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2022 Western Palearctic Trips (4 Viewers)

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
28 April 2022

It had been a month since I had been away. The next destination was Cyprus with two new travelling companions for the year with whom I had also organised a Corsican trip a week later and both of whom I had travelled with previously. It felt like a long wait especially as various friends visited the island in the weeks in the month inbetween clearing up my two targets on each occasion….

Planning had been made a lot easier as a result. I am sure that I will miss individuals in attempting to thank those that had contributed to my gen but eBird sightings were especially useful dating back to John Martin on Cyprus Scops Owl. Also information from Sean Clancy, Ben Macdonald, Stewart Hinley, Chris Bell & Jos Stratford springs to mind. Apologies to others that I cannot immediately recall. It is a mistake to be trying to write this after an eight month delay!

We boarded an Easyjet flight to Paphos from Gatwick and had organised car hire through that site as well. We had accommodation booked at Hylatio Tourist Village for three nights before return flights on the evening of 1st May. Again, the usual car hire shenanigans were undertaken and the trip list got underway at 2.45pm at Paphos Airport. Hooded Crows and European Bee-eaters were notable. I had only one immediate thing on my mind and that was to try to find a roosting Cyprus Scops Owl at Episkopi. New species were chalking up en route with Laughing Dove and Roller included in a trip list of eleven species before arrival.

We arrived at Episkopi Environmental Centre at 3.40pm and began searching for roosting owls. Having had gen repeatedly over the previous month, I had rather convinced myself that we would be off to a flying start. Complacency comes before a birding fall… We had no success. The highlight was a Barred Warbler on the slope behind the Centre and various commoner species were added to the trip list including our first Sardinian Warblers. We decided to head onwards to our next target at Asprokremnos Dam. En route, Roller, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and two Long-legged Buzzards brightened the journey.

We arrived at Asprokremnos Dam at 5.00pm and carefully followed the instructions to the best area for Cyprus Warbler. Over the last few decades, Sardinian Warbler has got commoner in the core areas for Cyprus Warbler. EBBA2 suggests that the Cyprus Warbler population has remained stable but in the areas that we searched, it was certainly confined to particular habitats rather than being a generalist. Sardinian Warbler was far easier to find. Our directions took us to a slope below the dam around 34.723428 32.553190 which appeared to be drier and populated with native thorny yellow bushes. Note to self – improve my botany…. I had walked several wadis on trips to Israel but probably too late in the year so this was a bird with which I had unfinished business.

We eventually found at least three Cyrpus Warblers but recorded at least ten Sardinian Warblers at the site as well. Otherwise, variety was excellent with three Chukar, ten Alpine Swifts, a migrating flocks of herons of which the bulk was fifty Purples, Glossy Ibis, fifteen Bee-eaters and Fan-tailed Warbler. This promised to be a very enjoyable trip.

The journey to our accommodation was brightened by a Great Spotted Cuckoo flying across the road. At our accommodation, Nightjar was the last addition to my trip list for the first day – well afternoon and evening. A buffet arrangement for dinner was perfect for us and the accommodation was entirely suitable. It was time for a beer before grabbing some sleep.

Attached:-
1. Eastern Black-eared Wheatear
2. Long-legged Buzzard
3. Smaller group of migrating Grey & Purple Herons
4 & 5. Alpine Swift
6. Glossy Ibis
7 to 9. Cyprus Warbler
 

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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
29 April 2022

My targets for the trip were simply Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Scops Owl but my friends also needed various possible migrants so our plan the next morning was to start at dawn at Akrotiri Marsh.

We were there in plenty of time in the morning but it took us the best part of the first hour to work that out as we drove backwards & forwards puzzling over that! The best areas were viewing from the car along the road near 34.631069 32.937153. To be honest, this was pretty awkward with three people in a small car. If one person had a view, then almost always someone else was looking through glass and someone else was obscured. We covered the area as best as possible.

A potential target in the area was a longstaying Demoiselle Crane but we failed in our efforts. Nevertheless, around fifty species were recorded. Around the marshes, two Garganey and a bunch of herons were enjoyed as well as Cetti’s, Fan-tailed and Great Reed Warblers. The herons included a Bittern, 3 Purple Herons, 20 Cattle Egret and 20 Squacco Herons as well as a similar number of Glossy Ibis. Overhead, a huge flock of several hundred Glossy Ibis migrated along the coast. Waders included 20 Black-winged Stilt, 10 Spur-winged Plover, 20 Kentish Plover, 10 Ruff, Temminck’s Stint, 4 Little Stint, a Common Snipe, two Greenshank and twenty Wood Sandpiper. At the gravel pits, we found seven Greater Flamingo and en route to there, we found six Black Francolin, four Great Spotted Cuckoos, a Tawny Pipit and six Serins and a British Army patrol to move us on our way – very politely…. An excellent morning had been had before we headed back for breakfast. En route, Lesser Kestrel and Red-rumped Swallow were trip additions.

We arrived back at our accommodation at around 9.00am. During breakfast, a travelling companion pointed out a Cyprus Wheatear at the top of a pine. It was only my second. My first had been in Israel in March 2010.

