Cyprus Bird Watching Tours - BIRD is the WORD - Akrotiri & Troodos 08/02/2018
As soon as we left the hotel and for the Port there was over 10 Laughing Doves (recent colonizers to the island) all along the seafront strip. Arriving at Zakaki, highlights were Moustached Warbler and an obliging Penduline Tit and Common Kingfisher. A few Reed Bunting showed well also. Due to very bad maintenance to the site we were unable to see into the actual lake and so moved on.
At Ladies Mile a few Grey Herons were in the pools along with hundreds of Black-headed Gulls. Among them we managed to pick out Armenian gulls and a few Slender-billed Gulls, two of which were near summer plumage.
A Hen Harrier glided behind the pool for most of our stay here.
Unfortunately the Common Gull, Sandwich Tern and Mediterranean Gull that are usually present did not show ... but are species Dennis and Gaye see regularly in the UK so we moved on. On our way to bishops pool we saw a Kentish Plover, an extremely obliging Linnet sat next to the car shortly joined by another and then a Crested Lark. Easy birding :)
Moving on to the Gravel Pits with a quick stop on the way to check the Flamingos on the salt lake which also produced many Common Shelduck and also to check a small patch of shrubland for some good orchid species. We managed to find Orchis Syriaca, Ophrys Sicula, Ophrys Levantina, Ophrys Elegans (Endemic Sub-species) and Ophrys Cinerophilia all in the space of 5 minutes. We also heard the calls of Black Francolin and Chukar in the area but could not locate them mainly due to the waterlogged and dangerous terrain around the salt lake.
The gravel pits was sadly quite bare, I was hoping with the strong easterly winds the night before that something rare would have been blown in. All that was on offer was a Black-necked Grebe, some Meadow Pipit, A Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, a Song Thrush and Corn Bunting. We also found Ophrys Iricolour and The Giant Orchid here.
Later Dennis and Gaye stated this was definitely the highlight of their tour.
On to Troodos we struggled to find a Short-toed Treecreeper but eventually got a few and also the brief call of a Wren sounded. Here we also saw hundreds of Endemic and Vulnerable Crocus (Crocus cyprius). Birding was very hard work in the mountains for some reason but the landscape was great with snow still in some places, plus our endemic Cedar Trees and beautiful Strawberry Trees. Not a song or mistle thrush in sight. Even the Coal Tits were in short supply.
There was an extremely large number of Chaffinch and Greenfinch though, at times we were surrounded by hundreds and whilst listening hard to the calls managed to hear and locate some Siskin and Crossbill. At Amiantos we didn't see hardly any birds except a Long-legged Buzzard at the highest altitude that I had ever seen one. Here we came across an Endemic Plant to Cyprus; Aphrodite's Spurge (Euphorbia veneris)
On the drive back I noticed a few large finch sitting at the top of a tree and so quickly pulled over ... Hawfinch! Gaye managed a brief view of a Jay on the drive back. At Platres there was a Common Buzzard ominously sat on a tree slightly above a group of Wood Pigeon sat on a telephone wire.
Approaching the Hotel we stopped to have a quick last look at a Laughing dove along the coastal strip in Limassol before calling it a day.
Black francolin (h)
Western Marsh harrier
Common Wood pigeon
Eurasian Collared dove
East Mediterranean winter wren (h)
Western Black redstart
Coal tit (p.a.Cypriotes) - Endemic sub-species
Dorothy's (Short-toed) treecreeper (c.b.Dorotheae) - Endemic sub-species
Eurasian penduline tit
Eurasian jay (g.g.Glaszneri) - Endemic sub-species
Common Reed bunting
Common crossbill (l.c.Guillemardi)