TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
10 - 17 March 2002
Leader: Graham Hearl
Sunday 10th March Travel Day
We all met at Heathrow airport and traveled to Cyprus at Larnaca airport on a BA flight which was very good. The motorway is now complete to Paphos so it took us just over two hours. Of course we saw five thousand Greater Flamingos and ten Slender-billed Gulls with, of course, Black-headed Gulls at the airport but we were sure to see them on our return. We took our time in getting settled at the Kissos Hotel and met up for dinner at seven fifteen.
Monday 11th March Paphos headland
The weather was very windy so we left at nine o'clock. The birds were very scarce but we did get Crested Lark, Isabelline and Northern Wheatear. Of course we got into Hooded Crow, Eurasian Kestrel and Meadow Pipits, Black-headed and even Cyprus Wheatear.
We stopped on the way for lunch at Theo's Restaurant and after lunch went in to Paphos headland.
We walked and saw many Greco/Roman sites plus some birds including Chiffchaff and some good plants including a Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax). The weather turned cloudy and very windy but we did see lots of Barn Swallow and after lunch a good group of Meadow Pipits.
We saw lots of Barbary Nut Iris (Gynandriris sisyrinchium) plus lots of Sea Stock, Asphodels, Lotus creticus and Galactites tomentosa.
Tuesday 12th March Asprokremnos pools, and Troodos mountains
The weather was somewhat nicer with no wind and sunshine. Our pre breakfast stroll saw our Black Francolin and got us to the quarry on Paphos headland where we saw more wheatears, and Greater Sand Plover on the beach plus of course the usual birds such as Isabelline Wheatear.
We had breakfast and left at nine o'clock with the minibus plus our driver Ulysses. We traveled to Asprokremnos pools where we saw two male Pintail, three male Shoveler and a Fan-tailed Warbler. We saw lots of plants, a Chukar AND a Masked Shrike with a very close male Marsh Harrier.
We then left for Troodos as it was fine up there. We stopped at North Wind restaurant at Kidasi and saw Naked Man Orchid plus we had beers.
We then continued up into Troodos stopping at a place with Rock Cress (Arabis purpurea), an endemic. After lunch, which was superb, we then continued to Mount Olympus seeing Cyprus Crocus and two Coal Tit (a Cyprus subspecies) plus a female Crossbill which is also a subspecies.
We then left and took a look at Troodos village, then left to come down to the Kissos Hotel, most people went to sleep on the journey; however we did see a Long-legged Buzzard.
Wednesday 13th March Asprokremnos pools, Kensington cliffs, Akrotiri Salt Lake, Lady's Mile and Zakaki pools
The weather was a bit cloudy to the north and we did have some rain at Asprokremnos pools.
Pre -breakfast we went to Paphos quarry and saw a male Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart and, of course Isabelline Wheatear. A person called us and said there was a Greater Spotted Cuckoo by a small pool in the quarry. So we went and had a look but the bird was gone so we decided to go and have breakfast.
After breakfast we left at nine o'clock and traveled to Asprokremnos pools where we met a lady called Liz who had seen a Squacco Heron. We saw it and it was a juvenile and we also saw two Spectacled Warbler. We had a brief glimpse of Cyprus Warbler and heard a Greater Spotted Cuckoo. We then left a took a beer and hot chocolate overlooking Aphrodite's Rock.
We then carried on to just past Episkopi RAF station and saw brilliant Cyprus Warbler but no Griffon Vulture. We then carried on to Phassouri reed bed where there was water but no waders; however we did see a Steppe Buzzard (Common Buzzard a subspecies Vulpinus). We then took lunch which again was done by Ulysses and was superb.
We carried on to the south of Akrotiri Salt Lake seeing Greater Flamingos and some duck.
We then drove a short way down the lake seeing five species of orchid: Ophrys fusca, Serapias vomeracea, Ophrys kotschyi (an endemic) Ophrys scolopax and Orchis morio (Green-winged Orchid). We then traveled the south of the lake and up the east side, Lady's Mile, but no waders. We then went to Zakaki pool where we saw yet another Black Francolin.
We then traveled back to Geroskipou to go into the church but there was a funeral so we waited. We bought 'Cyprus Delight' and then went into the church after the funeral.
Thursday 14th March Paphos quarry, Akamas peninsula,Monashilakas picnic site, Pano Panayia
The weather was a bit cloudy to start, but the sun shone on Akamas peninsula; however it got a bit cloudy at Pano Panayia.
We started off at Paphos quarry but no migrants except Northern and Isabelline Wheatear.
After breakfast we left for the Akamas peninsula arriving at about ten o'clock. We walked to Aphrodites bath seeing the leaves of the endemic cyclamen. Having seen the baths we then went on a walk to see the tip of the peninsula getting to grips with Red-rumped Swallow and at least five Sardinian Warbler.
