So, where exactly have I been for the past couple of weeks? Cyprus – and I was able to see quite a few birds of Europe that were completely new to me. In particular, I was able to go birdwatching with a contingent of mostly Brits from Birdlife Cyprus, and found out that they refer to “birdwatching” as “twitching.” Who knew?
The day started out near the medievel castle at Kolossi, near Limmosol, and visited the Akrotiri salt-lake area and the Phassouri reedbeds. Starting at 9am September 9th, we were immediately treated to sightings of Honey Buzzards as they migrated from Europe to Africa, in a spectacular show – they passed within sight of the birdwatching pavilion that we stopped at (visibility was greater than 5km, probably more like 8km), in kettles (groups) numbering as many as ~80, one after another. Jane Stylianou reports that over 3000 Honey Buzzards were seen that day.
I was surprised to hear that Honey Buzzards have a strong flight enabling them to cross the Mediterranean Sea – most large raptors prefer to soar, riding thermal updrafts to conserve energy, and thermals do not occur over open water – but they clearly didn’t object to riding thermals as they crossed the barren salt flats spanning the horizon. I so wish that I had my camera with me.
Just about all of the birds were new for me, however, but the most unique had to have been the Hoopoes, my favorite were their brightly-colored Kingfishers, and the ones that I couldn’t quite see but so desperately wanted to were the Bee-eaters.
The list for that day, however:
Great White Egret
I missed the Ring-tailed Harrier
I missed the flock of Bee-eaters