A popular reason for birders to come to Cyprus is its endemics. With two endemic breeding species, and 5 recognized endemic subspecies, this insular corner of the world has some birds you just can’t see anywhere else.
I met with my two guests for the day at their hotel in Paphos at 7am, and I couldn’t pass up a visit to the Paphos lighthouse as it was so close. It was a quiet start to the morning, with a lone Bee-eater above the parking lot of the archaeological site, and Fan-tailed Warbler inside the fenced area of the Paphos Headland. So we moved on to Mandria, which was a bit more lively with a pair of Yellow Wagtails, a Tawny Pipit, and a Cattle Egret. But it was still a slow start, as we checked the early-morning locations before too many people were up and about.
We next went to Asprokremnos Dam, where things got better. At least a dozen Bee-eaters were on the power lines along the track up to the dam, which was a real treat for my guests. At the car park we spotted a Hoopoe, of which we later saw at least two more. A pair of Sardinian Warblers were near the car park also. Proceeding northward from the car park, we saw our first Cyprus Wheatear of the day, along with a Spotted Flycatcher. But no Cyprus Warbler. I persisted though, since I knew this spot to be reliable in the past for me for seeing Cyprus Warbler. Eventually, it paid off, and we found a shrub that a pair were presumably foraging in.
Proceeding to the Paphos sewage works, we suffered the foul odor and were rewarded with more Bee-eaters, many more. In one of the irrigated fields nearby held six Spur-winged Plovers also, and another was full of Yellow Wagtails. Along with the wagtails was a female Red-backed Shrike, and two Isabelline Wheatear. And then down by the beach was a Common Kingfisher.
So by now we’d had good looks at the two breeding endemics, and gave thought to the endemic subspecies. We arrived in Troodos by the environmental center, and went walking along the footpaths. Coal Tit was seen readily, as were Chaffinches and more Cyprus Wheatear. But Short-toed Treecreeper was elusive. I know their call note, and kept following it to the square and to the meteorological station, only to be denied. Eventually we gave up and took a break for lunch.
After lunch we checked a couple other sites around the square, but then went on to Platania instead. There, we immediately saw a Jay, and again heard Short-toed Treecreepers. Walking along the trails, we were finally rewarded with great looks of one Short-toed Treecreeper, oddly feeding from the pine cones and not the tree trunks. And to top it off, we could hear Bee-eaters even at that elevation.
Guide: Dan Rhoads
Full Species List: