Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Cyprus - November 6th & 7th 2016

6th November

Today we dropped our original plans to do Evretou dam due to moderate gusts and switched instead to P2, a river bed offering some shelter from the wind. We set up the five singles as usual and hoped to catch something while shotguns could be heard from all directions. Anyone who knows Cyprus well and visits in the hunting season will know that the official days are Sunday and Wednesday.
It was very quiet in terms of birds, and we even photographed the only bird from the nets on the first round, just in case there wasn’t anything else.

 Robin aged 3

 Blackcap male

 Cetti’s Warbler female aged 3

 Sardinian Warbler female

We continued until 11am but only struggled up to 11 birds. A Penduline Tit was heard and seen, briefly.

Total – 11

Robin – 1
Cetti’s Warbler – 1
Sardinian Warbler – 2
Blackcap – 5
Serin - 2

Afterwards, we checked out the fire damage in the reedbed. It was clear that there had also been extensive use of a bulldozer – disturbing the natural course of the river and extending some existing fields. It looks quite likely that this was a deliberate attempt to extend agriculture and ruin the small pools nature project.

We took a walk up the Avakas Gorge, seeing a rather small Chameleon. We have always known that they occur here, but we’ve never managed to see one before. We also saw a rare endemic plant, the Centaurea Akamontis that only occurs in two gorges in Cyprus.

Centaurea Akamontis


Avakas Gorge

As usual, Chris pushed on through the gorge while I waited just before it gets really narrow. During this time, I observed the Chiffchaffs in the area and noticed a very brown individual with creamy white underside with darker colouration along the flanks. The supercillium was very long and thick and it had a stronger, slightly shorter but more explosive call. We saw Mountain Chiffchaff in Azerbaijan in the summer, and this was a Mountain Chiffchaff. We have also seen them in the hand, twice, but the observations in the field were more useful in this instance. Chris managed to get a look after his scramble back through the gorge.

7th November

We finally returned to Evretou, hoping to target pipits and wagtails. We set up nets with open area species in mind, then set a few singles in the weedy area. We had some Stonechats and Chiffchaffs, but there was no sign of pipits or wagtails all morning.  We had a rethink and changed some of the nets to achieve our highest total so far.  It was only 42 birds but it’s more than we might have expected considering the conditions. There were also a few Willow Warblers, some Sardinian Warblers and a couple of surprises in the form of a Sedge Warbler and a Bluethroat.

Fan-tailed Warbler

Stonechat male aged 3

Sedge Warbler aged 3

3F Bluethroat

There weren’t too many other sightings although we did almost catch a Sparrowhawk, but it escaped the net faster than we could get there and a Kestrel and Common Buzzard were seen. Seven Water Pipits were observed by the water’s edge – and the one White Wagtail that we did catch was carrying a good deal of fat so it’s highly likely that most of the birds seen on Friday were just passing through.

Total: 42

White Wagtail – 1
Bluethroat – 1
Stonechat - 2
Fan-tailed Warbler – 2
Sedge Warbler – 1
Sardinian Warbler – 7
Chiffchaff – 24
Willow Warbler – 3
Serin - 1