Saturday, 28 September 2019

Cyprus 13th-20th September

13th - 20th September
Mostly Sunny, 30c one day, Thunder and Rain
Species Highlights: 
Pallid Harrier, Spur Winged Lapwing, Bonelli's Eagle, Bee Eater.

Friday 13th September and we flew out from Bristol Airport on the ill fated Thomas Cook to Cyprus my first ever visit to this sunny bird filled island. 

Barrow Tanks below.

We arrived late afternoon and settled into the Hotel Mayfair, Paphos. All inclusive not much of a view but good enough for the wife to sit around the pools while I explored the island.

Next morning I awoke at 5:50 am and walked the 30 mins to the Paphos Headland, Spring its full of birds but this morning it was a bit empty, Crested Lark, House Sparrow and Hooded Crow making the numbers but the main reason I did the walk was to see Greater Sand Plover which feed in the area, a new bird and first new bird of the trip.

Lots of Hooded Crow feeding on the shore line.

As I was headed back for breakfast I spotted this fine looking Whimbrel. The first 3 hours of birding was OK but today i was getting a hire car, so breakfast and off to explore further afield.

Asprokremmos Reservoir was my first stop just 10 miles from the hotel and a easy drive, no traffic and same side of the road as the UK, Goldfinch, Greenfinch feeding in the small fir tree wood. Spotted Flycatchers and Bee Eaters high over head. The first day was a quick recce to get a feel of my local spots so Agia Varvara and Anarita Park were also visited but with strict instructions by the car hire company NO OFF ROADING, was a bit dubious to take the gravel roads, at the end of week I just did it!

Asprokremmos Reservoir and my next spots were my most visited spots Mandria Gardens and surrounding fields were good. I like to walk and wander but it seems birding in Cyprus is done from the car, but with the heat/ air con wasn't so bad.  Hundreds of Yellow Wagtail and a stream of overhead birds of prey kept me entertained.

Bonelli's Eagle, my first and a great bird!

Was hoping for a few Larks and Pipits at Lark Corner but Crested Lark, Wagtails and a very quick snap of a small group of Tawny Pipits was all i saw all week here. 
But my next location surprised me on ever visit, Paphos Sewage works and surrounding fields held many great birds, and Flies from the sewage works but a small price to pay.

Bee Eaters some of the many over the week.

The difficult was maneuvering the car from the intense sun to get the best light on the birds, sometimes horizontally across the roads, blocking the road but with so little traffic it was fine.

I parked up to have a sandwich and this Red Backed Shrike popped up almost next to me, I spent the next 30 mins watching.

I drove back up to the Asprokremmos Reservoir on way back and plenty of Violet Dropwing were perching up.

Violet Dropwing - Female

Violet Dropwing - Male

Again Bee Eaters, Honey Buzzards high over head, started to pack up and head back to Hotel and wife and this Hoopoe landed in front car.

After all you can eat and drink the next morning after breakfast I headed to Akrotori,
Akrotori  Marshes when i found it was good, but using Google maps to find it i would not recommend! Dirt tracks and very bumpy raods lots of wasted time, the app JUST3WORDS
use this to find road then its sign posted from here. .

Once there Cattle Egret, Spur Winged Lapwing, Bee Eater, Honey Buzzard, Marsh Harriers, Turtle Dove and yellow Wagtails see. I returned later in week so more on this.

I wanted to do Ladies Mile, Bishops Pool and the Salt Lake back the weather changed dramatically from 30 c blue skies to Thunder lightning and rain along with dust storm across the roads making it almost impossible to see anything! So headed back to the sunshine and Kensington cliffs  famous for its Elennoras Falcons and Vultures but the rain followed me and had some great views of the falcons but the light was awful, with lightening  the birds around 7 of them hovered until disappearing over the cliff not to be seen again.

Best of my pictures, such a shame without the rain would have been fabulous!

On a tip off at Mandria fields of 70+ Stone Curlew I went to look, the tip off was spot on and at least 100 birds were seen in the drizzle and a  highlight of the week!

Could quite get them all in but trust me amazing.

Weather now improving and another first, the Laughing Dove, so many after this first mixed with Collared doves.

Back to Paphos Sewage works and a Spur Winged Lapwing two either side of the road, i'd hope to get closer, but still time.

Bee eaters still sat feeding from the flies from the sewage works.

The Next morning I'd planned to meet Matt Scott who was staying at Ayia Napa and visit Cape Greco, I looked at where he was and unfortunately it was a long drive away some 
2 h 12 min 117 miles(189 km) I set off at 4 am to meet him at  6 am, Madness!
But once there we did well.

