Monday, 2 May 2011

Clayheads on Tour in Cyprus 2011 - Friday 22nd April

Up at 06-00hrs on a beautiful sunny morning with no wind. First stop was at the Chicken Farm where we had eight Lesser Kestrels perched on the wires before they flew off over the fields for their first flight of the day. Also Corn Bunting singing.

Lesser Kestrel at the Chicken Farm

Our next stop was at Nata Ford where we had three calling Black Francolin and two Whinchat but not much else. We headed back down towards the coast again and ended up on a small road leading to Foinikas. We pulled up by the side of the road because a Roller was perched in a tree. What followed was one of those excellent spells of unplanned birding which we could easily have driven past if not for that Roller.


We had two singing Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, with one showing well and a lilith Little Owl flew onto the cliff face above us. We had two Turtle Doves and Cyprus Warbler.

lilith Little Owl

We decided to drive on, but just round the next bend I stopped to check two Swallows. They turned out to be two Red-rumped Swallows, and so we stood and watched them feeding and calling as the swooped over the valley. A Cyprus Pied Wheatear was singing, then a Spectacled Warbler started, along with another Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, and two Great Spotted Cuckoos flew over calling.

Spectacled Warbler

The road to Foinikas

We dragged ourselves away and drove down to Paphos SW where three BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATERS had been seen the previous afternoon. Unfortunately there was no sign, but we did have two Spur-winged Plovers, an Ortolan, two Black Francolins calling and many Blue-headed Wagtails.
During the day we visited the monastry at Agious Neofytos, where a fine male Collared Flycatcher was in the car park plus the ever present Cyprus Wheatears and Warblers.
We returned to the hotel at 16-00hrs and so we popped out before tea for another session. We were heading to Aspro Dam, but we soon rode into heavy rain. We decided to check the Mandria Fields instead from the comfort of our car and we were just on the edge of the rain. It was clear that it had been raining in the area for a considerable time with huge puddles on the fields and rain water running down the culverts. We drove along the beach but there were no signs of any larks or wheatears. As we came to Lark corner, seventeen Little Egrets were in flight having come in off the sea. They eventually flew inland. As we were watching these, a Black Francolin was calling and was flushed when a farmer drove past it, giving us brief flight views. Then we had a flock of seven Black-winged Stilts and Ruff coming in off the sea. It would appear that they too were flying into the rain shower and then being forced inland to get away from it. This was the first (and only ) time this week we had seen migration on Cyprus. We drove inland a little bit and had an amazing 30 Turtle Doves feeding in a field. We carried on back to the beach and carried on past he access road and headed down towards the greenhouses. A fairly large bird flew up and perched up in a bush, trying to dry itself off. It turned out to be a Great Reed Warbler, again probably downed by the rain.