18TH AUGUST 2011 — I picked up birders Harry and Luke from the car park of the Agia Napa Waterpark at 6.00am for four hours of birding and we headed straight to Cape Greco. I was hoping that there would be more birds around the area than I saw on my visit the previous week as autumn migration stuttered into life. Parking the car at the picnic site we soon located several of the resident Spectacled Warbler, while a juvenile Red-backed Shrike watched over the area from the top of a bush. Above us thirty European Bee-eaters flew over shortly followed by around twenty Yellow Wagtails. Two Common Kingfisher were chasing each other down below in the bay and four Common Sandpiper were resting on rocks there. These birds and the several Lesser Whitethroats in the bushes led to the conclusion that finally autumn migrants were starting to pass through. However at this spot we were specifically looking for the endemic Cyprus Warbler. As we were ready to move on a male flew to the top of a bush close to the shrike and we were able to get good views of it.
Moving on we added Hoopoe to our list. We parked to find a juvenile Cyprus Warbler keeping company with several more Spectacled Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. Two striking male Red-backed Shrike were in the area. Down near the coast we heard several Chukar calling and saw Cyprus Wheatear. We headed to the gate in front of the mast where the day before Harry and Luke had located a Rufous-tailed Robin. A reversal of roles occurred as they tried to find it for me to add to my year-list but it was not to be! However we did find an Eastern Orphean Warbler and an Audouin’s Gull passed over. Near the Sea Caves we had great views of two Rollers perched on the telegraph wires. Looking behind us we found a Lesser Grey Shrike had moved onto the wires although the sun was now in our eyes so we couldn’t see him as well as we would have liked. Two Common Kestrels flew around and a couple of Isabelline Wheatears were on the ground.
Harry was keen to be taken to Agia Napa Sewage Works so we drove there next. Again there were several Red-backed Shrikes in the area. Another Orphean Warbler flitted in and out of the wires of the fence as we checked the pools. As well as Little Grebe we found Green and Common Sandpiper while Barn Swallow, Common Swift and Alpine Swift chased the insects over the area. We managed to pick out at least one Pallid Swift but there were possibly more. In the small area of olive trees we could see several warblers feeding and fluttering between branches and bushes. These included Common and Lesser Whitethroat and Orphean and Olivaceous Warbler. Again we found several of the resident Spectacled Warbler as well as a Cyprus Warbler. As we headed off two falcons flew over the pools which after much discussion were identified by Luke as Eleonora’s Falcon – more likely to be seen west of Akrotiri at this time of the year. We then drove towards Agia Napa village to get lovely views of the Laughing Dove that turned up there this year.
We then agreed to move to Achna Dam for a quick look around the area of shallow water away from the dam wall. We drove up to see two Common Kingfishers speeding around the area and watch several Squacco Herons fly off. Grey Heron and Little Egret were also feeding and roosting at the water’s edge. Two Whiskered Terns were fishing in the distance but before we left came closer to enable Harry to see them well. The local population of Spur-winged Plovers was very vocal while Little Ringed Plover, Common and Wood Sandpiper few nervously around the mud feeding as they stopped. They were accompanied by several Yellow Wagtails. As we returned to the car one of Luke’s target birds flew in front of us. A juvenile Masked Shrike ended our time out and we headed back out of the heat of the sun.
Little Ringed Plover
Lesser Grey Shrike