Attached:-
1. House Sparrow
2. Sardinian Warbler
3. Kentish Plover
4. Ruff
5. Temminck's Stint
6. Wood Sanspiper
7 & 8. Cattle Egret
9. Purple Heron
10. Migrating flock of Glossy Ibist
11 & 12. Glossy Ibis
13 & 14. Greater Flamingoes
15. Bittern
16 & 17. Squacco Heron
18. Black Francolin
19. Great Spotted Cuckoo
20. Cyprus Wheatear
 

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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
The plan after breakfast was to return to Episkopi to search again for roosting owls. En route, the Rollers showed again as we crossed the valley and again in half an hour from 11.00am, we failed to find any roosting owls. A female Pied Flycatcher refused to be anything rarer.

We decided today was a good day to head up into the mountains. En route Red-rumped Swallow, Long-legged Buzzard, Turtle Dove and Rollers enlivened our journey. A roadside stop at 34.8722932 32.8047711 when a Cyprus Wheatear was spotted added Hoopoe, Cyprus Coal Tit, Cetti’s Warbler and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler. Next stop was the Trodos Visitor Centre area and here more quality was added. Two Masked Shrikes in the car park were magnificent and here Jays, Short-toed Treecreepers, more Coal Tits, more Eastern Olivaceous Warblers and Serin were the backdrop. Overhead, three Griffon Vultures and two Pallid Swifts amongst more Common Swifts kept us entertained as we grabbed a drink. However, in two hours, we failed to pick up any of the local Common Crossbills.

We headed back down towards the coast with another Roller and Cyprus Wheatear sighting en route before arriving at the pools at Agia Varvara at 4.45pm. Here fortuitously we bumped into some British birders that we had seen on our outward flight. Our highlight here was entirely down to them when they texted us to inform us of a Little Crake that they had just found. Other quality included three Wood Sandpipers, two Purple Herons, four Squacco Herons, Long-legged Buzzard, Bee-eater, Great Reed Warbler, three Whinchat and two Yellow Wagtails. I am terrible at staying on top of other nature on birding trips but a couple of photos here of what I believe are a Swallowtail caterpillar & an Owlfly....?

A cracking site but tonight’s plan was back for an early dinner and then a further attempt for the owl. We were back at Episkopi Environmental Centre at 8.30pm. Armed with a thermal imager and some torches, we had at least four Cyprus Scops Owls over the next hour and a half over quite a large area. We also had a Barn Owl. I failed in my photography attempts but have improved my techniques since so a return visit to Cyprus at some point is lurking in the back of my mind. The views were excellent and it was only my incompetence that cost me photos… The birds often called from the telegraph poles and the wires along the roadside in all three directions.

Back at our accommodation, Nightjar was again expected but the Egyptian Fruit Bats were something of a surprise. A beer was very welcome.

The last two days to edit...
21. Pied Flycatcher
22. Roller
23. Cyprus Wheatear
24. Griffon Vulture
25. Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
26. Short-toed Treecreeper
27. Cyprus Jay
28. Cyprus Coal Tit
29 & 30. Masked Shrike
31. Moulting Long-legged Buzzard
32. Wood Sandpiper
33. Western Yellow Wagtail
34 & 35. Squacco Herons
36. Little Crake
37. Swallowtail caterpillar
38. Owlfly
 

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opisska

rabid twitcher
Czech Republic
I also saw a Bar-headed Goose in a big, very wildly flying flock. But in Poland it doesn't count, once it crosses two borders it's no longer real ...

If you want to see a big group of self-sustaining male Reeve's, we have one famous forest in the Czech Republic. I mean why is our public so much against same sex marriage when there is such a blatant proof that it works?! :)

I think the songbirds are much more OK for me. The Leiothrixes and the Parrotbills look fair game - not sure about all the waxbills and specific species of parrots though. Though choices.

29 Black Swans sound good but then again, we have outdoor waterbird flocks this size that clearly are bred on purpose ... My wish to tick is strong, in particular now that I am not winning in Czech gWP list at the moment and posts like this make it even worse :)
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
January is pretty much my window to get this done before 2023 (hopefully) gets out of control... So I will do my best to crack on. Especially as Corsica next was my favourite WP trip of the year.

30 April 2022

We had found out the previous evening that the other British birders had seen a Great Snipe at Agia Varvara so that was where we started this morning. We were on site by 5.30am. Despite our best efforts, we only found four Common Snipe and we could not relocate the Great Snipe. Otherwise, a similar mix of species included two calling Black Francolin, nesting Little Grebes, two Turtle Doves, the Little Crake (still at 34.756057 32.509420), four Wood Sandpipers, four Purple Herons, five Squacco Herons and twenty Spanish Sparrows. The highlight was an adult female Pallid Harrier which quickly moved through to the north.

At 8.00am, we headed back to our accommodation via another effort to find a roosting owl at Episkopi Environmental Centre. Again, we found no owls but, on this occasion, we had excellent views of Cyprus Wheatear in the village. I accepted defeat and I will hope to return in the future for a photograph. The usual species were seen on the journeys but soon, we were settling for breakfast with the backdrop of our local Cyprus Wheatear and over the hillside on this occasion five Alpine Swifts.

We had decided to explore some sites further west after breakfast and this started at Mandria at 10.45am. On a football pitch were three Western Yellow Wagtails. Off the coast were a couple of Mediterranean Shags. A couple of Stone Curlew, four Spanish Sparrows and Tawny Pipit were typical farmland species. Migrating along the coast were 25 Bee-eaters and 22 Glossy Ibis. The highlight however was an Eleonora’s Falcon that flew through in the direction of Paphos.

