Cyprus Bird Watching Tours - BIRD is the WORD - x3 Day Tour - Paphos, Akrotiri + Larnaca 07, 08, 09/02/2019
On the first day we started off at the Paphos Headland Coast for Greater Sand Plover driving through the harbour on the way which had many Great Cormorants and a few Yellow-legged Gulls on the breakers. We saw many birds on the ground leading up to the greater sand plovers including Eurasian Skylark, Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, countless Common Stonechat and many Corn Bunting singing away. We even managed good views of a pair of recently arrived Isabelline wheatears. I had only discovered the first Isabelline Wheater to arrive in Cyprus this year 2 days prior, so we were very fortunate.
At the point the Greater Sand Plover all stood on the rocks in a row, sadly all in their winter plumage though a few just starting to change ... which is unusual in that this time previous years I had seem some of them almost half changed by this time. A group of Golden Plover were slightly to the right of them and had a lone Turnstone among them.
We then ventured to the Sewage Works here we saw a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk hunting and fly straight through an olive tree. Many Spur-winged Lapwing were showing including a pair very close to the car, and the Cattle Egrets were feeding in the alfalfa fields, chasing each other at times. Meadow Pipits were darting around in their hundreds and a Grey Wagtail showed well next to the car. We saw a small group of Ducks in flight land in one of the concealed pools, by size we assumed they must have been common teal. A Common Quail was calling from inside an alfalfa field, though we had no chance in locating it. There seemed to be a large number of Serin moving around the site that day of which we got great views of, but a disappointing number of Spanish Sparrows, just 1 in fact, though a nice male that posed meters from the car in some fennel.
As we left the site we checked an orchard for Stone Curlew, but unfortunately none were to be seen.
Our next stop was Timi beach which held very little so we moved on quickly to Mandria. Here we saw 7 Laughing Doves, great views of them on the wires (accompanied by recently arrived Barn Swallow) and also feeding close on the ground. We added 2 more Isabelline Wheatear here and then stopped for coffee.
We then checked Secret Valley for Chukar and waterfowl. On the lake we had Grey Heron and Little Egret, with a Great Cormorant perched at the top of a coniferous trees. Many Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe were on the water and a single Teal.
We moved further up after to stopping to look at an endemic flower - Aphrodite's Spurge. Sure enough we found little groups of Chukar, unfortunately no Bonelli's Eagles hunting here today though and so we moved on.
We stopped at Anarita Mast on the way to Anarita Park which held no surprises. Anarita park produced a Little Owl, Finsch's Wheatear and a stunning male Blue Rock Thrush of which we had lengthy views of whilst we ate our lunch. We also heard a few Cyprus Warbler here and got lengthy views of a male moving among some spiny bush, which briefly did show clearly out of the bush thankfully.
We managed 55 species for the day.
We started at Zakaki where we struggled to see the many Penduline Tits darting around and the many Moustached Warbler singing. We never managed good views of either unfortunately. We did get good views of Cetti's Warbler and a very early Eurasian Reed Warbler. Seeing a Siberian race of Common Chiffchaff was a treat. We had a flyover Green Sandpiper calling here and Water Rail calling from the dense reeds. A very small falcon flew over towards the salt lake, a Merlin!
The gulls were disturbed at ladies mile and so we drove down the strip to check some waders out. A small group of Little Stint show well very close to the car, as did many Greater Flamingo. As we returned we got to look through some settled gulls and found a Slender-billed Gull, Yellow Legged Gull, Caspian Gull and Armenian Gull among the Black-headed Gull. A group of 30+ Great Cormorant were migrating north.
Bishop's Pool was unfortunately locked but gave us time to visit a few sites that we missed in Paphos the previous day.
We checked out Phassouri Marsh of which Ewelina spotted and pointed out a Eurasian Wryneck sitting in a eucalyptus tree, a great spot! There was quite a few recently arrived Common Swift around here and Barn Swallow. We also saw a group of Woodlark sitting in a tree drying off from the rain.
