TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT


Cyprus

27th March – 3rd April 2005




Leaders:

Keith Grant (The Travelling Naturalist)

Brian Small (Limosa Holidays)



Drivers:

Costas, Lena, Paulis & Theo





Daily Diary:





Sunday 27th March Arrival

Bright & sunny

A day of travel, with the group arriving and meeting at Larnaca via Manchester or London Heathrow. After a brief delay due to the tardy luggage-handlers at Larnaca, we met up with Hannah and Richard from Kalliope Travel and set off for the hotel at Paphos, with Greater Flamingo and Common Kestrel on the drive. We arrived at our hotel, settled quickly into our rooms, had dinner then retired to bed with thoughts of tomorrow's birds in our heads.



Monday 28th March Paphos headland and mosaics

Fine and sunny all day; very warm

The pre-breakfast walk had a good turn-out, and we walked the short distance to the coast, then headed north toward the perimeter of the Tomb's of the Kings. As ever, many new birds were seen, so progress was slow: Crested Larks, Isabelline and Cyprus Wheatears (or whatever you want to call them) were the highlights. After breakfast, birding began in earnest with a walk around Paphos headland, an exciting walk as it turned out. Almost the first bird was a Spur-winged Lapwing - its flappy flight and upright stance in the ploughed field was most distinctive - followed closely by a young male Pallid Harrier that raced through, unfortunately against the light, but smart nevertheless. These first 'goodies' were well-supported by Spanish Sparrows and more wonderful Isabelline Wheatears. A male Black Francolin proclaimed his territory from a convenient mound just inside the fence, with the female in close attendance, allowing prolonged views of its very smart plumage. Coastal bushes held a female Subalpine and male Rüppell's Warblers, before we decided that lunch beckoned. After a hearty meal with some dining extravagantly on red snapper and others the local calamari, one of the group unfortunately had succumbed to a bad cold and was accompanied back to the hotel. The rest entered the Paphos archaeological site, not just to enjoy the mosaics, but also to explore the quarries, ruins and cover for migrants. We were not disappointed - the first bird was an Alpine Swift overhead, then brief views of both Orphean and Rüppell's Warblers, and more prolonged views of a male Sardinian Warbler near the mosaics. Whilst the group were inside looking at some of the mosaics, the lucky leaders had a Great Spotted Cuckoo (no, honest), but the best was yet to come. The first real surprise was found whilst checking a flock of Cretzschmar's Buntings: a splendid Bimaculated Lark showed particularly well in a cleared ruin. Feeling rather pleased with ourselves, we were treated to male and female Rüppell's Warblers near the quarry, our first orchid (Ophrys umbilicata), and then the best views of a male Pallid Harrier you could ever wish to get. However, the second surprise of the day came in the form of a large bunting that disappeared into long grass, which, after a bit of coaxing perched on the quarry and proved to be a male Cinereous Bunting.



Tuesday 29th March Asprokremnos pools and the South Coast

Fine and sunny again, but with a light breeze, veering east to south-east

Another good pre-breakfast turn-out walked south towards the headland, though we didn’t get very far – in fact only as far as the municipal beach. Checking through the wheatears on the rocks, one in particular caught the eye. Better views showed it to be a first-summer female Desert Wheatear, no doubt a result of the easterly winds. We spent the next 30 minutes watching it before having to leave for breakfast. It was unfortunately not seen again. After breakfast we made our first visit to the pools below the Asprokremnos Dam, where we found several Cyprus Warblers - very good views - and Chukar. The pools produced three Little Crakes (two males and a female) and a juvenile Kingfisher sporting a black bill, and the surrounding scrub a variety of butterflies including Paphos Blue. Taking the old road east, we drove towards Akrotiri, stopping for coffee at Petra to Romiou (Aphrodite's Rock) and at Pissouri for distant views of Long-legged Buzzard and Peregrine. Arriving at the unusually mosquito-free Phassouri reedbed enabled us to see our first Garganey, Pintail, Purple Herons and Glossy Ibis, but the star find was a shy Great Bittern hunkering down in the sedge. An early Eastern Bonelli's Warbler called and showed briefly to a lucky few just before a fabulous picnic spread. Akrotiri salt lake is the home of Greater Flamingos, and the 2,500+ that fed on it was a very high number reflecting (forgive the pun) the success of this species in the Med. Distant heat-hazy blobs were probably Slender-billed Gulls, though two were quite clearly a Little and Great White Egret. Along the southern edge of the pools is a good little spot for orchids, and the Orchys apifera and O. levantina were very nice as were the Orchis coriophora fragrans. Whilst looking for these at least one more Eastern Bonelli's Warbler was seen well by all, but we were finally driven off by the kevlar-piercing mosquitos that devoured us and we had to be careful not to be stung through the metal skin of the bus! The slow drive along Lady's Mile was productive for waders, our first Ruff, Kentish Plovers and Little Stints, but best of all were two male Greater Sand-plovers of the race columbinus. At Zakaki pools, Green and Wood Sandpipers were found, as well as fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Spotted Redshank and a few Black-headed Wagtails.





