TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
21st - 28th March 2004
Costas, Lena and Paulis
Sunday 21st March Arrival
Clear & sunny, 22°C
After an uneventful flight, we arrived at Larnaca mid-afternoon and were met by Hannah and our driver, Lena. We made good progress along the new dual carriageway to Paphos and arrived at our hotel just before dusk. After our early start at Heathrow, we were more than ready for a drink at the bar and dinner.
Monday 22nd March Paphos headland and mosaics
Clear, sunny and warm
Most of us met up for a pre-breakfast walk at 7am, and this took us down to the shore and to the right, alongside the Tombs of the Kings. We were accompanied by calls of Black Francolin bugling from the broken ground inside the fence. Some had brief views from the front of the hotel, and we had further views through the telescopes later. We also found rather distant Isabelline Wheatears, Linnets and Black Redstarts.
After breakfast, we made our way along the shore towards Paphos Headland itself, finding a few more Isabelline Wheatears and a single Northern Wheatear. A Hoopoe was in the quarry, with a male Blue Rock Thrush. Butterflies included Swallowtails, Painted Lady, a Clouded Yellow and a couple of Eastern Bath Whites. Two Kingfishers were on the rocky shore. We walked round the headland and a Cyprus Wheatear, one of the first to arrive, appeared on the fence, showing well through the telescopes. On to the quay to find Theo's Restaurant for a welcome drink and light lunch, after which we entered the mosaics. We had fun identifying the various species depicted in the hunting scenes. We walked slowly along the various paths, searching the small fields. A party of Cretzschmar's Buntings showed well until disturbed by other people, and further Isabelline Wheatears and a Tawny Pipit were found in the arena. We climbed the low rise to the lighthouse, watching a Black-winged Stilt which had appeared on the rocks at the water's edge. Nearby, we found just a single Cyprus Woodcock Orchid, and then, looking over the quarry, several Black-headed Wagtails looked stunning with the sun behind us. A Sardinian Warbler played hide and seek, but our perseverance paid off in the end. Finally, as some of us headed back to the hotel, the remainder of the group trailing along behind found a Short-toed Lark.
Tuesday 23rd March Asprokremnos pools and the South Coast
Sunny & hot (am), breeze freshening from SE & cloudy (pm)
Our pre-breakfast walk was fairly quiet with a male Subalpine Warbler showing well just opposite the hotel, three Cyprus Wheatears within the fence of the Tombs of the Kings, a Kingfisher and Common Sandpiper on the beach and a continual fly-past of Painted Lady butterflies heading northwards.
Cyprus Warbler at Asprokremnos Pools
After breakfast, we headed firstly to the Asprokremnos pools, which with water overflowing the dam and running down the shute, were lower than normal as the bunds had been opened up allowing water to flow freely down river. There were several Common Swifts overhead as we arrived and Cyprus Warblers showed well. A Green Sandpiper skulked around the water's edge. Lesser Fiery Copper and both Common & Eastern Baton Blue butterflies were all seen. Chukars were calling and eventually two flew across to the dam wall itself, and we also found two more showing well on the edge of the low cliff to one side. The Turban Buttercups were in full flower and some of us found a small group of the pale pink Cyprus Gladiolus. As we returned to the bus, a Great Spotted Cuckoo was calling and eventually flew across overhead.
We moved on, heading for coffee and refreshments at Petra tou Romiou where another Cyprus Wheatear was perched up on the hillside above the balcony. Kensington Cliffs were very quiet so, after watching a lone Alpine Swift, we headed on to Phassouri reedbeds. The water was almost up to the roadside here, which gave us excellent views of a whole range of water birds. These included good numbers of Garganey, Teal, Black-winged Stilts, Ruffs, three Snipe, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and Curlews. Several Cattle Egrets flew the length of the lagoon and two Marsh Harriers were quartering over the reedbeds in the background. We returned to the bus where Paulis had laid out an excellent picnic lunch. Two Common Cranes flew across in the distance causing much panic as people tried to lift binoculars without dropping plates of food! A brief stop overlooking the salt lake at Akrotiri produced a count of over 600 Flamingos. Here also, a Great White Egret flew in and there were several Pochard on the water. A flock of Slender-billed Gulls on the far shore were really too far away for any sort of good view!
