(6) Blog Posts Made in May 2015

Cyprus Weekly

Birding Highlights for the Week Ending 31 May 15

Spur-winged Plover and very young chick at Akhna Dam on 28 May.

Cape Greco Pines were very quiet on Bank Holiday Monday. So the hope of some late migrants to add to the year list.  Although no year birds were found a couple of late migrants were interesting. In the pines a Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Warbler were late and remarkably after 2 years I managed a picture of a Eurasian Magpie* - understandably, as they get shot at a lot, they are very wary and don’t sit anywhere for very long. Anyway, for completeness, I grabbed a photo for the gallery. Near the picnic site, a male Black-headed Bunting sang from atop a bush and a male Cyprus Wheatear was expected. At the Sea Caves, an Alpine Swift headed west which was unexpected. The evening at Akhna Dam was fairly predictable with the Great White Egret still being in attendance. It was generally the same although a wader caught my eye which proved to be a Common Redshank. Although unremarkable, it was my first ever May record of the species, so interesting all the same – a Wood Sandpiper and Squaccos were nearby and I flushed a Hoopoe. As I left a family covey of Chukars, including at least 15 chicks ran in front of the car.

On Tuesday afternoon, I decided to check Koprulu Dam in the North to see if the Lesser Flamingo was still present – It wasn’t.  In any event the site is without doubt the best wetland on the island at present thanks to some good negotiating and conservation work by KUSKOR – The Turkish birding group, which has ensured that water is not drained from the site. It’s always heaving with birds here and today was no exception although working through the 1200+ Common Coots can be a little tedious at times.  But it’s worth it! As I looked I saw 3 Whiskered, White-winged Black and a Gull-billed Tern. 2 female Marsh Harriers were very active and Herons were well represented, with Purple, Squacco, Grey (including 2 juvs), Little and Cattle Egrets being present with c100+ Glossy Ibises. I moved to the North end of the marsh, along the raised embankment there was quite a gathering of wildfowl including 50+ Mallards including many ducklings, a female Red-crested Pochard with 5 ducklings, a pair of Ferruginous Ducks and a very lonely looking drake Common Pochard – very unusual for May. I noticed a collection of waders along a raised bit of dry vegetation feeding and sheltering under 3 or 4 bushes. As I scanned I saw 30+ Ruff, 2 Little Stints and 2 Wood Sandpipers with numerous Black-winged Stilts around the site and 2 Spur-winged Plovers. As I continued to watch, I was surprised to see 2 adult Collared Pratincoles. Observing more intently, astonishingly, I saw 2 downy looking juveniles that appeared flightless. Another adult flew in showing the red underwing and drew my attention to another juvenile. The birds must have bred at the site – amazing. Described as opportunistic breeders, the site must have attracted them, with the water – great work KUSKOR! I continued to observe and felt that there were 2 pairs of Pratincoles with 2 chicks each. I reported the discovery to Colin Richardson who confirmed that the only other breeding record was from Jun 14, 1913 (per Flint & Stewart). As I left the site very happy, the usual Little Owl was perched on wires near to the houses in the village.

Wednesday evening at Akhna Dam was predictably dull with the highlights being 6 Rollers, 1 Great White Egret, an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and a pair of Black-winged Stilts, with a few of the usuals including Spur-winged Plovers and Squacco Herons. Thursday evening was similar with the Great White Egret still being present in the same place. Perhaps the highlight was seeing 2 pairs of Spur-winged Plovers, 1 pair with 4 chicks and 1 pair with 2 chicks, newly hatched and hiding, which I managed to photograph – they’re the youngest ones I’ve seen.

On Friday morning, I left the house at first light to photograph the habitat of the Collared Pratincoles at Koprulu and to have another look. 5 adults were present in the same area but no sign of any juvs. From the way the birds were behaving and returning to the same very small piece of vegetation, I suspect the juvs were hiding in the vegetation and I was unable to see any.  As I watched 6 Whiskered Terns were flying with the Pratincoles and 2 Flamingos took off, the size differential being obvious, one a Lesser and one a Greater, when they landed, I confirmed the ID. An adult Night Heron alighted from the reeds as did several Squaccos and c30 Corn Buntings. A Hoopoe flew past me and on the far side of the marsh a drake Shoveler was present. With a pair of Red-crested Pochards and 5 Ferruginous Ducks flying around it was quite a productive hour. A single late Sand Martin was also a surprise.

