Birding/ Bird watching on Cyprus

Tuesday 13th of February 2018 and I had not have much of sleep when my alarm went off 20 minutes before 6. Maybe because of all the Pepsi MAX Anyway, I was in the restaurant just after 7 and the breakfast was really not much to write home about. I took a baguette and it was cold. NO FRESH BREAD!!! The baguette had been spending at least one night in the fridge.

So the breakfast was over pretty quickly and I went to look for an ATM. The ATM across the street was not working, so I need to pay my guide when we pass an ATM. I saw two guys looking like bird watchers leaving the hotel and I thought that there were a lot of bird watchers in town. But they were soon coming back, turned out that it was my Guide and a guest, luckily that they discovered the mistake before they left.

We got in to my Guide's car and we went to look for birds and we will start our adventure by exploring the Akrotiri Peninsula:
• Zakaki Marsh
• Lady's Mile
• Akrotiri Salt Lake
• Bishop's Pool

The first stop was down in the port at the Zakaki Marsh. Follow the Vertical Port Road until you reach the Lady Mile Roundabout. Continue straight and as soon as you pass the border to UK you
Zakaki Marsh
Zakaki marsh/reed bed is the remnant of a once larger wetland. The site is especially important during Birding/ Bird watching on Cypruswinter and spring migration where one can see Herons and Glossy Ibis.

The site is also one of the few where the Ferruginous Duck, a species of global conservation concern, breeds.

www.akrotirimarsh.org
see a marsh covered in high reeds. My Guide told me that no one took care of the area, so they might have cut down the reeds when you come here. But just look for the bird hide on your right hand side.

The bird hide overlooks the reeds, well, first of all, some twat have had the kindness to leave all the garbage behind in the bird hide. And Cyprus, a huge tourist destination and I had expected more. Garbage everywhere, and I don't only mean garbage from the car windows. THEY ARE DUMPING THEIR GARBAGE EVERYWHERE! Old tyres, matrasses, fridges and, well, everything. What a disgrace! I hope the tourist stops coming here and they might learn.

Birding/ Bird watching on Cyprus
Bird hide in the Zakaki Marsh

Birding/ Bird watching on Cyprus
Bird hide in the Zakaki Marsh

Birding/ Bird watching on Cyprus
Bird hide in the Zakaki Marsh

Anyway, there were plenty birds in the reeds, but it was impossible to get any pictures through the reeds. Just down from the left side of the hide there is 2 small poles and we saw a Common Kingfisher landing there. That was a very good photo opportunity but the bird was gone by the time I had my camera ready.

My Guide spotted a Black Francolin out in the field and we left the bird hide behind. But we were soon giving up, impossible to cross the field due to all the mud. We went back to the car and we went to look for a path do drive closer to the Black Francolin.

We managed to find a dirt path and we walked the last few meters in sand and mud. This is what I like with bird watching, not the mud, but to try to sneak up on the birds trying to get a good picture. And the Black Francolin is a very shy bird so it is very hard to get a picture. Of course, you can carry on of those BAZOOKA lenses. But this is not how I operate, I want to come up close to the bird so I stick with my 300mm lens.

Black Francolin, Francolinus francolinus
Black Francolin, Francolinus francolinus - 27 October 2017 - Muriwai Gannet Colony

Black Francolin, Francolinus francolinus
Black Francolin, Francolinus francolinus - 27 October 2017 - Muriwai Gannet Colony

We never got any good pictures, but we had a lot of fun trying to get the Black Francolin on a picture. The birds disappeared under the vegetation and we returned to the “Ladies Mile” Back in the days when Cyprus was a British colony one of the Generals had a horse named Lady and the horse used to run on the road, thus the name “Ladies Mile”

The area between the port and the “Ladies Mile” are sold and they will develop the port to cover this area. We turned left when we came up on the “Ladies Mile” and we drove towards the ocean. On the right hand side, just before you reach the beach there is an area with gravel and we drove up there to see if we could find any birds. A few Hooded Crows, also known locally as Scotch crow and Danish crow.

We went back to try the bird hide at Zakaki Marsh again. I tried to catch a few beautiful Moorhens, but this is a very shy bird and I failed to get them on pictures.

To see the map in a full window click HERE


We also spotted the beautiful Common Stonechat and the very common and unafraid Crested Lark. Well, the common Stonechat, coming back to my hotel to check internet for information I read the bellow on Wikipedia:


Common Stonechat is the name used for the Saxicola species Saxicola torquatus when this is treated in its broad sense.

