Cyprus Weekly

Birding Highlights for the Week Ending 2 Mar 14

Cream-coloured Courser at Akrotiri Gravel Pits on 26 Feb.

Monday and the standard trip to Akhna Dam as there’s not enough light yet to do anything else.  Anyway, 3 Green Sandpipers and a Redshank were still present although a Ringed Plover was new in situ.  A Common Buzzard flushed them and around the corner 2 Great White Egrets lurked amongst the 8 Grey Herons.  4 Moorhens was my largest count for a while and a Bluethroat called and showed briefly.  A Water Pipit was overhead calling and as I watched, 137 Cormorants were in formation flying NE – a recognised migration pattern for this time of year.  8 Teal are hanging on but there wasn’t much to talk about.

On Tuesday I ventured to the Cape Greco area and although the weather looked promising, there was little about.  The male Blue Rock Thrush was still present as were 2 Black Redstarts and several Stonechats.  2 male Cyprus Warblers were present along with a few Sardinians and a single Song Thrush.  It appeared that many species had thinned out including the female Finsch’s Wheatear.  I continued to Ayia Napa Sewage Works where 46 Little Grebes were on the lagoons and in the area 7 Song Thrushes, a Common Buzzard but little else.  The rare Ochris papillionacea palestina (Caspian Butterfly Orchid) is in bud and should be in flower when the AOS are here.  I also photographed Yellow Bee Orchid and a good stand of Giant Orchids.  That was about it as nothing much of interest was at Sotira Pond and Paralimni Lake but the area is looking good for migrant waders in a few weeks.

On Wednesday, with late news of a Cream-coloured Courser* at Akrotiri Gravel Pits on Tuesday evening , I successfully twitched a very obliging and confiding individual that positively ran at the camera!  A superb bird and Cyprus “tick”; the Courser family always gives me pleasure!  At Larnaca Sewage Works the Geese made an unexpected appearance 12 Lesser Whitefronts and a Greylag.  2 Gadwalls were also present and on Spiro’s Pool, 11 Ruff.  Several resplendent pink Slender-billed Gulls were amongst the Black-heads at the Salt Lake and c850 Shelducks were still present.  I returned home as quickly as I could to find that I was subject of a Comp B and was homeward bound.

Due to the fact that I have to fly to the UK on compassionate leave with Debs at 2200 on Thursday, that’s the enforced abridged version of this week’s BLOG.  For the first time in 20 months, there will be no BLOG next week – apologies.

Highlights of the Week:  The immaculate Cream-coloured Courser – what else?

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Mark Easterbrook

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