We saw some butterflies such as Orange -tip and Eastern Dappled White.
We the left for Smiyies track seeing Sombre Bee, Dense-flowered and Roman Orchids. We had lunch at Smiyies picnic site and then went to Pano Panayia. Here we saw Giant Orchid and Naked Man Orchid with lots of vetches and peas.
We then left for Kannaviou but there was now a quarry so we could not go down the track. We left for Kissos Hotel arriving about four thirty and then went for a swim in the indoor pool.
Our log was now totaling sixty five bird species but there was nothing in the way of migrants.
Friday 15th March Paphos quarry, Agios Georgios (Cape Drepanum) and Avakas gorge
A cloudy start but sun all morning and afternoon with some wind. We went to Paphos quarry but again no migrants however we did see a Golden Plover on the beach which is a winter visitor.
After breakfast we took the minibus with Christos as our driver. We went to Cape Drepanum and saw Red-throated Pipit, one Tawny Pipit, Lesser and Greater Short-toed Lark, obviously Crested Lark, Northern and Isabelline Wheatear.
We then went for a walk down to a very nice bay and Mike saw a Golden Oriole on the way back whilst we went for an Agama.
We then went for a beer whilst Christos supplied the lunch which again was superb.
After lunch we drove to Avakas Gorge where we walked quite a long way seeing Sardinian Warbler but nothing else except seeing a large flock of Jackdaw totaling at least sixty plus.
We met up at six thirty as we were going to a mezze at Kathikas, the restaurant was called Araouzos and the mezze was superb.
Saturday 16th March Paphos quarry, Asprokremnos pools and reservoir
Our pre breakfast walk and we went to the quarry but there was no entrance so we walked the beach seeing three Ruddy Turnstone and two Greater Sandplover plus of course Northern and Isabelline Wheatear.
After breakfast we went in the minibus to Asprokremnos pools where we saw two Great Spotted Cuckoo, at least six Alpine Swift with a collection of Common Swift. We also saw two Green Sandpiper, one Common Snipe and a Black-headed Wagtail plus a Water Rail. After a couple of hours we left for the village of Nata where we had a drink. Before lunch we arrived at the northern end of Asprokremnos reservoir where we saw Orchis laxiflora and Serapias vomeracea. We then left for lunch near the village of Finikas which is deserted but we saw four Grey Heron and Mallard. At lunch we saw a male Pallid Harrier plus some Jackdaws
After lunch we then went to the Asprokremnos pools again seeing a Water Rail and three Black-headed Wagtail. We talked to a few people and then left for the Kissos Hotel.
Sunday 17th March Travel day
We left at seven o'clock and immediately saw a Desert Wheatear plus the usual Northern and Isabelline Wheatear and of course Crested Lark
We then loaded the cases and drove to Asprokremnos polls where we saw two Green Sandpiper, three Water Rail, White and Black-headed Wagtail four male Shoveler and Common Coot and Common Moorhen.
We then traveled to Larnaca where we had lunch by the salt lakes seeing more Black-headed Gull, thousands of Greater Flamingo plus a couple of Slender-billed Gull.
We then headed for the airport and said our goodbyes
The weather had been cloudy with hot sun for most of the days. However we did not see much of migration. We did see however the Cyprus bird specialities and the plants were wonderful due to the wet winter.
All four were very happy people with the three women looking for plants which was good thing as bird migration was sparse. I want to thank Carol for supplying the plant list. However we did see lots of orchids and many peas and vetches.
We did see the endemic Cyprus birds such as Black Francolin, Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear plus Red-throated Pipit, two Greater Sandplover plus a Desert Wheatear.
I hope to see you all again on yet another Travelling Naturalist tour.
