Cyprus Bird Watching Tours - BIRD is the WORD - Paphos & Akrotiri 06+09/03/2018
We started at the Paphos Headland for the Greater Sandplover, there was different birds present with different plumage to my last visit indicating their migration is underway. Close by was a Common Sandpiper, a Ruddy Turnstone and a Dunlin. The Golden Plovers must have left. There was many pipits and larks flying over, I made out the calls of Tawny Pipit and Greater Short-toed Lark overhead, and we watched Meadow and Red-throated Pipit on the ground as well as
Eurasian Skylark and Crested Lark.
We moved on to the Sewage Works where the Spur-winged Lapwings were feeding. We sat with them as they approached the car. There was many red-throated pipits feeding in the fields, a huge number...but no yellow wagtails yet.
We then moved on to Agia Varvara where we managed to locate one of our target species, a Great Spotted Cuckoo, 5 meters from the car sat in an Almond Tree providing amazing photo opportunities (I took a record photo through the windscreen) whilst a Eurasian Sparrowhawk flew over.
Zitting Cisticolas and Common Linnets were very showy and vocal here. We then visited Anarita Park for Finsch's Wheatear. We located the male Finsch's Wheatear and managed superb close photo opportunities with the male, the female was unaproachable as per usual. Here we also found a male Blue Rock Thrush, Woodlark were heard and also we tracked down a few male and female Cyprus Warblers. A young Male Hen Harrier was a star bird here, hunting and
perching a few times inside the quarry nearby. A Cyprus Scops Owl briefly called out from somewhere in the area.
Nearby we found a stunning male Black Redstart showing well and two more Great Spotted Cuckoo as well as a huge flock of finches, mainly Linnet and Serin. 5 Lesser Kestrel were high up above the farm presumably migrants passing over the island (identified by primary tips length). Here we ate our lunch and then moved on to the foothills to try and locate some raptors. We was sadly unsuccessful in doing so as thick dust and fog rolled in (aside a common buzzard perched in a tree nearby), though some spectacular views of the Akamas and Theletra more than made up for that, including some great orchid species (Orchis Italica + Endemic Ophrys Alasiatica) and hearing a Wren singing away. We managed 56 species on a fairly slow day.
We skipped Bishops Pool as Costas had visited the site a few days prior on the Birdlife Cyprus Fieldtrip and so we concentrated on Ladies Mile. Unfortunately none of the Gulls were behind the restaurant or on the pool and only a single Kentish Plover was present on all of Ladies Mile lakes. We checked Zakaki where we saw a Common Kingfisher, Green Sandpiper and Cetti's Warbler. We heard Moustached Warbler and Penduline Tit but were unable to locate them mainly due
to the non-existent site management/maintanence. Here we also saw some newly arrived Eurasian Reed Warbler.
Checking around the salt flats and Salt Lake we came across many Northern and Isabelline Wheatear. Many Greater Flamingo were present, as were many Kentish Plover, Little Stint and Common Ringed Plover. As we was leaving the site 3 Yellow Wagtails flew low overhead, also a Greater Short Toed Lark and a small group of Red-throated Pipit flew in. Spectacled Warblers were flitting around the bushes, but in very small numbers.
Then on to Episkopi to see the Griffon Vultures which sadly didn't show in our limited remaining time, though we did get good views of Alpine Swift and a Peregrine Falcon flew past on our exit.
Here we also found two endemic plant species in close proximity (Tristhemis Tricolour and Onobrychis Venosa) as well as a big Banded Orb Weaver spider (Argiope trifasciata) and a few Vagrant Emperor dragonflies (Anax ephippiger)
all of which are fairly rare species. We managed 57 species on a half day tour bringing our total to 81 species.
Black francolin (h)
Western Marsh harrier
Common ringed plover
Common Wood pigeon
Eurasian Collared dove
Great spotted cuckoo
Cyprus Scops Owl (h)
Greater short-toed lark
Common house martin
(Black-headed) Yellow Wagtail
Tawny pipit (h)
Eurasian Wren (h)
Moustached warbler (h)
Eurasian reed warbler
Eurasian blackcap (h)
Blue rock thrush
Western Black redstart
Eurasian penduline tit