Tuesday 28 September 2010

N. Cyprus – Karpas – 9th & 10th September 2010

One of the key attractions to visiting N. Cyprus as a birder is the large expanse of unspoilt, largely unpopulated, scrub on the east called the Karpas. This area points out to the north east corner of the Mediterranean as a large spit of land and as such is obviously very attractive, as a stop over point, for birds migrating in spring and autumn to and from Eastern Europe.

We decided on this visit that whilst the area can be reached in a day from Kyrenia, it would be highly advantageous to base ourselves very close the night before and hit the ground at sun rise. So we took a room for the night in a costal hotel near Yeni Erenkoy.

Our plans did not disappoint; on the trip across we had seen many Lesser Grey Shrikes, Thekla Larks, three inbound Common Buzzards and an echelon of Purple Herons.

On our morning on the Karpas, (we reached the Cape at about 7 O’clock) we saw Black Francolin, Roller, Chuka, Whinchat Northern Wheatear, Cyprus Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Masked Shrike, Bee Eater and several “Phylloscopus” warblers, mainly Willows, but a fairly positive sighting of Wood.

Driving back there were several “over fly’s”, namely Sparrowhawk, Hen Harrier & Little Egrets. The roads may be unmade and the temperatures get unbearably hot, but this area is a must if you bird this island.

Life bird count: 397 Year bird count: 240 Month bird count: 70

Photo: Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina); Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)

Sunday 26 September 2010

Suffolk – Bawdsey (East Lane) - 25th September 2010

I'm afraid I'm going to ask you to excuse the brief diversion from my sequence  of reports on our N. Cyprus trip, but this weekend we did a run out to see and hopefully photograph the recently reported Red-necked Grebe at Bawdsey. 

I have to say this was totally successful and well worth the early start to get the light and be the only folk there.  As you can see the bird is a juvenile and clearly displaying its markings.  Also on the pits were Garganey, Redshank, Tufted Duck & Wigeon. 

Further down the road to towards the Deben estuary we saw our first Redwing of the autum.

Life bird count: 396   Year bird count: 247  Month bird count: 105 

Photo: Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena)

Thursday 23 September 2010

N. Cyprus – Acapulco Reservoir - 8th September 2010

Cyprus is a notoriously dry country in summer and reservoirs can run very low. In my experience this means that where these areas of water in another country would be sure places to see birds, the erratic nature of the habitat year to year means they are equally unpredictable for birding and even when there is some water, birds will not naturally appear. We found Acapulco to still contain a lot of water and on it were quite a few Little Grebes, a Black-necked Grebe, Mallard, Moorhen & Coot. In the margins there was a pair of Grey Herons, Kingfishers and at least one Black-winged Stilt.
Surrounding the reservoir there is a lot of scrub, which we found good for Cyprus Wheatear, Red-backed Shrike, Goldfinches, over ten Turtle Doves and a Cyprus Warbler. Also of note, were several Dragonflies a common feature of this trip which made for some good photographic opportunities. From here we headed up into the mountains, which were very productive for Chuka, Blue Rock Thrush, more Cyprus Wheatears & Spotted Flycatcher, not to mention the excellent Buffavento restaurant where we indulged in a lunch time half meze, totally awesome and recommended!
Life bird count: 396 Year bird count: 233 Month bird count: 48
Photo: Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio); Violet Dragonfly (Trithemis annulata)

Tuesday 21 September 2010

N. Cyprus – Cape Kormakitis 7th September 2010

With the time difference waking us up quite early and our Hotel balcony giving us a view over an expanse of scrub (“bondo”) it was easy to sit out with a pair of bins and see what turned up with the sun. House Sparrows feeding in a freshly dug trench, a Willow Warbler picking at caterpillars in the olive tree tops, an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler “tecking” away, a lot lower near the scrub line, Hooded Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies & Red-rumped Swallows flying through. A great start to the day. Having sorted the car out, put all the gear together, taken breakfast and done a little shopping we decided to take a run out to the far west tip to Cape Kormakitis. It would be an en route look see, with the only specific place to look out for being the small watering hole at Livera. We saw Hoopoe, Turtle Dove, countless Rock Doves, a large flock of Herons out at sea, a distant Harrier (too far way to identify further) and a single Black-eared Wheatear. As for the water hole… nothing! We returned in the early afternoon, stopping at a shore line restaurant for a plate of sheftalia.
Life bird count: 396 Year bird count: 226 Month bird count: 32
Photo: Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

Saturday 18 September 2010

N. Cyprus – Late Summer 6th to 16th September 2010

We’ve been away for our "summers" and this time we chose to return to Northern Cyprus.

With some insight as to where to go and what to expect from our last trip, we found that Steve Cale had documented his recent annual visits in a book, so after speaking to him and obtaining a copy we felt well prepared.

So once again I ask you to stay tuned whilst I sort the photographs, read through the log that my partner patiently keeps for us every day and I’ll write about what we saw over the next few entries.

Life bird count: 396 Year bird count: 224 Month bird count: 19

Photo: Agama Lizard (Agama…)

Thursday 2 September 2010

Suffolk – Bawdsey (East Lane) – 29th August 2010

There was a bit of a blow on this weekend, always good for bringing in the odd migrant and a few had been reported on the north Norfolk coast. Would the bushes at this spot on the Suffolk coast be productive? Well on arrival there must have been over a hundred Swallow (mixed with a few House Martins and Sand Martins) taking a feed and rest stop on their way back down. On the pits there were four Garganey, all in eclipse and feeding up, plus quite few Little Grebes which I suspect had bred here this year. Looking out to sea there was a distant Gannet, a few Sandwich Terns going through and a single Little Gull. Oh and a gathering of Scoter, hard to sea in the waves. As for the bushes, nothing going I’m afraid.

Life bird count: 396 Year bird count: 224 Month bird count: 85
Photo: Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)