Wednesday 30th March Akamas and Evretou Reservoir

Sunny, but cool, with some cloud and NW breeze strengthening pm

A quiet early walk produced six Kingfishers along the shore and several wheatears, largely Northern and Isabelline. After breakfast we drove north to Polis, then walked along to the impressive(?!) Baths of Aphrodite, on the Akamas peninsula, where our walk around the campsite got us good views of Cyprus Wheatear, a male Orphean Warbler, Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, lots of Lesser Whitethroats and Blackcaps, and we heard the sonar-like call of the Cypriot race of Scops Owl. Then up to the beautiful little spot at Smiyies Chapel for lunch, but not before we had seen Serin, Black-eared Wheatear and a male Masked Shrike (doing its impression of an Acrocephalus warbler). In a way it was the orchids around the chapel that stole the limelight, with a number of interesting species: Ophrys lutea, Ophrys israelitica and Ophrys [fusca] funerea, plus Orchis [morio] syriaca being the most interesting. After a very pleasant lunch admiring the surroundings, we made the short drive over to Evretou Reservoir, where the best of the birds was an adult Night Heron over our heads and of the plants was Ophrys transhyrcana and Neotinia maculata. A distant Black-winged Stilt drew our attention, but there were very few wildfowl this year. We returned to Paphos and a small group walked onto the headland, where we had the usual wheatears and a flock of 11 Glossy Ibis, whose beautiful plumage glowed in the afternoon light.



Thursday 31st March Asprokremnos pools & the Troodos

Cloudy early am, but sunny later; cool in the hills; stiff SE breeze

On the pre-breakfast stroll, the same or different Spur-winged Lapwing was back near the municipal beach, and we had the unusual sight of a Quail flying in off the sea. Several Slender-billed Gulls passed the headland as did a distant Cory's (Scopoli's) Shearwater. After breakfast, the drive up into the Troodos mountains followed the lovely Dhiarissos valley and was punctuated with a couple of stops: the first for a pale Long-legged Buzzard, which performed well as it hung in the wind; the second was something of a surprise, given the precarious state of the population on Cyprus, a Griffon Vulture. Also on the drive up we passed at least 20 Cyprus Wheatears. At the ski-lift, near the top of Mount Olympus, we enjoyed the spectacle of a carpet (well, small rugs actually) of Cyprus Crocuses; two Jays did a vanishing trick, but the other target species performed well in the end. The Cyprus race of Coal Tit is most distinct with its darker plumage, extensive black on the breast and Great Tit-like call; the Short-toed Treecreeper is a little whiter below and paler above, but the voice is the same as on the continent; the Cyprus Crossbill is big, with a large bill and eye well forward on the head, and the male is nothing more than a warm yellowy green (never red) in colour. At lunch we saw more Coal Tits and a fine eye-to-eye view of a female Crossbill, whilst after, on the walk back down through the pleasant village of Pano Platres, we heard several Wrens, enjoyed another male Masked Shrike and a couple of Serins (joke of the day was that the 'lucky' few that missed the Serin had enjoyed 'serindipity' - geddit?! - my how we laughed!). The final stop of the day was at the Asprokremnos pools, where we had a Wryneck (not through Theo's driving), and whilst trying to relocate it a fly-catching Eastern Olivaceous Warbler showed very nicely, thank you. Afterwards one the leaders tried to explain the subtle differences in the colours eastern olive and western olive (another joke, fabulous). Then back to the hotel, for a few drinks and a 'scope comparison.