A brief stop halfway along the road for orchids found several 'Bee-type Orchids' Ophrys sp. already with seed heads, others still in bud, and lots of Orchis sp. in tight bud. The only orchids in full flower were good numbers of Tongue-orchids Serapias sp. A flock of Ruffs here contained several Curlew Sandpipers, then a flock of Little Stints flew in and we watched these with a few Kentish Plovers. A stunning male Pallid Harrier being chased off by Hooded Crows caused us to stop and this bird was seen briefly again a little later. Our final search was along the Lady's Mile and Zakaki pools, but these were pretty quiet except for eight juvenile Flamingos very close to the road, and another Green Sandpiper, two Water Pipits and a Red-throated Pipit in a flooded ditch. We then really had to head back to the hotel.
Wednesday 24th March Akamas and Evretou Reservoir
Sunny & hot, breezy pm
Our pre-breakfast walk took us towards the headland. On the way, a Lesser Whitethroat was skulking in a stand of Giant Reed, and as we reached the quarry, a stonechat showing an amazing amount of white in its plumage appeared. Promptly disappearing again, we went through the fence and approached the stand of rough vegetation. It perched up in full view - an 'Eastern' Stonechat, Saxicola [maurus] variegatus from the Arabian peninsula, currently classified as a race of Siberian Stonechat. Presumably this had been blown in on yesterday's strong south-easterlies. We eventually headed back for breakfast, prior to boarding the bus.
Lena was driving us today, and we headed northwards through Kathikas to the Akamas Peninsula. We walked past the Baths of Aphrodite, finding just the occasional Chiffchaff. A female Blue Rock Thrush showed well on the cliff ahead of us, and a male Sardinian Warbler appeared right beside the path and also showed well. A pod of Common Dolphins were breaching far out in the bay, their position marked by a group of Yellow-legged Gulls on and over the water. As we returned, a Cyprus Wheatear and Serin showed well. We attempted to get to Smiyies Chapel for our picnic lunch, but got lost (well, temporarily misplaced) as we drove through Neo Chorio. Finding ourselves heading back the way we'd come, we stopped under some trees for lunch, overlooking a delightful valley.
Evretou Reservoir was fairly quiet, a Cormorant initially enlivening our walk. For the botanists there were lots of Naked Man Orchid and a few Giant Orchid. The small Ophrys Bee-Orchids with the green sepals were probably Mount Carmel Orchid, Ophrys attica. Just as we were about to leave, first one then two smart Spur-winged Lapwings appeared distantly on the far bank of the reservoir. We then moved on, attempting to find our way up to Pano Panagia. We successfully negotiated the first village, but the second defeated us and as we were running out of time, we decided to head back to Paphos. Dropping some of the group at the headland to bird and walk back to the hotel, the rest of us treated ourselves to cups of tea at the hotel. The walkers found good numbers of wheatears, including Isabelline, Cyprus, Northern, and several Black-eared. There was no sign of the Eastern Stonechat.
Thursday 25th March Asprokremnos pools & the Troodos
Some cloud early am, then clear & sunny
The early morning birders flushed a Quail from the grassy area behind the hotel then, near the stands of Giant Reed, found a Red-throated Pipit perched on a wire - this bird just beginning to flush pink. A little later, another Quail was seen to fly across the bay from the headland - a most unique flight action as the bird made landfall near the Tombs of the Kings. We again found the Eastern Stonechat on the headland.
After breakfast, Costas appeared with the coach and we headed for the Asprokremnos Pools. A Green Sandpiper was again tucked away in a corner, and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers were also present. A Moustached Warbler eventually showed well at the bottom of a narrow fringe of reeds on the far side. We then headed inland, along the ridge overlooking the reservoir. A brief stop gave us Great Spotted Cuckoo, but with no sign at all of any raptors, we headed directly to Pano Platres for coffee before going on to Mount Olympus itself. Here the thick snow was becoming patchy, and where it had melted exposing bare ground, the endemic Cyprus Crocus was flowering - exquisite! Several Crossbills showed well, including a female feeding a streaky juvenile. The endemic race of Coal Tit was also very distinctive, being very much darker than our birds, the black throat more extensive and the white nape patch being merely a narrow streak. As we returned downhill, two Masked Shrikes showed extremely nicely in a bare roadside bush. We didn't need (in fact we couldn't) to get out of the bus! We continued downhill a short way before pulling off for lunch. Walking a forest trail both before and after lunch, we found further Coal Tits, several Short-toed Treecreepers and parties of Pallid Swifts flew screaming low overhead. Back at Pano Platres, a brief walk gave us another endemic subspecies, the Jay. Some then walked slowly down to the town whilst others had a quick coffee at the fish farm. Time was getting on, Costas picked everyone up and we headed back to Paphos.
