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A Report from

Cyprus 19th June – 2nd May 2005,

Steve and Sue Wilce

We flew from Birmingham Airport on 19th April 2004 to Paphos, Cyprus.

Flight and Jeep Hire were booked through Just Flights.

It should be noted that if you intend to explore all the areas mentioned below a 4WD vehicle is advisable.

We stayed at Vasilias Nikoklis Inn, Nikoklia, having read about it in a bird report on the internet. We booked this by telephone. This is a “jewel” of a place and full of character. The owner, Tassos Constantinou, is one of the nicest, most helpful hosts you would wish to meet. His wife, Dora, is a superb cook and produced many memorable, traditional Greek dishes. Tassos, also a very good cook, made a wonderful Kleftika of lamb while we were there. The wine served is locally produced and of a very good quality. The Inn has a totally relaxed atmosphere where you immediately feel at home. Birdwatchers of many nationalities can be found here during April and bird sightings are readily exchanged. A large variety of birds can be seen around the hotel area and one of the attractions is the Swallows, which fly in and out of the bar. Staying at this Inn was a real pleasure and definitely enhanced our visit to Cyprus.

We knew the area quite well as we visited Cyprus in 2002. We arrived about 3.00 p.m. Flight and Jeep hire went smoothly. After a warm welcome from the proprietor, Tassos, and a refreshing orange juice, we could not wait to get out and start bird watching.

We drove to Asprokremnos Pools, which previously were very good, but we were very disappointed to find the water levels very high and hence very little bird activity except for Moorhen, Coot and Little Grebe. The pools no longer attract wading birds because of the high water levels. We then drove up to the aerial mast above the dam, which previously had been a good area for Red Footed Falcon but not, unfortunately, on this occasion. Birds seen were a pair of Spectacled Warblers, Woodchat Shrike, Crested Lark and Common Kestrel.

We then proceeded to the dam wall and on the marshy area on the fringes of the reservoir we saw Black Winged Stilts, Chukkar and Grt. Spotted Cuckoo.

20th April

Weather cool in morning, turning sunny and very warm.

We drove to Zakaki Pool to try and see the Pied Kingfisher that had been there for a few days. No luck unfortunately. Birds seen were Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Glossy Ibis, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black & Blue Headed Yellow Wagtails, Reed Warbler, Greenshank, Black Winged Stilts.

We then proceeded to Akrotiri Salt Lake along Lady’s Mile where the pools contained many waders, namely:100+ Ruff, Greenshank, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and Kentish Plovers. Also seen were 2 Kestrels and a Peregrine Falcon hunting over the pools and causing mayhem.

On Akrotiri Salt Lake there were approximately 100 Greater Flamingos and a Roller sat on the telegraph wires alongside the lake.

Arriving at Phassouri Reedbeds we were pleased to see plenty of water because in previous years they had been dry at this time. As a consequence we saw Marsh Harrier, Squacco Herons, Purple Herons, 60 Glossy Ibis, Little Egret, 5 Garganey, Fan Tailed Warbler, Reed Warbler, Whinchat

On the way back to Nikoklia we stopped at a pull in above Kensington Cliffs, there were Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler and Cyprus Pied Wheatear.

Later on we drove to the water splash on the Choletria – Nata Road and saw Corn Buntings and Crested Larks.

At the abandoned village of Finikas, the previously very productive marsh had also been flooded out, losing a very valuable bird habitat. There were, however, Spotted Flycatchers in the trees around the village.

We returned to the hotel in the evening and from the balcony we watched Swallows and Spanish Sparrows.

21st April

Cloudy, but very warm. Sunny in afternoon. Stormy in evening; thunder, lightening and high winds.

Today we drove part of the Cedar Valley trail starting from Stroumpi, not many birds until we reached Monoshilakas picnic site but once there we saw 7-8 Masked Shrike, 1 on a nest, 2 Hoopoes, Ruppell’s Warbler and Cyprus Pied Wheatear

We had lunch in Pano Panagia. It was very nice but being a touristy area the prices were a lot higher than in other areas. After lunch we drove to Skouli where there is a museum with all the snakes and reptiles of Cyprus. It only costs 50p to go in and we were given a guided tour by a very knowledgeable old man who had captured most of the snakes himself. We handled a Montpelier snake, which is venomous, but back-fanged, so not really dangerous.

