Cyprus Weekly

Birding Highlights for the Week Ending 29 Dec

Greylag Goose at Larnaca Sewage Works on 25 Dec

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

I visited Akhna Dam on Monday and a drake Gadwall was unusual.  A Sparrowhawk was the first for the month, as was a Long-legged Buzzard.  With Deb at work, I visited the North to have a look at Koprulu, which was very dry with few birds present.  I did see several Golden Plovers on route and 4 Wood Larks were feeding with Meadow Pipits, Crested Larks and Corn Buntings.  I drove the fields around Gulvercinlik and this produced large numbers of Calandra and Skylarks, with Calandras becoming difficult in the south, they were a good find.  On the way to Gulserin Pond, which now has water, I stopped at Clapsides Beach.  In the surf were 2 Audouin’s Gulls, an Armenian Gull, several Yellow-legged Gulls, a Sandwich Tern, Grey Plover and a Curlew.  A lone adult Greater Flamingo in the sea was a bit of an odd sighting.  At Gulserin Pond a Spotted Redshank was good to see, with good numbers of Dunlin and Little Stint.  A Sparrowhawk flushed everything a couple of times but an adult Armenian Gull was obvious.  Later in the day at Akhna, a good number of Red-throated Pipits were in the fields behind the dam with c80 Corn Buntings and 4 Great White Egrets were scattered around the dam.

Unlikely as it seems on Christmas Day, I twitched a Greylag Goose* at Larnaca Sewage Works.  Only in Cyprus would you do such a thing, but with an addition to the Cyprus Year List and the first record since 2005, it was a “must see” bird.  Safely in the bag along with 13 Greater White-fronted Geese* and a superb male Hen Harrier with 224 Golden Plovers on Spiro’s Pool, Christmas Day could continue.

On Boxing Day we ventured over to the North as the shops were open and we needed some bread rolls.  Silver Beach held 27 Golden Plovers and 4 Shelduck, whilst Clapsides had a Wigeon which was unusual.  A shave at the barbers followed because I’m on leave and was too lazy to do it myself.  The 27th at Akhna Dam was fairly dull, although the Buff-bellied Pipit was still present with Meadow Pipits and a single Water Pipit.  Hung-over on the 28th, bad head stopped play!

On the 29th amidst a huge thunder storm which seemed to be island wide and following an earthquake which was of a 5.9 magnitude (and yes, the earth did move for me), I drove to Larnaca Sewage Works.  It was all a bit of a washout and seldom do I sack birding in Cyprus because I can’t hold my scope still or see through the rain.  Anyway, from what I did see, 2 Black-winged Stilts and a Redshank were on the lagoons with 11 Black-necked Grebes and 5 Shelducks.  As I drove past the Salt Lake returning home, it was good to see 68 Greater Flamingos returning to the lake and at least 80 Shelducks on the mud at the edge of the lake.  I returned home and it rained for the rest of the day.

Highlight of the Week:  The Greylag Goose of course and the first record since 2005, although I had seen them in my previous tour in 1998, 99 and 2000 – they used to be more regular.

Look Forward:  A New Year is looming and so to the beginning of a New Year list – childish I know, but it keeps you interested and going out.

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

Mark Easterbrook

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