Trip Report: Cyprus, April 12-26, 1995
Mark and Sandra Dennis, Nottingham, England;
Based at self catering apartments at Kato Paphos (east side) we had a very
productive two weeks birding. We spent a lot of time in the south west
corner of the island with occasional trips to the north west coast or
towards Limassol. Without doubt Paphos is the place to be and early mornings
on the headland produced new birds most days.
The electricity supply in Cyprus is exactly the same as our own
(UK), so you won't need an adapter. They never seem to tell you this in the
guidebooks! They also drive on the same side of the road as we do. The
driving is fast but generally quite safe. Main roads are of good quality but
side roads out of town can vary between a single one car wide strip of
tarmac with gravel on each side (for overtaking at full speed!), to tracks
barely distinguishable from the surroundings. However, do not let this put
you off, we navigated all of them in an old Nissan Micra (called a March
over there). Virtually anywhere is passable with care. Often tracks take you
through fields and farmyards. The locals do not seem to mind at all, and all
you are likely to receive is a smile and a wave.
There are all sorts of restaurants in the tourist areas; the Greek Cypriot
tavernas are cheapest and generally very good. A 'Meze' (virtually a sample
of everything on the menu) is almost guaranteed to defeat you. We also
sampled Italian food but there was also Indian and Chinese to choose from.
The supermarkets are quite small but there are usually quite a few
recognisable British brands (e.g. PG Tips tea and Tesco's mushy peas,
surprisingly) so it is possible to eat 'just like home' in self-catering
accommodation (if you really want to). Unusually for Southern Europe, the
Cypriots understand the concept of the kettle! Mosquitoes were not a problem
in the majority of places at this time of the year. The main exception was
Phassouri, where insect repellent was a must when out of the car near the
Early morning visits are a must before it gets busy although birds
did seem to be around all the time. Seawatching was good at times with
sights such as Yellow-legged Gulls catching and eating Quail very memorable.
On the headland is a garden which is worth concentrating on as passerines do
like to hide in it. Generally an early circuit will produce plenty of birds
and remember to carefully check the rocky tideline or you'll walk past
some good birds. It is also worth checking in with the Cyprus birdline and
the blackboard outside the Apollo Hotel (at the start of the Paphos headland
Excellent site, best viewed from the car to avoid disturbing
close birds. The best bit is the first pools area although the wet meadows
further on can be good but water levels vary from year to year. By
driving beyond the pools to a clear left hand track it is possible to reach
the saltings. There are various pools on the right (old gravel pits) with
lots of good looking scrub. By going towards the left at the ruined barn it
is possible to reach a large gravel pit which seemed to be being filled in.
There are then tracks back to the Akrotiri road. Insect repellent is
essential in warm weather. The fruit shop reservoir (opposite a fruit shop
on the Akrotiri road) was empty in 1995 although Serin and Olivaceous
Warbler were found down this track.
Everything was always distant and affected by heat haze so the
earlier you visit the better. It is possible to walk to the edge of the
lake but it does disturb the birds. The raised parking area by the Sylvana
restaurant is a good viewing point for the lake. The track also has some
roadside pools and plenty of cover for migrants. The shop just before this
turn off is good for supplies.
At the end of the rough track to the south of Akrotiri lake it
opens out into a salt flat (after a raised military observation platform).
Driving back towards Limassol, pools appear on the left. The pools nearer
Limassol were best for waders. NB - There was no access to the private
Bishops Pool which is just to the south of Akrotiri salt lake when we were
Larnaca - Kiti Dam
It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Larnaca from Paphos
but it is worth it for a good day out. The Larnaca lake is big, and heat haze
was a problem. There is a track around the western side (crossing arable
fields) which allowed better views.
Good birding all the way along. Scops Owl emerge at dusk
behind the Old County Tavern at Nikoklia, so it's possible to stop by for a
drink and await their appearance. Further up the valley near Kithasi is a
good raptor site. Finsch's Wheatear are said to winter around Nata but had
gone by the time we found out.