Friday 1st April Nata & Pano Panagia

Cool and cloudy, with strengthening westerly breeze; heavy rain started at 3pm in the hills, but had cleared at Paphos

The early morning walk produced little as the birds sought shelter in the breezy conditions, with fewer wheatears noted, but two Bimaculated Larks were a bonus. At the Aspro’ pools, Cyprus Warblers showed brilliantly, as did the female Little Crake; 16 Purple Herons overhead prevaricated somewhat, before finally deciding to settle in the Tamarisk by one of the pools. Then it was on towards Nata, where morning coffee produced a couple of nice Red-rumped Swallows and Great Spotted Cuckoos. The lunch stop beside the river is always a relaxed affair in nice surroundings and lashings of 'ribena' doled out by Costas; despite this we saw several more Red-rumped Swallows, three species of wheatear, GSC, and our first Tawny Pipits, which performed beautifully allowing comparison with several Short-toed Larks. Here also was a wonderful group of Orchis laxiflora. After lunch, we made the short drive through Pano Panayia to the Monoshelakas picnic site and enjoyed two lovely male Masked Shrikes, the syriaca race of Chaffinch and several species of orchid, including Ophrys mammosa. The weather began to deteriorate and it really poured down on the drive back to Paphos, though we lived in hope that it might clear. As it happened it did, though the quick walk round the headland produced relatively little apart from at least seven Nightingales.



Saturday 2nd April Avakas Gorge & Cape Drepanum

Heavy overnight rain; a strong wind veering SW to W; cloudy and cool with a few sunny spells am

Heavy overnight rain raised hopes of a few grounded migrants during the early walk, but in fact we had little to show for our efforts other than a few fly-over flava wagtails. A fine male Whinchat was rather nice. The drive north from Paphos takes you to Cape Drepanum, near Agios Georgios, where the areas of short grass can be a magnet for pipits and wagtails. The strong wind was not helpful, but we enjoyed firstly a female Blue Rock Thrush on the cliff, then a male Black-eared Wheatear and a fly-over Water Pipit. In and around the low bushes we heard and saw Meadow, Tree and, very briefly, a Red-throated Pipit, before having our attention drawn to a couple of male Ortolan Buntings making a feeble attempt to sing. However, the star bird of the day (a write-in on our checklist, no less) was a male Lesser Kestrel that passed low in front of the cliff allowing us to savour its darker blue head, unspotted body and white underwings, before pushing off. - in fact, two other kestrels that passed through at a higher altitude may well have been Lessers. Excellent! Whilst having coffee, a male Peregrine chased and caught a Crested Lark that had ventured over the sea, and we watched it devour its prey on a distant cliff. The visit to Avakas Gorge was by now very windy and rather cool, and our short walk produced little other than a flushed Quail and the lovely Cyprus Gladiolus. Lunch was rather damp and a bit chilly. Post-lunch, a brief second visit to the Cape produced ten Yelkouan Shearwaters, allowing better views for most of us of this rather Manx-like shearwater. Returning to the hotel and our final visit to Paphos headland, we found some lovely showy male Black-eared Wheatears, a first-summer and two adults. A pleasant and interesting evening was spent at a local restaurant for a traditional meze meal, with some tasty local dishes that kept on coming - as did the wine.



Sunday 3rd April Larnaca & departure

Windy and wet, with thunder early am; cool SW to W wind

No pre-breakfast walk, just as well as the stormy conditions would have made it unpleasant, so most took the chance to get themselves ready for the day of travel that lay ahead of us. Leaving fairly promptly after 9am, we made our way east towards Larnaca airport, though we still had intentions to catch up with a few last-minute birds. A flock of 90+ Alpine Swifts just outside Paphos was very good, as were two Marsh Harriers and a couple of Turtle Doves on roadside wires. After a manic roadside bush stop for one of the desperate leaders (too much coffee), we made a brief stop for (yet more) coffee, where there was a large colony of Spanish Sparrows, before moving onwards to Larnaca salt lakes. On the road near the Tekka Monastery, we managed fairly good views of pink Slender-billed Gulls and pinker Greater Flamingos (lots of young birds indicating a very good breeding season), a single Little Gull, a female Cretzschmar's Bunting and two male Spectacled Warblers, but by now the rain had caught us up and we got a little wet. Other birds seen here included Purple Herons, Red-rumped Swallows and Pintail, but a bee-eater heard calling could not be seen. The time neared to get to the airport in preparations for our flights, and that, I am afraid, was that. We bade our farewells to the Manchester 'crew' and the rest ended up at London Heathrow without too much delay.






