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Friday, 29 May 2015

More from Sunny Cyprus.

 The birds below were mainly seen in the Anarita park area of Cyprus,roughly a half hour car journey from Paphos.It really does attract a varied species of migrant, along with the breeding local birds.To be quite honest,it is one of my favourite places to visit when out with the camera,you just don't know what is going to drop by next.
 3 greater spotted cuckoos were in attendance,their raucous calls giving them away on every visit.Positioning the car/hide and keeping still and quiet,they would gradually come within range for a shot or two!
 Magpies are targeted by the cuckoos to bring up their offspring,a pair were nest building not too far away!

 I came across this individual perched up nicely by the roadside!
 A long legged buzzard was constantly seen around the park,,most days he could be found soaring the thermals or perched up at distance!
 A brilliant bird to watch and study against the constant blue skies!
 Little Owl was another local breeder.This one posed nicely for me only metres away!
 Quite a common bird seen frequently when out and about on my travels.

 Lesser Kestrel were present in good numbers too, hawking the insects.Along with the red footed falcons they put on a great spectacle!
A lone marsh harrier appeared occasionally to compliment the array of raptors that graced the skies above Anarita!

So that nearly concludes my weeks birding holiday to sunny Cyprus,I,ll post my final blog shortly with more species that were seen on my trip.Great of you to drop in and take the time to read my blog and stay well!

Sunday, 17 May 2015


During my recent trip to Cyprus,many species of birds were encountered,non more so than the vast numbers of waders that drop onto the island to feed up and rest, on their migratory journey to the far north.

Greenshank,redshank,ruff,common,spotted and marsh sandpipers,ringed plovers to name but a few,all these were seen in good numbers on the various pools.I don,t have any favourite wader really, as they are all unique in their own way.

Below, I've put together a few of the cast for you to hopefully enjoy...I certainly enjoyed being in their company and duly wish them a safe journey to their breeding grounds!!
            The Ruff found here at Phassouri was taking a well earned rest in the early morning sunlight!
                       Spotted Sandpiper,these are being reported in the UK at this moment in time!
 A nice reflection of the Ruff on the pool.This small pool held 100/200 waders,but its waters were drastically reducing in the searing heat!

                                                                         Again.... Ruff!
 Now this was a wader that I;d never seen in summer plumage.Many times I've observed these on our local reserves but always in winter plumage,what a treat! Spotted Redshank.
                             Such a dramatic transformation,a stunner don't you think!
       These were found,whilst in the company of Albert Stoecker at Akrotiri salt marsh/Lady's mile!
                                             3 birds in total,and they allowed good views!
     Well I did say that I didn't have a favourite wader,but these may change my mind!
 A lot bigger than the common redshank,having longer legs,a slightly down turned bill,but unmistakable in their summer plumage!
A cracking bird to end the blog with.Thanks for dropping by and take care!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

A morning in the reed beds (Phassouri)

The alarm clock was set for 4.00am, as Albert was picking me up at 5.00 from the hotel.I have to give myself plenty of time to make flasks,prepare cold drinks and go through the photography gear,making sure that everything was in order.To my dismay I'd realised that I'd left my compact flash memory cards, about 40 gigs worth, whilst swapping hand luggage bags at home.Ah well nothing that I could do about it now.I probably had 16 gig with me which would last only a couple of days!

Albert duly arrived and I told him my mishap with the cards.He told me not to worry and duly presented me with 34 gigs of memory,telling me to post them on when I get home.Panic over and we were on our way, in the direction of Limassol,which was about an hour an a quarters drive!

Phassouri is a wetland area with a good few acres of reed beds,unfortunately the reeds are taking over at a considerable speed and the small pools are being overgrown!Albert told me that they still hold good numbers of waders,herons,egrets and warblers,so hopes were high for some close encounters.Arriving at first light we were the only people there,just as I like it!!I hope you enjoy the birds of Phassouri and I will again post a few more images from this wetland,so thanks for dropping in again and taking the time to view the blog!!!
Little Bittern.I knew they inhabited the reed bed,but to get a good clear shot was a bonus!

Nothing like the Bittern that we have here in the uk,a lot smaller!
Little Crake,this male was prowling the edge of the reed bed looking for a meal.

And so was this female.

Little crake,caught in glorious light.

Usually heard and not seen!Again being there at first light paid off!

The car was the hide again,as on foot, you wouldn't have been able to get anywhere near him!

Picking his way through the vegitation!

This was one of the only small pools left at phassouri and was a magnet for the birds!

Female Little Crake on the prowl!

The Cattle Egret posed nicely too!
The Little Bittern again!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Red Footed Falcons Anarita!

In Cyprus,the last week in April usually coincides with the arrival of good numbers of Red footed falcons.These stop off for a few days rest, to recharge their batteries and to capitalise on the abundant insects and small lizards that abound!

I'd timed my visit to perfection, as up to 50+ of these graceful little falcons were present around Anarita park and were affording some spectacular aerial displays,in amongst them were a few Lesser Kestrel too!

There was a stiff easterly breeze blowing, which the falcons utilised to hover and scan for prey below.Some were perched on the wires of the power lines, and would drop down immediately if they spotted anything!

They breed in eastern Europe including Ukraine/Roumania and Hungar,with the majority breeding in eastern russia around the steppes.They are tree nesters and nest together in colonies, in old corvids nests such as rooks!

The Falcons hung around for about 5 days before they continued on their return to their breeding grounds.It was a pleasure to get up close and witness the behaviour of the birds!I managed a few images of both male and female falcons hunting and at rest on the floor!

Thanks for looking in and I will be back with more tales from Cyprus soon!!
Anarita Park area looking towards the coast,literally the falcons are straight in off the sea after leaving Africa!
A stunning male!

All the time searching for food!

Perched female,they used the large thistles as lookout places!

Many of the falcons went to ground when prey was caught,usually landing on a small rock.This one took 10 mins disposing of a large lizard!

Females looked gorgeous in the evening light!

Insects were eaten on the wing.

A stunning looking adult male.As they patrolled the ridges you could position yourself parallel to them and capture them quite close!

You can see why they are named as such !

Taking a breather!

A small rather long winged falcon.

Posing nicely,15 metres from the car!

Up to 20 birds were sometimes airborne!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Spring in Cyprus

 I, have recently returned from a week in Cyprus,based around the Paphos area.This was now my annual vacation to Europe with the camera,the sole intention being to capture some of the different species of birds that inhabit and pass through the island on migration.

A good bit of planning had gone into the excursion,with a hire car being booked for the week and good friend and fellow photographer Albert Stoecker contacted  prior to arrival.Albert is now resident on the island and is always a mine of information re the local birdlife!

I,ll start the blog by posting  some images of Montagues Harriers that frequent a favoured area.They can always be relied on to put on a show when hunting for food!Sitting quietly in the car,they afford stunning views!
This female was hunting the bushes because it held a small flock of sparrows.

       Albert stoecker website