Masked, Lesser Shrike to start our morning with many Whinchat's scattered around.

Next another new bird the Chukar, I heard this calling in many sites across the island, very similar to our Red Legged Partridge.

Another new bird this Ortolan Bunting , juvenile i think.

Next off was Isabelline Wheatear, a few a these dotted around the headland.

This Red Backed Shrike was a real stunner, sat just catching the early morning sunshine.

We also saw a few Cyprus Wheatear around this one posing nicely for us.

My only shot of the Cyprus Warbler a female.

We drove around checking out the area and started to head back this Stellagama stellio, also known as the Starred Agama or the Roughtail Rock Agama. Endemic to Cyprus. I left Matt and returned towards Paphos.

After exploring Larnaca a few spots that Matt gave me but didn't really see much.

 I arose the next morning and back up to Asprokremmos Reservoir saw lots of these speedy little lizards called Snaked eyed Lizard, speeds must be close to 100 mph! 

While scanning the area I spotted a distant but brilliant Pallid Harrier hunting a few fields across. Had great binocular views but couldn't quite get a great shot as heat haze was a killer.

This the view from the dam and the small woodland to the left.

This is my annoying hire car that every time i started engine the radio shouted at top volume something in Japanese! No i couldn't disable it menu was all in Japanese!
My plan today was a drive up to Troodos Mountains to see the Endemics.

A beautiful drive up into the mountains with hardly any traffic, after a hour i reached the village roundabout or square of Troodos a group of Newcastle birders were hanging around the toilets! strange but after having a chat realized they had Coal Tit, Jay And Short Toed Treecreeper, all my targets for the day. 

Coal Tit (Cyprus) Periparus ater cypriotes 

Record shot of the Jay plus a Short-toed Treecreeper, Certhia brachydactyla dorotheae
3 new subs ticks.

Walking back to the car and in a restaurant forecourt a Cardinal, very exciting and the people sat at their tables were staring at me as I chased the new Butterfly around them.

Back down via the Dam and the Pallid Harrier showed much better.

At the water edge this beautiful Vagrant Emperor.

I could hear Bee Eater's in the skies above me and suddenly a few landed in the wires around the car park.

Next morning and another tip off went looking for Scops Owl a few miles from the hotel but wrong time of year so couldn't find but this Cyprus Wheatear showed well.

After breakfast it was back to the Dam and this  dead Blunt Nosed Viper was on the path.

Was hoping a Eagle or alike would land to feed but Asian Hornets had breakfast instead.

Further around the Reservoir was treated to Long Legged buzzards.

Another stunning  Bonelli's Eagle.

And One of many Honey Buzzard's.

Sat on Dam wall watching the action in the air this jumping spider appeared, a quick macro of this little cracker.

My last bird of the day was a pair of Zitting Cisticola or Streaked Fantail Warbler. 

After getting back to hotel and watching the entertainment..mmmm it was my last full day so planned to do all the bits I missed, screw the hire car! Off road all the way, lol.

First stop Akrotiri Marshes and high above thought another Honey Buzzard but looking at pictures pleased to see a Short Toed Snake Eagle, with Marsh Harrier, the now common Bee Eaters buzzing around, Water Rail calling from reeds.

In front the Hide a few Dragonflies Slender Skimmer, Southern Skimmer, Scarlet Darter &

Lesser Emperor and very nice selection.

While concentrating on the Dragons this stunning Spur Winged Lapwing landed not far from hide giving me the chance to get the shots I wanted.

A fly past of this White Winged Tern, then time to move on.

Walking down the path to car saw these tiny Butterflies, macro time and led down on path to try to improve my shots from Tenerife.

 Dark Grass Blue or African Grass Blue is about he same size as our Small Blue but much quicker,
The wingspan is 18–23 mm for males and 21–26 mm for females (same size as UK 5p)

Did Ladies Miles had Kentish Plover, Little Stint and a single Broad Billed Sandpiper awful shot, but dirt road was fine and carried on across Salt Lake with not much to see apart from the Greater Flamingo flock. you can apparently drive a bit closer but deiced not to push my luck.

Missed Bishops Pool, couldn't seem to find it and stopped on way back at Akrotiri Marshes Cattle Egret still present.

Dropped the hire car back no problems and started to pack case, next morning a quick dash down to Paphos Headland, Great Sand Plover present.

Plus Hooded Crows feeding in the sea weed, and that was the last photo I took. A great time spent birding in the week and I shall definitely return next year hoping for first week in May.

This my full list.

