Cyprus Weekly

Birding Highlights for the Week Ending 25 Aug

Glossy Ibis at Akhna Dam on 24 Aug

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Apologies for the late post this week but a combination of a few days off and a busy period at work for obvious reasons have left me with not much time.  Monday and migration is in full swing.  Lots of good birds flooding through but still more to find and last week’s successes prove if you get out, you’ll find something.  Monday saw me a Lady’s Mile, Limassol, searching for and finding a Broad-billed Sandpiper amongst the throng of Kentish Plovers and Little Stints.  A pair of Dunlin were unexpected and a lone Sanderling adult moulting out of breeding plumage was a good year “tick”.  Bishop’s Pool was quiet but held a drake Ferruginous Duck whilst on the Salt Lake at Akrotiri, Greater Flamingo numbers were in the thousands with some attempting to breed whilst Slender-billed Gulls numbered c350.  At Kensington Cliffs at least 10 Eleonora’s Falcons hawked the hillside and a distant Griffon Vulture, like a flying barn door was obvious.  A brief visit to Akhna Dam produced nothing new but at least 8 Hoopoes were impressive and a Little Owl sat in its usual hole.

The heap of a car in the garage on Tuesday in an attempt to rectify a recurring issue doesn’t sound good but I await the outcome.  However, it was returned pending the delivery of a part and I was able to meet Colin Richardson at Akhna Dam by 1600.  Colin had already had a successful day at Petountas Point, Larnaca Sewage Works and the Ayia Napa Area bagging a few autumn migrants but fortunately our luck was in and more migrants were present.  The usual Wood, Green and Common Sandpipers were present but 4 Temminck’s Stint were a good count.  Shrikes, Red-backed, Lesser Grey and Masked were much in evidence as were a good number of Hoopoes.  As we walked the East bank of the southern arm at Akhna we flushed a bird which eventually gave itself up as a Wryneck which was a good autumn record.  A couple of Black-winged Stilts were present with about 20 Yellow Wagtails and around the site at least 10 Kingfishers were very vocal.  A little further along a Little Crake, my first for the autumn flushed as did a Collared Pratincole which circled for a while and a count of 27 Night Herons was my highest ever for the site accompanied by 3 Squacco Herons.   Spur-winged Plover numbers had risen to circa 50 and at the reed bed we observed a couple of Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers.  We saw the usual Little Owl whilst exiting the site on route to the Cattle Egret roost.  As the Cattle Egrets came in they were joined by 9 Glossy Ibises and eventually the roost must have totalled 500+.

I quickly visited Akhna Dam on Wednesday afternoon but nothing was new and on Thursday I had to visit Troodos again.  Before leaving Ay Nik a Little Owl was seen.  With little time to look around, I saw 7 or 8 Cyprus Wheatears, a couple of Chaffinches and a Jay.  A single Masked Shrike continued around the station.  I retuned home late and was unable to get out anywhere so ended a fairly unproductive couple of days.

Friday had arrived and I visited the Fresh Water Lake in Famagusta via the “bread shop”.  Nothing special was present although a count of 14 Squacco Herons and 42 Grey Herons was good.  Waders have started to return as the lake dries out and reveals muddy fringes but surprisingly no marsh Terns were present.  A female Black Francolin was new for the site.  On Saturday the 24 August I went to the Cape Greco area in the hope of finding some migrants.  Ayia Napa Football Pitches held 19 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Lesser Grey Shrikes, 3 Red-backeds and 7 Hoopoes with a Spotted Flycatcher and a single Whitethroat.  Later at the sewage works, 47 European Beeaters drifted overhead and the bushes were alive with Sylvia warblers; Eastern Orphean, Lesser and Common Whitethroats, Spectacled Warblers and a single juvenile Barred Warbler.  5 Masked Shrikes, a Common Swift, Spotted Flycatcher and a female Marsh Harrier rounded it off.  Akhna Dam in the evening was productive with my first Ortolan Bunting* of the autumn.  Waders were present in the form of Temminck’s and Little Stints* with a smattering of the commoner Sandpipers, however 2 Common Snipe was the highlight.  A single Sedge Warbler was seen as was a Glossy Ibis.  I stopped at Vrysoulles on the way home and reassuringly the Barn Owl was still in its usual roost. 

On Sunday, at Akhna Dam there was much disturbance and shooting – of European Beeaters unfortunately.  It never ceases to amaze me how Cypriots derive pleasure?  A very sick and selfish people indeed.  Anyway 15 survived to live to fight another day and continued their migration.  A handful of Sand Martins passed with the Swallows but there weren’t any additional arrivals from Saturday’s records except for a solitary Ruff.  I returned home to cook the BBQ (no women allowed at the grill), which was enjoyable and looked forward to the bank holiday Monday.

Highlight of the Week:  Watching at least 10 Eleonora’s Falcons is always enjoyable and a Wryneck in the autumn is always a good bird to get.

Look Forward:   The bank holiday weekend and hopefully a working car that will allow me to get to Akrotiri for some migration.

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

Mark Easterbrook

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