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 interesting birds at Meneou this morning including at least 230 Black-winged Stilt, plus much smaller numbers of Ruff, Common and Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Common and Green Sandpiper and Collared Pratincole. At least eight Little Tern and a juvenile White-winged Tern. Plenty of Yellow-legged Gull roosting on salt flats and flying around the Sewage Works including several juveniles (see photo).
A surprise today around Larnaca in the shape of a female Red-necked Phalarope – bad record photo below – along with more usual birds in the shape of early passage migrants five Black-headed (see photo) and a Slender-billed Gull, a White-winged, two Common and four Little Tern; at least four Little Ringed Plover and Green and Wood Sandpiper and several breeding Spur-winged Lapwing (photo) and Black-winged Stilt.
While doing the waterbird count at Larnaca Sewage Works this morning, I remarked to another birder there that this time last year a Terek Sandpiper had been found at the Sewage Works. An hour later at Oroklini Marsh the first bird I saw from the hide was this Terek Sandpiper! Not annual here this would be the 15th Cyprus record of the species since 2000 if accepted. Sorry for the awful photos but it was just too far for anything decent.
Also seen this morning in the Larnaca area:
Laughing Dove 1
Barn Swallow 3
Larnaca Airport Pools South
Eurasian Thick-knee 4
Grey Heron 4 over flying W
Larnaca Sewage Works
Black Kite 2 flying low heading W 7:35
Greater Flamingo 418 inc 67 juvs
Black-winged Stilt 30
Northern Shoveler 33
Little Stint 29
Common Ringed Plover 6
White-winged Tern 4
Gull-billed Tern 2
Spur-winged Lapwing 7
Marsh Sandpiper 3+
Curlew Sandpiper 1
Black-headed Gull 2
Yellow-legged Gull 30
Common Kingfisher 1
Ferruginous Duck 1
Common Sandpiper 1
Whiskered Tern 1
Kentish Plover 2
Common Teal 9
Larnaca Airport Coast
Common Sandpiper 1
Yellow-legged Gull 24
Kentish Plover 2
Western Marsh Harrier 1f
Larnaca Salt Lake
Spur-winged Lapwing 2
Black-headed Wagtail 1m
Laughing Dove 2
Terek Sandpiper 1
Curlew Sandpiper 4
Spur-winged Lapwing 107
Black-winged Stilt 8
Common Redshank 4
Marsh Sandpiper 4
Little Stint 5
Common Ringed Plover 2
Little Ringed Plover 6
Whiskered Tern 1
Migration slowly getting busier with c50 Collared Pratincole in the fields near Larnaca Sewage Works and a group of 13 Common Sandpiper resting on the rocks on the nearby coast this morning. Feeding on the Sewage Pools were Gull-billed, Whiskered and White-winged Tern. A couple of Slender-billed and Black-headed Gull were present as were more than 100 Greater Flamingo, a couple of Black-winged Stilt, 23 Ferruginous Duck, a Common Greenshank, six Grey Heron and six Cattle Egret, plenty of Spur-winged Lapwing and both the long-staying unseasonable Great Crested Grebes.
A very enjoyable day birding around Akrotiri even if I got a later start than intended. Highlight was definitely finding a female Semi-collared Flycatcher as I was checking the ID’s of several females near Bishop’s Pool – also a female Collared Flycatcher which was actually my first Collared for the year. In that area there were also Pied and Spotted Flycatcher, Wood Warbler, Blackcap and several beautiful male European Golden Oriole. Plenty of Woodchat Shrike around with a few Red-backed as well. A large group of more than twenty Little Tern were on Lady’s Mile in the morning as were nine Collared Pratincole and many Marsh Sandpiper and Common Greenshank (see photos).
Late in the afternoon I visited the eastern shore of the Salt Lake and the Zakaki run off. There I saw more than ten Temminck’s Stint, ten Black-tailed Godwit, a few Curlew Sandpiper, fishing Little Tern, feeding White-winged and Whiskered Tern and best of all – a resting flock of around 300 Collared Pratincoles (see photo). Lovely!
David, Diane and I spent the day out birding around Larnaca visiting Achna Dam, Ormeidia, Oroklini, Larnaca Sewage Works area, Pervolia, Kivisili and Panagia Stazousa. We had a good selection of species including Greater Sandplover, the endemic Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler, White-winged and Whiskered Tern, Red-footed Falcon, Montagu’s Harrier, Ferruginous Duck, Chukar and Spur-winged Lapwing.
Highlights per location:
Achna Dam – Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe, Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher
Ormedeia Beach – Greater Sandplover, Kentish Plover, Whinchat, European Shag
Oroklini – Little Ringed Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Northern Lapwing
Meneou Pool – Eurasian Thick-knee, Masked Shrike
Larnaca Sewage Works area – Ferruginous Duck, Northern Pintail, Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, White-winged Tern (inc 1 in breeding plumage), Whiskered Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-backed Shrike, Sand Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Western Yellow Wagtail
Pervolia area – Montagu’s Harrier 1 juv, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Tawny Pipit, Northern Wheatear
Kivisilli fields – Common Hoopoe 1, Red-footed Falcon 1 juv, Tree Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat
Panagia Stazousa – Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, European Stonechat, European Bee-eater
Total number of species seen – 74
Chukar, Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, European Shag, Eurasian Thick-knee, Black-winged Stilt, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sandplover, Northern Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stint, Common Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Common Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, European Greenfinch
Some interesting waders on the Sewage Pools today although the Broad-billed Sandpipers that were there on Saturday seem to have moved on. Today I found an adult Ruddy Turnstone still in breeding plumage and a Eurasian Curlew – both of which are never common here. Also several Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and four Collared Pratincole (inc a juv). Still several Black-winged Stilt around as well as c30 Spur-winged Plover and at least 14 Kentish Plover.