Species Lists:

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)





BIRD LIST:


Little Grebe / Dabchick: Noted on 3 days with 1 or 2 at Asprokremnos pools, 29th, 31st & 1st.

Cory's Shearwater: Noted only on 31st, 1 offshore Paphos beach/headland.

Yelkouan Shearwater: Noted on 2 days with 2S off Paphos beach/headland on 1st, 8N past Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Great Cormorant: Noted on 3 days with 1 Paphos Harbour on 28th, 1 Paphos beach/headland on 29th, several Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Grey Heron: Noted on 4 days with c.6 on 29th, 1 Paphos beach/headland on 30th, 1 Paphos beach/headland and 2 Asprokremnos pools on 1st, 1 Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Purple Heron: Noted on 3 days with c.6 on 29th, 19 Asprokremnos pools on 1st, 8 over airport on 3rd.

Great [White] Egret: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Phasouri reedbed on 29th.

Little Egret: Noted on 4 days with 2N Paphos beach/headland on 28th, at least 4 on 29th, 15N Cape Drepanon on 2nd, 1 amongst the flamingos at Larnaca on 3rd.

Squacco Heron: Noted on 2 days with 2 on 29th, 1 Xeros Potamos near Nata on 1st.

Black-crowned Night-Heron: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Evretou Res. on 30th.

Great Bittern: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Phasouri on 29th.

Greater Flamingo: Noted on 3 days with 1 fw Larnaca lagoon on 27th, c2, 500 Akrotiri saltlake on 29th, at least 250 Larnaca lagoon on 3rd.

Glossy Ibis: Noted on 5 days with at least 6 on 29th, 11N Paphos beach/headland on 30th, 7 Paphos beach/headland on 31st, 35N Paphos beach/headland and 5 Asprokremnos pools on 1st, c.10N past Cape Drepanon and Paphos beach/headland on 2nd.

Eurasian/Common Teal: Noted on 2 days with c8 Phasouri on 29th, 4N Paphos beach/headland on 31st.

Mallard: Noted on 2 days with several on 29th, 3 Larnaca on 3rd.

Northern Pintail: Noted on 3 days with 12 at Phasouri on 29th, 8N Paphos beach/headland on 31st, a pair Larnaca on 3rd.

Garganey: Noted on 3 days with 22 at Phasouri & at least 5 at Zakaki on 29th, 3N Paphos beach/headland on 1st, 5N Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Northern Shoveler: Noted only on 1 day, c.15 at Phasouri on 29th.

[Eurasian] Griffon Vulture: Noted only on 1 day, 1 along the Dhiarisos valley on 31st.

Pallid Harrier: Noted on 3 days with 2 males at Paphos beach/headland on 28th, another male there on 30th, 3 males during the day on 31st.

[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier: Noted on 4 days with 1 Paphos beach/headland on 28th, several on 29th, 1 male over hotel on 31st, 4 en route on 3rd.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Mount Olympus on 31st.

Common Buzzard: Noted on 2 days with 1 Phasouri on 29th, 1 Dhiarisos on 31st.

Long-legged Buzzard: Noted on 2 days with a distant bird near Pissouri on 29th, good views of a very pale bird in the Dhiarisos valley on 31st.

Common/Eurasian Kestrel: Noted each day.

Lesser Kestrel: Noted only on 1 day, a male flew north past us at Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Peregrine Falcon: Noted on 2 days with 1 distantly near Pissouri on 29th, a pair at Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Chukar: Noted most days.

Black Francolin: Noted most days, either seen or heard. An excellent male with a female at Paphos headland on 28th, with a second male there later in the day.

Common Quail: Noted on 4 days with birds heard calling near Evretou Res. on 30th, 2 watched flying in off the sea at Paphos beach/headland on 31st, heard again on 1st, and singles at Avakas Gorge & Paphos beach/headland on 2nd.

