Cyprus Weekly

Weekly Highlights for the Week Ending 18 Nov

Adult Bonelli's Eagle at Ayios Nikolaos (ESBA)

* indicates that a photo of the species is included please visit Flickr site.

On Tuesday, I managed some birding in the Larnaca and Limassol areas.  At Larnaca Sewage Works the first Wigeon at the site for the winter was a year tick.  The pair of White-fronted Geese and 4 Mediterranean Gulls were present – an adult, 2 2nd winters and 1 1st winter.  Also of interest was the arrival of 3 Cormorants and a male Black Redstart* fed around the fence line.  In the fields, at least 120 Skylarks, 8+ Calandra Larks, at least 6 Red-throated Pipit, 3 Meadow Pipit and a Corn Bunting all fed actively.  Whilst on Larnaca Salt Lake, c250 Greater Flamingos, 8 Shelducks and in the scrub about 30 Stone Curlews.  Spiro’s Pool also held 38 Golden Plovers an increase of 35 from the last visit.

At Lady’s Mile, Limassol at least 350 Black-headed Gulls loafed and a surprise Avocet fed amongst them.  A Little Crake was at Phassouri Reed Beds along with a Starling and 2 Marsh Harriers.  Akrotiri Salt Lake and surrounding areas held a good number of Stonechats, a couple of Chaffinches a Cetti’s Warbler and a late juvenile Red-backed Shrike.  A Common Buzzard flew over the trees and Robins could be heard in almost every bush.  As I retuned home a Little Owl called near the house and flew into a nearby tree.

On Wednesday afternoon I visited the Fresh Water Lake South in Famagusta as I wanted to visit Johnny Rockets for a Chilli Dog.  Anyway before the American 50s fest a juvenile White Pelican surprised me at the lake as did a Grey Wagtail.  Great White Egret Numbers have increased to 4 and Cormorants to 5.  A pair of late juvenile Whiskered Terns hawked the lake and I flushed a Snipe whilst walking around.  Wildfowl numbers have increased slightly to 3 Shovellers and 2 Teal. 

As I walked to work on Thursday 2 Song Thrushes passed overhead heading towards the tape lure that was playing which was annoying, I reported the event to the Police but I don’t know if any action was taken.  I had received a report of a Black Stork at Akhna Dam so I got there as quickly as I could after work.  In any event I couldn’t locate the Stork but spent a few hours.  As I was driving in, a small Falcon flew over me chased by a Kestrel.  As it sat in a ploughed field, I was delighted, as I thought, to be looking at a female Merlin.  My first of the winter and not an easy bird to find in Cyprus.  The dam itself has filled significantly since the rains so I was unable to drive around.  As I approached a now submerged reed bed, I heard a loud ticking and at this time of year it could only be a Moustached Warbler, 2 were present and good views were had.  I flushed a nearby Bluethroat and then heard and eventually located a single male Penduline Tit.  48 Starlings were also present and a female Hen Harrier hawked the reed beds.  3 Song Thrush were attracted by a “hunter” – POACHER – CRIMINAL with a tape lure who attempted to shoot them, I’m glad to say without success on this occasion.  2 Snipe flushed from the water’s edge and several Chiffchaffs were noted flitting about the reeds.

I drove around the Ay Nik area when I left work and there were many Skylarks* and Meadow Pipits but the highlight was an adult Bonelli's Eagle (above).  On Sunday I visited the Larnaca area.  I was fortunate enough to connect with a Ruddy Shelduck that was reported 2 days ago.  The 2 White-fronted Geese remained and a pair of Slender-billed Gulls joined the Black-headed Gulls*.  3 Wigeon remained but there was little else of note except for 6 Lapwing.   The Salt Lake still held c250 Greater Flamingo including 13 juveniles.

Akhna Dam has more water in and although it was very quiet it has attracted at least 3 Water Pipits.  A ringtail Hen Harrier was harrassed by a Kestrel and a single Pintail alighted shortly after my arrival.  I also sadly witnessed a Grey Heron* being shot for no particular reason other than the locals amusement - what a sad people!  I photographed it and have submitted the details to the game fund.

In Famagusta the Fresh Water Lake had 4 Cormorants, 2 Great White Egrets and a juvinile Whiskered Tern which is staying for a very long time.

For pictures of birds please click on the following Flickr links:

Other interesting finds: 11 Painted Ladies at Larnaca Salt Lake.

Highlight of the Week:  A Ruddy Shelduck, 4 Med Gulls of differing ages and the first Wigeon of the year for me.

Look Forward:  Now is the time to look for Dotterel and a rarity such as Steppe Grey Shrike or Great Grey Shrike along with unusual wintering wildfowl.

If you are planning a visit or require more info please feel free to contact me at:

Mark Easterbrook

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