Friday 26th March Nata & surrounding area
Overcast, light breeze all day
We again walked the headland before breakfast. Several Red-rumped Swallows flew over and there were just one or two wheatears. A 'Baltic-race' Lesser Black-backed Gull was offshore, and various Kentish Plover, Turnstones and a single Green Sandpiper were on the shore. Both Red-throated and Tree Pipits showed well and, as we returned, we again flushed a Quail from the grassy area near the hotel.
After breakfast, we returned yet again to the Asprokremnos pools. There had obviously been an influx of Cyprus Warblers in the scrub. The lone Green Sandpiper was still present, Little Ringed Plovers had increased to three and, best of all, a Little Crake and Moustached Warbler were both showing well, sometimes in the same field of view. A Water Rail also showed briefly in the next pool. At one point, both Cyprus and Ruppell's Warblers were within a foot of each other and in full view on a nearby bush. A Black Francolin, which had been calling on and off all morning, was located at the top of an earthen cliff in the distance. Telescopes were needed but it did show well for everyone before ducking back into the grass.
We eventually tore ourselves away and headed for Nata, right at the top end of the Asprokremnos Reservoir. Coffee in a taverna overlooking the village and surrounding valley was most welcome, after which we found an Orphean Warbler showing well in a roadside bush. We then parked the bus near the ford across the Xeros Potamos river and as lunch was being set out, we scanned the area, finding only Corn Buntings in abundance. The water running down a nearby track was attracting masses of birds to drink and bathe. These included Spanish Sparrows, Goldfinches, Blackcaps, Serins and a lone Tree Pipit. A patch of Lax-flowered Orchids looked wonderful even though some of the area had been burnt.
During lunch, when everyone had their hands full, a pair of Bonelli's Eagles appeared over a distant hill! Circling in the updraft, they showed well in the telescopes, gradually coming closer to us. Then after lunch, a Quail started calling from a field as we walked downstream a short way. Near the bluff, two Great Spotted Cuckoos flew across the river, one landing in a tree allowing everyone present to view it through the telescopes. Several Jackdaws, perched on telegraph poles, also showed very nicely, allowing us to view the paler and more extensive grey nape of this race. We headed back through Nata and back towards Paphos. A brief stop at a rocky bluff produced just a Cyprus Wheatear.
We dropped the energetic few off at the beach beside the headland, the rest of us heading back to the hotel. The headland produced a nicely mixed flock of Yellow Wagtails, including Black-headed, Grey-headed and Blue-headed males. A lovely male Rüppell's Warbler also gave very close views. Finally, a large flock of White Wagtails numbering several hundreds gathered opposite the hotel and came into roost in the trees bordering the road.
Saturday 27th March Avakas Gorge & Cape Drepanum
Warm & sunny
We again headed for the headland before breakfast. Small groups of Garganey were flying north over the sea. A Common Redstart of the eastern race P.p.samamisicus was found briefly near the stands of Giant Reed. Various wheatears included the usual Northern, Isabelline and Cyprus. Near the point itself, a Quail was again seen flying north over the sea.
After breakfast we headed for the Avakas Gorge. As we arrived a female Pallid Harrier was circling in the distance. Walking slowly up the track, it was very apparent that there were large numbers of Blackcaps in and around the citrus plantation. Smaller numbers of Cyprus and Sardinian Warblers were also seen. A very dark brown butterfly defied immediate identification but checking in the literature and using the quick photograph taken, this turned out to be an African Ringlet. [This has been confirmed by Eddie John and is quite an unusual sighting for Cyprus (KG)]. There was a good display of Cyprus Gladiolus and a single Pyramidal Orchid. A Sparrowhawk circled at the top, and we watched a Great Tit busy bringing in great mouthfuls of food for its brood inside the top of a metal gate post.
