Cyprus Bird watching Tours - BIRD is the WORD Tour, Akrotiri 12/04/16
On the 12th I had the pleasure of guiding Graham and Flor around Akrotiri. We started early, 6am and it was raining with thunderstorms the whole journey but by the time we reached our first destination; Zakaki Marsh, the clouds started to give way to some sun. As we parked up we could see hundreds of Common Swifts above the marsh with House Martin, Sand Martin and Barn Swallow among them. Having consistently had Pallid Swift at this site over the years during Spring I decided to start checking through the Swifts and after much searching I found a lone Pallid Swift unwilling to join in with the commons of which we got good views of.
As we entered the hide, the first bird we saw was a Spotted Crake being incredibly obliging and a lone Green Sandpiper on the mound. Reed Warblers, Cetti's Warblers and Sedge Warblers were all singing and then suddenly a male Little Crake popped out. Flor managed to get some great video digiscoping the Little Crake whilst Graham and I got some great photos of the Spotted Crake that was on show for a staggering 20-30 minutes. There wasn't many duck species present nor any Herons, a Little Egret graced us with its presence for a few minutes and so we decided to move on.
Ladies Mile was incredibly devoid of life, with only Kentish Plover and Little Stint on the East Side and a Purple Heron fly over. Much further up there was a group of Waders so we stopped and scoped. 5 Greenshank, many Little Stint and a Sanderling sticking out with its short stubby bill. There was also some Greater Flamingo present but all were fast asleep and not showing any pink at all hinting that they were recent migrants that are not well fed yet. I was shocked not to see a single Dunlin here. Due to the wetness of the area a drive onto the salt lake was a no go, so Bishops Pool was our next stop. Near the entrance, Eastern Olivaceous Warblers were singing from an acacia bush and a Common Buzzard perched nicely on a few bushes before. Bishops Pool itself was also quite low on life aside the usual Ferruginous Ducks that are always a pleasure to see. It was incredibly noisy at the site with the U2 Spyplane flying low and Jet fighters taking off but I still managed to pick out the call of an Eastern Bonelli's Warbler that we had ok views of which was accompanied by a Wood Warbler. There was also a Wood Sandpiper that refused to mingle with the group of Green Sandpipers of which we couldn't relocate after it flew to the opposite side of the pool.
Our final stops in Akrotiri were to be the Gravel Pits and Phassouri Marsh, where we saw Pied Flycatchers, Eurasian Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, Whinchat, Glossy Ibis feeding close to the car and a Spotted Redshank.
We decided to quickly stop in at Mandria and Anarita Park on the way back, to see if any migrating flocks were about and also Anarita Park in hope of getting some good Cyprus Warbler photos. The wind had picked up by this time and both ideas didn't quite work out, we did however see close views of Lesser kestrels hovering next to the car, hunting grasshoppers, Cyprus Warblers flittering from scrub to scrub and also had brilliant views of a group of Ortolan Bunting.
Despite the sites seeming not up to the usual standard for this time of year, it was a great tour with great company, a decent species count and some good photo opportunities.
Chukar Partridge, Black Francolin (h), Mallard, Northern Shoveller, Little Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Little Egret, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Western Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Little Crake, Spotted Crake, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Kentish Plover, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Sanderling, Little Stint, Yellow-Legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Common Wood Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Zitting Cisticola, Cetti's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (h), Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, Wood Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, European Pied Flycatcher, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Yellow Wagtail (M.f feldegg), European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Corn Bunting, Ortolan Bunting.