19 bird life ticks
1 Butterfly tick
3 Dragonfly ticks

  1. Hooded crow                  13/09 Route from airport 
  2. Feral pigeon                  13/09 Route from airport 
  3. House Sparrow                13/09 Hotel Mayfair
  4. Collard Dove                  13/09 Hotel Mayfair
  5. Kestrel                          13/09 Paphos headland
  6. Crested Lark                  13/09 Paphos headland
  7. Wood pigeon                  13/09 Mayfair hotel
  8. Yellow legged Gull          14/09 Paphos headland
  9. Greater Sand Plover  14/09 Paphos headland
  10. Kingfisher                  14/09 Paphos headland
  11. Shag                          14/09 Paphos headland
  12. Whimbrel                          14/09 Paphos headland
  13. Sardinan Warbler          14/09 Agia Varvara
  14. Lesser Grey shrike  14/09 Agia Varvara,
  15. Goldfinch                          14/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  16. Chiffchaff                          14/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  17. House Martin                  14/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  18. Spotted flycatcher          14/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  19. Bee eater                  14/09 Pafos Sewage works
  20. Magpie                          14/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  21. Red backed Shrike          14/09 Pafos Sewage works
  22. Yellow Wagtail                  14/09 Pafos Sewage works
  23. Bonelli Eagle          14/09 Pafos Sewage works
  24. Lesser kestrel                  14/09 Mandria 
  25. Jackdaw                          14/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  26. Great tit                          14/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  27. Blackcap                          14/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  28. Fantail  ziting                  14/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  29. Hoope                          14/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  30. Common Sandpiper  15/09 Paphos headland
  31. Little grebe                  15/09 Akrotiri Marshes
  32. Cattle egret                  15/09 Akrotiri Marshes
  33. Glossy ibis                  15/09 Akrotiri Marshes
  34. Spur winged Lapwing  15/09 Akrotiri Marshes
  35. Marsh harrier                  15/09 Akrotiri Marshes
  36. Grey heron                  15/09 Akrotiri Marshes
  37. Elenora’s falcon          15/09 Kennsitton cliffs
  38. Stone curlew                  15/09 Mandria
  39. Laughing dove          15/09 Mandria
  40. Buzzard                          15/09 Mandria
  41. Barn swallow                  15/09 Mandria
  42. Wheatear                  15/09 Mandria
  43. Honey Buzzard          15/09 Mandria
  44. Isabelline wheatear  16/09 Cape Greco
  45. Chukar                          16/09 Cape Greco
  46. Cyprus Wheatear          16/09 Cape Greco
  47. Cyprus Warbler          16/09 Cape Greco
  48. Masked shrike          16/09 Cape Greco
  49. Ortolan Bunting          16/09 Cape Greco
  50. Hobby                          16/09 Cape Greco
  51. Turtle Dove                  16/09 Cape Greco 
  52. Mallard                          16/09 Oroklini Marsh
  53. White Winged Tern  16/09 Oroklini Marsh
  54. Coot                          16/09 Oroklini Marsh
  55. Sand Martin                  16/09 Oroklini Marsh
  56. Moorhen                          16/09 Oroklini Marsh
  57. Little egret                  16/09 Oroklini Marsh
  58. Willow Warbler          17/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  59. Pallid Harrier                  17/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  60. Coal tit sp.                  17/09 Troodos Mountains
  61. Jay sp.                          17/09 Troodos Mountains
  62. Short Toed Treecreeper 17/09 Troodos Mountains
  63. Blackbird                          17/09 Troodos Mountains
  64. Pallid swift                  17/09 Troodos Mountains
  65. Chaffinch                           17/09 Troodos Mountains
  66. Corn Bunting                  18/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  67. Red footed Falcon          18/09 Ayia Varvara 
  68. Black Francolin          18/09 Ayia Varvara (only heard)
  69. Reed warbler                  19/09 Akrotiri Marshes
  70. Wren                          19/09 Akrotiri Marshes
  71. Water rail                          19/09 Akrotiri Marshes
  72. Kentish plover                  19/09 Lady’s Mile
  73. Little stint                          19/09 Lady’s Mile
  74. Greater Flamingo          19/09 Lady’s Mile
  75. Greenfinch                  19/09 Asprokremmos Reservoir
  76. Black Winged Stilt          16/09 Oroklini Marsh
  77. Tawny Pipit                  15/09 Lark corner
  78. Long Legged buzzard  15/09 Mandria
  79. Short toed Eagle          19/09 Akrotiri Marshes
  80. Broad billed Sandpiper  19/09 Lady's Mile

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