We drove on to Evretou reservoir, (shallow end), where once again we found the previously very good marsh area flooded out and destroyed. There were, however around the fringes, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Common Sandpiper.

On the trees above the path there was a Masked Shrike. On the dam itself the view is quite panoramic and we saw numerous Red Rumped Swallows and Northern Swifts. Also there were Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Black Eared Wheatear and Grt Spotted Cuckoo.

Back in the Asprokremnos area at the aerial mast there were 3 Tawny Pipits, Woodchat Shrike, Grt Spotted Cuckoo, Crested Lark, Goldfinches,Fan Tailed Warbler, Northern Wheatear, Black Eared Wheatear.

At Asprokremnos pools we saw Little Bittern, Garganey,30 Hse Martins and a Reed Warbler.

22nd April

Cloudy all day but quite warm.

Drove to Cape Drepanum at the start of the Akamas Peninsula and immediately a Female Montagues Harrier flew along the shoreline. Slightly inland, in the vegetation, 50+Yellow Wagtails of various races, fed on insects, with one Ortolan Bunting amongst them. Further on into the peninsula we stopped for coffee and cake at Lara Beach Restaurant and disturbed a Hoopoe at the entrance to the Restaurant. There was a Purple Heron flying along the bay and Rock Doves on the cliffs.

We drove on to Smyies track, at the picnic area we saw a Serin and at Agios Minas church there were Blackcaps, Redstarts, Goldfinches, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, flying amongst the trees. Further on at the Baths of Aphrodite caravan park and coastal path there were a good variety of birds: Spotted, Pied, Collared and Semi-Collared Flycatchers, Wood Warblers, Sardinian Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Blackcaps, Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Alpine Swifts, Northern Swifts, Red Rumped Swallows, Hobby, Male Red Footed Falcon, Bee Eaters and a Woodchat Shrike.

We drove back towards Nikoklia calling in at Mandria and in the stubble fields near the beach was quite a spectacle: a large flock of

500+ Yellow Wagtails of various races, 15 Red Throated Pipits, 5 Collared Pratincoles, 2000+ Northern Swallows, large numbers of Red Rumped Swallows, House Martins, Swifts and Sand Martins all flying around the fields.

23rd April

Very sunny with a light breeze, became very hot by mid afternoon.

Today we decided to make an early start and try to see the Pied Kingfisher at Zakaki Pool. We arrived there at 8.00 a.m. and immediately saw the Pied Kingfisher perched on a reed across the other side of the pool. The bird showed very well, hovering and fishing within 20 metres of us. It then flew on to telegraph wires above our heads, giving splendid views. It did not seem to be bothered by the heavy traffic that plagues this spot.

Also at the pool were Garganey, Wood Sandpipers, Cattle Egrets, Purple Herons, Grey Heron, a Male Pallid Harrier, Black Winged Stilts, Ruff, numerous Black and Blue Headed Yellow Wagtails and Spanish Sparrow chasing dragonflies.

The usual waders (listed previously) were along Lady’s Mile.

Arriving at Phassouri Reedbeds there were 12 Collared Pratincoles and 5 Marsh Sandpipers amongst other wading birds.

We called in at the M1 Pool on the way back towards Nikoklia. The pool was empty until 2 Marsh Sandpipers flew in. Before returning to the Inn we went to Asprokremnos dam to escape the heat. There we saw a Pallid Harrier (Juv), 2Turtle Doves, Purple Heron, 2 Chukkars,4 Ortolan Buntings, 1 Northern and 1 Black Eared Wheatear.

We drove a little way up the Dhiarizos valley where we saw Great Spotted Cuckoo and Golden Oriel. Back at the Inn we were enjoying coffee on the balcony at 7.00 p.m. a full moon began to rise and swallows swarmed over the fields below us, hunting insects. We enjoyed another superb traditional Greek dinner at the Inn, with home produced olives and local wine, a fitting end to a very good day.