Walking along a track, away from the gorge, we found the remains of a Hoopoe. The various wing and tail feathers would be good for a quiz question. Persistent calling from the gorge bottom was most likely a Collared Flycatcher, but with no way down, there was no chance of seeing it - very frustrating! Returning to the bus, we headed back to Agios Georgios for coffee, then walked slowly down the road to Cape Drepanum itself. Again, many wheatears and a female Blue Rock Thrush showed well at various points. The rocky slope held Rüppell's and Orphean Warblers, a male Redstart and a Cretzschmar's Bunting. An Ortolan showed briefly but disappeared before anyone got on to it.
Lunch was ready, followed by a Rambo 99 ice cream! A Water Pipit allowed good views in the telescopes, and we then checked out the small sheltered gardens around a new house at the cliff edge, before returning to the hotel. Some then walked out to the headland. Tawny Pipits and Short-toed Larks were foraging in the earthy field behind the hotel and a Lesser Whitethroat was skulking in the base of a dead bush by the Giant Reeds. Near the lighthouse, there was a Great Spotted Cuckoo perching on dead thistles and asphodels. Then a Hoopoe flew off from a tree across the arena. A little later, three more were found, foraging together on a footpath. The amphitheatre also held a nice group of Cretzschmar's Buntings, Cyprus and Northern Wheatears. Leaving some to go on, two of us headed back and found a lovely male Red-spotted Bluethroat, again near the clumps of Giant Reed - these seem to be quite a magnet! Finally, some of us gathered to watch the hundreds of White Wagtails gather on the field in front of the hotel, before flying into the thick trees to roost.
George arrived at 7pm and took us to a nearby restaurant for an excellent meze. This unfortunately was not the same taverna as last year at Kathikas, and therefore there was no sign this evening of any Scops Owls!
Sunday 28th March Larnaca & departure
Sunny & very hot
Several people managed a pre-breakfast walk as far as the clumps of Giant Reed. Very careful searching eventually revealed the Bluethroat, and both Lesser Whitethroat and Orphean Warbler. All three were remarkably furtive and very difficult to see well. A Grey Wagtail also landed briefly on the beach.
A delay after breakfast, waiting for George to arrive with our picnic lunches, enabled everyone to search again for the Bluethroat, but to no avail. We eventually got away an hour later than expected and headed directly to Larnaca. Unfortunately, the taverna overlooking the far end of the lagoon was closed, but we did find a lone Willow Warbler in the trees, and searched the lagoons from the roadside. Several Little Gulls were present nearby, and much further out, good numbers of Garganey and Shoveler were resting on the water. A pair of Pintail were also present and a few rather distant Slender-billed Gulls. Four Black-necked Grebes were in full breeding plumage though again, rather distant. Two Spectacled Warblers showed well albeit briefly on the roadside Giant Fennel. We returned to the picnic area for our sandwiches and the remains of the flagon of wine from yesterday, then went to search this end of the lagoon, and the other one across the road. Further distant Slender-billed Gulls, and Little Ringed Plovers. Massed Naked Man Orchids looked excellent and, [from KG's photographs] the Ophrys orchids here seemed to be Ophrys umbilicata, with sepals ranging in colour from quite deep pink to almost green-white. It was getting really quite hot by now so we decided to pack up and head for the airport to check in and relax in the departure lounge awaiting our flight.
The various species lists below use the following references:
Birds: We use the suggested worldwide English names and systematic order as found in World Bird Species Checklist: with alternate English & scientific names (Wells, M.G., 1998). Commonly used alternates are enclosed in [ ] or separated by / .
Butterflies: Collins Field Guide: Butterflies of Britain & Europe (Tolman, T. & Lewington, R., 1997)
Eddie John's Butterflies of Cyprus (John, E., www.grayling.dircon.co.uk).
Mammals: Collins Field Guide: Mammals of Britain & Europe (Macdonald, D. & Barrett, P., 1993)
Amphibians and Reptiles: Collins Field Guide: Reptiles & Amphibians of Britain & Europe [second edition] (Arnold, E.N. & Ovenden, D.W., 2002)
Amphibians and Reptiles of Northern Cyprus (Atatür, M.K. & Göçmen, B., www.bornova.ege.edu.tr)
Snake Species in Cyprus (Antoniou, A.L., www.cosmosnet.net/cyprus/explore/3snake.htm )
Plants: Mediterranean Wild Flowers (Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C., 1993)
The Orchids of Cyprus (Christofides, Y., 2001)
Little Grebe / Dabchick: 10 at Phasouri reedbeds & another 5 at Zakaki pools on 23rd.