On Saturday evening, I visited Akhna Dam briefly and the Great White Egret was still present with the usual Herons and 2 Black-winged Stilts but that was about it.  It would appear that migration has come to an end. I was busy and tied up with admin etc on Sunday so was unable to get out but I did hear Stone Curlews calling all night from behind the house.

Highlights of the Week:  Breeding Collared Pratincoles at Koprulu – the first since Jun 14, 1913 was an incredible and much unexpected discovery.

If you are planning a visit or require more info please feel free to contact me at:  birder639@yahoo.com

Mark Easterbrook

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Cyprus Weekly

Birding Highlights for the Week Ending 24 May 15

Corn Bunting at Akhna Dam on 22 May

On Monday, an afternoon visit to Akhna Dam had good numbers of Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stints present with reduced numbers of Temminck’s Stints and Wood Sandpipers.  Herons were well represented with Grey, Purple, Squacco and Little Egrets showing themselves periodically.  A lone Coot was a new arrival, 45 Glossy Ibises flew in and a female type Yellow Wagtail was a surprise.

As I left the site a European Roller passed in front of the car.  In the evening a European Beeater flew over the back garden, calling.

Stone Curlews were heard at the back of camp during the night of the 18th.  In the afternoon, I paid a brief visit to Akhna Dam, with the heat rising rapidly, the wetlands are the only likely place to find birds at the moment.  A heat wave this week has sent temperatures to 35 degrees on average.  Perhaps next week when it drops to normal May levels there may be a little migration once more.  Curlew Sandpipers had increased to 19, Glossy Ibises to 88 and Little Stints were fairly stable at 33.  2 Ringed Plovers were present and the  surprise bird of the day was a non breeding plumaged Black-tailed Godwit.  Other than that it was generally the same as Monday with the Heron species.  At least 5 Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, a Reed Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler were heard as I traversed the area.

With it all getting a bit samey and Deb requiring a JUMBO visit we headed off to Larnaca on Wednesday afternoon.  5 Spur-winged Plovers were in the JUMBO Drain, so I moved to Oroklini.  With the heat and humidity being quite uncomfortable I wasn’t very hopeful. So it proved, with the water levels reducing, a Little Tern fished whilst 3 Glossy Ibises landed briefly for a drink. 2 Squacco Herons were visible with 1 Little Egret and a small (c60) breeding colony of Cattle Egrets.  Spur-winged Plovers numbered 4 and 18 (9 pairs) of breeding Black-winged Stilts were evident.  A single Ruff was chased by a pair of Stilts and that was about it for the day.

On Thursday, it was my departure (it’s getting close) Silver Lunch in the Mess so no birding in the afternoon.  On Friday, I did a quick visit to Akhna Dam.  Glossy Ibises numbered 46, with 1 Wood Sandpiper amongst them. 7 Curlew Sandpipers were present with 5 Ruffs and 7 Little Stints.  As I drove around a Purple Heron flushed and then I was surprised by the appearance of a Great White Egret.  Unusual for this time of year 5 Corn Buntings* were present and as I left a couple of Rollers chased each other.

On Saturday, I heard a few European Beeaters calling as they passed over the house so being awake I headed off to Cape Greco.  It was very quiet with the only things of note being a Turtle Dove, Spotted Flycatcher, a singing Black-headed Bunting and a single European Beeater.  A male Cyprus Warbler sat in the open singing and Spectacled Warblers were in and out of the bushes.  As I drove around the Sea Caves and Limnara area, I was surprised by a calling Short-toed Lark amongst the many Crested Larks and on a wire was another European Beeater.  I tried to photograph a male Red-backed Shrike without luck and c110 Greater Flamingos were out at sea heading east.  Ayia Napa Sewage Works was also very quiet with an Eastern Olivaceous, Turtle Dove, 2 singing Black-headed Buntings and a Spectacled Warbler being the sum total for a trudge around in the heat. 

We stayed in Bojaz for the night of the 23rd, so on the way back on Sunday, I stopped at the Famagusta Wetlands.  At Silver Beach a Little Tern was the highlight with a Squacco Heron and 3 Kentish Plovers nearby.  8 Black-winged Stilts were present with 3 chicks, proving breeding at the site.  At Gulserin a pair of Ferruginous Ducks was a good find but a male Shoveler was unseasonal and a Wood Sandpiper was at the base of the reed bed.  My final stop was Fresh Water Lake South where I immediately saw a Whiskered Tern and another pair of Ferruginous Ducks.  The breeding colony contained at least 200 Cattle Egret nests with well developed chicks, 3 pairs of Glossy Ibises with chicks and a pair of Little Egrets with a pair of chicks.  A Squacco Heron was present but I couldn’t see a nest.  In the evening I visited Akhna Dam where 13 Squacco Herons, including 1 juvenile was a good count.  4 Rollers were present and on the lagoons, a pair of Black-winged Stilts were in the same area as 4 Little Egrets and once more the Great White Egret.  22 Glossy Ibises flew in as I left and on the way home the Little Owl was in its hole at Vrysoulles.  Common Swifts over the quarters must have numbered at least 200 and were making quite a noise.

