Saturday, April 29, 2017


As with many of the popular holiday island destinations, there are places to see and places to avoid.  So when I booked this four day trip to the eastern end of Greek Cyprus, I based myself in Agia Napa because apparently (according to the the abundance of self-eulogising T-shirts available) 'Napa Rocks'.  Thankfully it was the off-season so there was no attitude or groups of morons destroying the place.

It was actually very pleasant, and despite having an untimely reaction to one of the medications, the time was well spent.  Four days, 92 species, six lifers.

I stayed at the pleasant EuroNapa hotel in Agia Napa -  Return flights were on British Airways to Larnaka from Heathrow.

Sites visited included Cape Greko, Agia Napa Sewage Works, Oriklini Marshes (which is an amazing site), Larnaca Salt Lake (and surrounding pools), Larnaca Sewage Works, Akrotiri Salt Lake, Lady's Mile, and Zakaki Marshes.

Northern Shoveler
eight at Oriklini.

A few birds at Oriklini Marshes and a couple at Zakaki.

Eurasian Teal
a couple of stragglers in Oriklini.

Three lovely drakes at Oriklini Marshes.

Ferruginous Duck
A pair swimming close to the far reedbed at Oriklini.

Red-crested Pochard
Female at Oriklini.

a few birds seen on Greko and one with young at Agia Napa Sewage Works.

Black Francolin
six birds in total heard, two at Greko with one seen when flushed, one at Oriklini, and three calling at Zakaki Marshes.
Little Grebe
at least six adults on Oriklini.

Greater Cormorant
A single group of 25 flew over Lady's Mile.

Grey Heron
six adult birds circled Oriklini Marshes

Purple Heron
three birds flew in off the sea at Greko with another bird flushed from a bush near the Picnic site.  Another adult seen at Oriklini Marshes.

Squacco Heron
single birds seen at Oriklini Marshes, and Zakaki Marshes.

Little Bittern
a pair seen really well as they noisily alighted from the reeds and flew round the hide at Zakaki Marshes.

Little Egret
10+ birds at Oriklini Marshes with an interesting 'grey' plumaged bird at Lady's Mile.

Cattle Egret
At least 100 birds present at Oriklini Marshes with many on nests.

Glossy Ibis
Decent sized flocks seen at Greko, Oriklini Marshes, and Akrotiri.

Single adult at Oriklini Marshes

Greater Flamingo
Two birds at Oriklini but small groups still present at Larnaca Salt Lake, Airport Pools, and larger numbers at Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Montagu's Harrier
female flew over a road just outside Episkopi.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk
A single bird in off the sea at Greko.

Common Kestrel
Seen on Greko and en route along the southern highway.

a single bird flushed waders on Akrotiri Salt Lake with another seen at Zakaki Marshes.

one flew over Greko.

Eleanora's Falcon
at least 15 birds providing an impressive aerial display at Kensington Cliffs.

Little Crake
A real target - single bird seen feeding on the reed margins at Oriklini Marshes.

Eurasian Coot
Common everywhere and seen at most sites.

Common Moorhen
Five at Oriklini and a couple at Zakaki Marshes.

The most common wader seen at most sites.  Most abundant at Oriklini and Lady's Mile with 65 birds on one pool.

Wood Sandpiper
Fairly numerous at most sites. At least 20 together at Oriklini.

Black-winged Stilt
Small groups seen at Oriklini and Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Little Stint
Plenty seen with small groups at Oriklini and Lady's Mile.

Ringed Plover
Five at Oriklini and 10+ at Akrotiri.

Common Snipe
Two birds at Oriklini.

Marsh Sandpiper
Two birds at Oriklini and a single on Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Spur-winged Lapwing
Seen at most sites.  Stunning birds most numerous at Oriklini Marshes with around eight birds there including one nesting by the road-side.

Singles at Oriklini and Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Kentish Plover
half a dozen seen at Lady's Mile and small groups on Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Curlew Sandpiper
A total of 12 birds seen at Lady's Mile with a couple of summer plumaged adults.

Bar-tailed Godwit
A rare bird in Cyprus, a single bird at Lady's Mile.

Broad-billed Sandpiper
Three birds feeding on the edge of Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Collared Pratincole
Four of these lovely birdse at Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Yellow-legged Gull
A couple at Greko

Lesser Black Backed Gull
a single bird at Greko

Black-headed Gull
three first-year birds on Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Little Tern
A pair at Oriklini and another pair at Akrotiri Salt Lake.

