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Post Info TOPIC: Cyprus Birding


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Cyprus Birding


Got back early hours Thursday from a weeks non-birding holiday with Michelle in Paphos, although I say non-birding she knows the rules, I can only lie in the sun for so long, considering it was mid 30's all week with a high of 37 deg C.

I did some birding locally to the hotel situated virtually on Rikkos Beach in Geroskipou, habitat included the beach, arid scrubland, and small areas of cultivation with farmland and orchards.
I also drove out to the same areas as last year up in the hills and mountainous areas of Kathikas, but knowing what birds are on offer up there I covered even more areas including Stroumpi, Akoursos, Theletra, and Pano Arodes to name a few.

- Zitting Cisticola. (Fan-tailed Warbler) (Lifer)
Seen just outside the hotel grounds on first day, literally yards from the beach in an arid sandy area with dry reeds. Heard them calling flying over, then one popped up on the dried shrubbery right near me. I saw and heard them all week after that in various locations locally and up in the hills too! How odd that I didn't get any last year, same locations birded at same time of year??

- Cyprus Wheatear. (Lifer)
2 males seen together up in the Kathikas Hills in exact same spot I had a Turtle Dove last year at the "Protected Area" Nature Reserve. Cracking looking birds, and I nearly missed them, 1 just whizzed passed me and sat up on top of a bush and kept flying round me. Then another appeared on the villa gates behind me. They took turns in disappearing and then popping up again. One disappeared and I was left just watching a single bird.

- Chukar. (Lifer)
A single bird ran out in the road on the way up into the hills and was actually running at the side of the car. It ran back into the cultivated area and disappeared. Another bird was heard later when I was out of the car.

- Cyprus Warbler.
2 birds seen in same vicinity as the Wheatears. A male was singing which gave it away, wasn't sure why it would be singing but I wouldn't have seen it otherwise. When it showed, I noticed another bird moving just near it, presumably a female as this one didn't have a black head, it was more of a browny grey, but still decidedly spotted.

- European Roller.
2 in the same view at close range in Kathikas Village. I was parked up under the communication wires they were on and I was just mesmerised by them. I love these birds and surely gotta be one of the most spectacular looking summer visitors!

- Long-legged Buzzard.
Quite a few seen mainly up in the mountainous areas. Amazing how big these are, had to check a few to make sure they weren't Eagles, they looked that big. Obviously I was checking for the 6 fingers but difficult to tell in heavy heat haze and when the bird doesn't fly directly overhead. (Cheers Ian)

- Rock Dove.
Quite a few seen mainly in the mountainous areas and near Paphos Lighthouse. How pure they are is probably up for debate, but what I will say is they certainly looked clean and immaculate, and also some groups had paler birds with reddish tinged wing bars (Rufous form?). I have read they are considered pure here.

- Corn Bunting.
I was looking for Rollers near Stroumpi when a couple of birds flew up from a crop field into a small bush, got the bins on them and realised what they were. A tractor came driving up the road and suddenly 100's of birds were put up, vast majority looked like Corn Buntings. I didn't even know they were there.

- Alpine Swift.
2 seen at close range with Common Swifts. I thought I had some Pallids in the group but it looks like my hunt for them goes on. (Cheers for the help with the possible Pallids Ian)

- Randoms ... I'd picked up on a Spotted Flycatcher on the protected area I keep mentioning, rather brown in colour I thought, similar to the ones in Zante. I'm stood watching it when a bird starts moving through the scrub next to it, it showed briefly. Rufous brown plumage was the standout feature and I'm convinced it was a Nightingale.
Near Akoursos, I'd stopped the car near some of the cultivated areas, I'd heard Chukar and was scanning the area when a small brown game bird ran out over the dust track just beyond me, my feeling was Quail but certainly not 100%.

Other birds of interest...
- Yellow-legged Gull...3 in Paphos harbour, and various flyovers
- Red-rumped Swallow...1 near hotel with Swallow & House Martin
- Turtle Dove... 1 flew passed me near the farm near hotel
- Spanish Sparrow...various locations, inc hotel & c15 at Kathikas.
- Sardinian Warbler...common, seen all over
- Crested Lark...common, seen most places