Highlights of the Week:  Difficult this week – a Whiskered Tern and Great White Egret were good finds.

If you are planning a visit or require more info please feel free to contact me at:  birder639@yahoo.com

Mark Easterbrook

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Cyprus Weekly

Birding Highlights for the Week Ending 17 May 15

Lesser Grey Shrike - Cape Greco Antennas 17 May

Monday once more and an evening visit to Akhna Dam.  Arriving at the water the highlight was 18 Purple Herons taking flight with a few Grey Herons and Little Egrets.  6 Squacco Herons eventually showed themselves and a Roller was on top of a dead tree.  8 Glossy Ibises came in later and rested as 15 Little Stints, 2 Temminck’s and a couple of Wood Sandpipers fed actively.  A female Marsh Harrier flushed everything and once settled again a pair of Ringed Plovers were with a Little Ringed Plover before they departed.

On Tuesday afternoon I visited the Cape Greco area and once more the pines were the most productive.  At least 3 Collared Flycatchers remained (2 males), with a female Pied Flycatcher and 2 female Common Redstarts.  A number of Turtle Doves flushed and Spotted Flycatchers were the most numerous birds.  A pair of Whinchats were feeding actively and as I was leaving the now, regular pair of male Black-headed Buntings sand from the telegraph wires.  At Ayia Napa Sewage Works it was fairly quiet and it’s a sad thing when the highlight was 3 Sand Martins with 7 House Martins.  A Black-headed Bunting flew over the car and I photographed a Dragonfly which I believe to be a new species for me – Small Skimmer* (later confirmed by the Dragonfly recorder – Dave Sparrow – Thanks) which are quite scarce on the island, so a Dragonfly tick in the twilight of the tour was a bonus.  In the evening at Akhna Dam, a Roller was in the usual place and the female Marsh Harrier was still present harassing the waders.  17 Wood Sandpipers were in the majority although 13 Little Stint and 2 Temminck’s Stints looked a greater number as they ran around feeding furiously.  2 Common Sandpipers were also present with a pair of breeding Spur-winged Plovers and 5 Ruffs arrived for a drink as I watched.  A Greenshank was the biggest surprise and as it called, 2 Squacco Herons and an adult Night Heron emerged from the longer grass.

Household provisioning duties took  place on Wednesday afternoon allowing me only a little time at Akhna Dam on the way home.  We were greeted by at least 15 European Beeaters on the wires with several being seen previously as we drove around.  Otherwise it was much the same.  The Greenshank was still present but had been joined by a Black-winged Stilt.  Ruffs had reduced to 4, Little Stints to 2 and Temminck’s Stints 4.  Wood Sandpipers were present in good numbers and 3 Purple Herons were present as were 3 of their smaller Squacco cousins but were outnumbered by the 28 Glossy Ibises that fed in front of me.  2 Spotted Flycatchers were the only passerines noted as I left the site.

At lunchtime of Thursday, I received and email from the Cyprus Recorder tipping me off that a probable Lesser Flamingo had been seen at Koprulu consorting with 50 or so Greater Flamingos.  I shot off immediately, arriving at about 1230.  30 or so White-winged Black Terns were in the air with 2 Whiskered, a Gull-billed and a Marsh Harrier.  Circa 120 Glossy Ibises added to the mayhem.  I concentrated on the Flamingos and after careful searching and about 20 minutes found a smaller bird with its head in the water most of the time.  Eventually, it rose and started to walk between the Greater Flamingos.  The size differential was obvious and the bill shape which was smaller and more acutely angled began to add up.  It appeared black at distance and I grabbed a few very ropey record shots in the heat haze and at distance.  The bird was overall more pinkish and lacked the obvious black and bright pink wing markings of the Greater Flamingos.  I concluded that it was a Lesser Flamingo* – a Cyprus and WP “tick”.  I left soon after to pick up Deb from work. 