Asprokremmos Dam (Aspro Dam)
A very good site found just off the Paphos-Limassol
road about 15Km from Paphos. Check the dam pool first, its a right
turn just before you start to climb up to the dam wall. On the dam wall
examine the margins carefully, birds tend to hide here. To check the
northern shallower end of the res, take the road to Timi and go on straight
through Anarita onto the Nata road. Look for a water tank on the left, then
take the right hand track to the river. It is possible then to turn left to
look for Bonelli's Eagle or right to check the shallows, both worth doing.
On the main Paphos to Polis road turn right to Simou. After
1.5Km the road bends right on a hill with a track to the left. Follow this
track to the reservoir. It is worth checking the margins of the shallow end
from the track before you actually get there.
Coral Bay - Ayios Yeoryios
Good birding all the way. The whole area west
of Coral Bay is criss-crossed with tracks through plantations which were
teeming with birds when we were there. The Ayios Yeoryrios headland was busy
at times but is probably just as good as Paphos with coverage.
We also visited several other smaller sites including a fun-filled treck
onto the Akamas Peninsula and back to Paphos via the excellent (smelly)
goat fields at the Aphrodite's Bath.
- Little Grebe: 2-3 Phassouri. 10, Kiti Dam 25/4.
- Black-necked Grebe: 1, Kiti Dam 25/4.
- Cory's Shearwater: 2, off Paphos, 15/4.
- Cormorant: 20 west, Paphos, 12/4. 1, Paphos, 14/4.
- Shag: Seen Kensington Cliffs to Aphrodite's Rock.
- Little Bittern: Male and female, Kiti Dam Pool, 25/4.
- Night Heron: Imm, Aspro Dam Pool 15/4. 4 west, Cape Drepanum, 16/4. Diff
Imm, Aspro Dam Pool, 22/4. 5 West, Coral Bay, 23/4. 5 West, Paphos Head,
26/4. 6 West, Paphos, 26/4.
- Squacco Heron: 3-4, Phassouri most trips. 1, Paphos Head, 22/4. 6, Paphos
Head, 24/4. 1, Aspro Dam Wall, 24/4. 1, Kiti Dam Pool, 25/4. 4, Paphos Head
- Cattle Egret: 1-2 Phassouri each trip. 5, 26/5 Paphos.
- Little Egret: Seen in small numbers at all wetlands. Passage: 29 west,
Paphos Head, 17/4.
- Great White Egret: 5 west, Paphos Head, 22/4.
- Grey Heron: Seen at most wetland sites with occasional small flocks going
west over Paphos Head.
- Purple Heron: Seen at all wetland sites. Passage: 19 west, Paphos 12/4. 5
west, Paphos, 15/4. 20 west, Cape Drepanum, 16/4. 17 west, Paphos, 23/4. 6
west, Paphos, 24/4.
- Glossy Ibis: 70+, Phassouri, 14/4, up to 10 on all other visits. 66 (3
flocks) west, Paphos Head, 16/4. 115 (6 flocks) west, Paphos Head, 17/4. 2,
Aspro Dam Wall, 20/4. 20+, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
- Spoonbill: 1, Phassouri, 14/4. 17 west, Paphos Head, 17/4. 5 west, Paphos,
- Greater Flamingo: Present Akrotiri and Larnaca.
- Teal: Male and female, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
- Mallard: Seen Phassouri and Evretou Dam.
- Garganey: Seen Phassouri, Evretou Dam, Kiti Dam, Aspro Dam Pool.
- Pochard: 3, Akrotiri salt lake, 14/4.
- Black Kite: 1, Paphos, 13/4. 1, Phassouri, 14/4.
- Griffon Vulture: 5, Aphrodite's Rock area. 3 Kensington Cliffs, 2/3 near
Nata, singles Evretou Dam and Dhiarizos valley.