One other sighting of note which I still can't fully identify correctly in my own mind, I was up near Pano Arodes scanning the view and watching a Long-legged Buzzard, when I could hear a slightly familiar call. I glanced up and 3 smallish birds came dashing over calling loudly that reminded me of a Sandwich Tern call, and a Falcon in pursuit. They certainly weren't Sandwich Terns though and appeared wader-like. The falcon was quite large and bulky with a slight rusty hue to the belly. Eleonora's I thought at first but something didn't feel right with that. On reading up, I now think in all likelihood it was probably just a Peregrine, and from what I saw of its plumage...could've possibly been a Brookei. It all happened so quickly.
The Peregrine I saw at Marathonisi Island in Zante a few years ago didn't have the rusty tinge to the breast so I'm none the wiser, and presumably they do differ




-- Edited by Rob Creek on Sunday 24th of June 2018 07:49:51 PM

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Sunday 24th of June 2018 08:30:56 PM

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Monday 25th of June 2018 02:44:35 PM

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Sunday 11th to 18th June.
Paphos (Cyprus) with Michelle for a non-birding holiday wink

Between 32-36 degC all week. Tried to do a bit of birding as I just can't sit doing nothing in baking hot sun, and hired a car for a few days to see the regions beauty spots, that's how I disguised it to Michelle anyway.
Sightings were from around the hotel, the beach, surrounding orchards and scrubland, Paphos harbour, Polis, Kathikas Hills, The Baths of Aphrodite, and the mountainous roads in between.

- European Roller 6
May as well be Lifers as I had close ups numerous times mainly in the Kathikas Hills on the Polis road. The only Roller I've ever seen before was a quick fly-by at Gibraltar Point, Lincs, late last year whilst watching a Red-flanked Bluetail. I had my reasons for not posting it. These more than made up for it though.

- Spanish Sparrow (Lifer)
A few breeding pairs near the hotel. Their high pitched call gave them away.

- Crested Lark 5 (Lifer)
Heard singing first off, then found 4 on the beachside path, 2 on wires near Coral Bay and another on wires in Latsi. Lovely and very obliging birds.

- Calandra Lark 1 (Lifer)
Spotted this on rocks on hilly ground at the Baths of Aphrodite. Bigger than I thought they were, a big head and bill, and a black patch around the throat area.

- Golden Oriole 1 (Lifer)
Baths of Aphrodite, I was looking for the reported Wallcreeper recently, it just appeared in one of the trees above the Botanical Garden and true to form as Orioles are, as I reached for the camera it flew further away into another tree and evaporated, probable juv or immature as it was still fairly green.

- Spectacled Warbler 1 (Lifer)
Baths of Aphrodite. A cracking male came right up to me in a bush along the path up to the Baths, I just stopped in my tracks and watched it going about it's business, I slowly tried to reach for my camera but it moved on and flew down towards the Botanical Garden.

- Cyprus Warbler (Lifer)
A single bird seen moving through the edge of an orange grove near the hotel. Thought it was a Sardinian Warbler at first but it actually showed for a few seconds while I had my bins on it, the spotted breast was plain to see.

- Black Francolin 1 (Lifer)
Heard it from the car whilst driving back over the mountains from Polis to Paphos. Stopped the car and waited a few minutes, sure enough a belting male popped up on a stone wall dividing the upland fields, calling away.

- Black-headed Bunting 3 (Lifer)
1m + 2f, I stumbled upon a road sign in the hills "Protected area, Nature Reserve" so I pulled over and had a little walk around. Within minutes I saw a Turtle Dove, 2 Sardinian Warblers, and 3 yellow birds dropped into the straw like grass 20ft infront of me. Bins on them and there they were, a bright yellow male with a black hood, and presumably 2 less coloured females. I had a walk over but they'd gone, I couldn't relocate them for a record shot, like most of the birds I saw!!!

- Long-legged Buzzard 1 (Lifer)
Hopefully it's right as I'm sticking with it. Pulled up at a "Panorama" road sign up at the top of the mountain overlooking the whole Paphos and Coral Bay region. A Buzzard type on a low tree branch eyeing up something on the ground which was where it went next, just landed on the floor. Got a bit of a look and main features were a pale head with a reddish brown look to the body, and it's general jizz didn't seem right for Common Buzzard. It flew off low down the valley and I lost it but as I didn't see any other large raptors whilst in Cyprus I'm assuming this could be a Long-legged Buzzard. Certainly looked ok for it, and I'm sticking with my convictions.


- Coal Tit Cypriotes (Subspecies Lifer)
2 birds drew my attention calling in a small area of Pine trees a few minutes walk from the hotel. My initial thoughts were it's just more Great Tits, as I'd seen plenty, making plenty of different noises (as they do!).
Well what a great tit I would've been had I not stopped to take a closer look. Strangely not much, hardly any infact, of a white patch on the back of the head.