The Larnaca shopping run in the afternoon, allowed me to drop Deb off for an hour and a half whilst I had a quick scoot around the Larnaca sites.  It was a good decision with lots of Curlew Sandpipers on Larnaca Airport Pool North and a concentrated effort revealed 2 Broad-billed Sandpipers amongst them.  On to the sewage works where Black Francolins called, a Stone Curlew took shade under a bush and 25+ White-winged Black Terns hawked the water with 3 Little Terns pirouetting near the hide.  A 1st winter Little Gull was a surprise and several commoner waders were on the plastic that separates the lagoons.  At Spiro’s Pool I was greeted by the site of hundreds of waders comprising 29 Curlew Sandpipers, c500 Little Stints, 2 Dunlins, 4 Black-winged Stilts, c120 Ruff, 6 Ringed Plovers and 4 Kentish Plovers.  A lone Greater Flamingo alighted, headed out to sea, thought better of it and landed at the far end of the pool. As I passed the airport’s south pool 18 European Beeaters* were on the wires. On the way home at Oroklini another Little Tern was the highlight and some common waders were present but there wasn’t very much to get excited about.

On Friday, I visited the Famagusta Wetlands and there were a few good birds around.  At Silver Beach, a Little Tern was with a Gull-billed Tern and 8 Little Stints fed with a Wood Sandpiper.  43 Yellow-legged Gulls were at Clapsides Beach and at Gulserin Pond, another Gull-billed Tern was present. 2 Sand Martins were with c500 Barn Swallows but that was it before I went for a bit of male grooming at the barbers before the Waterloo Night in the Mess, which obviously turned out to be a bit messy and put paid to any birding on Saturday morning.  In the evening I visited Koprulu in the north.  Only one Flamingo was present and it was the Lesser.  Circa 30 White-winged Black Terns were a good sight and a couple of Gull-billeds were also present.  3 Calandra Larks sang above the fields and there was one of each of Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron and Squacco Heron.  100 or so Glossy Ibises were flushed by a Marsh Harrier and a pair of Stone Curlews were in the field as I left with 4 Turtle Doves flying past the car.

With time running out for a few late migrants, I headed to Cape Greco early on Sunday morning.  The pines were sadly very quiet with only a male Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher and a flyover Red-throated Pipit to show for my efforts.  As I headed down to the cape, 3 European Beeaters were above me and 2 female Red-backed Shrikes* were present with one posing for the camera.  With not much happening, I was pleased to find my 1st Lesser Grey Shrike* of the spring, with a small passage in the spring, I thought I’d missed it for the year list.  A couple of Black-headed Buntings could be heard singing, Spectacled Warblers were everywhere and at least 3 male Cyprus Warblers sat up and sang in the open – most unusual.  A similar story at Ayia Napa Sewage Works with 4 singing Black-headed Buntings, a skulking Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and 6 Beeaters overhead was a sign that migration is petering out with the year list on 247 – will I make it to 250 before July 11th?

Highlights of the Week:  A first for Cyprus found by 2 BLC volunteers at Koprulu was also a WP tick and my 320th Cyprus bird – Thanks to Jane Stylianou for the tip off.  Collared Flycatchers are late but still good to see and the Lesser Grey Shrike was a bonus bird.

If you are planning a visit or require more info please feel free to contact me at:  birder639@yahoo.com

Mark Easterbrook

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Cyprus Weekly

Birding Highlights for the Week Ending 10 May 15

Broad-billed Sandpiper at Lady’s Mile on 6 May

Another week and I was unable to get out on 4th May so on Tuesday, I visited the Cape Greco area.  Not much on the Cape except for a female Red-backed Shrike but the pines were very busy.  A late Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler with 2 Willow Warblers was a surprise as was a Wryneck.  As I continued to walk a pair of Red-backed Shrikes were confiding and a pair of Common Redstarts, less so.  2 Lesser Whitethroats were with a Common Whitethroat and as I walked, Spotted Flycatchers became obvious.  Turtle Doves flushed regularly and the place was alive with large groups of Greenfinch and Goldfinch.  3 male Black-headed Buntings sang from wires in the open as I headed towards the sewage works.  Here more Turtle Doves and 2 Black-headed Buntings with a male Cyprus Warbler also obligingly singing in the open.  As I drove via the football pitches on the way home, I flushed a female Northern Wheatear.

