Monday, 2 June 2014

Cyprus: May 2014 Part 1.

A week in Cyprus for a family wedding, it was impossible to resist a few early mornings for some birding, having missed the main migration period but knowing that there were some wonderful breeding species to be seen! Upon arrival at our villa in the hills around Germasogia there was a singing Cyprus Wheatear, Cyprus Warbler and Sardinian Warbler. At dusk two Nightjars were churring on the hillside, and these were joined in the morning by a pair of Roller which frequented the telephone wires around us.

Endemic Cyprus Warbler

One of the pair of Rollers

If being bright blue wasn't enough, they also show a distinctive underwing pattern.

Being so close to Limassol was ideal, so our first trip out was to the Akrotiri peninsula. First stop was Zakaki Marsh, a small pool and a hide, with 15ft reed on one side and Limassol port on the other; a most unusual location but an incredible one. We visited 3 or 4 times during our stay, and every time we saw something new. The list from the site included Little Tern, Ferruginous Duck, Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Spur-winged Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Little Grebe, Wood Sandpiper, Citrine Wagtail, Black-headed Wagtail and Sedge, Reed and Fan-tailed Warbler.

View from the hide....

Two of the four Fudge Ducks ever present

Pair of Spur-winged Plover showing very well

Black-winged Stilt
Further down towards the sea was Ladies Mile, a long dirt track with some fairly grotty looking beaches on one side and some fairly grotty looking pools on the other. Despite the location, this site also provided some great birds, with four Kentish Plover and 12 Little Stint present all visits.

Pair of Kentish Plover

One of the cracking Little Stints

The last stop on the tour on the peninsula was the Phassouri reedbeds, another excellent site tucked away down a little track. It consisted of more gigantic reed with a beautiful grazing meadow covered with wild flowers, butterflies and birds. Here we found Wood Sandpiper, Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Fan-tailed Warbler, Blue and Black-headed Wagtail and singing Black Francolin. The insect life included Goliath Wasps, Common Blue and Swallowtail butterfly.

One of many Cattle Egret

Blue-headed Wagtail alongside a Cypriot cow

Black-headed Wagtail, one of the group of around 10 birds

Distant Fan-tailed Warbler
Goliath Wasp (photo courtesy of Lana)

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