Attached:-
1. Little Egret
2. Spotted Flycatcher
3. Turtle Doves
4. Wood Sandpiper
5. Purple Heron
6. Pallid Harrier
7 & 8. Little Crake
9 & 10. Turtle Dove
11. Cyprus Wheatear
12. Glossy Ibis
13. Crested Lark
14 & 15. Western Yellow Wagtail
16. Stone-curlew
17. Tawny Pipit
18. Shags
 

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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
The next stop was Mavrokolympus Dam – north west of Paphos – where we arrived at 1.25pm. Here, over a three hour period, good views were secured of further Cyprus Wheatears at 34.856209 32.401399 and 34.857114 32.405569. Also, we had good views of further Cyprus Warblers at 34.858166 32.406766 and 34.859110 32.409428. Again, Sardinian Warblers were present in greater numbers. Other birds were thin on the ground albeit we recorded four Chukars and two Spotted Flycatchers.

It had been quite warm and we decided to bird the Paphos Headland en route back to our accommodation once the temperature was dropping. We arrived at 4.45pm and paid the admission fee to explore the archaeological site. An hour was spent during which we notched up Cuckoo, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Willow Warbler, eight Spotted Flycatchers, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and Tree Pipit. Notable were around 120 hirundines and 50 European Bee-eaters. It was a good hour’s birding. A Black Whip Snake was an interesting distraction.

We headed back for dinner and the journey produced another ten European Bee-eaters as well as a Bonelli’s Eagle and Hobby. An excellent journey. Back at our accommodation, there were a further ten European Bee-eaters. It had plainly been a day of significant migration. Dinner and a final beer again had the backdrop of Nightjar. We were heading back the next day so one more day to complete for this trip.

Attached:-
19. Hooded Crow
20. Spotted Flycatcher
21. Chukar
22 & 23. Sardinian Warbler
24 & 25. Cyprus Warbler
26 to 28. Cyprus Wheatear
29. Black Whip Snake
30. Eurasian Kestrel
31. Tree Pipit
32 to 37. European Bee-eater
 

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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
1 May 2022

The final day started at Phasouri Reedbeds at Akrotiri Marsh at 5.45am. We were hoping for perhaps Baillon’s Crake or Great Snipe but a Little Crake and four Common Snipes were all that we found. A Ferruginous Duck was a nice addition to the trip list as were Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Spotted Redshank and three Night Herons. Otherwise, the species mix was very similar to our first morning. Twenty five European Bee-eaters gave exceptional views.

Our next stop was Lady’s Mile Beach where we arrived at 7.35am. As we arrived, an adult male Montagu’s Harrier flew over and the same or perhaps another three Night Herons. About five hundred waders were recorded with 80 Black-winged Stilt. 20 Kentish Plover, 6 Ringed Plover, 100 Ruff, 10 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin and 150 Little Stint but most notably 2 Broad-billed Sandpipers. In addition, we recorded a single Little Tern.

We decided to try and circumvent Akrotiri Salt Lake. It wasn’t entirely clear whether this was an approved route and at times, it felt like some of the driving that I had done before in desert areas but in reality, I think that it is a well trodden route. As we rounded the southern end of the Akrotiri Salt Lake at 8.45am, we found the main Greater Flamingo flock of three hundred birds and added a further three Little Terns, twenty European Bee-eaters and a Lesser Kestrel to the species recorded. A final quick additional check of Akrotiri Gravel Pits again drew a blank on Demoiselle Crane but did add an additional ten Greater Flamingoes, four Kentish Plover, three Little Stint and two Greenshanks. So we called it a day and headed back to our accommodation.

Attached:-
1. Ruff
2 & 3. Common Snipe
4. Temminck's Stint
5. Wood Sandpiper
6. Spur-winged Plover
7. Little Crake
8 to 11. Bee-eater
12. Montagu's Harrier
13 to 15. Night Heron
16. Broad-billed Sandpiper
17. Curlew Sandpiper
18. Black-winged Stilt
19. Little Stint
20. Kentish Plover
 

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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
We had already recorded one Eleonora’s Falcon the day before but it was still nice to bump into another as we turned off the B6. A quick emergency stop gave us some cracking views.

We checked out of our accommodation and set off with a plan to visit two more sites before heading to Paphos Airport for our 10.45pm flight back to Gatwick Airport. Kensington Cliffs was our first site. It has a reputation for being the best site for views of Eleonora’s Falcon and this proved to be the case with five giving us a great aerial display. At that stage of course, we had no idea that we would also be enjoying an English Eleonora’s giving exceptional views later that year. Here we had another couple of Cyprus Warblers and a Cyprus Wheatear in addition to the ubiquitous Sardinian Warblers and six Alpine Swifts.

Shortly before 1.00pm, we headed off and arrived at Paphos Headland about an hour later. A cold drink and lunch was taken and we then spent the balance of the day checking the archaeological ruins for our second time. Again, a good mix of species were seen with Roller, two Icterine Warblers, two Wood Warblers, Garden Warbler, three Whitethroats, six Spotted Flycatchers, Pied Flycatcher, three Whinchats and four Yellow Wagtails. A good sprinkling of migrants but without digging out a real star. But to be honest, the highlight for me was spending some quality time with a flock of fifty European Bee-eaters. A very good afternoon.