It is, however, now more widely considered to be a super species consisting of several related but distinct species, which are outwardly fairly similar but genetically distinct and replacing each other geographically without significant hybridisation:

• African stonechat Saxicola torquatus in the strict sense

• European stonechat Saxicola rubicola

• Siberian stonechat Saxicola maurus

• Stejneger's stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri

• Madagascan stonechat Saxicola sibilla

Three other species, not previously included within the broad view of common stonechat, have also been shown to be members of the super species:

• Fuerteventura chat Saxicola dacotiae

• Reunion stonechat Saxicola tectes

• White-tailed stonechat Saxicola leucurus

Species status possible, but not yet verified:

• Ethiopian stonechat Saxicola (torquatus) albofasciatus

Not all of the above are currently recognised as full species by all of the relevant taxonomical authorities, for example the British Ornithologists' Union, currently include stejnegeri as a subspecies of Saxicola maurus.



Crested Lark, Galerida cristata

Sea gull
Sea gull

We continued down to the beach and all the sea gulls were far out and it was not possible to get any good pictures of the Armenian Gull. The gulls had most likely been scared by a dog or something. So no good pictures of the gulls, and I had been hoping for some sea gulls as I have my Guide so he can name them for me. I cannot see the difference between them. But well, I hope to get another opportunity.

We continued south on the ladies Mile towards the Akrotiri Salt Lake. We were soon stopping to watch an European Greenfinch sitting in the bushes. I wasn't very pleased with the pictures. But they are better than nothing and I was chasing the European Greenfinch on New Zealand without getting one single good picture that I could use. But these pictures I can use, but of course, I hope Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.st to get better ones.

European Greenfinch, Greenfinch, Chloris chloris, Grönfink

We continued south on the Akrotiri Peninsulatowards the Akrotiri Salt Lake. I don't know what to call it, but let's call it marshes. We cannot walk there and we are for sure not going out there with the car. But there are dust roads across the marsh.


Marsh

A marsh is a wetland that is dominated by herbaceous rather than woody plant species. Marshes can often be found at the edges of lakes and streams, where they form a transition between the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They are often dominated by grasses, rushes or reeds. If woody plants are present they tend to be low-growing shrubs. This form of vegetation is what differentiates marshes from other types of wetland such as swamps, which are dominated by trees, and mires, which are wetlands that have accumulated deposits of acidic peat.

Marsh
Marsh in shallow water on a lakeshore
Click HERE for full size picture


Marshes differ depending mainly on their location and salinity. Both of these factors greatly influence the range and scope of animal and plant life that can survive and reproduce in these environments. The three main types of marsh are salt marshes, freshwater tidal marshes, and freshwater marshes. These three can be found worldwide and each contains a different set of organisms.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

We followed one of the dust roads and we were soon spotting a Isabelline wheatear sitting next to the road. Yet again, a little too far away for a good picture. We spotted several European Greenfinches and Crested Larks. But we didn't see any birds in the Akrotiri Salt Lake, 2 or 3 waders. And the birds was very far away so no pictures.

Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina

Crested Lark, Galerida cristata
Crested Lark

European Greenfinch, Greenfinch, Chloris chloris, Grönfink
European Greenfinch

European Greenfinch, Greenfinch, Chloris chloris, Grönfink
European Greenfinch

Limassol bird watching - Akrotiri Salt Lake
Looking for waders in the Akrotiri Salt Lake

We continue south and we the Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats, or short Monastary of the Cats. There is a small lake, the Bishops Pool and according to my Guide there are several interesting ducks and Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Catsother birds.

There is a bird hide at the Bishops Pool and there were several different water birds. We also spotted a few birds of prey hunting in the area.

The area seems to be a bird watching area, at least I think so as there were several information boards about the birds in the area. There were also a map with different walk paths marked on the map. And it was a beautiful area.

But the best was the orange trees and I could not help myself so I picked an orange. It tasted very good so I was soon having a second orange. Sweet and juicy, I would have had more oranges but we were leaving to explore new birding areas.

Limassol bird watching - Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats
Birding information

Limassol bird watching - Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats
View over the lake

Limassol bird watching - Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats
Oranges

Limassol bird watching - Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats
We leave the Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats

House sparrow, Passer domesticus, Gråsparv

House sparrow, Passer domesticus, Gråsparv

We left Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats and I only had pictures of one bird, the House Sparrow. There was a few of them sitting in a tree when we entered the area and I had a few pictures. Well, we will go to Kensington Cliff to see if we can see the Griffon Vulture. But we have to stop for lunch, the place my Guide knew was not open until 28 of February.

So we continued towards the Kensington Cliff and we decided to stop at the Kolossi Castle to have our lunch. But firs we made a stop to look at the flamingos in the Akrotiri Salt Lake

Kolossi Castle

is a former Crusader stronghold on the south-west edge of Kolossi village 14 kilometres west of the city of Limassol on the island of Cyprus. It held great strategic importance in the Middle Ages, and contained large facilities for the production of sugar from the local sugarcane, one of Cyprus's main exports in the period. The original castle was possibly built in 1210 by the Frankish military, when the land of Kolossi was given by King Hugh I to the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (Hospitallers).