On Wednesday, I had to take Deb to the polyclinic in Limassol.  I dropped her off at about 0900 and picked her up at 1100 which allowed me 2 hours around the Limassol area.  The first stop was Lady’s Mile.  A good decision as between the Little Stints and Kentish Plovers were 2 Broad-billed Sandpipers*, sometimes not an easy wader to catch up with.  Also in the area were a Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper and several Ruffs. A female Red-backed Shrike perched on the scrub as did a Linnet and a Spectacled Warbler.  As I drove to the salt lake a male Sardinian Warbler flew close to the car.  The salt lake was alive with birds and I quickly spotted 5 Gull-billed Terns with 4 White-winged Black Terns and at least 8 Little Terns.  The 2 1st winter Little Gulls were a bit of a surprise and at c40 Greater Flamingos remained along the east side of the lake.

On Thursday Fresh Water Lake South was fairly quiet but the Cattle Egret colony continues to thrive and 13 Yellow-legged Gulls were of interest.  Later at Akhna Dam at least 45 Wood Sandpipers were present.  A Roller provided a flash of colour and a single female type Yellow Wagtail was with 2 Temminck’s and a Little Stint.  As I returned home via Vrysoulles, a pair of Little Owls were in the usual site and I flushed 3 Golden Orioles, 2 males from the nearby orange grove.

On Friday before the Spanish Night at my house, I managed to get to Cape Greco whilst doing some last minute shopping.  On the way to the cape, near to the Ayia Napa Football Pitch complex, a pair of Laughing Doves perched on telegraph wires – my first for sometime.  Stopping at the Pines was a good decision as there’d obviously been a late mini fall of migrants.  3 male Collared Flycatchers were present with at least 2 females and 3 female Pied Flycatchers.  A couple of Willow Warblers flitted about and a male and female Blackcap was obvious as were a pair of Common Redstarts.  2 Woodchat Shrikes were a bit late and I flushed at least 10 Turtle Doves as I walked around with a flyover Ortolan Bunting.

On the 9th in the evening, I visited Akhna Dam, where a Roller greeted me and a Purple Heron flushed.  A pair of Whinchats were new arrivals and 2 Collared Pratincoles rested with Ruffs, Wood Sandpipers, Little Stints and at least 10 Temminck’s Stints (a good count).  A couple of Beeaters perched on wires before I drove home around the back of camp, finding 3 Rollers, 9 Beeeaters and a pair of Spanish Sparrows.

On the way to Cape Greco early on the 10th, 3 Beeaters were on the wires at Limnara Valley and 2 male Black-headed Buntings sang from the wires near to the pines.  The pines were once more productive, with a male and female Collared Flycatcher* being present with a couple of Whinchats and a pair of Redstarts. A Squacco Heron flew over the sea at the cape and a couple of Cyprus Wheatears sang from wires.  A Common Whitethroat was perched on a bush as I left the are on route to Ayia Napa Sewage Works.  A couple of Spotted Flycatchers were seen first and then a female Northern Wheatear.  As I walked the area I heard 3 Black-headed Buntings* and saw 2 with Spotted Flycatchers being present in good numbers along with a single female Pied Flycatcher.  4 Night Herons came in off the sea, a Beeeater perched on a wire and a Red-throated Pipit flew over calling. As I drove towards the football pitches a male Red-backed Shrike was in the open with a female Whinchat nearby.  At Koprulu in the afternoon after visiting the barbers for a haircut and a shave (Owwch, the threading of my cheek hair smarted a bit after an absence of a month), a few interesting birds were present.  4 Spoonbills remained with 52 Greater Flamingos and 34 Glossy Ibises.  A good count of 23 White-winged Black Terns was impressive and 6 Collared Pratincoles also hawked the water.  A few Marsh Harriers continually flushed the c200 Ruffs and as I walked the embankment, 2 Ferruginous Ducks flushed and a male Red-crested Pochard was with a drake Garganey and a pair of Teal.  A pair of Calandra Larks sang in the field nearby and a Great Spotted Cuckoo flushed from the reeds.  As I left the area a Little Owl was perched on wires near the housing estate.

Highlights of the Week:  Golden Orioles were a year tick recovery and Broad-billed Sandpipers are always a good find.  Late Collared Flycatchers were good to see and photograph.