24th April

Hot and sunny all day.

We called in to check the Asprokremnos Pools first thing in the morning and saw 3 Turtle Doves and 2 Alpine Swifts. From the Dam, on the marshy area below we saw Purple Heron, Wood Sandpipers, Squacco Herons, Linnets, Cetti’s Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Whinchat, Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Willow Warbler and a Pallid Harrier.

At the water splash on the way to Nata there were Great Spotted Cuckoos, Yellow Wagtails, Red Rumped Swallows and Rollers were on the wires above the Ostrich farm. This is a guaranteed area for Rollers.

Went for lunch at the North Wind Café at Kidasi in the Dhiarizos Valley where we received a very warm welcome, the owner remembering us from our previous visits in 2002. He cooked us a special, complimentary dish of Wild Asparagus Omlette, followed by toasted halloumi cheese in pitta bread and Greek salad, washed down with freshly squeezed orange juice. The owner told us to let him know when we would be coming again so he could cook us a home made Moussaka.

On the mountain above Kidasi we saw a Griffon Vulture, also 2 Peregrine Falcons and a Ruppells Warbler. We passed many more Rollers on the wires on the return journey. Back on Asprokremnos Dam there were more Rollers and 3 Ortolan Buntings. 

25th April

Hot and sunny

Today we decided to drive to the Baths of Aphrodite. As we drove through the centre of Polis we had to stop the car to allow a Little Bittern to cross the road. It seemed to be in no hurry and oblivious to the heavy traffic.

Most of the previous migrants had moved on from the coastal path, but we did spot a Wryneck in the Caravan Park and 20 European Bee Eaters overhead.

We drove up Smyies Track and saw 2 Hoopoes at the picnic site and a further 5 European Bee Eaters at Agios Minas Church, where there were also Redstart, Blackcap, Greenfinch, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, Sardinian Warbler, Spanish Sparrow, Roller and Goldfinches. We heard 2 Scops Owls calling to each other near the church, but neither were visible.

We returned to the Mandria area and while driving along the beach track we spotted a female Red Footed Falcon, just in off the sea, she was looking very tired so we took a quick photograph and left her to rest. The Yellow Wagtails and Red Throated Pipits were still in good numbers in the stubble fields and there were 3 Shags on the rocks just off shore.

26th April

Hot and sunny again

Went to Paphos Headland, which is now almost completely fenced off and quite frankly it is easier to pay the minimal fee to gain entry to the mosaics (which are well worth visiting anyway) and walk to the headland from there. On the headland we were very pleased to see 4 Blue Cheeked Bee Eaters, which flew very close to us, giving excellent views. Also there was a Stone Curlew, 15 Squacco Herons flying, and Swallow Tailed Butterflies amongst the many and varied wild flowers.

In the afternoon we drove up to the Cape Aspro headland where we saw 4 Eleonora’s Falcons at a distance.

On an evening visit to the aerial mast there was very little bird life except for the spectacle of 2 Little Owls attacking a Blunt Nosed Viper on the track. This lasted for about 5 minutes before the snake beat a hasty retreat under some rocks. This snake is very much feared on the island because of its potentially fatal bite but it holds no fear for the Little Owl!

27th April

Hot and sunny

Today we drove up into the Troodos Mountains and walked part of the Atalante trail, where the only birds to be seen were the endemic species of Jay, Coal tit, Wren and Short Toed Treecreeper. A Blackbird was heard singing on the Persephone trail and the only Chaffinch of the trip was seen. This is a very touristy area and we spent as little time here as possible, heading back to Pano Platres for lunch. Just below the village we stopped under the shade of a tree near a stream and heard a Nightingale. Unexpectedly it popped out and we were able to watch quite closely for some time. Cetti’s Warbler called and then flew out from a bush in the same area. Further on towards the next village there is a bench under a big tree where we stopped to shelter from the heat. The bird life here was quite surprising. In the undergrowth 3 Olivaceaous Warblers continuously flew back and forth, along with Wood Warbler, Wren, Blackcap, Hoopoe and Golden Oriel. Red Rumped Swallow, House Martin and Bee Eaters were also seen flying around the vicinity. 

