Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Cyprus day 6 - Upcountry

Was a little surprised to have rain falling for an early walk around the villa patch but it didn't last very long. The first part of the walk seemed to be quiet with fewer migrants than recent days. Just past the taverna we flushed a cuckoo from the coast path and then there appeared to be a movement of hirundines with barn and red rumped swallows, house and sand martin and a few swifts. The highlight was a female pallid harrier over the fields but sadly it didn't hang about.
19 glossy ibis flying west offshore just as we got back.

Today's plan was to visit the Troodos mountains in search of the Cypriot races of jay and coal tit.
On arrival at the visitor centre carpark we were greeted by a female masked shrike and ticked off the Jay straight away. Although we knew it would be cooler at the higher altitude, going from 20 to 8 degrees was a bit of a shock. Fleece and gloves required.

A walk up the path into the forest quickly added the coal tit to the list. A particularly smart looking bird with its extensive black throat extends down onto the upper breast. The white head stripe seemed much reduced too.

Good views were had of short toed treecreeper, Cyprus wheatear and  a male masked shrike. We also added wren, chaffinch and blackbird to the trip list.  An unexpected surprise was a feeding family of crossbill.
Lunch stop didn't produce any birds but we did find some nice orchids. The power of social media identified them as giant orchid.

What I thought was going to be a random stop in the vineyards at a lower level on the way back turned into a bit of a surprise when I recognised the route. It turned out that I had visited the same place when out here with work a couple of years ago. We didn't get black headed bunting this time.

Final addition to the list was a group of beeeaters heading east over the villa late in the afternoon.

Trip list now on 92

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