Southern Cyprus

Dates: 28th March - 4th April 2020

Spring is probably the best time to visit Cyprus with masses of migrant birds passing through the island on their way from wintering grounds in Africa and the Middle East to breeding grounds in eastern Europe and Russia. Migration starts early in this part of the Mediterranean and early spring is an excellent time to catch up with an exciting array of birds. It's also a great time of year to see some of the flowering plants including many orchids.

Eastern Black-eared WheatearCretzchmar's BuntingCyprus Warbler

We'll visit a variety of sites in the southern part of the island during the week which allow us to catch up with a diverse array of birds.The salt lakes at Akrotiri and Larnaca are home to Greater Flamingos whilst various pools are temporary feeding grounds for a variety of gulls and waders such as Slender-billed Gull, Little Gull, Marsh Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Ruff. Greater Sandplover are sometimes found on the shore here whilst rarities such as Caspian Plover and Cream-coloured Courser occasionally turn up at this time of year. The marsh and pools around Phassouri are excellent for migrant waders whilst masses of Yellow Wagtails of various races carpet ploughed fields and shallow wetlands. Penduline Tit can be found in the reed bed here whilst Little Crake may be seen creeping along the reedy edge of pools. Open country passerines such as various wheatears and pipits are also common including Isabelline Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Tawny and Red-throated Pipit. Our base at Mandria will also provide opportunities to pick up many of the birds above as well as Laughing Dove and Black Francolin. Pallid Harrier are reguarly seen at this time of year whilst Marsh Harrier and Hen Harrier are also likely. Resident raptors such as Long-legged Buzzard and Bonelli's Eagle also occur in small numbers and we'll visit regular sites that will provide us with a very good opportunity of catching up with these.

Migrant passerines can turn up anywhere which adds to the excitement of birding in Cyprus at this time of year. We're likely to come across Redstarts and various warblers along field margins and in coastal scrub as well as at the more regular, well known hot spots such a the Baths of Aphrodite and various headlands. Paphos headland is a magnet for birds and an oasis sat at the south-west tip of Cyprus amongst a sprawl of hotels and villas. It can be alive with birds and you can expect to see Ruppell's Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Redstarts, Masked Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Red-throated Pipit and maybe the odd Collared Flycatcher. Anything can turn up on passage and its not just restricted to the smaller birds with herons, raptors and terns adding to the mass of avain activity that enlivens the birding.

Many of the migrants can be confiding, especially around Paphos headland where they provide plenty of photographic opportunities. We spend as much time in the field as we can although the pace is slow with plenty of time to enjoy all we find.

Cyprus Scops OwlRuppell's WarblerMasked Shrike

Short list of key species: Greater Flamingo, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Ferruginous Duck, Griffon Vulture, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli's Eagle, Black Francolin, Little Crake, Spur-winged Plover, Marsh Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Cyprus Scops Owl, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Red-rumped Swallow, Red-throated Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Nightingale, Cyprus Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell's Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, Collared Flycatcher, Masked Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Cretzchmar's Bunting.

A full printable coming soon

Dates: 28th March - 4th April 2020

Cost: £ (not including flights) We can help arrange flights if required.

Price includes 7 nights accommodation, all meals and transport throughout the tour.

Accommodation: We'll be staying in self catering apartments at Mandria which is one of the main birding sites in southern Cyprus. Breakfast items will be provided and we'll either eat out for lunch or take a packed lunch (provided) with us. Dinner will be taken at some very good nearby restaurants within a short walking distance of the apartments.

Group size: 8 (maximum)

Booking: Please email: steveduffield70@gmail.com

Where to meet: Meet at Paphos airport

Trip reports: 2019