Little Crake: Noted on 2 days with 2 males & a female at Asprokremnos pools on 29th, the female still present on 1st.

Common Moorhen: Noted on 5 days, the most noteworthy being a presumed migrant in the top of a bush at Paphos headland on 2nd.

Eurasian/Common Coot: Noted on 4 days.

Black-winged Stilt: Noted on 2 days with singles at Asprokremnos pools & Phasouri on 29th, and Evretou Res. on 30th.

Spur-winged Lapwing/Plover: Noted on 2 days with singles (thought to be different birds) at Paphos beach/headland on 28th & 31st.

Little [Ringed] Plover: Noted on 4 days with at least 4 on 29th, 3 Paphos beach/headland on 30th, 1 Paphos beach/headland & 1 Asprokremnos pools on 31st, c.20 Larnaca on 3rd.

Kentish Plover: Noted on 2 days, at Lady’s Mile on 29th & at least 20 at Larnaca on 3rd.

Greater Sandplover: Noted only on 1 day, 2 males at Lady's Mile on 29th.

Black-tailed Godwit: Noted only on 1 day, 1 Paphos beach/headland on 29th.

Spotted Redshank: Noted only on 1 day, 1 Zakaki pool on 29th.

Common Redshank: Noted only on 1 day, 12 Larnaca on 3rd.

Common Greenshank: Noted on 2 days with 1 in muddy pool Avakas Gorge on 2nd, 2 Larnaca on 3rd.

Green Sandpiper: Noted on 3 days with 4 Zakaki pool on 29th, heard at Evretou Res. on 30th, 2 Xeros Potamos near Nata on 1st.

Wood Sandpiper: Noted on 2 days with at least 8 Zakaki pool on 29th, 1 Xeros Potamos near Nata on 1st.

Common Sandpiper: Noted on 4 days with up to 2 at Paphos beach/headland 30th – 2nd, also 1 Evretou Res. on 30th & 1 Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Ruddy Turnstone: Noted most days at Paphos beach/headland, maximum count 8 on 29th.

Little Stint: Noted on 3 days with c.40 Lady's Mile on 29th, 1 in road puddle near hotel on 1st, 2 in muddy pool Avakas Gorge on 2nd.

Ruff: Noted on 3 days with c.30 Lady's Mile on 29th, 6 over Paphos beach/headland on 31st, 6 Larnaca on 3rd.

Yellow-legged Gull: Noted most days.

Lesser Black-backed Gull: Noted on 4 days (all of the black-backed race fuscus) with 4 Zakaki pool on 29th, 1 Paphos beach/headland on 31st & 1st, c.5 on 2nd.

Black-headed Gull: Noted on 4 days in varying numbers.

Slender-billed Gull: Noted on 2 days with 2S 6N Paphos beach/headland on 31st, at least 120 at Larnaca (with several very close) on 3rd.

Little Gull: Noted only on 1 day, a first-winter bird at Larnaca on 3rd.

Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted each day.

[Common] Wood Pigeon: Noted most days.

European Turtle Dove: Two on roadside wires en route on 3rd.

Eurasian Collared Dove: Noted each day.

Great Spotted Cuckoo: Noted on 3 days with 1 Paphos beach/headland (leaders only) on 28th, 2 near Paphos airport on 31st, 3 at Nata on 1st.

Eurasian Scops-Owl: Heard calling during the day on 3 days, with 6 heard at various locations on 30th, singles at Dhiarisos on 31st, & Xeros Potamos near Nata on 1st.

Alpine Swift: Noted on 5 days with 1 Paphos beach/headland on 28th, at least 6 during day on 29th, at least 10 on 31st, several Asprokremnos pools on 1st, at least 90 over Paphos on 3rd.

Common Swift: Noted each day, including pairs inspecting breeding sites in Paphos.

Common Kingfisher: Noted most days with singles at Paphos beach/headland on 28th, Asprokremnos pools & Zakaki on 29th, Asprokremnos pools on 31st, Paphos beach/headland on 1st, in fig tree Paphos beach/headland on 2nd; 6 together at Paphos beach/headland on 30th was noteworthy.

