TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Cyprus

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.

Acknowledgments

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

BIRDS

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

Other taxa

Amphibians

Marsh Frog Rana ridibunda

Recorded on three days at Asprokremnos pools

Reptiles

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

Butterflies

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

Moths

Pine Processionary Thaumetopoea pityocampa

Nests seen in the pines on two days 27th and 30th

Dragonflies

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

Plants

Many thanks to Carol Bradbeer for the Plant List

Monday 11th March 2002

Paphos headland

Bermuda buttercup Oxalis pes-caprae

Blue and scarlet pimpernel Anagallis arvensis

Woodcock Orchid Ophrys scolopax

Lotus creticus

Paronychia ssp.

Barbary Nut Gynandriris sisyrinchium

Crown Daisy (yellow) Chrysanthemum coronarium

Bellevalia trifoliata

Field marigold Calendula arvensis

Trifolium tormentosum woolly trefoil pink plus powder puff

Allium trifoliatum

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

Paphos headland

Erodium gruinum long-beaked storksbill

Tragopogon hybridus

Asprokremnos pools

Poterium spinosum thorny burnet

Scabiosa prolifera cream coloured scabious

Ranunculus asiaticus white, yellow, pink

Convolvulus althaeiodes

Salvia uridis red-topped sage

Trifolium stellatum star clover

Pallenis spinosa

Fagonia cretica pink flowered shrub

Troodos mountains

Naked Man Orchid Orchis italica

Erica sicula white to deep pink heather

Mount Olympus

Crocus cyprius endemic crocus

Juniperus phoenicea

Wednesday 13th March

Asprokremnos pools

Prasium majus

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

Akamas peninsula

Cyclamen cyprium leaves only

Cynoglossum ssp. creticum Blue hounds tongue

Convolvulus siculum small blue flower

Cistus creticus pink flower

Ophrys fusca sombre bee orchid

Smiyies track

Neotinea maculata Dense-flowered orchid (pink)

Ophrys argolica Eyed bee orchid

Dactylorhiza romana Yellow orchid

Ophrys fusca ssp iricolor

Troodos forest

Barlia robertiana Giant orchid

Orchis italica Naked man orchid

Lathyrus aphaca Yellow vetch

Vicia hybrida Hairy yellow vetch

Friday 15th March

St. Georges Island

Lotus creticus

Matthiola sinuata

Lathyrus (gorgonei) pale orange pea linear leaves

Mandragora autumnalis orange fruits

Avakas Gorge

Gladiolus triphyllus endemic gladioli

Spiny broom

Smilax creeper

Saturday 16th March

Asprokremnos pools

Centaurea aegiolophila purple pink tuft with flat silvery leaves on sand

Ophrys umbilicata

Micromeria nervosa


© The Travelling Naturalist 2002