Sunday, 5 February 2017

Cyprus - 21st to 25th January 2017

21st January

The first day was primarily a visit to a couple of sites to get a feel of what was around and conditions. First port of call was the Acheleia fields and the area around Paphos sewage works. The usual Cyprus wintering species were found, five Cattle Egrets, the usual party of Spur-winged Plovers, and a single Green Sandpiper, plus a Great White Egret flying in off the sea.

We next swung by Mandria, where we had the flock of Cranes that appeared on the Island this month, but only had 21 out of the 22 seen, a female Hen Harrier was quartering the fields, a group of 24 Stone Curlew were tucked away at the edge of the field, some partly under a row of Olives, 88 Golden Plover were in another field, which together with adjacent fields over 350 Sky Lark were present. The only orange grove in the middle of the fields, seemed to have attracted all the Chiffchaffs, with over a 100 seen flitting in and out of the grove, along with an unseasonal male Ruppell's Warbler.

Stone Curlew

We then swung by the Lower Xeros Potamos River down to the reed bed by the desalination plant, and then up to Anarita Park where the only bird of interest was a Long-legged Buzzard.

Long-legged Buzzard

22nd January

We started with what was supposed to be a ringing visit to Kouklia, but one of the areas we set one net had gone, along with part of the clump of tall reeds behind it, so the adjacent field could be expanded by 5 or so metres. It was also slightly windier than expected so we decided not to set up, but whilst wandering around the area we flushed a Quail.

We went back to Mandria, and the side of the Orange grove was sheltered and still harbouring a number of Chiffchaffs, along with a single Willow Warbler on the adjacent pile of decaying plants. We set a single net a little further down the access track into the grove, for about an hour and a half or so.

Totals: 40

Sardinian Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 38

Whilst at the grove a Brambling was heard calling hidden in the conifers that afford part of the grove wind protection. A later drive around revealed 67 Stone Curlews and the party of Cranes was still present.

We then took a run up to Asprokremnos Dam where at the shallow end by the deserted Turkish village we had a male Finsch's Wheatear.

Asprokremnos Dam - still very low despite recent rain

A final visit back to the Acheleia fields again produced the five Cattle Egret, the pair of Spur-winged Plovers and a nice male Hen Harrier going across the fields.

23rd January.

In the morning we tried a ringing session at the soakaways in the dry Esouzas river bed at Acheleia. It was not a very busy session, but we had the Crane party fly over, a Black Kite, the usual Cattle Egret and Spur-winged Plover, plus 23 Song Thrush.

Female Stonechat

Song Thrush - a very flighty bird in Cyprus - whether due to their 
origins being from primeval Eastern European forests, or just simply 
a wary bird here as it is a quarry species with hunting on Wednesday
and Sundays.

Common Crane party

Totals: 11

Stonechat - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 6
Chiffchaff - 2

24th January

Was effective house maintenance day and no birding or ringing.

25th January

A rather windy few days were forecast so we contented ourselves with a few walks here and there. First of all we went up the Secret Valley where the top end of the golf course has been abandoned and allowed to go wild and is where their home made reservoir can be found. Whilst up by the reservoir we had three Bonelli's Eagles and couple of Crag Martins at the start of the course.

We again went down to the Lower Xeros Potamos River down to the reed bed by the desalination plant and saw one of the resident Black Francolin's and heard at least two Penduline Tits calling.

We also tried an ringing session in the reeds in an effort to see if the local Song Thrushes utilised the reed bed, which them seemed to during the day, perhaps due to the number of snails that often can be found in there. We were not very successful, with only two Chaffinches that were ringable, as a number even in Cyprus are also blighted with foot growths as we have in the UK

Total: 2

Chaffinch - 2

Due to the windy conditions we stopped early and retired back to more domestic duties.