Cyprus Bird Watching Tours - BIRD is the WORD Tour - Akrotiri 21/12/2108
We started off at Zakaki where there were many Penduline Tits flitting around and calling, though due to their very flighty behaviour we never managed a good view of one sitting in a reed, though we got great flight views of well over 30 birds. Black-redstart and European Stonechat were showing at the entrance and a female Common Reed Bunting was showing infront of the hide at times. As we entered the hide a Common Starling flew out of the reeds, seemingly a roosting spot. Cetti's Warblers could be heard singing and calling all over and sometimes showing briefly, and a pair of Common Chiffchaff moved from reed to reed. At least 4 Moustached Warbler were heard in the area and at least 2 of those showed quite well, infact they sat on reeds preening for well over 5 minutes each which was fantastic given their usual low-down, skulky nature. Whilst tracking one of the Cettis warblers through the reeds a White-spotted Bluethroat jumped out and showed well but briefly, it then flew into a dense patch of reeds and sang for a few minutes.
There wasn't hardly any waterfowl on the lake itself, just coot, moorhen, shoveler, mallard and a few teal. A Common Kingfisher and Water Rail could be heard at times but neither showed for us.
We then headed on to Ladies Mile, there was a lot of Greater Flamingos feeding on the pools here as well as many Black-headed Gulls. On the beach we had Caspian, Yellow-legged and Armenian Gulls and a surprise Great Crested Grebe. Crested Larks entertained in the car park and a few Corn Bunting flying over.
The reed area had a few Eurasian Reed Warbler, with one in song.
As we left the area we saw Robin, White wagtail, Chaffinch and Blackcap drinking from the puddles and also a Blackbird near the entrance. As I closed the gate I saw movement in the corner of my eye, A Hen Harrier shot across the scrub and concealed behind the line of acacia and so I asked Andy if he wanted to chase it. Ofcourse, it's a Hen Harrier. So we shot down to the salt pan for a clear view point and watched the Hen Harrier for a few minutes hunting over the shrub.
A quick visit to the Gravel Pits didn't provide much as the area was too wet to drive on so we had a quick look around the church. We came across many Sardinian Warbler and some European Serin. The star bird here though was a Cyprus Warbler seemingly lost. A small party of Woodlark landed in a wet shrubby area though we was unable to locate them.
We then headed to Phassouri Marsh to eat our lunch in the tower hide. As we entered the area we saw a Common Buzzard in a tree and at least 3 hunting over an agricultural field with a few calling. After watching the buzzards a small party of Woodlark flew in and landed next to the car and provided good views. A vineyard was full of finches feeding; Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Greenfinch etc.
As we ate our lunch we watched a Marsh Harrier gliding around infront of us for a long period of time, and a Common Kingfisher slowly edged closer to us providing great views.
The site was quite devoid of life though so we didn't spend much time here.
Great Crested Grebe
Western Marsh Harrier
(h) Water Rail
Heuglin's (Siberian) Gull
Eurasian Penduline tit
Western Black Redstart
(h) Meadow Pipit
Common Reed Bunting