Cyprus Weekly 190812

The Bird Finder General reports from the Mediterranean
The Bird Finder General
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Ay Nik - CYPRUS

Cyprus Weekly 190812

Postby The Bird Finder General » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:00 am

Cyprus Weekly

Birding Highlights

Week Ending 19 Aug 12
* A photo of the species is included please visit Flickr site to view ... 727280178/

Overall an outstanding week, with lots of good migrants and residents up for grabs!

Monday, a long day at work, only allows for a quick visit to Akhna Dam. I suspected that the week would not be as rewarding as last week’s variety of birds. Having been on the island since 11 Jun, I successfully passed the 100 species barrier. Fittingly, the 100th bird was a beautiful singing male Cyprus Warbler at Cape Greco. I suspect, someone playing a recording of a singing Sardinian Warbler prompted this behaviour (who could that have been)? In any event at the beginning of the week the current species total resides at 104.

On Monday after work I attempted to twitch a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling at Ayia Napa Football Pitches which resulted in a dip. I did however see 4 Lesser Grey Shrikes and a Spotted Flycatcher. Later at Akhna I confirmed that the 2 Marsh Warblers were still present, photographed 6 Black-crowned Night Herons* and noted that the 2 Whiskered Terns (1 juvenile) and the White-winged Black Tern were still there. 2 Hoopoes fed actively, 7 Garganey flushed and a single Kingfisher* fed from a dead snag – and that was Monday.

I wait with baited breath to see if my Marsh Warblers of last week will be accepted by the Rarities’ Committee – with supporting photos and a superbly written description (modest as usual), I don’t see why not. They continued to be seen at Akhna Dam until the 14th. However, locals are of the opinion that they are Eastern Reed Warblers also known as Caspian Reed Warbler (fuscus), that do occur on passage. I look forward to the intellectual ornithological debate and am interested in the opinions of the experts on the photographs I’ve submitted – if experts on this matter exist?

I had to visit Troodos as the Troop Commander on Tuesday and Wednesday. I must visit at least once a month, so I attempt to make the most of it, if I can, and record the mountain specialities for the month. Additionally, it’s a welcome break from the heat of Ay Nik and it usually coincides with a leaving function – strange coincidence that? The draw back being – what am I missing at Akhna Dam, my local patch – I hate visitors finding birds on my patch! It invariably happens and I’m always gutted when it does. It’s like when you’re on a birding holiday abroad seeing some great birds and you find out someone found a Hoopoe on your patch in Lincolnshire. It’s a strange feeling but despite the great holiday, you wish you were there, in an Edith Charmers type way. Please read the weekly supplement for details of an unforgettable birding moment in Troodos.

Wednesday afternoon and evening and it was back to the slog of attempting to find migrants – some slog? Akhna Dam produced the usual suspects but a female Marsh Harrier was notable as was the change from juvenile Masked Shrikes to adult males and females. On the way home a Lesser Grey Shrike was on wires in the local village, Vrysoulles.

Thursday and Friday I had leave booked. Ridiculously, I thought I would get some concentrated birding done – Deb, the long-haired General had other ideas. Having said that a compromise was reached and happiness prevailed. I got out early on the Thursday arriving at Ayia Napa Sewage Works for 0630. 16 European Beeaters were calling and seen perched in trees, whilst Eastern Orphean Warblers continue to pass in good numbers. Regrettably another Blackcap was found in a mist net, this time a male. I have only seen 2 so far this autumn both in mist nets. Unless the locals have a ringing licence – anyone for pickled Blackcap? A Black Francolin was flushed on the return to the car.

Later at Cape Greco Picnic site, 3 Sardinian Warblers and a Cyprus Warbler showed themselves whilst a Spectacled Warbler posed for the camera*. On the return home Ayia Napa Football Pitches held 34 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Hoopoe, 5 Lesser Grey Shrikes and 1 Red-backed Shrike. We visited Larnaca for lunch and after a walk around the shops we headed off to the Sewage Works. Here I got a Cyprus “tick”, a Whimbrel – not an easy migrant on Cyprus. There was also a “ringtail” Montague’s Harrier and a Sand Martin – both firsts for the autumn as far as I know. At Oroklini Marsh (it’s on the way home and it’s a pity not to), a Water Rail and the first Ringed Plover of the autumn were noted.

