Sunday, 5 February 2017

Cyprus - 27th to 29th January 2017

27 January

The wind was quite strong today, but we took a walk around the Paphos Headland, which compared to spring was relatively quiet. Two groups of Wood Lark totalling 22 birds were seen, with 110 Starling coming into the bushes on the rough area by the limestone cliffs, with 96 Golden Plover, two Grey Plover and two Greater Sandplovers on the actual headland tip.

 Paphos Castle

Wood Lark

With the recent rain, compared to the very dry brown landscape found everywhere in November, green growth now is found everywhere and plants are either in flower or showing signs of starting.

 Cyclamen cyprium

Greater Sandplover

Somewhere out there are 96 Golden Plover, 
and a slightly rough sea

28th January

A slightly less windy day, but still a walking and observing day so we headed over to the Akrotiri area. 

At Zakaki Marsh the Penduline Tits proved to be extremely showy with 18 birds at one stage near to the hide, with a single Bluethroat and two Reed Buntings also seen.

Penduline Tit


As we headed to Bishop's Pool/Farm we drove down Ladies MIle which had a large number of mainly Black-headed Gulls present, but we also saw two Common Gulls, one that had a slightly darker mantle and larger appearance that may well have been of the race heinei.

Black-headed Gulls

Common Gull - possibly race heinei.
Bishops Pool held four Ferrunginous Ducks and a single Black-necked Grebe. A check of some of the surrounding fields produced a couple of Mistle Thrushes and male and female Siberian Stonechats.

Male Siberian Stonechat - restricted orange on breast, large white 
neck collar, large white wing patches and pure white rump.

Anemone Coronaria, Bishop's pool

A final drive around Akrotiri Gravel pits was particularly fruitless, seemingly fairly birdless.

On the way back to Paphos we stopped off at Lower Xeros Potamos River down to the reed bed by the desalination plant and set up to see what may have been utilising the reed bed as a roost, particularly if the local wintering Song Thrushes might be using it, which as it turned out they did not, though a small number of Chiffchaffs did. We had one re-trap Cetti's warbler which was useful.

Total: 19 (1)

Song Thrush - 2
Cetti's Warbler - 0 (1)
Sardinian Warbler - 2
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 13
Chaffinch - 1

29th January

After a few days of windy weather we are forecast a few days of little or light windy, but with it has come overnight frost.

We decided to give one of our usual ringing areas a go and set up at Kouklia. It was a moderate session, with a single Crested Lark and a couple of Spanish Sparrows, out of a total of only 28 new birds, with a re-trap Blackcap from our November visit last year.

Female Blackcap

Male Spanish Sparrow

Cetti's Warblers, male top and female bottom

Totals: 28 (1)

Crested Lark - 1
Robin - 2
Song Thrush - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 3
Sardinian Warbler -
Blackcap - 1 (1)
Chiffchaff - 12
Spanish Sparrow - 2
Chaffinch - 2
Serin - 1

We then had a run around Mandria and quickly came across a Merlin harrying the Sky Lark flock and was then found sitting in the field. A flock of about 40 Golden Plover flew in and a couple of Bluethroat were picked up by the orange grove, one taking to a freshly delivered pile of soil and manure.