If you are planning a visit or require more info please feel free to contact me at:  birder639@yahoo.com

Mark Easterbrook

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Cyprus Weekly

Birding Highlights for the Week Ending 3 May 15

Little Bittern – Akhna Dam on 3 May

On 27th April we were picked up at our hotel in Istanbul and headed off to the Gallipoli peninsular.  With an early morning start not much birding was done from the coach as I snored my way south.  On arrival at Ecearbat we had lunch, booked in and headed off to ANZAC Cove in the early afternoon.  Eastern Black-eared Wheatears were once more the common species with many singing Nightingales.  Yellow-legged Gulls were offshore and Red-rumped Swallows were above us as we took in the sombre scene.  A Long-legged Buzzard hovered above the Sphinx and we were soon photographing a Green Hairstreak.  At the final site of the day Chanuk Bair (The NZ memorial) an Eastern Subalpine Warbler was in song flight along with a Tree Pipit and another couple of Eastern Black-eared Wheatears were also present.

On Tuesday we had booked a private excursion to the Helles Battlefields and in particular Lancashire Landing.  From the Helles Memorial I could hear a Quail and a Corn Bunting and the ubiquitous Nightingales sang as the thousands of names looked on.  Moving onto the Mehmetcic Turkish Memorial which is a very impressive 41.7 metres and can be seen from everywhere, I looked into the Dardanelles Straits and was astonished to see hundreds of Yelkouan Shearwaters. At “V” Beach – the Irish landings, more of the same and a few Red-rumped Swallows above us.  We drove the track to “W” Beach – The Lancashire Fusiliers landing and passed a male Black-headed Bunting and a few more Wheatears.  On the track to the beach 2 Nightingales flushed and on the beach a Ortolan Buntings were paired up.  More Yelkouan Shearwaters were offshore as I walked the beach and tried to imagine the scene and destruction that must have gone on here a hundred years ago- very sobering and sad.  We passed Twelve Tree Copse cemetery and a Syrian Woodpecker flew from one on the pines.

In the afternoon we visited Troy on the Asian side of the straits.  As we crossed “The Narrows”, it allowed for great close views of Hundreds of Yelkouan Shearwarters* (I’ve never seen so many) and a few ropey photos – the birds were too fast moving for the capabilities of my camera.  At Troy, an interesting and well preserved place for its 3000 year age, all things considered, we saw a Little Owl* perched on the Temple of Athena – very apt and a male Common Redstart caught flies from a nearby tree.  Visit complete we began the 5 hour ride back to Istanbul.  This time more alert, from the bus on the way back in the Gallipoli area I saw a pair of White Storks, a couple of Woodchat Shrikes, 1 Masked Shrike, a Common Cuckoo and several Starlings with some other commoner species.  Arriving at our hotel at 2330 it was time for a shower and bed.  We rose early the next day and at least 30 Alpine Swifts were above the hotel once more with several Ring-necked Parakeets.  We left the hotel at about 1330 and arrived at the airport in plenty of time to catch our delayed flight back to Cyprus getting home at about 2200.  A very eventful week.

The next evening I visited Akhna Dam where a Great Snipe was with a Common Snipe and c30 Wood Sandpipers with a few Ruff scattered around.  A Purple Heron and Black-tailed Godwit were also present and 3 Turtle Doves came in for a drink. As I was leaving, I spotted a male Little Bittern* desperately trying to hide as I manoeuvred the car for a photo and in the nearby stubble fields a pair of Stone Curlews* were present.

Now a sad tail – an outbreak of Mugabbe’s Revenge, had me bedded down until Sunday afternoon in between running to the toilet every 15 minutes or so – Enough said and I’ll spare you all the graphic details.  Going a bit stir crazy, I ventured across to Koprulu in the north and eventually got a year tick with 3 Whiskered Terns being present.  A host of other birds were also there including 7 Spoonbills, c130 Greater Flamingos and 2 Great White Egrets.   2 Calandra Larks sang from the fields and c130 Glossy Ibises rose from the reeds as one of the many Marsh Harriers flew over.  A Common Cuckoo was a surprise and I eventually saw a male Ferruginous Duck.  On the way home at Fresh Water Lake South, the breeding colony is now well on its way with about c120 Cattle Egret nests all with an average of 3 chicks.  3 pairs of Glossy Ibises looked to be sitting and a pair of Squacco Herons also had a nest.  A lone drake Gadwall was an unexpected sighting and as I watched and approached a Little Bittern flushed from the reeds.  As I left I could hear a Water Rail calling.

Highlights of the Week:  A couple of year ticks with a Little Bittern and Whiskered Tern kept the year list ticking along.  Great Snipes are always good to find.

If you are planning a visit or require more info please feel free to contact me at:  birder639@yahoo.com

Mark Easterbrook

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