Great Crested Grebe: 2 on the sea on 25th.
Black-necked Grebe: 4 in breeding plumage at Larnaca lagoons on 28th.
Great Cormorant: Noted on 3 days with 1 at Evretou Reservoir on 24th, 2 N over beach on 25th, 1 Cape Drepanum on 27th.
Grey Heron: Noted on 2 days with 4 on 23rd, 2 Evretou Reservoir & 3 Paphos on 24th.
Cattle Egret: 6 at Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd.
Great [White] Egret: 2 at Akrotiri on 23rd.
Little Egret: 1 at Zakaki pools on 23rd.
Greater Flamingo: Noted on 2 days c.30 at Larnaca Airport on 21st, 640 at Akrotiri on 23rd.
Eurasian/Common Teal: 27 at Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd.
Mallard: Noted on 2 days with 4 at Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd, 6 at Evretou Reservoir on 24th.
Northern Pintail: Noted on 2 days with 65 flew over c10 others on 23rd, a pair Larnaca lagoons on 28th.
Garganey: Noted on 4 days with c.20 Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd, c.70 N am & pm on 26th and 144 N in small flocks at Paphos Headland on 27th, c.200 Larnaca lagoons on 28th.
Northern Shoveler: Noted on 2 days with a pair Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd, c.160 Larnaca lagoons on 28th.
Common Pochard: 3 at Akrotiri on 23rd.
Pallid Harrier: Noted on 3 days with a male at Akrotiri on 23rd, another male near Evretou Reservoir on 24th, a female high over Avakas Gorge on 27th.
[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier: Noted on 2 days with 4 on 23rd, 2 on 24th.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk: Noted on 2 days with 1 Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd, 1 Avakas Gorge & another Cape Drepanum on 27th.
Common Buzzard: Noted on 4 days with singles at Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd, Evretou Reservoir on 24th, Nata on 26th, en route on 28th.
Bonelli's Eagle: A pair near Nata on 26th.
Common/Eurasian Kestrel: Noted each day.
Chukar: Noted on 5 days.
Black Francolin: Noted most days.
Common Quail: Noted on 3 days with 1 just behind the hotel and another flying N over the sea on 25th, 1 flushed behind hotel and heard calling near Nata on 26th, 1 flying N over sea past Paphos Headland on 27th.
Common Crane: 2 flew over Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd.
Water Rail: 1 at Asprokremnos pools on 26th.
Little Crake: 1 at Asprokremnos pools on 26th.
Common Moorhen: Noted on 4 days with 1 at Evretou Reservoir on 24th & up to 3 at Asprokremnos pools.
Eurasian/Common Coot: Noted on 3 days with up to 5 at Asprokremnos pools.
Black-winged Stilt: Noted on 2 days with 1 on the shore on 22nd, 12+ at Phasouri reedbed on 23rd.
Northern Lapwing: 1 at Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd.
Spur-winged Plover: 2 at Evretou Reservoir on 24th.
Little [Ringed] Plover: Noted on 4 days with several on 23rd, a pair Asprokremnos pools on 25th, 3 Asprokremnos pools on 26th, a pair Larnaca lagoons on 28th.
Kentish Plover: Noted on 2 days at Akrotiri saltlake & Lady's Mile on 23rd, 1 on the beach on 26th.
Black-tailed Godwit: 1 at Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd.
Eurasian Curlew: 2 at Phasouri reedbeds c12 Akrotiri on 23rd.
Green Sandpiper: Noted on 4 days with several on 23rd, c.10 Evretou Reservoir on 24th, 1 Asprokremnos pools on 23rd - 26th, 1 on the beach on 26th.
Common Sandpiper: Noted on 3 days on the beach, 1 on 23rd, 2 on 25th, 1 on 27th.
Ruddy Turnstone: Noted on 4 days on the beach with up to 9.
Common Snipe: 3 at Phasouri reedbeds & 1 Zakaki pools on 23rd.
Little Stint: c.25 at Akrotiri on 23rd.
Curlew Sandpiper: 3 at Akrotiri on 23rd.
Ruff: c.60 at Phasouri reedbeds & Akrotiri on 23rd.
Yellow-legged Gull: Noted most days.