On Friday, Deb and I had a picnic lunch at Cape Greco but obviously via the Sewage Works – do you see a pattern developing? Here, Deb photographed a beautiful Red-backed Shrike* and a juvenile Roller*, the resident Long-legged Buzzard perched on a rock for us. In the evening I visited Akhna Dam and found a Little Crake* which was pleasing. 2 Sedge Warblers continued to flit about the reeds and a Great Reed Warbler then appeared*.

An early morning jaunt to Akhna Dam on Saturday saw me bag my first Woodchat Shrike – a nice adult male and with a Lesser Grey, Red Backed and a variety of Masked Shrikes being present. I did think where else could you see 4 Shrike species in a matter of minutes? The Little Crake continued to perform in its favoured area of reeds and activity was brisk.

The Sunday visit to the market, Oroklini Marsh, Larnaca Sewage Works and Spiro’s Pool. The obligatory Cyprus Special Sandwich for 4 Euros is a must and what more could a lady want than to have lunch at the sewage works (or am I missing the point)? The sewage works held 9 Northern Shovellers and 4 Eurasian Teal – numbers are increasing. 2 juvenile Whiskered Terns were present, 8 Little Stints and a European Roller. The nearby Spiro’s Pool will be dry by the end of the week but still held approximately 150 Kentish Plover and 38 Yellow-legged Gulls. In the evening at Akhna Dam there was nothing new although a Long-legged Buzzard appears to have taken up residence as have 2 female Marsh Harriers. I photographed a Ruff* for the gallery and got a pretty good shot of an adult Whiskered Tern feeding a juvenile*.

If you do not wish to read a political rant please stop reading now:

Sadly, with migration comes illegal bird trapping (the pictures under SITES on the Flickr page some may find disturbing) and the mindless slaughter of millions of birds every spring and autumn. I was unable to free the female Blackcap* (the first of the autumn), as it was on private land, a dog was present and I’d have probably been arrested for trespassing – unbelievable. Whilst the Cypriots currently hold the EU Presidency and willingly accept European money for building many useless speed humps and roundabouts, they also reject, ignore or disregard the laws they don’t like. The activity is illegal under EU law and it’s a disgrace that it is allowed to continue in a developed country and is a damning indictment of how ineffective the EU is. Indeed, several visiting birders have been beaten and spent time in hospital for attempting to release trapped birds and during my last tour a Game Reserve warden had his car blown up in Limassol – such is the profit to be made by the carnage and slaughter of millions of birds. Adhering to the typical Cypriot psyche – maximum profit, minimum effort.

I have the relevant emails of the RSPB, Birdlife Cyprus and the Cyprus Game Reserve so will be writing in due course with the photographic evidence, which I will continue to collect. Local perpetrators can be fined, although there is no appetite to enforce this by the Cypriot authorities, it is accepted that the activities are condoned as traditional pursuits. It clearly has little to do with tradition since mist nets and tape lures are less than traditional, lime sticks could be considered traditional, however, it is probably more to do with 80 Euros for a jar of 12 pickled song birds than tradition. Little has been achieved in the 12 years that I have not visited the Island, despite contrary claims by the Cypriot authorities. A despicable, cultural, lucrative activity carried out illegally with blind disregard for the future of the environment and wider European biodiversity.

Two nets here catching a conservative 12 birds a day, multiplied by say 50 nets in the area (probably a conservative estimate), and multiplied again by 2 months worth of migration….. You do the maths – a very large impact on European breeding warblers?


The week ended with a bag full of birds, with the Little Crake being memorable but moment of the week was undoubtedly the Goshawk and Peregrine encounter.

Other interesting finds: The search for Palm Dove has so far proved fruitless, however, I had almost forgotten about them in the rush of migrant activity.

Look Forward: Difficult to predict, migrants are everywhere so it’s down to maintaining focus and braving the summer heat in the pursuit of birding excellence.

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

Mark Easterbrook
Been There - Seen It
The BFG.

Lesser Spot Finder
Posts: 230
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:25 am
Location: Farnborough and anywhere between there and Norfolk

Postby Lesser Spot Finder » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:13 am

Mark, swift visit to Cyprus this week - decompression delayed in UAE. Tried to bird Bloodhound but Padre brief got in the way and I was ordered to sit and listen to top tips to avoid upsetting my family on my return. Did see the following though, mainly from a coach window:

Cyprus Wheatear (north of Bloodhound)
Cyprus Warbler (in Bloodhound)
Red-backed Shrike (north of Bllodhound)
Red-rumped Swallow (near SBA Police Station)
Great Flamingo (on the Salt Lake)

Disappointing really as I had hoped to pass through in a months time and spend a few hours birding at Tunnel Beach. The needs of the service and all that.

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