Week Ending 2 Sep 12
* A photo of the species is included please visit Flickr site to view
A bank holiday Monday and I have arranged to meet Colin Richardson the Cyprus Recorder at Akrotiri.
Following last week’s successes, I keep thinking things must slow down soon and the highlights will reduce but it “just gets betta” (said in a Greg Wallace – Masterchef type way). I submitted 736 records of 128 species last month and the Cyprus year list now stands as 132.
I expect September to be busier so, I’ll have to have my eye in during the coming month.
Monday, a bank holiday, and a drive to Akrotiri Salt lake to meet Colin Richardson , a friend and the Cyprus bird recorder. We left Ay Nik early and were at Akrotiri Salt Lake by 0730ish. Disappointingly, no Demoiselle Cranes were present and raptor passage was nearly non existent. I did however add a Black Kite, Montague’s Harrier and Marsh Harrier. Out on the Salt Lake 179 Slender-billed Gulls – which is unprecedented for this time of year, four Great White Egrets and three Spoonbills. Two White Storks lingered, three Whimbrels were a surprise but the Marsh Terns weren’t. At Lady’s Mile on the way home a winter plumage Sanderling stood out amongst the Little Stints and three summer plumaged Dunlins were also obvious amongst the many Kentish Plovers. Engineering work at Limassol Port has produced a run-off with water being pumped into the salt lake. This has had a very positive effect as seen by the presence of the Slender-billed Gulls and at least 700 Greater Flamingos – not normal in the summer.
Tuesday and its back to the guessing game – where is the next migrant going to turn up? I visited Akhna Dam, however there was little wader activity. As I arrived a long winged white tern flew toward me. I quickly got out of the car in time to see a stubby black bill and white back with a black smudge on the ear coverts. A Gull-billed Tern, flying purposefully south and not stopping – a good start. A Great White Egret had been reported in the morning by my Cypriot birding friend and it remained in situ for the evening – putting on a good fishing display. Three species of Shrike were noted, a couple of Hoopoes, another or the same first winter Citrine Wagtail and as I left a Wryneck was on the grass in the open, probably the same bird as last week – a bit of an extravert this one. Deb also photographed a Common Snipe* that remained in place feeding and cooperative for the camera.
I have been made aware of a heinous birding crime that is taking place on island – SUPPRESSION!!!!! A White-breasted Kingfisher has been suppressed for several days, so as the local photographers could get it – a crime punishable with a severe tongue lashing and will cause a delay in me reporting birds from this end of the island. It’s a Cyprus “tick” for me so I’ll probably attempt it at the weekend when I am going to Akrotiri Salt Lake again to try and see the Demoiselle Cranes that appear to be fairly scarce this autumn.
Wednesday afternoon as you’ve probably remembered is the midweek visit to Ayia Napa Sewage Works (barring there being a MEGA in the area). Find your own MEGAs if you can, it’s much more rewarding. A great visit. Four Alpine Swift, 32 Honey Buzzards in a thermal heading out over the Cape and a real surprise. I was alerted by an unfamiliar call. I investigated and found a female Common Rosefinch. Unfortunately no camera but if accepted, I have submitted the description, it will be the eighth record for Cyprus and another Cyprus “tick”.
I had an operational visit to Akrotiri on Thursday, so departing from Ay Nik early allowed me time to check Akrotiri Salt Lake for Cranes. No Cranes today – another dip. The salt lake held the by now familiar Flamingos, six Great White Egret, Slender-billed Gulls and a flyby Red-rumped Swallow. Later that evening Akhna Dam was relatively quiet but Spotted Flycatchers* now appear to be coming through in good numbers. 28 Wood Sandpipers were impressive and a juvenile Collared Pratincole* was a late migrant. Another or the same Gull-billed Tern was present and obligingly landed for the camera*.
Friday, the weekend and unfortunately no birding due to me indulging in too much Keo.
Saturday is another Birdlife Cyprus field trip to Akrotiri Salt Lake for Demoiselle Cranes (again) and raptor migration. I also intend to attempt to find the White-breasted Kingfisher above Asporkremmos Dam. Disaster, no Cranes again on the third attempt. The field trip produced my first Ferruginous Duck at Bishop’s Pool, five female Marsh Harriers and a Ringtail Montague’s. Two Purple Herons were at Phasouri Reed Beds and several Curlew Sandpipers were at Lady’s Mile. We returned home having not attempted the Kingfisher.
In a break with tradition I visited Ayia Napa Sewage Works in favour of Larnaca. I’m pleased I did, as I flushed two Corncrakes, saw four Golden Orioles, eleven Ortolan Buntings* and a couple of Honey Buzzards. Ayia Napa Football Pitches held the usual selection of species although a Whinchat was a new bird for the year.
For pictures of birds with * please click on the following Flickr links:
For a Snipe at Akhna Dam click here http://www.flickr.com/photos/birder639/sets
For a Spotted Flycatcher at Akhna Dam click here http://www.flickr.com/photos/birder639/sets
For a Wryneck at Akhna Dam click here http://www.flickr.com/photos/birder639/sets
For a Gull-billed Tern at Akhna Dam click here http://www.flickr.com/photos/birder639/sets
Other interesting finds: On Tuesday evening as Deb and I walked around Akhna Dam trying to photograph the Great White Egret a Chameleon fell out of a tree in front of us. No doubt a possible member of the AOS, it had obviously fallen asleep on the job and lost its grip. Anyway Deb got some great photos of it and another creature is also in the photo – comments welcomed*.
Look Forward: It’s supposed to get busier in September! I’ve already been fairly productive so I don’t know if I’ll be able to meet the demands of September and heavy migration – but I’ll give it my best shot.
If you are planning a visit or require more info please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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