Lesser Black-backed Gull: Noted on 4 days with an adult of the southern Scandinavian Larus fuscus intermedius or Siberian race L. f. heuglini on 24th (dark grey mantle colouration), then 4 adults of the Baltic race L. f. fuscus on the sea on 25th, and single fuscus on the sea on 26th & 27th (jet black mantle).
Little Gull: 4 first year birds at Larnaca lagoons on 28th.
Black-headed Gull: Noted on 6 days with p on 21st, p on 22nd, p on 23rd, 6 on sea on 25th, 8 N Paphos Headland on 27th, p on 28th.
Slender-billed Gull: Noted on 4 days, unfortunately all distantly, several flying N past Paphos Headland on 23rd, 1 distantly on 25th, 4 N past the headland on 27th, c.10 Larnaca lagoons on 28th.
Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted each day.
[Common] Wood Pigeon: Noted on 6 days.
Eurasian Collared Dove: Noted each day.
Great Spotted Cuckoo: Noted on 4 days with 1 at Asprokremnos pools on 23rd, at least 1 above Asprokremnos Reservoir on 25th, 3 Xeros Potamos on 26th, 2 Paphos Headland on 27th.
Little Owl: 1 sunning itself on the Asprokremnos Dam on 26th.
Alpine Swift: 3 at Kensington Cliffs on 23rd.
Pallid Swift: Noted on 2 days with at least 10 low over the Troodos on 25th, 4 Xeros Potamos on 26th.
Common Swift: Several noted on each of 5 days.
Common Kingfisher: Noted on 5 days with one or two noted along the Paphos shore on 4 days and 1 at Akamas peninsula on 24th.
Eurasian Hoopoe: Noted on 6 days, mainly singles, but 4 during 24th, and 5 (3 together) at Paphos Headland on 27th.
[Greater] Short-toed Lark: Noted on 4 days between the hotel and the heaqdland with 6 on 22nd, 1 pre-breakfast on 23rd, 9 on 24th, at least 3 on 27th.
Crested Lark: Noted most days.
[Eurasian/Common] Sky Lark: Noted on 3 days between the hotel and the headland, usually single birds, but 2 at Cape Drepanum on 27th.
[European] Sand Martin: Noted on 2 days with 1 over the headland on 22nd, 2 Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd.
Barn Swallow: Noted most days.
Red-rumped Swallow: Noted on 4 days with 13 over the headland on 22nd, 3 Akamas peninsula on 24th, several en route on 25th, at least 30 N over Nata on 26th.
[Common] House Martin: Noted each day.
Blue-headed Wagtail: Noted on 2 days with c.10 at the headland on 26th, 1 near hotel on 27th.
Black-headed Wagtail: Noted on 6 days with 3 males & 1 female on the headland on 22nd, several still present on 23rd - 25th, c.20 Paphos Headland on 26th, 2 on beach plus others on 27th.
Grey-headed Wagtail: 3 Paphos Headland on 26th.
White Wagtail: Noted most days including c.400 roosting outside the hotel on 26th & 27th.
Grey Wagtail: 1 on beach on 28th.
Tawny Pipit: Noted on 3 days with 1 on 22nd, 4 headland on 25th, 2 Paphos Headland & at least 3 near hotel on 27th.
Meadow Pipit: Noted most days.
Tree Pipit: Noted on 2 days with 3 during 26th, 1 near hotel on 27th.
Red-throated Pipit: Noted on 6 days with ones or twos between the hotel and Paphos headland on 22nd & 24th - 27th, and 1 at Zakaki pools on 23rd.
Water Pipit: Noted on 2 days with 2 Zakaki pools on 23rd, several including 1 giving nice views at Cape Drepanum on 27th.
Masked Shrike: 2 right by the roadside, Troodos on 25th.
[Winter] Wren: Seen briefly, others heard, Troodos on 25th.
Blue Rock Thrush: Singles noted on 5 days at various locations.
Common Blackbird: Heard at Asprokremnos pools on 25th.
Song Thrush: Noted on 5 days.
European Robin: Noted on 4 days.
Bluethroat: Noted on 2 days with a male of the northern European red-spotted race Luscinia svecica svecica near the hotel on 27th & 28th.
Black Redstart: Noted on 4 days with 20 on 22nd, 2 on 23rd, 1 Akamas peninsula on 24th, 1 Paphos Headland on 25th.
Common Redstart: Noted on 2 days with a male at Paphos headland on 24th, a male of the eastern race P. p. samamisicus at Paphos Headland & a male at Cape Drepanum on 27th.