The present castle was built in 1454 by the Hospitallers under the Commander of Kolossi, Louis de Magnac, whose arms can be seen carved into the castle's walls.

Owing to rivalry among the factions in the Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus, the castle was taken by the Knights Templar in 1306, but returned to the Hospitallers in 1313 following the abolition of the Templars.

The castle today consists of a single three-storey keep with an attached rectangular enclosure or bailey about 30 by 40 metres.

As well as its sugar. The area is also known for its sweet wine, Commandaria. At the wedding banquet after King Richard the Lionheart's marriage to Berengaria of Navarre at nearby Limassol, he allegedly declared it to be the “wine of kings and the king of wines” It has been produced in the region for millennia, and is thought to be the oldest continually-produced and named wine in the world, known for centuries as “Commandaria” after the Templars' Grand Commandery there.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

We parked the car, it was far away from the Akrotiri Salt Lake so not possible to get any pictures. We could see a rare duck and some flamingos. It was starting to rain se we went back in to the car and we took off to Kolossi Castle.

Akrotiri Salt Lake
We stop to have a look over the Akrotiri Salt Lake

Kolossi Castle
Kolossi Castle

Kolossi Castle
Kolossi Castle

Kolossi Castle
Kolossi Castle

Kolossi Castle
Kolossi Castle

Kolossi Castle
I found an ATM at the Kolossi Castle

Theo Food & Drink
Theo Food & Drink, where we had our lunch

We went in to Theo Food & Drink for our lunch and I went to look for an ATM while waiting for the food. I gave my Guide 450 € for 3 days of bird watching around Cyprus. The meal was good, some traditional Cyprus/ Greek food. I asked for ice cream but they didn't had any ice cream. Well, good for my diet.

We were soon on our way to the Episkopi Cliffs / Kensington Cliffs. It is just next to a British military garrison so we drive down to the fence and there wasn’t much room to turn down to the dust track leading to the cliff edge. We parked the car and we walked towards the cliff and just before reaching the cliff we left the dust road and we walked through the bushes until we reached the edge.

Kensington Cliff
Walking to the edge of the Episkopi Cliffs / Kensington Cliffs

Kensington Cliff
Episkopi Cliffs / Kensington Cliffs

Kensington Cliff
Walking along the edge to look for the Griffon Vulture

Kensington Cliff
Episkopi Cliffs / Kensington Cliffs

Kensington Cliff
Episkopi Cliffs / Kensington Cliffs

Kensington Cliff
Episkopi Cliffs / Kensington Cliffs

Kensington Cliff
Episkopi Cliffs / Kensington Cliffs

Kensington Cliff
Episkopi Cliffs / Kensington Cliffs

Kensington Cliff
Looking for the Griffon Vulture

Bird watching in Limassol
On the way to the Germasogeia Dam


We looked out on the cliffs in a westerly direction but we could not see any of the Griffon Vultures. 14 birds remaining on Cyprus and they all live here at the Episkopi Cliffs / Kensington Cliffs. We will go to Larnaca tomorrow, but on Thursday we will go to Paphos and we will make a stop here again.

We left the British garrison and Episkopi Cliffs / Kensington Cliffs behind bound for the Germasogeia Dam to see if we can see any interesting birds in that area. It didn't take us very long to reach the dam. We crossed the dam and we drove up the mountains following the dam towards the mountains. Well, there wasn't much water in the dam.

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
Germasogeia Dam

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
Driving along the East side of the Germasogeia Dam

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
Driving along the East side of the Germasogeia Dam

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
Driving along the East side of the Germasogeia Dam

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
North of the Germasogeia Dam

We drove along the dust tracks north of the dam. We spotted several birds, of course, I didn't got many pictures. We spotted the beautiful Golden Finch, European Stonechat and of course a lot of larks. And I was very happy that I managed to see the Cyprus Warbler. We spent quite some time with the bird that was sitting in a bush next to the dust track.

The bird was covered with twigs and flowers most of the time and the pictures was not any good. But we managed to get the Cyprus Warbler to come up from the bush and we were satisfied when we left. We decided to follow the dirt track up north to see if we could see any birds.

Cyprus warbler, Sylvia melanothorax

Cyprus warbler, Sylvia melanothorax
Cyprus warbler

There is usually a river running along the dust road, but now it was just a very small, almot dry stream. We saw a lot of birds but not able to get any good pictures. We saw a few birds of prey, especially the Common Kestrel. The common Kestrel is all over the place and I lost count on how many of them we saw during the day.