Graham Hearl, Somerset
Status abbreviations used :-
RB - Resident Breeder PM - Passage Migrant
MB - Migrant Breeder FB - Former Breeder
WV - Winter Visitor
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis WV
We saw singles at Asprokremnos pools on 12th and 16th
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo WV
Two over Paphos headland on 11th
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides PM
One immature at Asprokremnos pools on 13th
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea PM
Four at Asprokremnos reservoir on 16th
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber WV
Five thousand at Larnaca salt lake on 10th and 17th, a few thousand at Akrotiri salt lake on 13th
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos WV
A few at Asprokremnos reservoir on 16th
Northern Pintail Anas acuta PM
Two males and a female on 12th at Asprokremnos pools
Shoveler Anas clypeata WV
Three males and one female at Asprokremnos pools on 12th, 13th and 16th
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus PM
One male at Asprokremnos pools on 12th and a female on 13th at Akrotiri salt lake
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus PM
One male at Asprokremnos reservoir on 16th
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo PM
One at Paphos headland on 13th, it was a Steppe Buzzard ssp. vulpinus
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus RB
Seen every day from 11th to 16th
Chukar Alectoris chukar RB
Two and one seen at Asprokremnos pools on 12th and 13th , one seen at Akamas peninsula on 14th and one heard at Asprokremnos pools on 16th
Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus RB
One male seen on fields by Kissos Hotel on 12th, two heard and one seen on 13th at Asprokremnos pools and Zakaki pool, Akrotiri salt lake
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus WV
Two and one seen at Asprokremnos pools on 16th
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus PM
Many seen at Asprokremnos pools on 12th, 13th and 16th
Common Coot Fulica atra WV
Many seen at Asprokremnos pools on 12th, 13th and 16th
Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii PM
One on 12th and two on 16th on the beach at Paphos headland
Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria PM
Singles seen on the beach at Paphos headland on 13th and 15th
Ruff Philomachus pugnax PM
Two seen at Paphos headland on 11th
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago WV
Singles seen at Asprokremnos pools on 16th
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus PM
Three and two seen at Asprokremnos pools and reservoir on 16th
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola PM
Two seen at Asprokremnos pools on 13th
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres PM
Two, four and three seen on the beach at Paphos headland on 11th, 13th and 16th
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus WV
Seen at Larnaca salt lake on 10th and 17th plus at Paphos headland on 11th, at Akrotiri salt lake on 13th and at Cap Drepanum on 15th
Slender-billed Gull Larus geneii PM
Ten plus seen at Larnaca salt lake on 10th plus many seen on 17th
Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans RB
Recorded on every day
Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon Columba livia RB
Recorded on every day
Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus RB
Singles seen at Paphos headland on 11th, 12th and 16th a few at Asprokremnos pools on 13th
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto RB
Two seen near Kissos Hotel from 13th to 16th
Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius MB
Heard on 12th and 13th but two seen at Asprokremnos pools on 16th
Common Swift Apus apus MB
Many seen at Asprokremnos pools on 16th
Alpine Swift Apus melba MB
Six seen over Asprokremnos pools on 16th
Hoopoe Upupa epops PM
One seen at Paphos headland on 12th
Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla MB
Ten plus on Paphos headland on 11th and six at Cap Drepanum on 15th
Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens PM
Six at Cap Drepanum on 15th
Crested Lark Galerida cristata RB
Seen every day from 11th to 16th
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica MB
Seen every day from 11th to 16th
Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica MB
Five seen at Akamas peninsula on 14th
House Martin Delichon urbica MB
Singles and six seen at Asprokremnos pools on 12th and 13th and six seen at Akamas peninsula on 15th
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris PM
One seen at Cap Drepanum on 15th
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis WV
Seen in flocks of one hundred plus at Paphos headland from 11th and 13th to 16th
Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus PM
One seen at Cap Drepanum on 15th
Black-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava ssp. feldegg PM
One and three seen at Paphos headland and Asprokremnos pools on 16th
White Wagtail Motacilla alba WV
Seen daily from 11th to 16th in many numbers
Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus RB
A single seen at Asprokremnos pools on 12th
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius RB
A pair seen at Paphos quarry from 11th to 17th
Common Blackbird Turdus merula WV
A single seen at Paphos quarry on 13th
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos WV
A single seen at Paphos headland on 12th and 14th
Robin Erithacus rubecula WV
Singles seen on 12th, 14th and 16th at Asprokremnos pools
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros WV
Twos seen at Paphos quarry on 11th and from 13th to 17th
Stonechat Saxicola torquata WV
Seen on five days from 11th to 16th in singles and pairs
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina PM
Many seen at Paphos headland from 11th to 16th
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe PM
Many seen on six days from 11th to 17th mainly at Paphos headland
Cyprus Wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca MB
Two seen at Paphos headland and a single seen at Paphos quarry
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica PM
A single female seen on Paphos headland on 11th
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti PM
A single seen on Paphos headland on 15th and 16th
Fan-tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis RB
Seen at Asprokremnos pools from 12th to 17th
Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti RB
Mainly heard but one seen on 15th
Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon MB
Two seen at Asprokremnos pools on 16th
Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata RB
Two seen at Asprokremnos pools on 13th and 16th
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala RB
Four and three seen at Akamas peninsula and Cap Drepanum on 14th and 15th
Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax RB
Three and a single seen at Asprokremnos pools on 13th and 16th
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla PM
Mainly heard outside Kissos Hotel on 12th, 14th and 15th, seen at Asprokremnos pools on 16th
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita PM
Singles seen at Paphos headland on 11th and 14th and two seen at Asprokremnos polls on 16th
Goldcrest Regulus regulus WV
Heard at Smiyies picnic site on 14th
Coal Tit Parus ater RB
Two and one seen at Troodos mountains on 12th and at Pano Panayia on 14th
Great Tit Parus major RB
Seen at Paphos headland on 11th and at Akamas peninsula on 14th
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica RB
Seen on every day from 10th to 17th
Western Jackdaw Corvus monedula RB
Seen from 12th to 16th but a flock of hundred at Avakas gorge on 15th
Hooded Crow Corvus corone RB
Many seen in all places from 11th to 17th
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs RB
Seen in many places for four days, 11th, 12th, 13th and 16th
Serin Serinus serinus RB
Two seen at Akamas peninsula on 14th
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris RB
Seen regularly on four days 11th, and 14th to 16th
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis RB
Seen in twos to fours from 12th to 16th
Linnet Carduelis cannabina RB
Seen on four days on 11th, 13th, 15th and 16th at Paphos headland
Crossbill Loxia curvirostra RB
One female seen at Troodos on 12th
House Sparrow Passer domesticus RB
Seen every day from 10th to 17th
Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis RB
Four seen at Phassouri reed bed on 13th and three seen at Asprokremnos pools on 16th
Corn Bunting Milaria calandra RB
Seen on three days on 11th, 13th and 16th at Paphos headland
Marsh Frog Rana ridibunda
Recorded on three days at Asprokremnos pools
Agama Agama stellio
Recorded on every day from 11th, 14th to 16th
Wall Lizard Podarcis sp.