Further down the valley we called into the Nelion Winery near Kedares. After a guided tour and a tasting we bought some of their very nice, reasonably priced wine which we can recommend.

Just below, in Kidasi we called into the North Wind Café for our promised home made Moussaka, which lived up to all our expectations.

28th April

Hot and sunny

We planned to arrive at Phassouri reedbeds reasonably early, however, we did not arrive until 9.10 a.m. where we were greeted by Woodchat Shrike and 4 Cattle Egrets, then the birds we had been looking for appeared from behind a banking: 2 Spur Winged Plovers. We managed to get quite close views and were able to take some reasonable photographs. Other birds there included Garganey, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Little Egret, Squacco Heron, 4 Night Herons, White Winged Black Terns, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Marsh Sandpipers and  Wood Sandpipers. Around 10.00 a.m. a flock of 150 Collared Pratincoles circled overhead. A bird took off from the long grass and by its flight and plumage it could be seen to be a Great Snipe. All these birds occurred within one hour of us arriving there.

From the reedbeds we drove along the beach road and in the scrubby area surrounding Akrotiri Gravel Pits, Woodchat Shrikes appeared to be on almost every other bush. Near a large oil tank close to a derelict building, we saw 2 Red Breasted Flycatchers, 2 Isabelline Wheatears and a female Pallid Harrier. A Thrush Nightingale could be heard singing from the scrub but could not be located.

Further on at the Salt Lake there were a few distant Greater Flamingos, we called into the Captain’s Cabin for lunch and then carried on to Zakaki Pool. The Pied Kingfisher was still there along with a large number of Ruff and Yellow Wagtails. The traffic in this area was particularly bad today so we returned to Phasourri reedbeeds for some peace and quiet. 20 Purple Heron flew in, along with 40 Glossy Ibis. The Spur Winged Plovers were still there and seemed quite relaxed and contented. In the flock of Collared Pratincoles whirling overhead a smaller cream coloured bird could be seen flying by us, and other birders, but nobody was able to identify it. The lack of black on the wings ruled out Cream Coloured Courser (mores the pity). As three British birders arrived at the reedbed 2 Blue Cheeked Bee Eaters flew around us. This made them happy as they had been searching for them for most of the day.

29th April

Hot and sunny

Good Friday celebrations all over Cyprus.

It was such a good day yesterday that we returned to the Phassouri reedbeds to find a very different picture, hence the old adage; “you should have been here yesterday”. There were very few birds about, namely Turtle Doves and a few Herons and Egrets. One Spur Winged Plover flew in, appearing very distressed and calling continually, then flew off. We assumed it had lost it’s mate. We drove on to the gravel pits and saw: Great Spotted Cuckoo, Southern Grey Shrike, Cyprus Warbler, Ortolan Buntings and finally saw the Thrush Nightingale perched in the top of a bush.

If you drive to Episkopi village, there is a left hand turn opposite the sign for the theatre and church. If you drive in and walk 100m you overlook Kensington Cliffs where stunning views of Eleonoras Falcon can be obtained at close quarters. 6 birds, on this occasion, flew very close, along with numerous Alpine Swifts. In this area, in the past, we have seen a good variety of warblers and shrikes.

30th April

Sunny all day with some cloud

Decided to have a lazier day, travelling locally. Tassos, the hotel owner, told us there were lots of Golden Oriels in Nikoklia village so we drove down to see. Immediately we saw nine birds among the orange groves – quite a spectacle. The beautiful male plumage contrasted with the dark green leaves of the orange trees.