Eurasian Hoopoe: Noted most days with at least 3 Paphos beach/headland on 28th, at least 3 on 29th, several on 30th, 1 in off sea Paphos beach/headland on 31st, 1 Pano Panagia on 1st, 2 Paphos beach/headland on 2nd, 1 Larnaca on 3rd.

Eurasian Wryneck: Noted only on 1 day, 1 showed well on the hillside overlooking Asprokremnos pools on 31st.

Bimaculated Lark: Noted on 3 days with 1 seen very well near the mosaics at Paphos headland on 28th, 2 flushed from the field near hotel on 1st, heard on 2nd.

[Greater] Short-toed Lark: Noted most days with 14 Paphos beach/headland on 28th, several on 29th, 5 Paphos beach/headland on 30th, several in off sea Paphos beach/headland on 31st, several overhead on 1st, at least 20 Paphos beach/headland & Cape Drepanon on 2nd, 4 overhead Larnaca on 3rd.

Crested Lark: Noted most days.

Wood Lark: Noted only on 1 day when 1 seen & heard at Mount Olympus on 31st.

Sand Martin / Bank Swallow: Noted on 3 days with 3 Paphos beach/headland on 28th, several on 29th, 1 on 30th.

[Eurasian] Crag Martin: Noted only on 1 day, 5 Akamas on 30th.

Barn Swallow: Noted most days, particularly with a steady movement N Paphos beach/headland on 28th.

Red-rumped Swallow: Noted on 4 days with 1 Paphos beach/headland on 28th, 4 Paphos beach/headland & several en route on 31st, rather more on 1st, 6 Larnaca on 3rd.

[Common] House Martin: Noted each day.

Yellow Wagtail: Generally rather few noted this year. Black-headed Wagtails (M. f. feldegg) noted on 3 days with several Paphos beach/headland on 28th & on 29th, at least 4N Cape Drepanon on 2nd. A single female Grey-headed Wagtail (M. f. thunbergi) noted at Zakaki pool on 29th.

White Wagtail: Noted each day.

Tawny Pipit: Noted only on 1 day, 3 seen well at Xeros Potamos near Nata on 1st.

Meadow Pipit: Noted most days, maximum count being at least 20 on 1st.

Tree Pipit: Noted on 5 days with 2 Paphos beach/headland on 30th, 1 Paphos beach/headland on 31st, several on 1st, at least 15 on 2nd, 1 overhead Larnaca on 3rd.

Red-throated Pipit: Noted on 3 days, though as with Yellow Wagtail, very few seen this year. 1 overhead at Akrotiri saltlake on 29th, 1 Paphos beach/headland on 30th, 1 brief flight view only Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Water Pipit: Noted only on 1 day, 1 overhead Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Masked Shrike: Noted on 3 days with 2 Akamas on 30th, 1 Pano Platres & 1 en route on 31st, at least 6 near Pano Panagia on 1st.

Woodchat Shrike: Noted only on 1 day, a nice male at Paphos beach/headland on 1st.

[Winter] Wren: Noted on 2 days with birds singing near Pano Platres on 31st, heard Pano Panagia on 1st.

Blue Rock Thrush: Noted only on 1 day, a female at Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Song Thrush: Noted only on 1 day, several on 30th.

Mistle Thrush: Noted only on 1 day, several on 31st.

Fieldfare: Noted only on 1 day, 1 Phasouri on 29th.

European Robin: Noted only on 1 day, 1 Akamas on 30th.

Common/Rufous Nightingale: Noted on 4 days with a bird heard briefly Paphos beach/headland on 28th, 2 Paphos beach/headland on 30th, 7 Paphos beach/headland during afternoon on 1st, at least 4 seen or heard on 2nd.

Black Redstart: Noted on 3 days with several on 28th & 29th, 1 Paphos beach/headland on 30th.

Whinchat: Noted on 2 days with 1 Paphos beach/headland on 30th, & another male there on 2nd.

Common Stonechat: Noted on 2 days with several on 28th & 2nd.

Northern Wheatear: Noted most days with at least 20 Paphos beach/headland on 28th, at least 10 Paphos beach/headland plus others on 29th, less than 10 Paphos beach/headland on 30th, few on 31st, very few on 1st, several Paphos beach/headland & Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Cyprus Wheatear: Noted most days with 3 males Paphos beach/headland on 28th, a male Asprokremnos pools pool on 29th, at least 4 Akamas on 30th, many on 31st & 1st, several on 2nd.