- Marsh Harrier: Present Phassouri. Male and female, Coral Bay, 13/4. female,
Evretou Dam, 19/4. 2 females, Ayios Yeoryios, 22/4. Male and female, Coral
Bay, 23/4. Female, Aspro Dam, 25/4. 2 females, Paphos, 26/4.
- Hen Harrier: Female, Dhiarizos valley near Stavrokono, 20/4.
- Pallid Harrier: Male, Coral Bay, 13/4. Female, Ayios Yeoryios, 23/4.
- Montagu's Harrier: Male, Coral Bay, 13/4. Ringtail, Paphos, 13/4. Male,
Evretou Dam, 19/4.
- Goshawk: Female, Near Coral Bay, 13/4.
- Common Buzzard: 1, Neokhorio, 16/4.
- Long-legged Buzzard: 1, Kithasi, 21/4. 1, Kithasi, 22/4. Pair, Dhiarizos
- Kestrel: Common.
- Red-footed Falcon: Male and female, Paphos, 26/4.
- Eleonora's Falcon: 2, Curium Beach, 20/4. 7-9, Kensington Cliffs, 25/4.
- Peregrine: Female, Kouris Dam, 20/4.
- Chukar: Common.
- Black Francolin: Common, seen everywhere, don't bother with the Airport
- Quail: All in off sea on Paphos Head, 9, 22/4; 8, 23/4; 2, 24/4; 5, 25/4; 1,
26/4. One was caught at sea by a Y.L. Gull and eaten.
- Water Rail: 1, Aspro Dam pool, 24/4.
- Little Crake: Female, Evretou Dam (shallows), 16/4. Male, Evretou Dam
(shallows), 19/4. Male, Aspro Dam Pool, 22/4. 1st year male, Aspro Dam Wall,
24/4. Male, Kiti Dam pool, 25/4.
- Baillon's Crake: Male, Aspro Dam Pool, 15/4, 18/4, 24/4.
- Moorhen: Present Aspro Dam pool, Evretou Dam, Phassouri, Kouris Dam, 30+,
Kiti Dam, 25/4.
- Coot: Same sites as Moorhen Except Kouris Dam. 25, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
- Black-winged Stilt: 4, Aspro Dam (shallows), 15/4. 3, Evretou Dam
(shallows), 16/4 & 19/4, single there 24/4. 3, Aspro Dam Wall, 21/4. 19
east, Paphos, 23/4. 8, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4. 22, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
- Avocet: 3, Spiro's Pool, 25/4.
- Stone Curlew: 4 regular on Paphos Head. 1, Coral Bay, 23/4. 2 Aphrodite's
- Collared Pratincole: 2, Phassouri, 17/4. 1, Paphos, 18/4. 1, Paphos, 26/4.
- Little Ringed Plover: 1, Evretou Dam (shallows), 16/4. 5, Akrotiri, 17/4.
20, Akrotiri, 20/4. 20, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4.
- Kentish Plover: Present Phassouri and Akrotiri. 40, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4.
- Spur-winged Plover: 1, Phassouri, 14/4. 1, Paphos Head, 16/4. 2, Phassouri,
17/4 & 20/4. 3, kiti Dam, 25/4. 1, Paphos, 26/4.
- Sanderling: 20, Akrotiri salt lake, 17/4.
- Little Stint: Present at Akrotiri, Phassouri, Paphos, Aspro Dam, Evretou.
150, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4. 12, kiti Dam, 25/4.
- Curlew Sandpiper: 1, Kiti Dam, 25/4. 1, Aspro Dam Wall, 25/4.
- Ruff: Common on wetlands.
- Snipe: Seen Evretou, Phassouri, Aspro Dam Pool.
- Great Snipe: 2, Phassouri, 14/4. 1, Aspro Dam pool, 15/4.
- Black-tailed Godwit: 1, Phassouri, 17/4. 5, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
- Redshank: 1, Aspro Dam Wall, 15/4.