Eastern Stonechat: A first summer male of this Eastern race Saxicola [maurus] variegatus noted on 3 days at Paphos headland on 24th - 26th.
Common Stonechat: Noted on 5 days, maximum was c.12 on Paphos Headland on 26th.
Northern Wheatear: Noted most days, maximum was c.30 during on 24th.
Cyprus Wheatear: Noted on 6 days with 1 on 22nd, 5 on 23rd, c6 on 24th, many en route on 25th, several on 26th, several on 27th.
Black-eared Wheatear: Noted on 4 days with up to 4 between the hotel and Paphos headland on 24th - 27th, singles at Nata on 26th and Cape Drepanum on 27th.
Isabelline Wheatear: Noted on 6 days, usually between the hotel and the headland, with at least 15 on 22nd, c.6 on 23rd, c.12 on 24th, several on 25th - 27th.
Zitting Cisticola / Fan-tailed Warbler: Noted most days.
Cetti's Warbler: Noted on 5 days, seen briefly but usually heard singing.
Moustached Warbler: Noted on 2 days with 1 seen well albeit briefly at Asprokremnos pools on 25th, then 3 seen there on 26th.
Sedge Warbler: Heard singing Xeros Potamos on 26th.
[Eurasian] Reed Warbler: Heard Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd.
Willow Warbler: 1 at Larnaca lagoons on 28th.
Common/Eurasian Chiffchaff: Noted most days, including several of the Siberian race Phylloscopus collybita tristis.
Blackcap: Noted on 6 days, particularly numerous on 23rd & 27th.
Lesser Whitethroat: Noted on 3 days with 1 near the hotel on 24th, 27th, & 28th.
Orphean Warbler: Noted on 3 days with a female at Nata on 26th, several views at Cape Drepanum and Paphos Headland on 27th, 1 near hotel on 28th.
Rüppell's Warbler: Noted on 3 days with a male at Paphos headland on 24th, singles at Asprokremnos pools and Paphos Headland on 26th, several at Cape Drepanum on 27th.
Sardinian Warbler: Noted on 6 days.
Cyprus Warbler: Noted on 4 days with 2 males at Asprokremnos pools & 3 males Kensington cliffs on 23rd, several on 25th, many at Asprokremnos pools & Xeros Potamos on 26th, and Avakas Gorge on 27th.
Subalpine Warbler: Noted on 2 days with a male at Paphos headland on 22nd, and another just outside the hotel on 23rd.
Spectacled Warbler: 2 males showed well at Larnaca lagoons on 28th.
Collared Flycatcher: A bird calling at the bottom of the Avakas Gorge on 27th was probably this species.
Coal Tit: Birds of the Cyprus race were plentiful in the Troodos on 25th.
Great Tit: Noted on 6 days.
Short-toed Treecreeper: Several in the Troodos on 25th.
Eurasian Jay: 5 of the Cyprus race in the Troodos on 25th.
Black-billed/Eurasian Magpie: Noted most days.
Western/Eurasian Jackdaw: Noted each day.
Hooded Crow: Noted each day.
Corn Bunting: Noted most days.
Cretzschmar's Bunting: Noted on 6 days with at least 8 on 22nd, 1 on 23rd, 5 at the headland on 24th, several on 25th, 2 Asprokremnos pools on 26th, good numbers at the headland on 27th.
Common/European Chaffinch: Noted on 5 days.
European Serin: Noted on 4 days with at least 1 Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd, a male showed well at the Akamas peninsula on 24th, noted on 26th, 1 at the headland on 27th.
European Greenfinch: Noted most days.
European Goldfinch: Noted most days.
Common Linnet: Noted on 6 days.
Common/Red Crossbill: 5 showed well on Mount Olympus on 25th.
House Sparrow: Noted each day.
Spanish Sparrow: Noted on 6 days.
BUTTERFLIES & other selected insects:
Swallowtail: Noted on 6 days, 22nd - 25th, 27th, & 28th.
Eastern Festoon: Noted on 24th.
Large White: Noted on 3 days, 22nd, 23rd, & 26th.
Small White: Noted most days.
Eastern Bath White: Noted on 4 days, 22nd, 24th 26th, & 27th.
Orange-tip: Noted on 2 days, 24th, & 26th.
Clouded Yellow: Noted on 3 days, 22nd - 24th.
