Saturday, April 20, 2019

Holiday birding

My family holiday in Cyprus continues. The daily routine includes early morning birding, then family outdoor activities during the lesser productive hours of the day. Two days ago I met up with Colin and we birded Kathikas Hills together. Nice stuff around in lovely habitat - several Cyprus Warblers (great to see them well on their breeding grounds), Tawny Pipit, Cretzschmar's Buntings etc. (eBird checklist here).

Cyprus Warbler - male

Yesterday morning I returned to baths of Aphrodite caravan park. On the ground, migrant numbers were a bit lower compared to two days before but still enjoyable. However, main action was up in the air - massive active migration was happening, especially of hirundines, also good numbers of wagtails and pipits. The hirundine migration was really impressive. Early on, migration was over the beach at eye level, later on a bit higher up above the ridge. I did my best to count whenever I was not looking at stuff on the ground, and reached impressive totals of House Martins etc. (eBird checklist here). Highlights were a flyover Citrine Wagtail among the yellows, Eleonora's Falcon surely attracted to the fast-food opportunities, and two Scopoli's Shearwaters following fishing boats in the bay.

Common Whitethroat

Cyprus Wheatear - the male of one of the local pairs

Shame this photo didn't fulfill its potental

Tree Pipit - a few on the ground, many up in the air

Whinchat in typical caravan park habitat

Wood Warbler

Great to meet up with Magnus Robb, and discuss some bird vocalisations in the field.

In the early afternoon we did a family walk around St. Minas Chapel. It was the wrong time of day for birding and bird photography, so we focused on other flora and fauna, and enjoyed the stunning scenery. 

Orchids were well represented on the limestone hills:

Serapias bergonii

Pyramid Orchid

Bug Orchid Anacamptis coriophora fragrans

Ophrys morio (endemic)

Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera var. chlorantha

Thanks again to Matt for the help with orchid ID.

Cyprus Meadow Brown is endemic too:

Back at our accommodation Robin found this stunning Eastern Festoon - incredible creature:

This morning I returned to Polis campsite, hoping to produce more than on my first visit. It was actually rather quiet there - Great Reed Warbler and Little Crake were the only birds of interest (eBird checklist here).

Common Sandpiper

Mediterranean Shags

Our local Cyprus Scops Owls are still active as I type these words, though I have not made much progress with photography. Something to work on tonight and tomorrow.

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