Other birds of interest...
- Hooded Crow absolutely everywhere
- Sardinian Warbler very Common too
- Eastern Olivaceous Warbler fairly common
- Masked Shrike 1 male near Aphrodite
- Red-rumped Swallow 2 over hotel
- Turtle Dove 1 in protected area
- Corn Bunting few in surrounding fields
- Yellow-legged Gull 2 Paphos Harbour
- Cormorant (Sinensis) 1 Paphos Harbour
- Shag (Desmarestii) 1 Paphos Harbour
- Common Kestrel few seen, males esp such a bright clean colour
- lots of Common Swift and House Martin...thought I had some Pallid Swift in the Kathikas Hills but I may have been mistaken
- lots of usuals inc Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Collared Dove, House Sparrow, Great Tit.

One other bird I must mention. Again in the Kathikas Hills area, an all black bird appeared on a small telegraph pole / power cable post at the roadside. I pulled over to get the bins on it, it was marginally smaller than Magpie size but not as robust looking, appeared to have longish legs, long cocked tail (at that moment I saw it) all black with no other obvious markings on it, it just flew off and surprisingly hardly flapped its wings as it just disappeared over the low thickets. My first time in Cyprus so assuming many more of you are regulars I welcome any comments or suggestions as to what it could be.
A small Melanistic Magpie perhaps???

Hope the photos are of sufficient quality for the forum, tried to include the more unusual birds.
Cheers







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Just spent 2 weeks in Pissouri, 15-29th Oct. 3 lifers were; Spanish Sparrow, Penduline Tit and Red-footed Falcon. Worst moment was being asked by another holiday maker to identify a bird he had photographed on his balcony the previous day, a Wryneck, I could have cried as I was sat by the pool at the time 100 feet away. I have still never seen a Wryneckcry.
Birds seen, mainly around resort were; 1. Collared Dove 2. House Sparrow 3. Hooded Crow 4. Chuckar 5. Stonechat(these were every where) 6. Kestrel 7. Eleonora's Falcon 8. Magpie 9. Sardinian Warbler 10. Great Tit 11. Jackdaw 12. Barn Swallow 13. Robin 14. Crested Lark 15. Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 16. Cyprus Warbler 17. Grey Wagtail 18. Chiffchaff 19. Wood Pigeon 20. Willow Warbler 21. Greenfinch 22. Spanish Sparrow 23. Zitting Sisticolla 24. Red-footed Falcon 25. Penduline Tit(salt marsh Akrotira) 26. Marsh Harrier(salt marsh) 27. Kentish Plover(salt marsh) 28. Dunlin(salt marsh) 29. Griffon Vulture(over Episkopi Garrison) 30. Moorhen(salt marsh) 31. Black-headed Gull 32. Goldfinch 33. Little Owl 34. White Wagtail 35. Blue Rock Thrush 36. Red-breasted Flycatcher(this bird had an injured wing and leg and was unable to fly) 37. Blackcap 38. Blackbird.
On my last day a local asked me if I was birdwatching and then said I needed to be careful the next day as it was the start of the hunting season and 50,000 guns would be shootin anything that moved disbelief.
Cheers Ian

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Well, the profanity filter still works

P. I. S. S. O. U. R. I

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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just got back from a week in ****ouri, managed to get out and about a few times. highlights were watching Eleonora's Falcons near Kensington cliffs. 5 in the air at one point, one was a dark morph, totally black, stunning bird. first one I've seen with no white on it at all biggrin.gif other birds included 2 Lesser Grey Shrikes on the road into ****ouri bay and 5 Red Backed Shrikes on the road from the bay up to the village, all juveniles (thanks to Ian for confirming there ID's for me) quite a few Chukers and a couple of Wheatears.

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Sorry but Ive been bleeped out again!!!


The missing letters are P i s s (honest and its a really nice place)
Cheers Ian

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Got back late last night after spending 2 weeks in Cyprus.
First thing to say is a big thanks once again to Ian, Tom and Rob; Gosneys guide was a big help, Kensington cliffs were spectacular and Phasouri reed beds quite amazing.
1) Birds seen around ****ouri where we stayed.
Swallow,house martin,hooded crow, house sparrow,wood pigeon,collared dove,cyprus wheater*,masked shrike*,cyprus warbler*,chuker,greenfinch,jackdaw,scops owl,eleonoras falcon,great tit,roller,red rumped swallow,kestrel,long legged buzzard(juv),linnet,hoopoe,zitting cisticola.
Most evenings from my balcony around 7.30 pm many swallows would fly over heading south max one night was around 400, every night at least 2 , 7 one night, eleonoras falcons would fly in to hunt them ,amazing to watch sat with a nice cold beer or three !
This area had many birds; chukar,cyprus wheater,masked shrike,cyprus warbler were all common.