We reached a dead end and there was a sluice or something. We went out on the bridge to see if we could see any bird life in the water, nothing and we were soon driving back down to the dam again. A very beautiful area, and the smell, it smelled of pastures, grass and flowers. EXCELLENT! But no bird pictures. Well, never mind, I enjoy every second!

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
We follow the dirt track

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
We follow the dirt track

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
We follow the dirt track

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
We follow the dirt track

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
We reach the end of the dirt track

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
We reach the end of the dirt track

We went to check out another place in the stream before we left. The birds usually come here to drink, especially the Golden Finch. My Guide explained that they eat a lot of seeds so they need to drink a lot of water. And there were plenty Golden Finches, but as always, they are very scared. So no pictures, again!

I would really love to get a good pictures of the Golden Finch, I chased the bird on New Zealand, but I never got any very good pictures, and it looks like I will not get any good pictures today. But we were lucky with the European Stonechat, when we left there was one female sitting just next to the road and she was not scared.

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
Bird pool

European stonechat, Saxicola rubicola
Female European stonechat

Bird watching at Germasogeia Dam, Limassol
Mountain top

I had have a gorgeous day on Cyprus thanks’ to Matt at the CYPRUS BIRD WATCHING TOURS - BIRD IS THE WORD www.birdingtourscyprus-bitw.com This is a tour operator that I can recommend if you ever come to Cyprus. Check out his web page and book a tour. I paid 150 € per day. Very cheap:

• Excellent guide
• Guide that identify all the birds for you
• No need to rent a car
• No need to drive the car
• Just to sit down relaxing enjoying the sights


Check out CYPRUS BIRD WATCHING TOURS - BIRD IS THE WORD on You Tube and Flickr

      

CYPRUS BIRD WATCHING TOURS - BIRD IS THE WORD is Highly recommended by Aladdin! So if you ever come to Cyprus, and he is also making trip reports with all the birds we had seen. Well, I only count the birds I have got on photo. Anyway, here is the trip report for the first day. Click HERE for Day 1 Trip Report.


My Guide dropped me at the hotel and as the hotel breakfast isn't much to write home about we decided to start earlier tomorrow and he will be here to pick me up at 07:15.

I spent the afternoon in my room looking at the pictures from today’s birding. I had decided to go to eat at the Limassol Marina, marked as the “tourist area” on the map. I took a taxi and it was about 10 minutes from the hotel. I got out of the taxi and the area was empty. Not any restaurants I wanted to try out, well, after having walked around I passed a place called Rosemary - fast food. But it was, yeah, fast food only and I left again.

Limassol Marina - Tourist area
Limassol Marina - Tourist area - Not much to see here

Limassol Marina - Tourist area
Limassol Marina - Tourist area - Not much to see here

Limassol Marina - Tourist area
Limassol Marina - Tourist area - Not much to see here

Limassol Marina - Tourist area
Limassol Marina - Tourist area - Not much to see here

Limassol Marina - Tourist area
Limassol Marina - Tourist area - Not much to see here

Limassol Marina - Tourist area
Limassol Marina - Tourist area - Not much to see here

I was kind of disappointed walking around the “tourist area” and I was especially disappointed with the Rosemary restaurant. A name like that promise a lot but I was not going to eat any fast food.

I left the marina, crossed the street and I was in an area with many restaurants, most of them closed as it was only 6 o'clock in the evening. Obviously they don't eat until late night here on Cyprus. I was almost giving up when I found a place that was open.

Limassol Marina - Tourist area
Limassol Tourist area

Limassol Marina - Tourist area
I found a restaurant

Limassol Marina - Tourist area
And the food was really good

I went inside and I asked for a pot of tea, salad and lamb chops. I got the biggest plate of salad I had ever seen, full of dill. I had asked for extra dill. Lamb chops and I was really full when I left the place to go look for a taxi. Back in my room and the alarm is set to go off at 05:40 and my Guide will come to pick me up at 07:15. We will go East tomorrow to cover the Laranaca + Agia Napa area. Click HERE to find out if we see any birds.


English subtitles available - Click on settings

English subtitles available - Click on settings



       
                  
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page.
Jiffy (also jiff)

noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.

ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.

So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!

Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas

Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!

Haga usted dice el español? No hay problema! Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!

Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra

Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!

คุณพูดภาษาไทยได้ไหม ไม่มีปัญหา ถ้าคุณต้องการไปหน้าถัดไป ให้กดปุ่ม “Next” ข้างบนนี้

Вы говорите по-русски? Просто нажмите синюю кнопку "Next" с левой стороны и Вы моментально переместитесь на следующую страницу!

E ni Svenskar och inte förstår Engelska så ska ni skämmas. J och Björn, med det menar jag inte att alla mina stavfel ska ältas varje gång vi träffas.

Flag of Skåne / Skånska flaggan Well, the flag of Skåne, just a BONUS flag.


                                       

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