Monday 15 January 2024

Cyprus 2023 - the first bit

Day One

Hard to believe its almost a year ago now but in late March 2023 myself and Nick finally got to Cyprus. The original trip to Cyprus was planned back in 2020 but became a casualty to the pandemic.

On 31st March we took a BA flight from Heathrow and landed in Larnaca around teatime where upon we were whisked at scarily high speeds in a taxi to our hotel in Phaphos. We checked in, I had a brief chat with the hotel cat (every hotel needs one!) and then popped out for dinner.


Day Two

We began the day with a pre-breakfast walk to the Archaeological Site of the Tombs of the Kings which was only a five minute walk from the hotel. All in all it was a bit quiet with just a few Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Common Swifts and assorted Hirundines.


Lesser Whitethroat

After rental car collection and breakfast we set forth for Cape Depranum which was about a thrity minute drive north of our hotel and on the map looked to be a decent sort of headland for staging migrants heading north.

Agios Georgios Church at Cape Drepanum

Resident birds included Chukar (L), Sardinian Warbler and Zitting Cisticola. However, migrants were tricky to find with just a few Northern Wheatears and a single Isabelline Wheatear.

Female Sardinian Warbler with a backdrop of Zitting Cisticola

Sardinian Warbler

Zitting Cisticola

Zitting Cisticola

Isabelline Wheatear

It had been a slow start so we departed Cape Drepanum and drove 15 minutes inland to the Mavrokolympos Dam and Reservoir.

Mavrokolympos Dam and Reservoir

The action picked up a bit here with a trio of lifers in Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear and Cretzschmar's Bunting. All great birds but all tricky photography subjects and only this Cyprus Warbler provided any sort of opportunity for a snap.

Cyprus Warbler

It was getting on towards late afternoon by now and we set off towards a spot called Agia Varvara where there had been recent reports of Little Crake, Collared Flycatcher and Great Spotted Cuckoo. I think over the course of our trip this was to become a firm favourite and we returned many times to this delightful spot. Apart from the above three species we also had Alpine Swift and Woodchat Shrike.

Our last port of call for the day was to Mandria, which is on the coast about 20 minutes south east of Phaphos and was another spot set to feature in the coming days. In a ploughed field we encountered what was undoubtedly the largest gathering of White Wagtails I've ever seen, there were hundreds of them!

White Wagtail

In a quick search of the fields closer to the sea we came across a large flock of Western Yellow Wagtails, again for me probably the largest of flock of Yellow Wagtails I've ever had the pleasure to see anywhere. The flock consisted mostly of Black-headed Wagtails (feldegg) with several other eastern races of Western Yellow Wagtail mixed in.

Then it was back to the hotel and time for dinner.

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