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear: Noted most days with a male Paphos beach/headland on 28th, 1 en route on 29th, 4 Paphos beach/headland & a female Smiyies Chapel on 30th, another female Paphos beach/headland on 31st, 1 Xeros Potamos near Nata on 1st, 1 Cape Drepanon & 3 Paphos beach/headland on 2nd.

Desert Wheatear: Noted only on 1 day, a first-year female at Paphos beach/headland on 29th.

Isabelline Wheatear: Noted most days with at least 15 Paphos beach/headland on 28th & 29th, c.8 Paphos beach/headland on 30th & 31st, then very few on 1st, & several at both Paphos beach/headland & Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Zitting Cisticola / Fan-tailed Wbr: Noted most days.

Cetti's Warbler: Noted on 5 days, usually heard singing though several birds seen briefly.

Sedge Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, several on 29th.

[Eurasian] Reed Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, heard singing on 29th.

Great Reed Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, heard & possibly seen at Phasouri on 29th.

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 1 seen very well at Asprokremnos pools on 31st.

Common/Eurasian Chiffchaff: Noted most days with c.10 Paphos beach/headland on 28th, an influx of good numbers on 29th, then declining to very few by 2nd.

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler: Noted on 2 days with at least 3 on 29th, 2 Akamas on 30th.

Blackcap: Noted most days with at least 4 Paphos beach/headland on 28th & 29th, then in influx of many birds on 30th - 2nd, several on 3rd.

Lesser Whitethroat: Noted most days with at least 10 Paphos beach/headland on 28th, at least 20 on 29th, many on 30th & 31st, 1 Paphos beach/headland on 1st, several on 2nd, 2 Larnaca on 3rd.

Orphean Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, singles Akamas & Evretou Res. on 30th.

Rüppell's Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 2 males & 2 females Paphos beach/headland on 28th.

Sardinian Warbler: Noted on 5 days.

Cyprus Warbler: Noted on 3 days with several excellent views of males at Asprokremnos pools on 29th, 31st, & 1st.

Subalpine Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, a male & female at Paphos beach/headland on 28th.

Spectacled Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 2 males Larnaca on 3rd.

Coal Tit (endemic race cypriotes): Noted on 2 days, Troodos & Pano Panagia.

Great Tit: Noted most days.

Short-toed Treecreeper: Noted only on 1 day, p on 31st.

Eurasian Jay (endemic race glaszneri): Noted on 2 days with 2 Troodos on 31st, 3 Pano Panagia on 1st.

Black-billed/Eurasian Magpie: Noted most days.

Western/Eurasian Jackdaw: Noted most days.

Hooded Crow: Noted each day.

Corn Bunting: Noted most days.

Ortolan Bunting: Noted on 3 days with a female at Asprokremnos pools on 29th, 1 Dhiarisos valley on 31st, 2 Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

Cretzschmar's Bunting: Noted most days with at least 20 Paphos beach/headland on 28th, several on 29th, 2 Akamas 1 Paphos beach/headland on 30th, 3 Paphos beach/headland on 31st, 3 Asprokremnos pools on 1st, a female Larnaca on 3rd.

Cinereous Bunting: Noted only on 1 day, a male at Paphos beach/headland on 28th.

Common/European Chaffinch: Noted on 3 days, heard Akamas on 30th, then several seen on 31st & 1st.

European Serin: Noted on 4 days with a singing male Akamas on 30th, Pano Platres on 31st, Pano Panagia on 1st, Cape Drepanon on 2nd.

European Greenfinch: Noted most days.

European Goldfinch: Noted most days.

Common Linnet: Noted most days.

Common/Red Crossbill: Noted only on 1 day when several seen well Mount Olympus on 31st.

House Sparrow: Noted most days.

Spanish Sparrow: Noted most days.



BUTTERFLIES:

Swallowtail:
Noted on 5 days with p on 28th, p on 29th, p on 30th, p on 31st, p on 1st.

Eastern Festoon: Noted only on 30th.

Large White: Noted only on 1st.

Small White: Noted most days.

Eastern Bath White: Noted on 3 days, 28th, 30th, & 31st.

Orange-tip: Noted on 2 days, 30th & 31st.