At 7.00pm, we headed back to the Airport and the formalities were concluded without a hitch. We were heading home. We would have five days at home before our next trip when the three of us would be heading to Corsica.

Attached:-
21. Eleonora's Falcon (B6 when travelling)
22 to 24. Eleonora's Falcons (Kensington Cliffs)
25. Barn Swallow
26. Spotted Flycatcher
27. Pied Flycatcher
28. Whinchat
29. Corn Bunting
30. Western Yellow Wagtail
31. Wood Warbler
32. Crested Lark
33. Icterine Warbler
34. Laughing Dove
35. Roller
36 to 40. Bee-eater
 

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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Cyprus Trip Species List

1. Garganey – two at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) 29th April
2. Mallard – up to twenty at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) 29th April & 1st May
3. Ferruginous Duck – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) 1st May
4. Black Francolin – at least six at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April but otherwise heard back there on 1st May as well as at Agia Varvara, Mandria & Lady’s Mile Beach
5. Chukar – three at Asprokremnos Dam 28th April and a single whilst travelling & four at Mavrokolympus Dam on 30th April
6. Greater Flamingo – seven at Akrotiri Gravel Pits on 29th April & 300 at Akrotiri Salt Lake & ten at Akrotiri Gravel Pits on 1st May
7. Little Grebe – nesting pair at Agia Varvara 30th April
8. Feral Pigeon – widespread
9. Common Woodpigeon – widespread
10. European Turtle Dove – only thirteen seen of which the biggest group was three – a sad sign of the times
11. Collared Dove – widespread
12. Laughing Dove – widespread
13. Great Spotted Cuckoo – first seen whilst travelling on 28th April, four at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April & another at Agia Varvara on 30th April
14. Common Cuckoo – single at Paphos Headland on 30th April
15. Eurasian Nightjar – recorded on four occasions at our accommodation at Hylatio Tourist Village
16. Alpine Swift – twenty six seen in total between five sightings
17. Common Swift – widespread
18. Pallid Swift – two at Troödos Village 29th April
19. Water Rail – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) 29th April
20. Common Moorhen – seen on both visits to Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) & both visits to Agia Varvara – 29th April, 30th April & 1st May
21. Eurasian Coot singles at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) & Agia Varvara both on 29th April
22. Little Crake – singles at Agia Varvara on 29th & 30th April & Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 1st May
23. Stone-curlew – two at Mandria on 30th April
24. Black-winged Stilt – twenty at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & eighty at Lady’s Mile Beach on 1st May
25. Spur-winged Lapwing – ten on 29th April & eight on 1st May at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds)
26. Kentish Plover – twenty at Akrotiri Gravel Pits on 29th April with four there on 1st May & twenty at Lady’s Mile Beach on the same date
27. Common Ringed Plover – six at Lady's Mile Beach on 1st May
28. Little Ringed Plover – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 1st May
29. Ruff – ten & twenty at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May respectively & one hundred at Lady’s Mile Beach on the same date
30. Broad-billed Sandpiper – two at Lady's Mile Beach on 1st May
31. Curlew Sandpiper – ten at Lady's Mile Beach on 1st May
32. Temminck's Stint – a single & four at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May respectively
33. Dunlin – two at Lady's Mile Beach on 1st May
34. Little Stint – four & three at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April & 1st May respectively & 150 at Lady’s Mile Beach on the dame date
35. Common Snipe – single & four at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & four at Agia Varvara on 30th April
36. Common Sandpiper – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 1st May
37. Spotted Redshank – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 1st May
38. Common Greenshank – two at Akrotiri Marsh on both 29th April & 1st May
39. Wood Sandpiper – twenty at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on both 29th April & 1st May, heard Episkopi village after dark on 29th April & three & four at Agia Varvara on 29th & 30th April respectively
40. Yellow-legged Gull – widespread
41. Lesser Black-backed Gull – single immature at Mandria on 30th April
42. Little Tern – single at Lady's Mile Beach & three at Akrotiri Salt Lake both on 1st May
43. European Shag – two at Mandria on 30th April
44. Great Bittern – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April
45. Grey Heron – singles at Paphos Airport, Akrotiri Marsh & Mavrokolympos Dam on 28th April, 28th April & 30th April & at least ten at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April
46. Purple Heron – at least fifty at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, three & two at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & two & four at Agia Varvara on 29th & 30th April
47. Little Egret – four at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May, two at Agia Varvara on 30th April & four at Lady’s Mile Beach on 1st May
48. Cattle Egret – twenty & a single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May
49. Squacco Heron – twenty & five at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & four & five at Agia Varvara on 29th & 30th April
