Monday, 14 May 2012

A Common Scoter at Brockholes Wetlands, Lancashire

May 12, 2012:
A Common Scoter which arrived on No.2 pool yesterday appears to be the first record for the site. It was a rather wary bird, keeping its distance from anyone approaching, but spent much of the time diving with periods of 45 seconds or more under water. An almost mature drake, the yellow marking on its bill could be clearly seen from quite a distance.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A sunny week in Cyprus

April 22-27, 2012:
After what had been a cold and very wet winter, this week fortunately coincided with superb weather with blue skies and temperatures into the eighties for the whole time. Based mostly in south-west Cyprus at Nikoklea, much time was spent within the local area looking at several forms of wildlife with additional visits to the Akrotiri district, Cedar Valley, and the Troodos.

Woodchat, Asprokremnos

It was good to see three separate species of Shrike including six Woodchats at the Akrotiri gravel pits and four others below the Asprokremnos dam, two sightings of Masked Shrikes at Cedar valley and Akrotiri, and a Red-backed Shrike on the overhead wires at Ayia Varvara. Here also on other wires was a very friendly Little Owl whilst a Great Spotted Cuckoo was continuously harassed by up to six Magpies.

Masked Shrike, Akrotiri

Red-backed Shrike, Ayia Varvara

Little Owl, Ayia Varvara

Great Spotted Cuckoo, Ayia Varvara

At the Phassouri reed beds (Akrotiri) there were Glossy Ibises, Cattle Egrets, Little Ringed Plovers, Spur-winged Plovers, Wood and Green Sandpipers, Ruff, Coot and a single Ferruginous Duck.

Glossy Ibises, Fassouri

Little Ringed Plover, Fassouri

A rather distant Ferruginous Duck, Fassouri

Spur-winged Plovers, Fassouri

The isolated churchyard of Ayios Georgios in the desert-like habitat near Akrotiri acts as an oasis for incoming migrants and had attracted several Collared and Spotted Flycatchers as they passed through the island; there was also a Kentish Plover nearby The steep chalk cliffs at Tunnel beach were searched for raptors and produced a Peregrine along with a brief view of an Eleonora's Falcon, probably an immature bird, as it flew along the cliff face.

Collared Flycatcher, Akrotiri

Spotted Flycatcher, Akrotiri

Eleonora's Falcon, Tunnel Beach

Coastal pools near to the airport had Grey and Purple Heron perched in the surrounding tamarisks shrubs, Squaccos by the waterside with Wood Sandpipers and a Little Crake on the muddy margin. At one point an Osprey came in off the sea to be mobbed by Hooded Crows. Other raptor sightings elsewhere included a Bonelli's Eagle at Kidasi and a distant view of the recently-reported Pallid Harrier at Mandrea.

Purple Heron

Osprey harassed by Hooded Crow

Earlier in the week two Collared Pratincoles hawked for insects over stubble fields at Mandrea and on the last day one of them could be seen perched distantly on some off-shore rocks

Collared Pratincole hawking for insects, Mandrea

Collared Pratincole, Mandrea

The scrub below the Asprokremnos dam is another haven for both migrants and residents such as Cyprus and Sardinian Warblers and Crested Larks. A Stone Curlew flew through here briefly and there were also Whinchats, Ortolan Buntings and Northern Wheatear (as well as several Woodchats).

Sardinian Warbler, Asprokremnos

Whinchat, Asprokremnos

Amother friendly Woodchat at Asprokremnos