Moving on to Kensington Cliffs we were treated to good close views of the griffon Vultures on arrival and then saw 7 of them sitting in a low pine tree very close to us for a lengthy time. Some of the best perched views I have ever had of our small population!
Despite the bad weather it turned out to be a great day managing 63 species.
After the journey there we stopped for coffee at Menou. Over the road from us a Black Francolin was calling and some largish birds were moving every now and then through a field. Ewelina saw a white bar on the upper wing of one and so I suggested Stone Curlew. After we finished our coffee I took the car in for a closer inspection and they were indeed Stone Curlew, over 60 of them infact! An incredible start to the day!
Menou and Spiros Pools held little but Greater Flamingo. As we walked to the Sewage Pools hide we saw quite a few Spectacled Warbler in the flooded low shrubs. On the pools we had some water fowl but not the usual winter concentration.
A few Gadwall and Common Pochard, Mallard, Northern Shoveler and Common Teal were the most numorous species. We had 3 grebe species too: Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe and over 40 Black-necked Grebe with some changing into summer plumage. Ewelina managed to spot a small group of Greater White Fronted Geese on a meadow behind the pools in the distance.
We searched around the desalination area and managed great close views of a lone Chukar. We also saw many Kentish plover on the beach accompanied by 2 Dunlin.
Then we headed to the Salt Lake. We was unsuccessful in finding a pair of Little Gull and a Ruddy Shelduck that had been seen here previous days, though we did see many Greater Flamingo, a very large flock of Black-headed and Slender-Billed Gulls and many Little Stint with a few Ringed Plover among them. There were some distant Common Shelduck halfway in and a few Spur-winged Lapwing around the edge.
Our next stop was the Kamares Aqueduct. There was many Water Pipit here at the start of the channel and a Grey Wagtail. A small group of Little Egret were further up and eventually flew over. As we walked up we flushed many Common Snipe and managed good views of one. A Green Sandpiper showed but was very nervous at times as was a Common Redshank. A pair of Common Kingfishers were chasing each other many times during our visit and the reed bed was full of Common Chiffchaff. Occasionally a Laughing Dove flew over and landed on some wires and as we returned to the start of the channel we was treated to lengthy close views of a Bluethroat which was very close to summer plumage. We had our first House Martin here also, accompanied by a Barn Swallow. A few Penduline tit and a Moustached warbler were calling from the reeds but we never managed to see them.
Next we headed to Oroklini. Here we got some Ferruginous Duck and Black-winged Stilt to add to the list and some good scoped views of perched Marsh Harrier, also seeing them hunting many times. The main hide got very busy and so we ventured to the second hide. Some Greater Flamingo were very close here, no surprises on this side though until we left the hide and another Bluethroat flew in and landed in a low tamarisk right next to us. This one was a drab female though.
We headed to the beach to look through the gulls. There was quite a few Cattle Egret feeding in the flooded fields and a few Spur-winged lapwings were meters from the car as we pulled up to some traffic lights. On the beach there were mainly Black-headed Gulls but we did manage a Mediterranean Gull among them as well as a few Sandwich Terns on the ground.
We managed 72 Species for the day bringing our today to 101 Species. A thoroughly enjoyable 3 day adventure with great company.
Black Francolin (h)
Chukar Partridge (a.c.cypriotes)
Common Quail (h)
Greater White-fronted Goose
Great Crested Grebe
European Shag (p.a.desmarestii)
Peregrine Falcon (f.p.brookei)
Western Marsh Harrier
Water Rail (h)
Eurasian Stone Curlew
Common Ringed Plover
Eurasian Golden Plover
Greater Sand Plover
Common Wood Pigeon
Great Tit (p.m.aphrodite)
Eurasian Penduline Tit
Crested Lark (g.c.cypriaca)
Common House Martin
Eurasian Reed Warbler
Common Chiffchaff (inc. P.c.tristis)
Western Black Redstart
Water Pipit (a.s.coutelli)
European Greenfinch (c.c.muehlei)