Cyprus Bird Watching Tours - BIRD is the WORD 4 day Tour - Paphos, Larnaca + Agia Napa + Akrotiri x2. 7-10-13-17/09/2018
Our first day was in Paphos where we managed short views of Eleonora's Falcon from the motorway to start the day off, first bird being a target species. Our first site was the Headland with Greater Sand plover being a target species. On arrival we was treated to a large
congregation of 6 Common Sandpiper all sitting together on a rock with the resident Whimbrel being incredibly confiding. A Raptor flew along the coast a bit out to sea which turned out to be an Osprey.
Further along the coastal path there was a Common Kingfisher that showed well and then even further up there was two kingfishers fighting on the blocks. The Greater Sand Plovers were all here at the corner and we managed exceptional views and photographic opportunities with them.
We stopped at an orchard next which is well known for Eurasian Stone Curlew, we saw over 10 resting in the shade of the trees and managed some good shots from here. A Long-legged Buzzard flew fairly low across the road.
Mandria held little but an increase in Laughing Dove numbers and some decent flocks of European Bee-eater and Yellow Wagtails that fed meters from the car.
We then stopped in at Kouklia where the only body of water in Paphos is. Levels were very very low and the Green Sandpipers and Wood Sandpipers that were present previous days had gone, we did manage to see a juvenile Peregrine Falcon and Long-legged Buzzard here though and a few Red-rumped Swallow.
Heading up past Agia Varvara we were treated to a big movement of Black Kite, we counted 14 birds visible at any one time though there could have been a lot more as our vision was obstructed by a large hill to the left which was their flight path.
Moving through Episkopi we managed a few Cyprus Wheatear squabbling, another target species and then passed through Armou Hills on the return to the motorway which produced a few Eurasian Hobby's, an obliging Masked Shrike and Ray managed to get on a Golden Oriole, a good finish to a great day which produced more than I thought it would in Paphos for this early in September; totaling 50 species.
On the incredibly dry spiros pools there was 12 Eurasian Stone Curlew sitting in the open providing mouth watering views ... even more so for the feral cat creeping up to them. Ray was absolutely amazed by how many Stone Curlews we had seen in 2 days, a species he had struggled with in quite a few countries to get decent views of. We saw a female black francolin and then on a further agricultural field a male, another target species acomplished and a favoured species
by Ray and Ann who marveled over this beautiful bird.
We then entered the hide and scouted through all the birds at the Sewage Works ... and there was a lot to go through! Marsh Sandpiper was a lifer for them both and there was at least 4 present and 2 greenshanks for comparison. Many Greater Flamingo were here with Whiskered, White-winged and Gull-billed terns flying low over their heads. A Whimbrel shot in and did a few close flybys. We all mistook it for a Curlew at first of which this area is a wintering ground for.
We took a quick visit to the Salt Lake to try to find a few rare butterflies as Ann was very keen on them. It didn't take long to find many Small Desert Blue butterflies and also a Little Tiger Blue near their host plants.
Oroklini had very little water and life, we did find a very obliging and photo friendly Common Snipe in a ditch.
Then we moved on to Achna Dam, which held some good birds but not the kind of numbers I was expecting for this time of year. White-winged Terns flew very close to us allowing breathtaking photo opportunities as did a Gull-billed Tern, a Marsh Harrier landed and stayed
on the ground for our duration and our star bird was a Spotted Redshank that we saw on the ground and in flight numerous times and heard the call.
Our last stop was at Cape Greco for Cyprus Warbler in particular. Sure enough we found at least 3 providing decent views, one was even in song and a great way to finish day 2 with an endemic species that is proving to be very scarce this autumn on their usual territories. We finished the day with 71 species.
We started off at Zakaki where we had a Citrine Wagtail feeding very close.
Moving on to the salt lake we were treated to a few little flocks of Greater Short-toed lark flying in, Northern and Isabelline Wheatear in the scrub along with Red-backed shrike and Whinchats.
Spectacled Warbler showed well as did a large group of Little Stint and a Temminck's Stint was distant. 5 Marsh Harriers were on the ground and one flew in, also 3 Montagu's Harriers flew in which included a 2cy Male which was at times incredibly close to the car.
We managed over 10 European Honey Buzzard but they did not fly in low.
We decided to head to the Gravel Pits, on the way we saw a few Chukar and a few Honey Buzzards low over Bishop's Pool gate. The Gravel Pits had a few newly arrived Tawny Pipit, though we didn't manage any good photo opportunities with them as they were incredibly easily rattled.
We then moved on to Kensington cliffs to get better views of Eleonora's Falcon. We had one perched very close on the cliffs and many playing in the air at eye level.
At the Bee-hives on the way back there were many Bee-eaters and a male Lesser Kestrel overhead presumably with two female lesser kestrels though I didn't get enough time to identify them properly. Not quite as enthralling day as I had hoped considering the date but we still managed 65 species.
Our day started at the Salt Lake were a juvenile Collared Pratincole stood. It actually scurried up to us as we parked the car next to it allowing fantastic photo opportunities. Ray was really after some good photos of this species and so I couldn't have asked for a better moment. Most of the waders were still here, the Temminck's Stint were very close and provided excellent photo opportunities unlike during our last day.
3 Great Egret flew over head and landing with usual line of Grey Heron showing how tall they are! Water Rail could be heard but not seen. We decided to check Zakaki again as we was earlier this time with crakes in mind. We did infact see and photograph a Spotted Crake which was very obliging at times. A Great Reed Warbler showed well also.
After a while Honey Buzzards started flying over head and so we raced back to the Salt Lake. There was a small group resting on the salt flats which we got some good photo opportunities of. We continued round to the salt lake and scoped Honey Buzzards
on the ground as far as the eye could see. We also had some close and a Black Kite washing its feet. Honey Buzzards kept pouring in providing quite a spectacle, some high, some low, some kettling and a few coming in to land. A Juvenile bird actually landed some meters away from us providing incredible photo opportunities and views. We only managed to spot 1 Steppe Buzzard among them.
On the Gravel Pits we managed to locate two Masked Shrike, one adult female which allowed very good close photo opportunities, something Ray had been after and was very happy with. The Honey Buzzards continued to stream over though nothing was landing at the
We then spent some time at the Phassouri Tower hide where watched Common Kingfisher, Great Reed Warbler, many Turtle Dove and Bee-eater and again many Honey Buzzards with some coming so close to the hide that they almost flew in it!
as I was expecting. We saw a Griffon Vulture on approach to cliffs but sadly it was very high and moving away from us.
We then returned to Phassouri and spent some time watching and photographing the Bee-eaters which were landing close to the road and then raptor watching until it was time to leave. We had a few Hobby's here but unfortunately didn't
manage any red-footed falcon despite seeing a few the day before. A Bonelli's Eagle approaching its 3rd plumage showed well and the constant stream of Honey Buzzards and Marsh Harriers persisted the whole time with the odd Black Kite here and there.
A fantastic day showing the raptor migration in full swing and seeing 69 species.
We managed 111 species in total over the 4 days.
Western Marsh Harrier
Eurasian Stone Curlew
Common Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Greater Sand Plover
Lesser Grey Shrike
Eurasian Golden Oriole
Greater Short-toed Lark
Yellow Wagtail (flava, feldegg)
Lang's Short-tail Blue (copulating)
African Grass Blue
Little Tiger Blue
Small Desert Blue
Cyprus Meadow Brown
Crimson Speckled Flunky
Schreiber's Fringe-fingered Lizard