Clouded Yellow: Noted on 5 days, 28th - 1st.

Cleopatra: Noted only on 30th.

Paphos Blue: Noted on 4 days, 29th - 1st.

Eastern Baton Blue: Noted only on 29th.

Common Blue: Noted on 4 days, 28th - 1st.

Red Admiral: Noted on 4 days, 28th - 31st.

Painted Lady: Noted on 5 days, 28th, 30th - 2nd.

Cyprus Meadow Brown: Noted on 2 days, 28th & 31st.

Wall Brown: Noted only on 28th.

Large Wall Brown: Noted on 2 days, 28th & 30th.

Mallow Skipper: Noted on 2 days, 28th & 30th.

Pygmy Skipper: Noted only on 28th.



DRAGONFLIES:

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly:
Noted only on 29th.

Emperor Dragonfly: Noted only on 29th.

Lesser Emperor: Noted on 2 days, 29th & 31st.

Common Darter: Noted only on 29th.



MAMMALS:.


Dolphin sp.: Noted, but unfortunately unidentified, off Paphos beach/headland on 29th.



AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:.


Levant Water Frog: Noted on 3 days, 29th, 31st, & 1st.

Starred Agama: Noted on 4 days, 28th - 31st.

Troodos [Rock] Lizard: Noted on 3 days, 28th - 30th.

Snake-eyed Skink: Noted on 2 days, 30th & 1st.

Large Whip Snake: Noted at Paphos beach/headland on 28th.



SELECTED PLANTS:

(Just a few, those which we particularly noted!).

Crown Anemone Anemone coronaria.

Turban Buttercup Ranunculus asiaticus.

Cyprus Rockcress Arabis purpurea [=cypria].

Eastern Sea Stock Matthiola tricuspidata.

Alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum.

Giant Fennel Ferulago communis.

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 Cistus Cistus creticus.

Sage-leaved Cistus Cistus salvifolius.

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.

Bellevalia trifoliate.

Naples Garlic Allium neopolitanum.

Barbary Nut Gynandiris sisyrinchium.

Field Gladiolus Gladiolus italicus.

Cyprus Gladiolus Gladiolus triphyllus.

Cyprus Crocus Crocus (?)cyprius.



Dense-flowered Orchid Neotinea maculata.

Syrian Orchid Orchis [morio] syriaca

Bug Orchid Orchis coriophora ssp. fragrans

Naked Man Orchid Orchis italica

Loose-flowered Orchid Orchis laxiflora

Yellow Bee-orchid Ophrys lutea ssp. galilaea

Funereal Bee-orchid Ophrys [fusca] funerea.

Omega Bee-orchid Ophrys israelitica

‘Levantine’ Spider Orchid Ophrys [bornmuelleri] levantina

Mammose Bee-orchid Ophrys mammosa

Ophrys sintenisii

Ophrys transhyrcana

Umbilicate Bee-orchid Ophrys umbilicata

Carmel Bee-orchid Ophrys attica

Common Bee-orchid Ophrys apifera (both var. apifera & bicolor)

Giant Orchid Barlia robertiana

Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis

Loose-flowered Tongue-orchid Serapias laxiflora

Plough-share Tongue-orchid Serapias vomeracea.



As ever, this was a great trip, and with the migration season seemingly slightly later this year, almost certainly our decision to run it a week later than in previous years helped us to see so many interesting birds. The many highlights would undoubtedly include the magnificent male Pallid Harrier at Paphos on the first day; the Desert Wheatear on the beach; the flyby male Lesser Kestrel at Cape Drepanum; the beefy Bimaculated Lark. However, these are in some way overshadowed by the commoner 'smart' birds: the dapper male Black-eared Wheatears; the small and nervous Little Crakes at the Aspro pools; the Crossbill on the Troodos; the male Masked Shrike near Pano Panayia; the Black Francolin. We also recorded 19 species of orchids. We could go on, but each will have their own special memories of the trip and such a feeling of enjoyment was only added to by the good-natured humour of the group. We would like to thank you all very much for making this trip so enjoyable and hope certainly hope to see you on trips with us in the future. Thank you again.

Keith Grant & Brian Small, April 2005


© The Travelling Naturalist and Limosa Holidays 2005