Lesser Fiery Copper: Noted on 2 days, 23rd, & 25th.
Holly Blue: Noted on 25th.
Paphos Blue: Noted on 4 days, 24th - 27th.
Eastern Baton Blue: Noted on 23rd.
Common Blue: Noted on 4 days, 23rd - 26th.
Red Admiral: Noted on 23rd.
Painted Lady: Noted most days, good numbers heading N along the Paphos shoreline.
Cyprus Meadow Brown: Noted on 3 days, 22nd - 24th.
African Ringlet: 1 at the Avakas Gorge on 27th.
Wall Brown: Noted on 26th.
Large Wall Brown: Noted on 23rd.
Hummingbird Hawkmoth: Noted on 23rd.
Norfolk Hawker: Noted on 23rd.
Lesser Emperor: Noted on 23rd.
Common Darter: Noted on 23rd.
Eastern Hedgehog: Two road kills noted on 22nd & 28th.
Brown Rat: A road kill noted on 28th.
Brown Hare: 1 at Asprokremnos pools on 23rd.
AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:
Savigny's/Green Tree Frog: 1 found in long grass at the Phasouri reedbeds on 23rd.
Levant Water Frog: Heard on 23rd & 26th. At the time, we identified these calls as Marsh Frog, but the above references seem to indicate that these frogs are Rana bedriagae (= R.levantina)
Spiny Lizard / Agama: Noted on 4 days with several seen on 22nd, 24th, 26th, & 27th.
Troodos [Rock] Lizard: Noted most days.
Freshwater Crab: 1 found near Asprokremnos pools on 25th.
(Just a few, those which we particularly noted!)
Crown Anemone Anemone coronaria
Turban Buttercup Ranunculus asiaticus
Yellow Horned-poppy Glaucium flavum
Cyprus Rockcress Arabis purpurea [=cypria]
Eastern Sea Stock Matthiola tricuspidata
Alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum
Giant Fennel Ferulago communis
Eastern Strawberry Tree Arbutus andrachne
Persian Sowbread Cyclamen persicum
Narrow-leaved Bugloss Echium angustifolium
Undulate Anchusa Anchusa undulate
Eastern Anchusa Anchusa aegyptiaca
Blue-leaved Wattle Acacia cyanophylla
Hairy Thorny Broom Calycotome villosa
Spanish Broom Spartium junceum
Bermuda Buttercup Oxalis pes-caprae
Pale Flax Linum bienne
Cretian/Pink Rock-rose Cistus creticus
Sage-leaved Rock-rose Cistus salvifolius
Southern Rock-rose Helianthemum syriacum
Arabian Fumana Fumana Arabica
Tamarisk Tamarix tetrandra
Prickly Pear Opuntia ficus-indica
Crown Daisy Chrysanthemum coronarium
Milk Thistle Silybum marianum
Eastern Salsify Tragopogon sinuatus
Common Asphodel Asphodelus aestivus
Sea Squill Urginea maritime
Star-of-Bethlehem Ornithogallum pedicellare
Naples Garlic Allium neopolitanum
Barbary Nut Gynandiris sisyrinchium
Field Gladiolus Gladiolus italicus
Cyprus Gladiolus Gladiolus triphyllus
Naked Man Orchid Orchis italica
Lax-flowered Orchid Orchis laxiflora
Umbilicate Orchid Ophrys umbilicata
Cyprus Woodcock Orchid Ophrys lapethica
Mt. Carmel Orchid Ophrys attica
Giant Orchid Barlia robertiana
Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis
Long-lipped Tongue-orchid Serapias vomeracea
It is always nigh-on impossible to pick out particular highlights from a trip like this. As ever on these trips, their success depends upon the pleasure of the company, and this year was no exception; it was most enjoyable with many laughs and some splendid birding. Many great birds, butterflies and plants were seen, with each of us taking away our own memories: the splendid male variegatus Stonechat on Paphos headland; the Little Crake showing excellently in the open at Asprokremnos, with two Moustached Warblers for company; two Masked Shrikes at arm's length on Mt. Olympus. The ample picnic lunches, with free-flowing 'Ribena', and the warm and sunny weather all added to the enjoyment.
Well done to all of you who made this trip the success it was. We would both like to thank everybody for their company and good humour, and hope to see you all on another trip, sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Keith Grant & Brian Small, April 2004