Cyprus Bird Watching Tours - BIRD is the WORD, Tour Paphos & Akrotiri 29/10/2018
We started out in Akrotiri at Zakaki for some wetland/marsh species. We was unfortunate in that the Penduline Tits, Moustached Warbler and Reed Buntings hadn't arrived at the site yet, but we did have some fantastic views of a few Water rails in the open for the duration of our visit and also a smart Bluethroat which was very close at times. The Bluethroat was the star bird of the tour for Gywneth, being a lifer.
There was a Yellow Wagtail under the hide that had a damaged tail and both Sedge and Reed Warbler were calling from the reeds. Common Kingfishers were showing at times and fishing in the marsh and further into the lake there was few waterfowl, just a pair of Northern Pintail. A Cetti's Warbler showed well briefly and Grey Heron flew overhead and a large flock of Black-headed Gulls came down to the water as we were leaving.
We then headed to Ladies Mile and had a look through large group of Gulls. We managed to see some Yellow-legged Gulls and a few recently arrived Armenian Gulls among them. Suddenly they all shot up, we looked around to see why ... and amusingly a female merlin shot across very low and headed towards the football stadium. Not the kind of raptor I would assume gulls to be scared of. We had seen a small falcon in the distance from the hide at Zakaki earlier being chased by a Hooded Crow, but too far to accurately identify, though I stated it to most likely be a merlin at the time.
We looked through some of the waders at Ladies Mile, some Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Dunlin and Ruff were present. I decided against driving to the salt lake due to the recent rains making the ground unstable, so unfortunately we missed out on the Greater Flamingo and also a juvenile Oystercatcher which was reported there a bit later in the day, which is a scarce bird in Cyprus.
We visited Bishop's Pool which was fairly quiet, with hardly any of the wintering waterfowl arrived. We didn't even manage to find any Ferruginous Duck here, though the Rock Doves were present.
Being as quiet as it was we didn't spend much time there before moving on. We drove through Phassouri Marsh in hope of a Black Francolin on show of which we had only heard earlier. We was unsuccessful, though we did see a Sparrowhawk and a few Serin in flight.
Next stop was Kensington Cliffs in hope fo catching some Eleonora's Falcons, though always a gamble seeing as they are all (or mostly all) gone by November. Unfortunately there was none in sight, and neither were the Griffon Vultures. We did see many European Shags on the rocks though and family party of Chukar scurrying close to the car and Lesser Whitethroat in a nearby bush.
We stopped at Mandria for Laughing Dove of which we found two, and around the fields we had many Skylark and Water Pipits. The Water Pipits posed nicely for us around a puddle and we also saw a large group of them on a freshly cut alfalfa field along with a single Red-throated Pipit. We also had a Northern Wheatear fairly close to the car on the potato fields.
We sat here and ate our lunch hoping it would return to one of its normal perching spots but it didn't oddly enough.
Last stop was the Sewage Plant for Spur-winged Lapwing of which we got many. There wasn't much else to see here and so we ended the day picking some figs and pecan nuts. A thoroughly enjoyable tour with good results (despite the lack of many winter arrivals) and a Cyprus rarity managing 65 Species.
(h) Black francolin
Western marsh harrier
Little ringed plover
Common wood pigeon
Eurasian collared dove
(h) Sedge warbler
Eurasian reed warbler
Western black redstart