- Marsh Sandpiper: 5-7, Phassouri 14/4 with 3-5 on all other visits. 2, Aspro
Dam Wall, 15/4. 2, Evretou Dam (shallows), 16/4. 2, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
- Greenshank: Seen Phassouri, Evretou, Akrotiri, Larnaca salt lake, Kiti Dam.
- Green Sandpiper: 1-2 seen at wetlands sites.
- Wood Sandpiper: Fairly common at wetland sites.
- Common Sandpiper: as above but also several on Paphos Head most days.
- Turnstone: 1, Paphos Head, 23-26/4.
- Black-headed Gull: 3-5, Phassouri all visits. Passage all off Paphos Head,
29 west, 22/4. 20 west, 23/4. 25 west, 24/4. 46 west, 25/4.
- Slender-billed Gull: Birds moving west off Paphos Head, 4, 15/4. 4, 23/4. 5,
24/4. 2, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4.
- Audouin's Gull: All west off Paphos Head and all 2nd w/s birds, 1, 15/4. 2,
22/4. 1, 23/4. 1, 24/4. 2, 25/4.
- Lesser Black-backed Gull: 4-5 past Paphos Head most days.
- Yellow-legged Gull: Common.
- Caspian Tern: 1, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4.
- Sandwich Tern: 1, Paphos Head, 17/4.
- Common Tern: 1, Evretou Dam, 19/4.
- White-winged Black Tern: 5, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4.
- Rock Dove: seen Kensington.
- Woodpigeon: Surprisingly fairly common.
- Collared Dove: Present.
- Turtle Dove: Mainly singles but 60+ near Kouklia, 22/4.
- Great-spotted Cuckoo: Common, seen at all inland sites.
- Cuckoo: Singles at several sites.
- Scops Owl: Heard Baths of Aphrodite. Seen in the Dhiarizos Valley (2 birds).
- Little Owl: Regular on Aspro Dam Wall. 1, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
- Swift: Present in smallish numbers.
- Pallid Swift: 2, Paphos 13/4.
- Alpine Swift: Present Aspro Dam, Kensington Cliffs to Aphrodite's Rock.
Maximum 20, Aphrodite's Rock, 25/4.
- Kingfisher: Regular at Aspro Dam Pool. Frequent along coasts.
- Pied Kingfisher: 1, Aspro Dam Wall, 24/4.
- Blue-cheeked Bee-eater: 5, Phassouri, 14/4.
- Bee-eater: Heard Paphos, 13/4. 1, Phassouri, 17/4. 1, Paphos, 18/4.
- Roller: Fairly common inland c25 seen in total.
- Hoopoe: Not very common. c 10 seen in total.
- Wryneck: 1-3, Paphos head, several dates.
- Bimaculated Lark: 2, Paphos Head, 17/4.
- Short-toed Lark: Several flocks of up to 40 birds seen at most coastal
- Crested Lark: Very common.
- Woodlark: 1, Aspro Dam Pool 15/4. 1, Troodos, 21/4.
- Sand Martin: Common.
- Crag Martin: 1, Paphos Head, 23/4.
- Swallow: Common. c10,000 west in one hour, Ayios Yeoryios, 22/4.
- Red-rumped Swallow: Common.
- House Martin: Common.
- Tawny Pipit: 4-10 regularly seen on Paphos Head. also seen at several other
- Tree Pipit: Common until 24/4.
- Meadow Pipit: 2, Paphos Head, 13/4.
- Red-throated Pipit: 1-5 on Paphos most days. 10, Coral Bay, 13/4. 3-5,
Evretou 19/4. 10, Aspro Dam Wall, 24/4. 10-12, Paphos (football ground near
Yeroskipos beach), 23/4.
- Yellow Wagtail: Common - Black-headed through to blue-headed.
- White Wagtail: Present in small numbers.
- Wren: Seen Troodos only.
