Back from two weeks holiday in the UK and straight into the first day’s guiding of the season. Picking up Martin from his hotel in Larnaca, we decided to spend the day in the area catching up with as many Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus specialties likely to be found at this time of year. Our first stop was at the somewhat unattractive drainage channel near the JUMBO toyshop at Oroklini which provided a good start to the day with Temminck’s Stint, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Water Pipit, Grey Wagtail and overflying Cattle Egret. Several Barn Swallow were flying around and we saw small numbers at all the locations we visited.
At Oroklini Marsh we were pleased to see two of the three female White-headed Duck that have been there since mid December, as well as a male and two female Red-crested Pochard, ten Black-winged Stilt, several Spur-winged Lapwing, a Black-tailed Godwit, several Northern Pintail and a tatty looking Western Marsh Harrier. There were just a few immature Greater Flamingo present, while numbers of Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal were reduced from earlier in the month. There were just a couple of hundred Greater Flamingo on the main Larnaca Salt Lake with hundreds of Common Shelduck, many Common Black-headed Gull and at least twenty Slender-billed Gull, several with a lovely pinkish tinge. We found many singing Corn Bunting, a lone Kentish Plover, a few Spanish Sparrow, a singing Spectacled Warbler and in the north east corner heard a Eurasian Penduline Tit but were unable to find it in among the reeds.
Moving towards the coast there were several large gulls on the Airport Pools and we spent some time identifying Caspian and Armenian adult and immature birds as well as a Heuglin’s Gull and several Yellow-legged Gull. There was a small group of Greater Flamingo and Martin spotted three Eurasian Stone Curlew hidden in the vegetation near the edge. On the Sewage Pools we found two Spur-winged Lapwing, a Northern Lapwing and a Ruff and in among the Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal there were smaller numbers of Eurasian Wigeon and Gadwall.
Along the Airport Coast we found a Eurasian Hoopoe feeding which quickly flew inland. A small flock of Eurasian Skylark were also feeding. We found more in the fields near Pervolia but more interestingly we found a flock of at least twenty Calandra Lark, calling and flying in a ploughed field. An Isabelline Wheatear was in the same field and we had clear views of a calling male Black Francolin while two Chukar flew away as we approached.
Heading inland we drove through the Panagia Stazousa Valley where we had excellent views of at least three male Cyprus Warbler and one female and heard at least four others. There was a flock of Spanish Sparrow, some finches and several Corn Bunting and we could hear Chukar. A Long-legged Buzzard flew briefly into view before disappearing again over the hills. As we sat and drank a cup of tea to finish the day we heard both Little Owl and Eurasian Scops Owl calling. We headed into Nicosia so I could drop Martin off at a local hotel there – with an unscheduled stop in Marks and Spencer’s car park to watch a migrating flock of around 60 Greater Cormorant flying over!
Total number of species seen: 75
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Greater Flamingo, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, White-headed Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Chukar, Black Francolin, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing, Temminck’s Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Common Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Heuglin’s Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Armenian Gull, Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Scops Owl h, Little Owl h, Eurasian Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Robin, Western Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit h, Eurasian Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting