Sunday, 24 April 2022

Spring Migration - Cyprus

Date: 4th April - 11th April

Location: Cyprus

Species Highlights: Short Eared Owl, Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Ruppell's Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Audouin's Gull, Armenian Gull, Greenshank, Ruddy Shelduck, Caspian Plover, Cream Coloured Courser, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Marsh Sandpiper, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Ortolan Bunting, Cyprus Scops Owl, Nightingale, Blue Cheeked Bee Eater, Demoiselle Crane, Ferruginous Duck, Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Crossbill, Cyprus Treecreeper, Cyprus Coal Tit, Cyprus Jay, Masked Shrike, Griffon Vulture, Semicollared Flycatcher, Caspian Tern

As things were getting back to normal, we booked a week away just the two of us. We got a bargain trip with EasyJet Holidays so it was a no brainer!
This time, we stayed in Mandria as our full focus would be on bird-watching and Mandria is a little more central on the Island. 
We hired a car and this time it wasn't bright yellow so off to a good start!

With the flight arriving midday, we dumped our cases at our apartment and headed straight out.

First up, Mandria (Lark Corner) a nicely perched Woodchat Shrike started us off, before being joined by a stunning Common Redstart (M). 

On our way back up the track, we spotted a Short Eared Owl flying alongside the car which was out at sea, so we stopped to watch it, it flew over the car and landed in the closest field to rest. To avoid any disturbance we sat and waited, after about 5 minutes it continued to fly inland.

Next up, Asprokremmos Dam, it was alive with birds on arrival, with singing Wood Warbler, Greenfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff.

A single Eastern Bonelli's Warbler showed well, our first lifer of the trip!

After a short break, we headed to Paphos Headland for the evening roosts.

100's of Yellow Wagtail and Red-Throated Pipits, lined every available bush. Small numbers of Cretzschmar's Bunting and Ruppell's Warbler also.

The next morning, we started at 5am and headed to Cape Greco.

A pretty slow start so we focused on the common species before we flushed a Wryneck which perched up nicely.

Also seen, some fly-past Audouin's Gull, 1 Hoopoe, Tawny Pipit, Cyprus Wheatear, Cretzschmar's Bunting.

After a few hours, it didn't pick up with birds arriving, we had a sighting come through for the Caspian Plover and Cream Coloured Courser at Larnaca Desalination Plant.

Heat haze and mosquito's were the main issue, we tried different angles but these were the best shots we could manage but 2 great lifers!

Back to Paphos Headland, we were treated to this very showy Ruppell's Warbler.

Our first visit to Akrotiri Marshes this trip started with this Pallid Harrier flying straight towards us.

Greater Flamingo providing a fly-past.

Cattle Egret

Great Spotted Cuckoo

Great Spotted Cuckoo

51 species recorded in 4 hours at Akrotiri Marshes.

Onto Lady's Mile, we had some feeding Greater Flamingo providing some nice low level shots.

Kentish Plover

Little Stint

A large group of Greater Flamingo joined the small group before taking flight again.

Crested Lark at Mandria

Common Kestrel with her Dinner

An early morning start, this time back at Paphos Headland, we paid the €4.50 entry fee to head inside the Archaeological Park and it was well worth the money!

Blue Headed Wagtail

Whilst watching the Wheatear, we noticed the "hosepipe" was moving across the Path, turns out it was a Cyprus Black Whip Snake, some lucky little Wheatear!

Our first Ortolan Bunting, not as tame as the Cretzschmar's but happy with this shot!

As the weather warmed up, more Butterflies appeared.


Next stop was Agia Varvara in the search for some Crakes, we were unsuccessful but did have our first European Bee Eater and this stunning Corn Bunting singing. 

This image being full frame, no crop!!

As we had some time before heading back to Paphos Headland for the evening roosts, we stopped off at a private location for a Cyprus Scops Owl. We were not disappointed, after getting past the camouflage of the Owls we were treated to great views!

Back at Paphos Headland, this little Woodchat Shrike popped up beside us.

Tawny Pipit

Isabelline Wheatear (F)

Black Eared Wheatear

Some more Cretzschmar's Bunting

Hoopoe with it's Dinner

Plenty more Hirundines buzzing around

The next morning, we headed to Akrotiri Marshes for first light.

A flypast of 3 Ferruginous Ducks, started us off.

The last Pool seems to be pretty productive, so we stopped for 30 minutes to have our breakfast, lots of Glossy Ibis flying around.

Everything suddenly took off and this Marsh Harrier flushed a Stone Curlew from the reedbeds, this was one lucky Stone Curlew!

As the Marsh Harrier continued on through, everything soon returned.

We followed the road around to the Gravel Pits to search for the Demoiselle Crane, there was no sign so we turned around to come back, and it suddenly appeared alongside the car. 

Shortly after, it took off and flew alongside the road before flying across the road and we lost to view.

The Crane had been around for a few weeks before we arrived, so we were really pleased to find it!

Before leaving we scanned Akrotiri Marshes once more, and we found this Collared Pranticole who had just arrived in (in fact we had the first one of the Year for Cyprus!) 

We were now 4 days into the Trip and we would get tweets and sightings come through for Blue Cheeked Bee Eaters, each time we would arrive to be told they had moved on but not this time...

These were hunting for short periods and then resting in the reed beds, we had a group of 11, all distant but happy we finally managed to arrive in time.

We had one main Butterfly target during this trip, so with a location on the opposite side of the Island being our only option, we drove the 45 minutes. 

I left Dad to continue on, as I wandered along the beach in the hope for some passing Shearwaters.

No luck, but did have some nice views of Yellow Legged Gulls, Armenian Gulls and a pair of Little Ringed Plover.

As I was walking back I could see Dad approaching with a big smile, and his thumbs up!

Eastern Festoon!!

Our last stop of the day, was Mavrokolympos Dam in the hunt for some Cyprus Warbler, it clouded over by this point so light was pretty bad.

We had 1 Male on territory, so it was a success!

Back at the hotel, we still had the Praying Mantis on the balcony, waiting for the Moth Trap to be switched on!

The next morning, we headed up to Troodos for the endemics. We arrived at 8am, first car in the car park. We had a walk around some of the trails, and straight away heard the Cyprus Coal Tit calling, a few more steps and we had the Cyprus Short-Toed Treecreeper also. Off to a good start! 

We also had hundreds of Swift screaming overhead, during our visit with a couple of Pallid Swift seen.

There were lots of Cyprus Jay flying around, none stopping for pictures though!

Last up was the Crossbill, we heard single birds around, but couldn't locate any to start with.

As we started returning to the car, we spotted one but again difficult to get any pictures.

As we returned to the car, this Masked Shrike popped up besides us and posed for some pictures.

We drove back via Kensington Cliffs, as we had heard early afternoon was a good time for the Griffon Vultures. After a short 15-20 minute wait, we seen 5 large birds appear from behind the cliffs. Amazing sight, they hunted over the far cliffs before sitting on the rocks.

We also had a group of 5 Alpine Swift hunting over the cliffs.

Rough Tailed Rock Agama

Another stop to Asprokremmos Dam, this time for some Macro shots.

Carpenter Ant

Jumping Spider

Bridled Skink

This Black Winged Stilt flew in to feed.

It was now our last full day. We went back to Kensington Cliffs, we took our breakfast and sat down, within minutes a Vulture appeared flying straight towards us, we then had another one appear, and another. All 5 proceeded to circle 2 metres above us for about 10 minutes. 

We just snapped away, what a experience!!!

More Alpine Swift

We could have easily flown home after that, we were so happy!!

We headed to Anarita Park & Masts next, not huge numbers of birds here, but we did manage some nice pictures.

Isabelline Wheatear

Woodchat Shrike

Crested Lark

A quick stop off back at the room, before heading to Paphos Headland for the evening roosts.

A little quieter here for birds but we did have a Semicollared Flycatcher and Eastern Bonelli's Warbler during the visit.

We then spent the next 2 hours photographing the most common birds.

Red Throated Pipit

Hooded Crow

Hooded Crow

Crested Lark

After some Dinner we headed back to pack up, so we could head out in the morning before our flight.

Our last few hours, we returned to Paphos Headland and it was a chance to grab some last minute ticks.

Glossy Ibis

Slender Billed Gull

Starred Agama

Spanish Sparrow (Pair)

Eastern Subalpine Warbler

Common Redstart

Ortolan Bunting

Red Veined Darter

Just as we were preparing to leave to grab our suitcases and head to the airport, we had some noisy birds fly over-head, it turns out it was Caspian Terns!

A nice way to end a great week!

We ended on 132 Species including 22 Lifers

eBird List:

Swallowtail, Eastern Festoon, Large Wall Brown, Paphos Blue, Common Blue, African Ringlet, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Clouded Yellow, Small Copper, Small White, Eastern Dappled White, Long Tailed Blue

Reptiles & Other:
Starred Agama, Troodos Lizard, Snake Eyed Lizard, Rough Tailed Rock Agama, Schreiber's Fringe Fingered Lizard, Striped Skink
Cyprus Praying Mantis, Cyprus Black Whip Snake

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