12 - 26 April 1995
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 grazing fields.
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 road).
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 there.
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.
2-3 Phassouri. 10, Kiti Dam 25/4.
1, Kiti Dam 25/4.
2, off Paphos, 15/4.
20 west, Paphos, 12/4. 1, Paphos, 14/4.
Seen Kensington Cliffs to Aphrodite's Rock.
Male and female, Kiti Dam Pool, 25/4.
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.
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 26/4.
1-2 Phassouri each trip. 5, 26/5 Paphos.
Seen in small numbers at all wetlands. Passage: 29 west, Paphos Head, 17/4.
Great White Egret
5 west, Paphos Head, 22/4.
Seen at most wetland sites with occasional small flocks going west over Paphos Head.
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.
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.
1, Phassouri, 14/4. 17 west, Paphos Head, 17/4. 5 west, Paphos, 21/4.
Present Akrotiri and Larnaca.
Male and female, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
Seen Phassouri and Evretou Dam.
Seen Phassouri, Evretou Dam, Kiti Dam, Aspro Dam Pool.
3, Akrotiri salt lake, 14/4.
1, Paphos, 13/4. 1, Phassouri, 14/4.
5, Aphrodite's Rock area. 3 Kensington Cliffs, 2/3 near Nata, singles Evretou Dam and Dhiarizos valley.
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.
Female, Dhiarizos valley near Stavrokono, 20/4.
Male, Coral Bay, 13/4. Female, Ayios Yeoryios, 23/4.
Male, Coral Bay, 13/4. Ringtail, Paphos, 13/4. Male, Evretou Dam, 19/4.
Female, Near Coral Bay, 13/4.
1, Neokhorio, 16/4.
1, Kithasi, 21/4. 1, Kithasi, 22/4. Pair, Dhiarizos valley, 21/4.
Male and female, Paphos, 26/4.
2, Curium Beach, 20/4. 7-9, Kensington Cliffs, 25/4.
Female, Kouris Dam, 20/4.
Common, seen everywhere, don't bother with the Airport site.
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.
1, Aspro Dam pool, 24/4.
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.
Male, Aspro Dam Pool, 15/4, 18/4, 24/4.
Present Aspro Dam pool, Evretou Dam, Phassouri, Kouris Dam, 30+, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
Same sites as Moorhen Except Kouris Dam. 25, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
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.
3, Spiro's Pool, 25/4.
4 regular on Paphos Head. 1, Coral Bay, 23/4. 2 Aphrodite's Rock, 25/4.
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.
Present Phassouri and Akrotiri. 40, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4.
1, Phassouri, 14/4. 1, Paphos Head, 16/4. 2, Phassouri, 17/4 & 20/4. 3, kiti Dam, 25/4. 1, Paphos, 26/4.
20, Akrotiri salt lake, 17/4.
Present at Akrotiri, Phassouri, Paphos, Aspro Dam, Evretou. 150, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4. 12, kiti Dam, 25/4.
1, Kiti Dam, 25/4. 1, Aspro Dam Wall, 25/4.
Common on wetlands.
Seen Evretou, Phassouri, Aspro Dam Pool.
2, Phassouri, 14/4. 1, Aspro Dam pool, 15/4.
1, Phassouri, 17/4. 5, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
1, Aspro Dam Wall, 15/4.
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.
Seen Phassouri, Evretou, Akrotiri, Larnaca salt lake, Kiti Dam.
1-2 seen at wetlands sites.
Fairly common at wetland sites.
As above but also several on Paphos Head most days.
1, Paphos Head, 23-26/4.
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.
Birds moving west off Paphos Head, 4, 15/4. 4, 23/4. 5, 24/4. 2, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4.
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.
1, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4.
1, Paphos Head, 17/4.
1, Evretou Dam, 19/4.
White-winged Black Tern
5, Larnaca salt lake, 25/4.
Surprisingly fairly common.
Mainly singles but 60+ near Kouklia, 22/4.
Common, seen at all inland sites.
Singles at several sites.
Heard Baths of Aphrodite. Seen in the Dhiarizos Valley (2 birds).
Regular on Aspro Dam Wall. 1, Kiti Dam, 25/4.
Present in smallish numbers.
2, Paphos 13/4.
Present Aspro Dam, Kensington Cliffs to Aphrodite's Rock. Maximum 20, Aphrodite's Rock, 25/4.
Regular at Aspro Dam Pool. Frequent along coasts.
1, Aspro Dam Wall, 24/4.
5, Phassouri, 14/4.
Heard Paphos, 13/4. 1, Phassouri, 17/4. 1, Paphos, 18/4.
Fairly common inland c25 seen in total.
Not very common. c 10 seen in total.
1-3, Paphos head, several dates.
2, Paphos Head, 17/4.
Several flocks of up to 40 birds seen at most coastal sites.
1, Aspro Dam Pool 15/4. 1, Troodos, 21/4.
1, Paphos Head, 23/4.
Common. c10,000 west in one hour, Ayios Yeoryios, 22/4.
4-10 regularly seen on Paphos Head. also seen at several other sites.
Common until 24/4.
2, Paphos Head, 13/4.
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.
Common - Black-headed through to blue-headed.
Present in small numbers.
Seen Troodos only.
Singing bird, Paphos Head, 17/4.
Several seen at coastal sites and Neokhorio.
2-10 at most coastal sites.
Male, Phassouri, 14/4.
Cyprus Pied Wheatear
1-3 seen daily. c15, Paphos Head, 14/4.
Female (poss 1stw/s), Ayios Yeoryios, 22/4.
Great Reed Warbler
Seen or heard, Phassouri, Evretou Dam, Aspro Dam, Paphos Head.
Common in the dry river valleys after 20/4.
Seen Paphos Head, Aspro Dam Pool and Wall, Evretou Dam (shallows).
Male and female in field on Paphos Head throughout. Pair regular at Aspro Dam Pool.
Common and breeding around the Baths of Aphrodite.
Singing male near Kedares, 21/4.
Male, Evretou Dam (shallows), 19/4.
Seen at most sites with 1-20 present.
3, Paphos Head, 19/4. 1, Paphos Head, 26/4.
Singing male, Kedares, 21/4.
1-3 at coastal sites from 23/4.
Male, Neokhorio, 16/4 and 19/4. Male, Paphos Head, 19/4.
Common in Troodos.
2-3 males, Evretou Dam track, 19/4. 1, Evretou Dam track, 24/4. Male, Fasli, 24/4.
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.
Male, Aspro Dam (shallows), 15/4. Neokhorio, 19/4. Male, Evretou Dam track, 24/4.
Heard Neokhorio, 19/4.
1, Paphos Head, 19/4.
Fairly common. c200, Nr Kouklia, 22/4.
Female, Paphos, 13/4. Common in Troodos.
Present Phassouri with odd singles elsewhere. Commoner in Troodos.
Heard Troodos 21/4.
Fairly common. 70+, Cape Drepanum, 16/4.
2-3, Aspro Dam Pool, 15/4. 3, Cape Drepanum, 16/4.
Male, Coral Bay, 22/4. 3 males, Coral Bay, 23/4. Male, Evretou Dam track, 24/4.
Also seen - Agama lizzard.
Mark and Sandra Dennis
Anyone interested in receiving more detailed information on the birds or logistics of this trip should email me at email@example.com