Cyprus Bird Watching Tours - BIRD is the WORD 3 day tour 27-30/03/2018
Highlights included a Squacco Heron flying over, male and female Pallid Harriers hunting nearby, Laughing doves displaying, A Great Spotted Cuckoo showing well and calling out ... a species that seems to be in serious decline over recent years and proving a hard bird to find this year,
A small party of Water Pipit showing well and maybe more than 30 Eurasian Hoopoe at just 2 sites! Maybe the star birds were a pack of 11 Lesser Kestrels hovering and hunting all around the car providing amazing photo opportunities. A great start managing 58 species.
We started at Phassouri Marsh where a very rare Eastern Siberian White Wagtail (ocularis sp.) had been found the previous day. We couldn't find it, though no-one else did until 5pm. On entering the site we stopped to watch some European Serin feeding on the grassy verge and also some in display and worked our way through the finches before moving on to the marsh species. On the marsh we managed Black Francolin (Target Species), a few Squacco Herons, Little and Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, Ruff and a Greenshank among others. Heading onto the gravel pits we was treated to a few large mixed waterfowl flocks, mainly Paintail, Shoveler and Garganey... plus a small passage of Baltic Gull and Black-headed Gull. Wheatears were everywhere with the odd Isabelline still around, a lovely Woodchat Shrike posed well in the shrub though seemed quite nervous.
A Wryneck posed incredibly well on a wooden pole just meters from the car and many Lesser Whitethroat were hopping around the Acacia. After a quick look at our endemic Ophrys Kotschyi we continued.
The Gulls present were mainly all Armenian Gulls with one Caspian Gull and an Adult Yellow-legged Gull. Two Baltic Gull flew in and landed on the water and we was also treated to a Heuglin's gull flying in but unfortunately not landing ... presumably the same individual with
a broken bill that has been present for a long period of time in the area.
Zakaki Marsh didn't hold much and seems even more neglected with glass bottles thrown in the water infront of the hide ... what a sad state of affairs. We did hear a Common Kingfisher here as well as a Reed Warbler, and spotted a Marsh Harrier and a Willow Warbler flitting about in a nearby tamarisk.
Moving on to the Salt Lake we spotted many waders, the star bird here and for the day was a Eurasian Scops Owl .. a bird much lighter and browner than our endemic Cyprus Scops Owl. A great spot by Jacob, the bird was sitting in a shrub roughly 1 meter above the water, a very odd place for a Scops Owl to be, with a Common Snipe sleeping infront of it and a white wagtail to the side ... undoubtedly the only time I will see those species together in Cyprus.
Quite a rare sighting, though I imagine Jacob and Nancy would have much rathered our endemic one.
Our last stop was at Kensington Cliffs for the Griffon Vultures. We was treated to a few close flyby's by three of the vultures. One of the vultures was being mobbed by a pair of Peregrine Falcons on entering the territory which was amazing to see.
As we left the site we also saw the Peregrines mobbing a Long-legged Buzzard which surprisingly fought back with a few dives at the falcons. A great bit of action and a great way to end the tour.
We managed a whopping 85 species.
We started at Oroklini where we saw the many Cattle Egrets nesting. Highights here was a female Little Crake very close to the hide, a pair of Squacco Herons, 2 Water Pipits in summer plumage, a pair of Red-crested Pochard and a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater amazingly still hanging around and posing well for us.
Moving on to Cape Greco the bird numbers were quite underwhelming considering recent sightings in the area. Best we managed here was a pair of Ruppell's Warbler (m&f), Cyprus Warbler (m&f), A few Woodchat Shrike, Wryneck an Ortolan Bunting, Nightingale and some Tawny Pipits. No sign of the Trumpeter finch seen the previous day. Lesser Whitethroat seem to have arrived in numbers here.
We stopped at Menou, Larnaca Sewage Pools and Larnaca Salt Lake on the way back... but seems to be a huge clear out of species, the salt lake was practically empty as well as the lakes aside some Greater Flamingo. The Sewage Pools held some yellow wagtail including
a dombowskii form, Teal, Shoveler, a Wigeon and a Green Sandpiper.
We managed 66 species for the day.
A very enjoyable tour bringing our total species count to 108 species.
Chukar - (Alectoris chukar cypriotes)
European shag - (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii)
Western Marsh harrier
Eurasian Stone curlew
Little ringed plover
Common Wood pigeon
Eurasian Collared dove
Great spotted cuckoo
European scops owl - (Otus Scops)
Common kingfisher (h)
Greater short-toed lark
Crested lark - (Galerida cristata cypriaca)
Common house martin
Yellow wagtail - (flava, feldegg, Superciliaris, Dombrowskii)
Water pipit - (Anthus spinoletta coutelli)
Eurasian reed warbler
Eastern Bonelli's warbler
Eastern Black-eared wheatear
Great tit - (Parus major aphrodite)
European greenfinch (Chloris chloris muehlei)