2) Birds seen at Pafos
Shag,yellow legged gull.

3) Troodos
Jay

4) Asprokremmos damn
Crested lark

5) Kensington cliffs
Griffon vulture(1 visible),10 eleonoras falcons,peregrine falcon (cased off by 3 eleonoras);this site was easy to find following instructions in Gosneys guide.

6)Phasouri reedbed
Glossy ibis,little egret,kentish plover(many),yellow wagtail,white wagtail,reed warbler,swift,black winged stilt(many),kingfisher,mallard,spurwinged plover*,pied kingfisher*,short toed lark*,whiskered tern*,marsh sandpiper*,wood sandpiper,common sandpiper,hoopoe,little grebe,little ringed plover,redshank.
Birds marked(*) were all firsts for me.
Best bird was the Roller which was my second record ,last seen in 1985 in Spain.
Would also add that the distribution maps in Collins field guide need updating, one eg is that Chukars are not supposed to be found in Cyprus yet they were every where.

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Thanks Rob
Ive heard of Phassouri reedbed and hope I can find it in the Gosney guide book. Cape Greco is new to me and I will be looking it up. Thanks for your help and time. I will be really embarased if I see no birds at all after all this help !!!!!
Cheers again Ian.

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I was there 12 years ago - Phassouri Reedbed and surrounds remain of the best areas I've birded anywhere in Europe - just a great selection of birds.

Agree with Tom re Kensington.

Cape Greco was good for both the Wheatear and Warbler plus migrants such as Collared Flycatcher.

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Rob


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Thanks Tom
This is really helpful and much appreciated, just the sort of info I was after. Together with the Gosney guide which Ive just sent for and any other places Im advised about I should have a cracking time.
Cheers Ian

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Hi Ian, I haven't been since 1997 (so this could be out of date), but where you are should be pretty close to the Kensington Cliffs near to the Episkopi garrison. It was great for Griffon Vultures (best views I've ever had of them in fact), and although we went in April, Eleonora's Falcons are supposedly common there at the time you are going. Cyprus Warbler was also pretty common in the parking area there.

If you go for a daytrip to Troodos mountains (recommended) then on the way you will pass Arminou. Just past the village there is a steep gorge and a very sharp 180 degree bend. Park in the little layby as you go back uphill and then look back down to the gorge and across the other side of the valley - there was a Long-legged Buzzard nest there in both 95 & 97. Even if it's no longer there, stopping at good vantage points along the way may get you one elsewhere. And if you do go to Troodos then take a walk in the woods and make sure you see a Jay, Coal Tit and Crossbill as they're a different subspecies to ours.

The endemic Cyprus Wheatears are pretty common. If you're in Paphos then the area around the lighthouse had plenty of them.

This might help as well (though it's from a bit later in the year):

http://www.freewebs.com/richbonser/cyprusseptember2006.htm

-- Edited by Tom McKinney at 09:45, 2007-07-11

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Ian
Thanks for the info, thanks for your advice.


My daughter thinks its hilarious that Ive been bleeped on a birdwatching site.

Cheers Ian

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Sorry Ian, profanity filter! Don't you just love it smile.gif

Wrong side of Cyprus for me but one of the 'Finding Birds in Cyprus by Dave Gosney' books or similar might be a good bet to get the absolute most out of your holiday and to aviod those all too frequent getting lost/frustrated by poor directions etc. moments, especially with a non-birding partner when time can be precious. There is also a bird information telephone 'hotline' for Cyprus so you can find out what's about, check out the Birdlife Cyprus website (which also has some decent info itself) at www.birdlifecyprus.org/Birding.htm (cut and paste this link into your address bar wink.gif).

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Just booked two weeks in Cyprus first two weeks in August with lovely (non-birding wife). Staying at ****ouri which is on the south coast half way between Paphos and Limassol. I know its probably a bit to early for return migration but I have to be back for Citys first home match!. I would really appreciate any advice on places worth visiting or good bird site books to buy. Somebody PLEASE help me.
Cheers Ian

Just checked my request and discovered that Ive been bleeped!!!! ,the missing part of the resort is P i s s honestly!!!!!!!!

-- Edited by Ian Campbell at 18:10, 2007-07-10

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