50. Black-crowned Night-Heron – three at both Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) & Lady’s Mile Beach on 1st May
51. Glossy Ibis – single at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, 160 & six at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & 22 at Mandria at 30th April
52. Griffon Vulture – Troödos Village on 29th April
53. Bonelli's Eagle – single seen on the evening fo 30th April when travelling back to our accommodation
54. Western Marsh Harrier – two & a single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & single at Agia Varvara on 30th April
55. Pallid Harrier – adult female at Agia Varvara on 30th April
56. Montagu's Harrier – adult male at Lady's Mile Beach on 1st May
57. Common Buzzard – single at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April
58. Long-legged Buzzard – three sightings of a total of four birds mostly when travelling inland
59. Barn Owl – single at Episkopi Village on 29th April
60. Cyprus Scops Owl – four at Episkopi Village on 29th April
61. Eurasian Hoopoe – single when travelling on 29th April & two at Mandria on 30th April
62. European Bee-eater – one of the highlights was about 250 seen in scattered locations including good views of groups at Akrotiri Marsh & Paphos Headland
63. European Roller – ten seen in total mainly when travelling inland
64. Lesser Kestrel – two singles – one when travelling on 29th April & one at Akrotiri Salt Lake on 1st May
65. Common Kestrel – twenty five in total at scattered locations
66. Eleonora's Falcon – single at Mandria on 30th April & a single near our accommodation & five at Kensington Cliffs on 1st May
67. Eurasian Hobby – single seen on the evening fo 30th April when travelling back to our accommodation
68. Peregrine Falcon – single at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April
69. Masked Shrike – two at Troödos Village on 29th April
70. Eurasian Jay – four at Troödos Village on 29th April
71. Common Magpie – widespread
72. Eurasian Jackdaw – widespread
73. Hooded Crow – widespread
74. Coal Tit – a single en route & seven at Troödos Village on 29th April
75. Great Tit – widespread
76. Crested Lark – widespread
77. Zitting Cisticola – single at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, four at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April, two at Agia Varvara & three at Mandria both on 30th April & two at Paphos Headland on 1st May
78. Eastern Olivaceous Warbler – single en route & two at Troödos Village on 29th April
79. Icterine Warbler – two at Paphos Headland on 1st May
80. Sedge Warbler – single at Agia Varvara on 29th April
81. Eurasian Reed Warbler – singles at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April & Agia Varvara on 30th April
82. Great Reed Warbler – two at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & single & two at Agia Varvara on 29th & 30th April
83. Sand Martin – sixteen seen in total between three sites on four occasions
84. Barn Swallow – widespread
85. Red-rumped Swallow – two & a single both whilst travelling on 29th April
86. Common House Martin – widespread
87. Wood Warbler – two at Paphos Headland on 1st May
88. Eastern Bonelli's Warbler – single at Paphos Headland on 30th April
89. Willow Warbler – singles at Agia Varvara & Paphos Headland both on 30th April
90. Cetti's Warbler – widespread
91. Eurasian Blackcap – single at Episkopi Village on 28th April
92. Garden Warbler – single at Paphos Headland on 1st May
93. Barred Warbler – single at Episkopi Village on 28th April
94. Cyprus Warbler – three at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, four at Mavrokolympos Dam on 30th April & two at Kensington Cliffs on 1st May
95. Sardinian Warbler – over fifty recorded on thirteen occasions – widespread
96. Common Whitethroat – three at Paphos Headland on 1st May
97. Short-toed Treecreeper – four at Troödos Village on 29th April
98. Eurasian Blackbird – single at Troödos Village on 29th April
99. Spotted Flycatcher – two at both Agia Varvara & Macrokolympos Dam on 30th April & eight at Paphos Headland on both 30th April & 1st May
100. European Pied Flycatcher – singles at Episkopi Village on 29th April & Paphos Headland on 1st May
101. Whinchat 28 Apr 2022 – single at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, three at Agia Varvara on 29th April & three at Paphos Headland on 1st May
102. Cyprus Wheatear – a total of thirteen recorded between Hylatio Tourist Village, Episkopi Village, Mavrokolympos Dam, Kensington Cliffs & various sightings when travelling
103. Eastern Black-eared Wheatear – singles near Episkopi Village on 28th April & Paphos Headland on 30th April
104. House Sparrow – widespread
105. Spanish Sparrow – twenty at Agia Varvara & four at Mandira both on 30th April
106. Western Yellow Wagtail – eleven in total between Agia Varvara, Mandria & Paphos Headland on both dates - a mix of subspecies!
107. Tawny Pipit – singles at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April & Mandria on 30th April
108. Tree Pipit – single at Paphos Headland on 30th April
109. Common Chaffinch – four at Troödos Village on 29th April
110. European Greenfinch – widespread
111. European Goldfinch – widespread
112. European Serin – six at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) & single at Troödos Village both on 29th April
113. Corn Bunting – single at Agia Varvara on 30th April & Akrotiri Marsh & Paphos Headland on 1st May