Seen on five days from 11th, 13th to 16th
Montpellier Snake Malpolon monspessulanus
A large black snake seen on the road on 15th
Swallowtail Papilio machaon
Recorded on two days from 12th and 16th
Large White Pieris brassicae
Recorded on one day for 11th
Eastern Dappled White Euchloe ausonia
Seen on 14th at Paphos headland, Avakas gorge on 15th
Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines
Seen on 14th and 15th
Clouded Yellow Colias croceus
Recorded on two days from 13th to 15th
Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni
Seen on one day on 12th
Cyprus black-eyed blue (Paphos Blue) Glaucopsyche paphos
Seen on three days 12th, 15th and 16th
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus
Recorded on one day on 16th
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta
One seen on 13th
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui
One seen on 11th
Mallow Skipper Carcharodus alceae
Seen on two days on 14th and 16th
Pine Processionary Thaumetopoea pityocampa
Nests seen in the pines on two days 27th and 30th
Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope
One seen on 12th
Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombei
One seen on 16th
Small Blue tailed Damselfly Ischnura pumilo
One seen on 12th
Many thanks to Carol Bradbeer for the Plant List
Monday 11th March 2002
Bermuda buttercup Oxalis pes-caprae
Blue and scarlet pimpernel Anagallis arvensis
Woodcock Orchid Ophrys scolopax
Barbary Nut Gynandriris sisyrinchium
Crown Daisy (yellow) Chrysanthemum coronarium
Field marigold Calendula arvensis
Trifolium tormentosum woolly trefoil pink plus powder puff
Lathyrus blepharicarpus an orange pea
Vicia hybrida hairy yellow vetch
Anemone coronaria rose pink
Anchusa aegyptiaca yellow flowered with prickly leaves
Anthemis rigida Rayless chamomile
Gagea graeca white flowered small lily
Phagnalon rupestre ssp graecum easternflower small yellow buttons
Echium augustifolium deep red bugloss
Tuesday 12th March 2002
Erodium gruinum long-beaked storksbill
Poterium spinosum thorny burnet
Scabiosa prolifera cream coloured scabious
Ranunculus asiaticus white, yellow, pink
Salvia uridis red-topped sage
Trifolium stellatum star clover
Fagonia cretica pink flowered shrub
Naked Man Orchid Orchis italica
Erica sicula white to deep pink heather
Crocus cyprius endemic crocus
Wednesday 13th March
Akrotiri salt lake
Serapias vomeracea long-lipped orchid
Ranunculus asiaticus a field of deep yellow flowers
Ophrys fusca Sombre bee orchid
Ophrys kotschyi Cyprus endemic orchid
Orchis morio Green-winged orchid
Ophrys scolopax Woodcock orchid
Thursday 14th March
Cyclamen cyprium leaves only
Cynoglossum ssp. creticum Blue hounds tongue
Convolvulus siculum small blue flower
Cistus creticus pink flower
Ophrys fusca sombre bee orchid
Neotinea maculata Dense-flowered orchid (pink)
Ophrys argolica Eyed bee orchid
Dactylorhiza romana Yellow orchid
Ophrys fusca ssp iricolor
Barlia robertiana Giant orchid
Orchis italica Naked man orchid
Lathyrus aphaca Yellow vetch
Vicia hybrida Hairy yellow vetch
Friday 15th March
St. Georges Island
Lathyrus (gorgonei) pale orange pea linear leaves
Mandragora autumnalis orange fruits
Gladiolus triphyllus endemic gladioli
Saturday 16th March
Centaurea aegiolophila purple pink tuft with flat silvery leaves on sand