Cyprus is not kind to birdwatchers in July. Not only is it usually extremely hot, but breeding birds are more secretive as family parties move in the undergrowth, the males no longer advertising their presence, and the lull between spring and autumn migration means that the usual migrant ‘hot spots’ can’t be relied on to provide additional species. With all this in mind I planned the day’s excursion to ensure that we could achieve a number of lifer’s and not be out in the sun too much.
I picked up Mike and Steph from their hotel in Protaras and we headed straight to Cape Greco where we scored straight away with the endemic Cyprus Warbler. Kermia Beach held two Greater Sand Plovers already moulting into winter plumage as well as many Crested Larks – often overlooked by local birders but a sought after bird for visitors. On to Achna Dam where amongst the birds seen were Little Egret, Grey Heron, Fan Tailed Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Spur-winged Plover, Masked Shrike (juvenile), Chukar, Little Ringed Plover, Cetti’s Warbler and more Crested Lark.
Amongst the birds using the Larnaca Sewage Work’s Pools were Black-winged Stilt, Spur Winged Plover (with two very tiny chicks), Ruff, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Spectacled Warbler and Yellow Legged Gulls. An Audouin’s Gull very obligingly sat in the middle of Spiro’s Pool together with other Yellow Legged Gulls but although Black Headed Wagtail could be heard flying around the area it proved impossible to spot them. At Kiti Dam we found yet more Black Winged Stilts but also added Wood Sandpiper and Cattle Egret to our species totals.
After sandwiches in the shade near the Dam we moved onto Zakaki Marsh where the adult and young Ferruginous Duck where very visible. As we returned to the car a Glossy Ibis flew up and was much appreciated by Mike and Steph. Steph missed the Eleonora’s Falcon that flew over as we recommenced our journey but was assured we should see others later on our return from Troodos.
A quick stop in the cooler Troodos Mountains enabled us to add the endemics Cyprus Wheatear, Jay and Short-toed Treecreeper – all of which were seen in family parties. We also added Olivaceous Warbler and Chaffinch as well seeing large numbers of the hirundines that frequent the area – Swift, Barn Swallow and House Martin.
Back down to the coast and straight to Kensington Cliffs where we leapt out of the car to be greeted by at least four Eleonora’s Falcons flying over our heads. Above them were eleven Alpine Swifts. We enjoyed their display as the finale to our day.
Guide: Jane Stylianou
Full Species List 46 species
Little Ringed Plover
Greater Sand Plover