The Cyprus team were regrouping a little under a week later. Another four day trip, another island and another attempt to clear up some endemics that I had ignored for too long. It proved to be my favourite trip of the year so I am looking forward to finding the time to write it up…
 

Scridifer

Used Registrar
Supporter
Bulgaria
The next stop was Mavrokolympus Dam – north west of Paphos – where we arrived at 1.25pm. Here, over a three hour period, good views were secured of further Cyprus Wheatears at 34.856209 32.401399 and 34.857114 32.405569. Also, we had good views of further Cyprus Warblers at 34.858166 32.406766 and 34.859110 32.409428. Again, Sardinian Warblers were present in greater numbers. Other birds were thin on the ground albeit we recorded four Chukars and two Spotted Flycatchers.

It had been quite warm and we decided to bird the Paphos Headland en route back to our accommodation once the temperature was dropping. We arrived at 4.45pm and paid the admission fee to explore the archaeological site. An hour was spent during which we notched up Cuckoo, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Willow Warbler, eight Spotted Flycatchers, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and Tree Pipit. Notable were around 120 hirundines and 50 European Bee-eaters. It was a good hour’s birding. A Black Whip Snake was an interesting distraction.

We headed back for dinner and the journey produced another ten European Bee-eaters as well as a Bonelli’s Eagle and Hobby. An excellent journey. Back at our accommodation, there were a further ten European Bee-eaters. It had plainly been a day of significant migration. Dinner and a final beer again had the backdrop of Nightjar. We were heading back the next day so one more day to complete for this trip.

Attached:-
19. Hooded Crow
20. Spotted Flycatcher
21. Chukar
22 & 23. Sardinian Warbler
24 & 25. Cyprus Warbler
26 to 28. Cyprus Wheatear
29. Black Whip Snake
30. Eurasian Kestrel
31. Tree Pipit
32 to 37. European Bee-eater
That Whip Snake is a beauty! :love:

Chris
 

Scridifer

Used Registrar
Supporter
Bulgaria
Cyprus Trip Species List

1. Garganey – two at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) 29th April
2. Mallard – up to twenty at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) 29th April & 1st May
3. Ferruginous Duck – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) 1st May
4. Black Francolin – at least six at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April but otherwise heard back there on 1st May as well as at Agia Varvara, Mandria & Lady’s Mile Beach
5. Chukar – three at Asprokremnos Dam 28th April and a single whilst travelling & four at Mavrokolympus Dam on 30th April
6. Greater Flamingo – seven at Akrotiri Gravel Pits on 29th April & 300 at Akrotiri Salt Lake & ten at Akrotiri Gravel Pits on 1st May
7. Little Grebe – nesting pair at Agia Varvara 30th April
8. Feral Pigeon – widespread
9. Common Woodpigeon – widespread
10. European Turtle Dove – only thirteen seen of which the biggest group was three – a sad sign of the times
11. Collared Dove – widespread
12. Laughing Dove – widespread
13. Great Spotted Cuckoo – first seen whilst travelling on 28th April, four at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April & another at Agia Varvara on 30th April
14. Common Cuckoo – single at Paphos Headland on 30th April
15. Eurasian Nightjar – recorded on four occasions at our accommodation at Hylatio Tourist Village
16. Alpine Swift – twenty six seen in total between five sightings
17. Common Swift – widespread
18. Pallid Swift – two at Troödos Village 29th April
19. Water Rail – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) 29th April
20. Common Moorhen – seen on both visits to Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) & both visits to Agia Varvara – 29th April, 30th April & 1st May
21. Eurasian Coot singles at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) & Agia Varvara both on 29th April
22. Little Crake – singles at Agia Varvara on 29th & 30th April & Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 1st May
23. Stone-curlew – two at Mandria on 30th April
24. Black-winged Stilt – twenty at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & eighty at Lady’s Mile Beach on 1st May
25. Spur-winged Lapwing – ten on 29th April & eight on 1st May at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds)
26. Kentish Plover – twenty at Akrotiri Gravel Pits on 29th April with four there on 1st May & twenty at Lady’s Mile Beach on the same date
27. Common Ringed Plover – six at Lady's Mile Beach on 1st May
28. Little Ringed Plover – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 1st May
29. Ruff – ten & twenty at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May respectively & one hundred at Lady’s Mile Beach on the same date
30. Broad-billed Sandpiper – two at Lady's Mile Beach on 1st May
31. Curlew Sandpiper – ten at Lady's Mile Beach on 1st May
32. Temminck's Stint – a single & four at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May respectively
33. Dunlin – two at Lady's Mile Beach on 1st May
34. Little Stint – four & three at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April & 1st May respectively & 150 at Lady’s Mile Beach on the dame date
35. Common Snipe – single & four at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & four at Agia Varvara on 30th April
36. Common Sandpiper – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 1st May
37. Spotted Redshank – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 1st May
38. Common Greenshank – two at Akrotiri Marsh on both 29th April & 1st May
39. Wood Sandpiper – twenty at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on both 29th April & 1st May, heard Episkopi village after dark on 29th April & three & four at Agia Varvara on 29th & 30th April respectively
40. Yellow-legged Gull – widespread
41. Lesser Black-backed Gull – single immature at Mandria on 30th April
42. Little Tern – single at Lady's Mile Beach & three at Akrotiri Salt Lake both on 1st May
43. European Shag – two at Mandria on 30th April
44. Great Bittern – single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April
45. Grey Heron – singles at Paphos Airport, Akrotiri Marsh & Mavrokolympos Dam on 28th April, 28th April & 30th April & at least ten at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April
46. Purple Heron – at least fifty at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, three & two at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & two & four at Agia Varvara on 29th & 30th April
47. Little Egret – four at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May, two at Agia Varvara on 30th April & four at Lady’s Mile Beach on 1st May
48. Cattle Egret – twenty & a single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May
49. Squacco Heron – twenty & five at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & four & five at Agia Varvara on 29th & 30th April
50. Black-crowned Night-Heron – three at both Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) & Lady’s Mile Beach on 1st May
51. Glossy Ibis – single at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, 160 & six at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & 22 at Mandria at 30th April
52. Griffon Vulture – Troödos Village on 29th April
53. Bonelli's Eagle – single seen on the evening fo 30th April when travelling back to our accommodation
54. Western Marsh Harrier – two & a single at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & single at Agia Varvara on 30th April
55. Pallid Harrier – adult female at Agia Varvara on 30th April
56. Montagu's Harrier – adult male at Lady's Mile Beach on 1st May
57. Common Buzzard – single at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April
58. Long-legged Buzzard – three sightings of a total of four birds mostly when travelling inland
59. Barn Owl – single at Episkopi Village on 29th April
60. Cyprus Scops Owl – four at Episkopi Village on 29th April
61. Eurasian Hoopoe – single when travelling on 29th April & two at Mandria on 30th April
62. European Bee-eater – one of the highlights was about 250 seen in scattered locations including good views of groups at Akrotiri Marsh & Paphos Headland
63. European Roller – ten seen in total mainly when travelling inland
64. Lesser Kestrel – two singles – one when travelling on 29th April & one at Akrotiri Salt Lake on 1st May
65. Common Kestrel – twenty five in total at scattered locations
66. Eleonora's Falcon – single at Mandria on 30th April & a single near our accommodation & five at Kensington Cliffs on 1st May
67. Eurasian Hobby – single seen on the evening fo 30th April when travelling back to our accommodation
68. Peregrine Falcon – single at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April
69. Masked Shrike – two at Troödos Village on 29th April
70. Eurasian Jay – four at Troödos Village on 29th April
71. Common Magpie – widespread
72. Eurasian Jackdaw – widespread
73. Hooded Crow – widespread
74. Coal Tit – a single en route & seven at Troödos Village on 29th April
75. Great Tit – widespread
76. Crested Lark – widespread
77. Zitting Cisticola – single at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, four at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April, two at Agia Varvara & three at Mandria both on 30th April & two at Paphos Headland on 1st May
78. Eastern Olivaceous Warbler – single en route & two at Troödos Village on 29th April
79. Icterine Warbler – two at Paphos Headland on 1st May
80. Sedge Warbler – single at Agia Varvara on 29th April
81. Eurasian Reed Warbler – singles at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April & Agia Varvara on 30th April
82. Great Reed Warbler – two at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) on 29th April & 1st May & single & two at Agia Varvara on 29th & 30th April
83. Sand Martin – sixteen seen in total between three sites on four occasions
84. Barn Swallow – widespread
85. Red-rumped Swallow – two & a single both whilst travelling on 29th April
86. Common House Martin – widespread
87. Wood Warbler – two at Paphos Headland on 1st May
88. Eastern Bonelli's Warbler – single at Paphos Headland on 30th April
89. Willow Warbler – singles at Agia Varvara & Paphos Headland both on 30th April
90. Cetti's Warbler – widespread
91. Eurasian Blackcap – single at Episkopi Village on 28th April
92. Garden Warbler – single at Paphos Headland on 1st May
93. Barred Warbler – single at Episkopi Village on 28th April
94. Cyprus Warbler – three at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, four at Mavrokolympos Dam on 30th April & two at Kensington Cliffs on 1st May
95. Sardinian Warbler – over fifty recorded on thirteen occasions – widespread
96. Common Whitethroat – three at Paphos Headland on 1st May
97. Short-toed Treecreeper – four at Troödos Village on 29th April
98. Eurasian Blackbird – single at Troödos Village on 29th April
99. Spotted Flycatcher – two at both Agia Varvara & Macrokolympos Dam on 30th April & eight at Paphos Headland on both 30th April & 1st May
100. European Pied Flycatcher – singles at Episkopi Village on 29th April & Paphos Headland on 1st May
101. Whinchat 28 Apr 2022 – single at Asprokremnos Dam on 28th April, three at Agia Varvara on 29th April & three at Paphos Headland on 1st May
102. Cyprus Wheatear – a total of thirteen recorded between Hylatio Tourist Village, Episkopi Village, Mavrokolympos Dam, Kensington Cliffs & various sightings when travelling
103. Eastern Black-eared Wheatear – singles near Episkopi Village on 28th April & Paphos Headland on 30th April
104. House Sparrow – widespread
105. Spanish Sparrow – twenty at Agia Varvara & four at Mandira both on 30th April
106. Western Yellow Wagtail – eleven in total between Agia Varvara, Mandria & Paphos Headland on both dates - a mix of subspecies!
107. Tawny Pipit – singles at Akrotiri Marsh on 29th April & Mandria on 30th April
108. Tree Pipit – single at Paphos Headland on 30th April
109. Common Chaffinch – four at Troödos Village on 29th April
110. European Greenfinch – widespread
111. European Goldfinch – widespread
112. European Serin – six at Akrotiri Marsh (Phasouri Reed-beds) & single at Troödos Village both on 29th April
113. Corn Bunting – single at Agia Varvara on 30th April & Akrotiri Marsh & Paphos Headland on 1st May


The Cyprus team were regrouping a little under a week later. Another four day trip, another island and another attempt to clear up some endemics that I had ignored for too long. It proved to be my favourite trip of the year so I am looking forward to finding the time to write it up…
Great stuff Paul, looking forward to the next part with bated breath!

Chris
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
I have now finished my Corsica write up but need to finish editing pics so day one for now.....