White-winged Tern
Five stunning adults at Akrotiri Salt Lake.

common at various sites.

Collared Dove
a common bird at various sites.

Turtle Dove
a single bird flew purposefully in off the sea at Greko.

Laughing Dove
a single bird seen while driving outside of Larnaka.

Great Spotted Cuckoo
Lucky to have connected with a single at Oriklini.

Common Swift
around 100 birds at Oriklini.

Alpine Swift
Small groups at Kensington Cliffs and three more seen just outside Agia Napa.

European Bee-eater
a group of 11 seen at Akrotiri Salt Lake, with further birds heard at Kensington Cliffs.  A group of 13 seen at the Sea Caves on Greko.

European Roller
a stunning adult at Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Crested Lark
common at most sites.

Barn Swallow
plenty passing through at Greko.

Red-rumped Swallow
a single bird flew through at Akrotiri Salt Lake, and one through on Greko.

House Martin
around 20 at Oriklini.

Sand Martin
five birds seen at Oriklini.

Tawny Pipit
A single near the picnic site on Greko and two more towards the cape.

White Wagtail
Single at Oriklini.

Yellow Wagtail
Small group at Larnaca Sewage Works that included feldegg and flava.  Single feldegg at Oriklini.

Two in scrub just outside of Greko, with a single bird on Greko.

Cyprus Pied Wheatear
At least four birds on Greko.

Northern Wheatear
a single male at Akrotiri Salt Lake,

Willow Warbler
one sang briefly just before the Greko turning with two more in a scrubby area nearby.

Eurasian Reed Warbler
A common bird at Zakaki and Oriklini Marshes.

Icterine Warbler
single migrant bird seen well on Greko.

Cetti's Warbler
Heard at Oriklini Marshes

single at Agia Napa sewage works, and one at Oriklini Marshes

Common Whitethroat
a single by Larnaka Airport North Pool.

Zitting Cisticola
singles at Oriklini and Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Olivaceous Warbler
three singing males at Agia Napa Sewage Works.

Spectacled Warbler
a common bird at many sites.

Sardinian Warbler
single bird seen just outside Greko.

Cyprus Warbler
Another target - seen in scrub just outside Greko and at Agia Napa Sewage Works.

Spotted Flycatcher
a single in scrub by turning for Greko and another near the picnic site.

Great Tit
Two seen at Agia Napa Sewage Works and a further two at Oriklini.

Golden Oriole
a single stunning adult male on top of a bush at Agia Napa Sewage Works

Hooded Crow
commonly seen at various sites.

A few seen at Greko

Eurasian Magpie
Three singles seen en route to various destinations

House Sparrow
Abundant everywhere.

Spanish Sparrow
A dozen present at Agia Napa Sewage Works.

seen at Agia Napa Sewage Works.

around a dozen at Agia Napa Sewage Works.

two near the picnic site on Greko.

small groups seen at Akrotiri Salt Lake.

Desert Finch
a real bonus - this male arrived right on cue as I was about the leave Greko for the final time.  Sat in its favoured bush before swiftly departing.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Rainham Marshes RSPB

It was a stellar day at the Marshes, the highlight being our monthly Wildlife Explorers group in which we welcomed fifteen children all of which enjoyed dissecting owl pellets and getting their grubby mits covered with mammalian detritus.  It was all good fun.

Arriving a couple of hours before the start of the group, it was evident that there were plenty of migrants around in gloomy and mizzly conditions.  It felt rare!  Around a dozen Common Whitethroat were scratching away in the scrub opposite Aveley Bay and on the receded tide, a total of seven Whimbrel were noted, six of which deserted the exposed mud in hot pursuit of a lone Greenshank that too noisely fled the area.  Also in attendance were four Dunlin (including three summer plumaged adults) and a smart Grey Plover not quite yet into its summer finery, and three noisy Oystercatcher.

From the car park, a Corn Bunting jangled as it sat low in the grass on the eastern slope of the landfill.  Two Grasshopper Warbler were reeling intermittently adding to the symphony of bird song of which Sedge Warbler too were particularly evident.

The old Landfill also held, at least eight Northern Wheatear with the possibility for many more there.

On the reserve, a rattling Lesser Whitethroat showed well in the Woodland, and two Ruff were skulking along the margins of Wennington.

It warmed up in the afternoon, and despite missing a fly-through Red Kite, there were a couple of Marsh Harrier, three Buzzard, and two Peregrine enjoying the thermals.

A couple of Water Vole were seen around the reserve and a first Orange-Tip was on the wing along with Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, and Peacock.