In addition to four Greater Flamingo (photo) there were 11 Ferruginous Duck with Northern Shoveler numbers now up to 17. Six Garganey were preening and roosting as was at least one Common Teal.
Ten juvenile Yellow-legged Gull flew in and single juvenile White-winged Tern and Gull-billed Tern were feeding over the water. A Squacco Heron flew over heading east and two Pallid Swift flew over in with many Barn Swallow.
A record photo of one of four Gull-billed Terns at the Sewage Pools this morning. Three other tern species also present – seven Little Tern, one Whiskered and one White-winged Tern. Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing had chicks of varying sizes. On the water there were five Ferruginous Ducks in with the Mallard and around the edge there was a Little Ringed Plover, a Common and Green Sandpiper and some Kentish Plover. I only saw the best bird as I drove up to the hide – a Osprey was being chased over the area by Hooded Crows and heading east. A juvenile had been reported there towards the end of June and I guess it may well be the same bird.
Just had 30 minutes to spare yesterday and today in the hide overlooking the Sewage Pools but managed a few decent birds there after a quiet couple of weeks. Two long staying Grey Heron and the breeding Spur-winged Lapwing, Mallard, Coot and Little Grebe have been joined at some stage by a White-winged Tern, up to seven fishing Little Tern, a Gull-billed Tern, an adult Slender-billed Gull, two Little Ringed Plover and up to six Black-winged Stilt. Feeding on caterpillars in the bushes along the fence line are an adult (photo) and a juvenile Great Spotted Cuckoo.
This year a day out in mid-May means finding very few passerine migrants, the need to concentrate on breeding birds and visiting a wetland to increase the variety of species seen. Luckily Robert had a list of realistic target species which made our day easier although we had to work hard to find the Black-headed Wagtail. The other species Robert hoped to see were Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Black Francolin, Chukar, Little Owl, Spur-winged Lapwing and Masked Shrike.
Starting at Cape Greco, the first bird we saw was a singing male Cyprus Warbler which was a great start. We explored the area and found another two males and two females together with a couple of juveniles. We soon heard the distinctive call of the Cyprus Wheatear and spotted a singing male on a low bush. Several others were later seen as were a couple of European Turtle Dove, a Spectacled Warbler, a male and female Red-backed Shrike as well as a couple of Sand Martin. A couple of Black-headed Buntings were singing near the Sea Caves area where we also found our only Chukar of the day.
We then headed to Akhna Dam where several Spur-winged Lapwing were found as was a male Garganey, a couple of Ruff and Common Sandpiper, some Little Egret, a Grey Heron and a Glossy Ibis. Several Eurasian Reed Warbler were heard singing and a flock of around 30 Common Swift and seven Alpine Swift were flying over the area and coming down to drink – a great sight. We visited both hides at Oroklini and Robert got great views of another of his targets here – this time a male Black Francolin was out in the open calling for quite a while. We also saw more Spur-winged Lapwing here as well as Black-winged Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Little, Whiskered and White-winged Tern and Garganey. There were several recently hatched young Cattle Egret in the colony and we also spotted a Spur-winged Lapwing chick with one of its parents.
We then went inland to Panagia Stazousa to try and find a Masked Shrike and a Little Owl. We found the Little Owl perched outside its nest site but it took a while to find a Masked Shrike until eventually a male flew into view. We also saw more Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear as well as Olivaceous Warbler, a European Roller, a fly-over Eurasian Hobby and two Long-legged Buzzard. We heard Cretzschmar’s Bunting but couldn’t get decent views of them.
Our next stop was on the eastern side of Larnaca Salt Lake where there was still some water and I was hoping may be a suitable location for the feldegg race of the Yellow Wagtail – Black-headed Wagtail. We found some water and the bonus of three Broad-billed Sandpiper (a regular but scarce passage migrant to Cyprus) feeding with Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper and some stunning Curlew Sandpiper. A Squacco Heron was also present and we heard the call of a Yellow Wagtail and saw a couple fly over but were unable to see which race they were. Finally, a male Blue-headed was spotted feeding next to some reeds and then to its right there was a male Black-headed. All of the target species seen we went south of the airport to see what was on the Sewage Pools there. There were several Little Tern and a couple of White-winged Tern as well as two Yellow-legged Gull, some Spur-winged Lapwing and several Ruff. New birds for the day were a single Gull-billed Tern feeding over the water and a Collared Pratincole which we saw head out towards the coast.
We finished our day there pleased with our efforts.
Total species seen 66
Chukar, Black Francolin, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Teal, Little Grebe, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Ruff, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Little Owl, Long-legged Buzzard, European Roller, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, Masked Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Olivaceous Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Northern House Martin, Barn Swallow, Collared Sand Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, House Sparrow, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Cretzschmar’s Bunting