7 May 2022

The Corsican logistics were remarkably similar to our Cyprus trip with the fundamentals being Easyjet flights and Budget car hire through the Easyjet website. A friend had booked some accommodation inland for the three nights to place us as close to our two main targets as possible. On the last night in Cyprus, I had put a Request for Information on Birdforum to add to our research through trip reports, eBird, Xeno Canto & contacts. Some good friends had been very kind with various co-ordinates and research relating to California Quail. I will keep their identities confidential to preserve their reputations albeit being friends of mine, they have probably lost their reputations long ago. 😊 The responses to my request on Birdforum really upped the game with excellent contributions from Jos Stratford, foresttwitcher, Steve Babbs, James Lowther, dalat, etc. However, Valentin (Val35) went far beyond the call of duty. In addition to his information, he also provided some additional commentary by DM on the information once I had collated it and his contact details.

We left Gatwick at 7.20am. We arrived on time in Bastia shortly after 10.30am local time. We had the usual Covid checks and paperwork but the most stringent check was ensuring that we had a return flight. They clearly did not like the look of us and wanted to ensure that we did not overstay our welcome!

The car rental went smoothly. We picked up the car at around 11.00am chalking up some initial species for the trip list. These included Italian Sparrow and Spotless Starling. We did not stop to examine the Sparrows. They could wait. I had seen the (sub)species near Milan on a previous trip but I did want to try and get some photos at some point. We planned to target the Nuthatch and the Finch on our first day. The sooner the better.

Information from Valentin confirmed that some Red-footed Falcons had been seen very close to the Airport that morning so we decided to have a quick look. We had no luck in a quick fifteen minutes stop but a couple of Kestrels, a couple of Buzzards and ten Red Kites were more birdy than I had anticipated. Also a group of around fifty hirundines was made up almost equally of Swallows and House Martins. This was going to be an interesting break.

A few additional raptors and a Raven were seen during our journey with a roadside Jay being the other highlight. A total of seventeen species had been recorded before our arrival at Col de Sorba at 1.20pm. We parked at around 42.144126 9.190065.

During the next three hours or so, we walked as far as 42.142227 9.188942 and back. We heard and saw at least four Nuthatches. I secured a few photographs of birds around the area where we parked and in the pines on either side of the road to the hairpin below. In addition, I had a brief Corsican Finch on the ground near where we parked but only briefly. It was not seen by my two companions. However, we did all have excellent views of at least six Corsican Crossbills and brief views of a Marmora’s Warbler in the maquis below the road near where we turned round (42.142227 9.188942). In total, seventeen species were seen here with a couple of Cuckoos, Golden Eagle, Jay, Coal and Great Tits, Goldcrest, Blackbird, Chaffinch and a pair of Cirl Buntings.

Not huge variety but the main target had exceeded my expectations. As with most, Corsican Nuthatch had been on my radar since I bought my first European Field Guide but its prominence had been seared into my conscious when Pete Aley’s parents had found a certain American nuthatch at Holkham Pines back in 1989. I had been pretty sure back then that I would try for it a bit sooner than thirty odd years later but finally, I had done so and we had been very successful.

Now for better views of the Finch. From the information secured, we had decided to target the nearest meadow area. As we had headed up to Col de Sorba, we had noticed a meadow at around 42.152146 9.168337. So after only ten minutes driving back down the road, we found somewhere to park up at around 42.1511198 9.1712329. By 4.30pm, with the Nuthatch under the belt, we were exploring the roadside meadow. It did not take long! A loose flock of ten Corsican Finches were found feeding on the ground but quickly flushed to low lying bushes and then the adjacent pines. Happy days indeed. Additions to the trip list were a couple of Red-legged Partridge, two Woodlarks, a male Stonechat and a Grey Wagtail. After a brief forty minutes stop, we did not expect to improve on the views of the Finch as the birds were lost, we decided to head to our accommodation via Ruines du Fortin de Pasciola. This was en route and had additional potential species.

Again, this was another mammoth ten minute journey….. We parked at 42.175033 9.163712. Here, the Moltoni’s Warblers favour the larger bushes near the parking area and in the valley and the Marmora’s Warblers favour the smaller bushes and maquis closer to the fort. In a thirty minute stop, both warblers were seen. In addition to the one at Col de Sorba, I had seen Marmora’s at both Spurn and St Abb’s Head previously and Moltoni’s Warbler once on Fair Isle. I would be keen to try and get photos of both later on this trip. However, today wasn’t the day. A Blue Rock Thrush was also heard as a trip addition.

So in around four and a half hours birding on our first afternoon along a 10 kilometre stretch of road, we had secured Corsican Nuthatch, Corsican Finch and Marmora’s and Moltoni’s Warblers. Our accommodation was around a further ten kilometres away at the four star Hotel e Caselle and after some confusion missing the turning in Venaco and picking up Crag Martin for the trip list, we finally arrived at around 7.00pm. We were punching well above our weight with the accommodation. It was superb against a spectacular backdrop and a standard that I would not normally frequent on a birding trip. Nevertheless, the out of season rate had been very reasonable in the circumstances and they seemed pleased to see us! Two main targets secured, stunning scenery and classy accommodation. Time for a beer. The bird of the trip would surely need to be looked for at dawn the next day…. 😊

Attached:-
1. Female Cirl Bunting
2. Male Cirl Bunting
3. Corsican Crossbill
4 to 12. Corsican Nuthatches
13. Woodlark
14 & 15. Corsican Finches
 

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