We then drove to the water splash below Nata where we saw Wood Sandpiper, Crested Larks, Rollers and Red Rumped Swallows. We drove on to Finikas and from the highest point above the village we saw 4 Rollers, 2 Greater Spotted Cuckoos and 2 Little Owls were sitting on the roofs of the abandoned houses. We drove around the back of the reservoir on a very rough track (4 WD only), seeing along the way: Purple Heron, GS Cuckoos, Reed Warbler and Little Owl. This track comes out by the aerial mast from where we drove to the dam seeing Whiskered Terns, Black Tailed Godwit, Pallid Harrier, Purple Heron and Alpine Swifts. Bee Eaters flew over us in this area throughout the day. We then took a drive up the Dhiarizos valley, exploring the many tracks to the right of the road from Nikoklia. On these tracks, which criss-cross the river we saw Black Francolin, Moorhens and 4 Griffon Vultures flew quite low. Later on, while relaxing on Mandria beach, we located 2 Stone Curlews and 30 Bee Eaters flew in off the sea, flying low, right overhead.

Sunday 1st May

Lot cooler and windy, but still sunny

Went to Phassouri reedbeds, where 28 White Winged Black Terns were flying, along with 15 Purple Heron and 30 Glossy Ibis. On the pools there were Garganey, Shoveler, Ruff, Wood Sandpipers, Cattle Egrets and a Marsh Harrier flew over. We moved on to Zakaki Pools where there were 8 Night Herons, Common Sandpiper, 4 Temminck Stints and numerous Yellow Wagtails. We were about to leave when 12 Black Winged Pratincoles flew around the pool giving excellent views, allowing us to clearly see the trailing edge to their wings.

Back through the gravel workings, 2 Griffon Vultures were overhead and a Hobby flew through. Also 12 Temminck Stints flew past but did not land, 43 Glossy Ibis and 15 Little Egrets also flew through.

Back at Nikoklia village there were 12 Golden Oriels in the orange groves along with 2 Olivaceous Warblers and a Little Owl. At the hotel, while relaxing on the balcony prior to dinner, a male Golden Oriel flew and perched 6 feet from us on a branch of a tree growing up the wall of the hotel. The bird did not see us for 5 seconds giving stunning views before quickly flying off.

Monday 2nd May

Sunny and breezy

On our last day we again stayed locally and driving towards the water splash saw 6 Rollers on the Wires and the first Black Headed Bunting of the trip. In the Dhiarizos valley at Kidasi, we saw 2 Peregrine Falcons nesting on a cliff, a Kestrel and a Common Buzzard also flew by. On a pull in above Kidasi, were we normally watch for raptors, we saw Cretzshmar’s Bunting, Cyprus Warbler and Linnets. Driving back down the valley we stopped at North Wind café for our final lunch – toasted halloumi and pitta bread, fresh orange juice, coffee and home made orange cake – delicious! We said goodbye to our friends and left for the hotel.

In the evening before dinner, we were walking around the hotel gardens and we decided to put to the test what everybody had been telling us about Scops Owls, namely to imitate their call, which is like the beeps before the speaking clock. We thought our attempts were quite ridiculous, but immediately an owl replied and then astonishingly flew on to the overhead wires in front of us. What a surprise! Although some people may frown on this, it was a perfect end to the holiday

Birds seen in Cyprus between 19/04/05 and 02/05/05. Based at Vasilias Nikoklis Inn.




Little Grebe



Mandria beech (rocks off shore)  ( 3 birds)

Little Bittern

Asprokremnos Pools + Polis reedbeds ( 2 Birds)

Night Heron

Zhakaki Pool ( 8 Birds)

Squacco Heron


Cattle Egret


Little Egret


Grey Heron


Purple Heron

Phassouri reedbeds ( 20 Birds)

Glossy Ibis

Phassouri reedbeds   ( 60 Birds)

Greater Flamingo

Akrotiri saltlake   ( 100+ Birds)


Phassouri reedbeds




Phassouri reedbeds  ( 8 Birds)



Griffon Vulture

Dhiarizos valley  ( Between Kidasi + Kedares)   ( 5 Birds)

Marsh Harrier

Phassouri reedbeds

Pallid Harrier

Zhakaki Pool + Asprokremnos dam ( 2 Birds)

