Lake. Waders of note included eight Pied Avocet, four Eurasian Dotterel, two Whimbrel flying offshore, three Red-necked Phalarope, more than thirty Common Greenshank and plenty of Black-winged Stilt. Several migrating Grey Heron and Little Egret were around and three Squacco Heron went east along the coast in the morning with a flock of sixteen Great Egret flying over the area just before 9 am. There were several Slender-billed Gull on the main Salt Lake where there was also a European Roller and four European Bee-eaters flew over heading north. Eight Garganey were on the Larnaca Sewage Pools and a few Eurasian Teal still remain from the winter.
The fields were full of Red-throated Pipit and Yellow Wagtail early in the morning with several Greater Short-toed Lark and I found one Eurasian Wryneck. I also saw two Western Marsh Harrier and a female Pallid Harrier.