Cyprus is located on one of the main migratory routes from Africa to Northern Europe and Asia and is host to more than 300 different bird species. The phenomenon is more accentuated during autumn and spring in the winter and landfall of the huge flocks of flamingos makes a unique spectacle.
Cyprus, lies at the east end of the Mediterranean and at a cross-roads for migration, as birds move between Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia. The island can boast two endemic species - the Cyprus Warbler and the Cyprus Pied Wheatear - both of which will be seen during the tour. We shall be in Cyprus during the peak Spring migration. Much of the tour will be spent searching the headlands, mountains, wetlands and cultivated areas for passing birds of prey, waters and passerines.
Suitable weather conditions can produce large falls of birds, and each day brings another wave of bird life - some days hundreds of heaters, other days perhaps pipits, larks, flycatchers or wagtails. The volume and diversity of the migration are impressive enough, but there is always the chance of discovering rare visitors and vagrants. Over the past few years we have recorded Sacker, Pygmy Cormorant, Long-legged Buzzard, White-tailed Plover Great Black-headed Gull, Pied Kingfisher and Mourning Wheatear (a first record for Cyprus).
excellent bird watching, enjoyment of the tour is enhanced
by the varied scenery, colorful plants and butterflies,
the rich archaeological heritage of the Roman and
Byzantine periods, the generally warm and relaxing
weather and the welcoming hospitality of the Greek
Cypriots. On most days, lunch is taken in local taverns,
allowing a further chance to explore the delights of
The rest of the day
will be spent bird watching around the salt lakes.
Certainly we will see more waders, as well as Greater
Flamingos and Slender-billed Gulls, but who knows what
else besides? Previously we have seen Cream-colored
Courser and Collared Pratincole. The scrub and wooded
areas close to the Tekke mosque often hold good numbers
of migrating warblers and flycatchers. Dinner and
overnight Hotel, Larnaca.
The morning will be spent checking out the impressive rocky outcrops and scrubland for migrants. Overhead the skies need constant surveillance for raptors and herons on the move. We should also see our first Cyprus Pied Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler, as well as Spectacled Warbler, Chukar and Woodchat Shrike. In the afternoon, after a lunch stop in Paralimni, we will make a circular tour which at one stage runs along the border of the Turkish Occupied Zone.
Stops at different
habitats - field, wetland and lake should provide plenty
of opportunities to extend our familiarity with some of
the more common birds, but we will need to be on the
look-out for migrants on the move, be it Pallid Harrier,
Great White Egret or Red-rumpled Swallow. Dinner and
overnight Hotel, Larnaca.
Raptors seen here can include Peregrine and Bonelli's Eagle, whilst other interesting species observed last year were Spotted Crack and Blue Rock Thrush. After a lunch stop at Curium, we will drive to the impressive cliffs near Episkopi for Griffon Vulture, Alpine Swift and Crag Martin. Alas, it may well be too early in the year for the migrant Eleonora's Falcons which breed here.
Our last call of
the day will be at Phasouri, a superb wetland where we
may expect to see several species of heron (Grey, Purple,
Night and Squacco), Little Egret, Garganey and a range of
wades which may include Spur-winged Plover and Collared
Pratincole. If water-levels allow a close approach to the
reedbeds, we should be able to add several species of
Acrocephalus warblers to the tour list, as well as Little
Bittern and Penduline Tit. Dinner and overnight at the
Lower down, we will
take a walk through the pinewoods in search of some
montane species, particularly the local races of Coal
Tit, Jay, Short-toed Treecreeper, Wood Lark and
Crossbill. We may also expect to encounter a variety of
finches, including Serin, Siskin and Hawfinch. The
steeper, rocky slopes hereabouts are home to Griffon
Vulture, Bonelli's Eagle, Raven, Crag Martin and Pallid
Swift. During our outward and return journeys through
cultivated areas, we will check regularly for harriers,
cuckoos and shrikes. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel,
The marginal mudflats attract large numbers of waders, including Marsh Sandpiper and Ruff, Little and Temminck's Stint, Little Ringed and Kentish Plover. The plant succession encountered as we move further away from the Lake edge may be expected to hold warblers, wheatears and wagtails, whilst the cultivated areas of the outer perimeter attract larks.
Time permitting, we
will revisit the Phasouri wetland before moving on to
Pissouri Beach for lunch and a chance to scan the
offshore waters for passing gulls, terns and shearwaters.
Days 8 &
On the two previous tours the group has found Bimaculated Lark here. Overflying migrant flocks are likely to include Little and Great White Egret, Purple Heron, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis and Common Crane. In between these exciting forays from the hotel, we will make a major excursion each day. One of these will be to the breathtaking Chrysochou Bay on the north coast. The olive grove near the Baths of Aphrodite is yet another migrant magnet. Previously, a two-hour session here has produced Pied, Collared and Semi-collared Flycatchers, Subalpine and Spectacled Warblers, to name just some of the highlights. This is also a good area for Masked and Woodchat Shrikes. On the return, we stop at Evretou Dam for more duck species and hopefully Black-necked Grebe.
excursion will take in Asprokremmos Dam, the Diarizos
Valley and the coastal plain near Paphos Airport. We
shall be on the look-out for harriers (Marsh, Montagu's
and Pallid), Bonelli's Eagle, Griffon Vulture,
Stone-curlew and Calandra Lark. Perhaps we might even
spot a long-staying Finsch's Wheatear. Dinner and
overnight at the Hotel, Paphos.
Quotations according your needs by our special interest team .
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