Thursday, 26 April 2018

Cyprus - Day three: a full day birding...

Our third day of our holiday was mine and my Dad's only designated full day birding of the trip, so we decided to head south-west and basically try and get as many lifers as possible...

Our first stop was the Asprokremmos Dam. Chukar was our first lifer of the day, and we saw around half a dozen birds around the site. However, our biggest target here was Cyprus Warbler, and eventually we found a pair up on one of the hillsides below the dam - difficult birds with the number of Sardinians around. As we were walking back to the car, a Spur-winged Plover appeared on one of the dried up pools and spared us a trip into Paphos. Other sightings here included our first flock of Purple Herons with 7 flying over the reservoir, an Alpine Swift, plenty of Crested Larks and a Red-throated Pipit.

From here, our next stop was Mandria. In the town itself we managed to track down a couple of singing male Laughing Doves, while the beach produced a Spur-winged Plover in flight and a flock of 20+ Short-toed Larks. We had just a short stay here as we were told about one of our most hoped for birds of the trip on nearby Timi Beach...

On arrival at the beach it didn't take long for us to get onto the stunning summer plumage Greater Sand Plover which was feeding among the stones. This bird looked great through the scope, even if the heat haze made photography difficult. The nearby cliffs had a pair of Isabelline Wheatears and a male Eastern Subalpine Warbler showed briefly in a field, along with a Whinchat. This was also probably the best site we visited for butterflies with at least six species including Swallowtails, Bath Whites and Mallow Skippers.

For our next stop we headed back inland to Anarita Park, where a group of 4 Lesser Kestrels were hunting over a hillside, as well as a Peregrine and 3 Tawny Pipits.

Finally, we made the short journey to Nata Ford. The most numerous birds here were Spanish Sparrows with huge numbers feeding in the vegetation and bathing in the small river; we estimated at least 100, with just one or two House Sparrows. Two Turtle Doves here were great to see and my first view on the ground for probably six of seven years, while a pair of Bonelli's Eagles over a nearby hillside looked impressive. The river by the ford held a few waders; Green Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and Snipe, as well as a few Black-headed Wagtails and a single smart 'Superciliaris' type Yellow Wagtail

Cyprus Warbler
Spur-winged Plover

Crested Larks

Laughing Doves

Greater Sand Plover in the heat haze!
Isabelline Wheatear

Black-headed Wagtail - notice how the glossiness of the black actually makes it look paler from some angles, especially in this light.
Spanish Sparrows
Alpine Swift
Bath White
Mallow Skipper
Cyprus Grayling

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