Blog

CYPRUS - 25 March 2015

Back from a week's birdwatching holiday in Cyprus. Four men on a lad's break with an avian theme. Pretty intensive stuff, being out from dawn to dusk watching birds at various 'hotspots' in western Cyprus. And they were 'hotspots'. The spring migration is gathering pace with considerable numbers of birds on the move heading north over Cyprus to breeding grounds across eastern Europe , Turkey and Russia. Talk of migration sounds dramatic, but typically it was a case of seeing small numbers of birds in a place one day who were gone the next - like the Alpine Swifts flying over our villa. Sometimes, however, there could be drama - try the sight and sound of flocking Cranes calling, circling and soaring on thermals.

I said it was intensive and it was. We were keen to see as many species as we could during the 7 days, and we attempted to do that by visiting a variety of habitats as well as places. Hence we visited scrubland, salt marsh, farmland, reedbed, clifftop, beach, river valley and a reservoir. Read the roll call of place names and you might note a British military connection: Alkrotiri Lake, Anarita Mast, Asprokremmos Dam, Bishop's Pool, Lady's Mile, Kensington Cliffs, Paphos Headland, Zakari Marsh. But my favourite place was the Dhiarizos valley where we were staying. It follows a south west line to the sea and seems to be a migration route. As well as resident birds like the Scops Owl, Long-legged Buzzards and Cyprus Wheatears, we saw migrant birds passing through it such as those swifts and a Semicollared Flycatcher - one of our star birds. All in all, we had a great week and saw a good number of birds - 109 species seen and a further 3 only heard. Shame not to see Black Francolin or Stone Curlew. No surprise not to see the Quails we could hear.

Mark Winter


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