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A Report from birdtours.co.uk

North Cyprus, 17th - 27th April 2004,

John Kirby

This was a birding holiday based at Girne, North Cyprus.

Sites visited are as described in North Cyprus Birds website : http://www.northcyprusbirds.com/8.htm

We booked through Cyprus Paradise and stayed at Sammy's Hotel in the centre of Girne.
Girne was previously called Kyrenia and is described as such in brochures but all the local road signs use Girne.

We pre-booked a Peugeot 206. This was adequate but its road clearance is not very good and we scraped the bottom on occasions. A 4-wheel drive vehicle would allow better access to the peninsulas.

Money:

1 = 2,400,000 Turkish Lire
1 litre of petrol = 1.45m TL
Bottle of beer = 3.5m TL
3 course meal = 25m TL including drinks. (approx 10)

Any of the harbour restaurants were very good and all about the same price. The Blue Rose restaurant close to Pia Bella Hotel on way to Bellapais was excellent.

Weather:

17th - 24th Overcast and cloudy with some rain. Approx 19'C
25th - 27th Sunny, approx 24'C

Sites and Birds

Bellapais Abbey. 19/4/04

One pallid Swift

Girne - from Sammy's Hotel

3 Demoiselle Cranes 18/4/04
Cetti's Warbler in the gardens
Cyprus Wheatear on the rooftops
Scops Owl heard most evenings

Korucam Burnu. 20/4/04, 21/4/04, 25/4/04

An excellent site that merits more than one visit as the birds changed daily.

Take the coast road west from Girne and turn right signposted Sadrazamkoy. Stop at any suitable sites. A house with a walled garden on the right attracted 30+ Collared Flycatchers. The obvious long straight stretch of road just before the village held 2 Black Francolins, 2 Cyprus Warblers and 1 Red-backed Shrike 20/4.

Go through Sadrazamkoy village and park at the end of the tarmac facing a new holiday homes complex. Walk down the track 200m to the "tank". This is a 20m square low concrete water tank surrounded by a large Mulberry tree and other trees. It is very good for migrants. Continue walking and scan the cultivated fields for approximately 300m.

The track continues but the vegetation changes to low bushes that seem bird free. After approx 2km a large shrubby hedge crosses the track at right angles. This is excellent for migrants.

We did not continue any further.

Blue-headed and Black-headed Wagtails (100+) Pied Flycatcher, Spanish Sparrow (in flocks of 30), Great Reed Warbler, Serin, 3 Black headed Buntings.(20/4) 6 Red-backed Shrikes, 10 Ortolan Buntings, 2 Lesser Kestrels, 1 Audouin Gull, Redstart, Nightingale, 2 Black-eared Wheatears and 1000+ Blackcaps (probably the commonest bird seen), Hoopoe, Turtle Dove. Crested Lark, Cyprus Warbler, 3 Crag Martins, 2 Wood Warblers, 2 Eleanora's Flacons, Kestrel, Spectacled Warbler.

Gecitkoy Reservoir. 20/4/04 25/4/04

This is just past the village. It may be possible to drive along the track with a 4-wheel Drive but we parked in a lay-by further along on the left.

Few birds seen here (NO eagles) but it was very windy. Great Reed Warbler, Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper.

After leaving here on 25th we drove via Guzelyurt back to Girne. Just before we left the Lefkosa road towards Gonyeli we saw 5 Red footed Falcons on wires.

Alevkaya (Halevga) Forest Station ( Herbarium) 19/4/04

This was a little disappointing. Jackdaw, Goldfinch, Blue Rock Thrush.

Carry on along the mountain road to the coast. You end up at the new coast road that is still under construction. Park and explore the scrubby area along the cliffs. Here we saw Black-headed Bunting, Ruppells Warbler and Woodchat Shrike.

Taskent Reservoir. 22/4/04

Turn off for Taskent from the new Lefkosa to Famagusta road. The University buildings are on the left and the reservoir is on the right just past a tall single eucalyptus tree. It held plenty of water. We did not find Little Crake.

Bee Eater, Pallid Swift, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Ortolan Bunting, Coot, Mallard, Spectacled Warbler.

We could not find Taskent 2 Reservoir. It appears to be dried up.

Koprulu Reservoir. 21/4/04

A good site that requires more than one visit. Follow the signs from Girne on the Lefkosa to Famagusta road for Dortyol. Turn off at a cross roads sign posted Turkmenkoy. Dortyol can be seen from the road as it has a mosque with two large minarets. The house with the columns mentioned in the directions no longer has tins of flowers! On the day we were there the Army were using it as a Firing Range so take care.

21/4/04. 6 Spur Winged Plovers, I Greater Spotted Cuckoo, 2 Common Cuckoo, 1 Lesser Bittern, 2 Black Francolins, Garganey, Shoveler, Coot, Moorhen, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, Snipe, , 3 Greater Flamingo, 10 White winged terns, 60+ Glossy Ibis, Marsh Harrier, Great Reed Warbler.

Bogaz. 23/4/04

We stopped at the river just outside the village. A new holiday home complex is under construction. Only birds of note were 10 Short Toed Larks.

Mehmetcik Lake. 24/4/04

Take the first road signposted Mehmetcik (fork to left) from the Lefkosa to Famagusta road. The water is on the left just before the village. A boggy area on the right also held birds. There are several parking places along the road which seemed very busy with local traffic.

10 White winged Terns, 50+ Ruff, 10+ Wood Sandpipers, 1 Marsh Sandpiper, 2 Black winged Stilts, 5 Glossy Ibis, 6+ Squacco, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Yellow Wagtail.

Tuzluca Pools. 24/4/04

Shallow pools close to main road.

1 Ringed Plover, 2 Little Egrets

Ergazi Reservoir. 23/4/04

5 Great Spotted Cuckoos. Spectacled Warbler, Chukar.

Gazamagusta Freshwater Lake. 22/4/04

Disappointing but perhaps visiting in the middle of the day was not a good idea. Only a few Cattle Egrets and Yellow Legged Gulls.

Karpaz Peninsula (Zafer Burnu) 23/4/04

We did this with an overnight stay at the Blue Sea Hotel. (10 per person including breakfast) It's a little shabby but we had a very warm welcome and the location is superb. Stop at any suitable sites on drive to Peninsula. Excellent views of the Wild Donkeys.

We visited, Ayion Philon, Aphendrika and Apostolos Andreas Monastery.

10+ Rollers, Little Owl, Black Francolin, Pied Flycatcher, Wood Warbler, Black headed Bunting, Steppe Buzzard, Montagu's Harrier, Bee Eaters, Spectacled Warbler. Corn Bunting.

CONCLUSION.

North Cyprus is a good site during migration especially when the weather is overcast with some rain. The birds varied daily but migrants disappeared when the sun shone.

A lot of British people are buying property in North Cyprus. The building expansion may jeopardise some sites in the near future.

 

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