Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Cyprus - our final day of birding...

This afternoon I've finally had the chance to edit the last of my photos from Cyprus, taken on our last day's birding of the holiday (back on the 7th of April).

We spent the day around the Aphrodite Trail and the Baths of Aphrodite at the start of the Akamas Peninsular, and we managed a great selection of birds...

Of course the first birds we got on arrival were the Eastern Olivaceous Warblers which were not hard to find around the entrance to the caravan park. An Eastern Bonelli's Warbler was also calling and singing in the gully. An Isabelline Wheatear was the first we'd seen here, and when we reached the north end a stunning first-summer male Pallid Harrier flew over.

We next started the 7.5km round walk of the Aphrodite Trail. It led out across the scrubby hillsides, reaching the top of the hills and descending down the very steep cliffs. Cyprus Wheatears were the most obvious bird throughout, and we estimated seeing 15 on the walk. Serins were also in the upland woodlands, a bird which didn't seem very easy to see at lower altitudes.

When we reached the highest point of the hills, we picked up a falcon close to us, and were really surprised to see a pale morph Eleonora's Falcon - a lifer we thought we'd be much too early to get. 3 Masked Shrikes were also up here, and I finally managed to see Cretzschmar's Bunting with 2 singing males, which was the last of my targets.

Other sightings included a first-summer Steppe Buzzard, Hoopoe and our only Meadow Pipit of the trip, while the nearby Smygies Picnic Site gave us more Cyprus Wheatears and two day-calling Cyprus Scops Owls.

First-summer male Pallid Harrier

Eastern Olivaceous Warblers

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Masked Shrike
Steppe Buzzard
Isabelline Wheatear

Cyprus Wheatears
Eleonora's Falcon - very distant at this point!

Red-rumped Swallow
Eastern Bonelli's Warbler - call and song

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