- Thrush Nightingale: singing bird, Paphos Head, 17/4.
- Nightingale: Common.
- Redstart: Several seen at coastal sites and Neokhorio.
- Whinchat: 2-10 at most coastal sites.
- Stonechat: Male, Phassouri, 14/4.
- Northern Wheatear: Common.
- Cyprus Pied Wheatear: Very Common.
- Black-eared Wheatear: 1-3 seen daily. c15, Paphos Head, 14/4.
- Hooded Wheatear: Female (poss 1stw/s), Ayios Yeoryios, 22/4.
- Cetti's Warbler: Common.
- Fan-tailed Warbler: Common.
- Sedge Warbler: Fairly common.
- Reed Warbler: Fairly common.
- Great Reed Warbler: Seen or heard, Phassouri, Evretou Dam, Aspro Dam, Paphos
- Olivaceous Warbler: Common in the dry river valleys after 20/4.
- Spectacled Warbler: Seen Paphos Head, Aspro Dam Pool and Wall, Evretou Dam
- Subalpine Warbler: Male and female in field on Paphos Head throughout. Pair
regular at Aspro Dam Pool.
- Sardinian Warbler: Common and breeding around the Baths of Aphrodite.
- Cyprus Warbler: Common.
- Ruppell's Warbler: Singing male near Kedares, 21/4.
- Barred Warbler: Male, Evretou Dam (shallows), 19/4.
- Lesser Whitethroat: Common.
- Whitethroat: Fairly common.
- Blackcap: Common.
- Wood Warbler: Seen at most sites with 1-20 present.
- Willow Warbler: 3, Paphos Head, 19/4. 1, Paphos Head, 26/4.
- Goldcrest: Singing male, Kedares, 21/4.
- Spotted Flycatcher: 1-3 at coastal sites from 23/4.
- Collared Flycatcher: Male, Neokhorio, 16/4 and 19/4. Male, Paphos Head,
- Pied Flycatcher: Common.
- Great Tit: Common.
- Short-toed Treecreeper: Common in Troodos.
- Golden Oriole: 2-3 males, Evretou Dam track, 19/4. 1, Evretou Dam track,
24/4. Male, Fasli, 24/4.
- Red-backed Shrike: Male, Coral Bay, 13/4. Male and female, Kouklia, 22/4.
Male, Ayios Yeoryios, 22/4. 2 males, Coral Bay, 22/4. Male, Paphos Head,
23/4. Male, Yeroskipos, 23/4. 7 males, Coral Bay, 23/4.
- Lesser Grey Shrike: Male, Coral Bay, 23/4.
- Woodchat Shrike: Common.
- Masked Shrike: Male, Aspro Dam (shallows), 15/4. Neokhorio, 19/4. Male,
Evretou Dam track, 24/4.
- Jay: Heard Neokhorio, 19/4.
- Magpie: Common.
- Jackdaw: Common.
- Hooded Crow: Common.
- Starling: 1, Paphos Head, 19/4.
- House Sparrow: Common.
- Spanish Sparrow: Fairly common. c200, Nr Kouklia, 22/4.
- Chaffinch: Female, Paphos, 13/4. Common in Troodos.
- Serin: Present Phassouri with odd singles elsewhere. Commoner in Troodos.
- Greenfinch: Common.
- Goldfinch: Common
- Crossbill: Heard Troodos 21/4.
- Ortolan: Fairly common. 70+, Cape Drepanum, 16/4.
- Cretzchmars Bunting: 2-3, Aspro Dam Pool, 15/4. 3, Cape Drepanum, 16/4.
- Black-headed Bunting: Male, Coral Bay, 22/4. 3 males, Coral Bay, 23/4. Male,
Evretou Dam track, 24/4.
- Corn Bunting: Common
- Small White
- Painted Lady
- Eastern Festoon
- Large White
- Clouded Yellow
Also seen - Agama lizzard.
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