Montagu's Harrier

Akamas Peninsula ( nr Cape Drepanum)

Common Buzzard

Dhiarizos valley   (Between Kidasi + Kedares)  



Red Footed Falcon

Mandria beech  + Baths of Aphrodite Coastal Path ( 2 Birds)


Phassouri reedbeds

Eleonoras Falcon

Kensington Cliffs  ( 8 Birds)


Above Kidasi  ( cliffs above bridge,  breeding pair )



Black Francolin






Black Winged Stilt


Stone Curlew

Mandria beech   ( breeding pair)

Collared Pratincole

Phassouri reedbeds   ( 150 Birds)

Black Winged Pratincole

Zhakaki Pool  ( 20 Birds)

Ringed Plover


Kentish Plover

Lady's Mile pools ( 4 Birds)

Spur- winged Plover

Phassouri reedbeds ( 2 Birds)

Temminck's Stint

Zhakaki Pool  (4 Birds)

Curlew Sandpiper






Great Snipe

Phassouri reedbeds

Bar- tailed Godwit

Asprokremnos Dam

Marsh Sandpiper

Phassouri reedbeds  ( 4 Birds)



Green Sandpiper


Wood Sandpiper


Common Sandpiper


Lesser Black-backed Gull


Herring Gull


Yellow-legged Gull


Whiskered Tern

Asprokremnos Dam

White-winged Black Tern

Phassouri reedbeds + Zhakaki Pool  (  35 Birds)

Rock Dove




Collared Dove


Turtle Dove


Great-spotted Cuckoo


Scop's Owl

Vasilias Nikoklis Inn

Little Owl


Common Swift


Alpine Swift


Pied Kingfisher

Zhakaki Pool

Blue-cheeked Bee- eater

Paphos Headland + Phassouri reedbeds  (10 Birds)

European Bee-eater

Large Passage throughout island


Best area from Choletria to Nata


Good area Monashilikas picnic site 


Baths of Aphrodite caravan park

Crested Lark


Sand Martin




Red-rumped swallow


House Martin


Tawny Pipit

Asprokremnos Dam ( Aerial Mast) ( 2 Birds)

Red-throated Pipit

Mandria Fields near beech   ( 20 Birds)

Yellow Wagtail

Mandria Fields near beech  ( 500+ birds)

Black-headed Wagtail




Thrush Nightingale

Akrotiri gravel pits


Pano Platres  (Troodos)

Common Redstart


Isabelline Wheatear

Akrotiri gravel pits  ( 2 Birds)

Northern Wheatear


Cyprus-pied Wheatear


Black-eared Wheater


Cetti's Warbler


Reed Warbler


Great Reed Warbler

Asprokremnos Dam

Olivaceous Warbler


Spectacled Warbler

Asprokremnos Dam ( Aerial Mast) ( 2 Birds)

Sardinian Warbler


Cyprus Warbler


Ruppell's Warbler

Baths of Aphrodite coastal path



Bonelli's Warbler

Pano Platres  (Troodos) + Vasilias Nikoklis Inn ( 2 Birds)

Wood Warbler


Willow Warbler


Spotted Flycatcher


Red-breasted Flycatcher

Akrotiri gravel pits  ( 2 Birds)

Semi-collared Flycatcher

Baths of Aphrodite coastal path

Collared Flycatcher

Baths of Aphrodite coastal path

Pied Flycatcher


Coal Tit


Great Tit


Short-toed Treecreeper

Troodos Forest trails

Golden Oriole

Nikoklia Village ( 14 Birds) in orange groves

Lesser-Grey Shrike

Akrotiri gravel pits

Woodchat Shrike


Masked Shrike

Monashilikas picnic site  ( 6 Birds)







Hooded Crow


House Sparrow


Spanish Sparrow





Monashilikas picnic site









Ortolan Bunting

Asprokremnos Dam

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Above Kidasi

Black-headed Bunting

Choletria to Nata road

Corn Bunting



Spur Winged Plover
Scops Owl
Red Footed Falcon (female)


Little Owl
Pied Kingfisher


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