Sunday, 5 February 2017

Cyprus - 31st January 2017

Today we were joined by Graham who used to scribe for Alan Crabtree, the ringing officer for Cyprus. Sadly, Alan died last year and Graham rarely gets out with ringers, there being so few who regularly visit the Polis area.

We arranged to meet up today to cover one of Alan's regular sites, Agios Minas, Neo Chorio. It seemed rather quiet, as might be expect in January, but in ringing you never know what you'll find in the net and today after hearing 5 Crossbill overhead, a big deal since they are usually only reported from the Troodos mountains, the day got even better. These appeared to be cold weather migrants escaping the harsh conditions in mainland Europe. To our amazement we also caught two juvenile birds.

 Juvenile Crossbills

These both still had juvenile plumage, but we could not be sure whether the hatching year was late 2016 or early 2017 so erred on the side of caution and recorded both as 2Js. A first for us - although we have ringed Crossbird in the UK and Cyprus Troodos before. Graham was very pleased to see the Crossbills, if a little saddened that in all his years ringing on Cyprus, Alan had never caught any.

A Dunnock was another surprise, rarely seen and less often caught on Cyprus - Graham had never seen one in the hand before.

Dunnock, aged 5

Totals: 23 (4)

Robin - 11 (3)
Dunnock - 1
Sardinian Warbler - 4 (1)
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 1
Serin - 3
Crossbill - 2

In the afternoon as the weather had become unsettled with rain, a headed over to Ladies Mile at Akrotiri where a Knot, an uncommon bird in Cyprus had been seen, but it was absent pm, and there was the usual larger gathering of Gulls, with a single Slender-billed and Baltic Gull seen amongst the usual Yellow-legged, and Armenian and Caspian Gulls that are present in lower number. A single Sandwich Tern was also seen.