Sunday, June 17, 2018

This is the first of my blog posts from Cyprus.  We arrived yesterday, and today we woke up, had breakfast and drove to Akrotiri

When we arrived, our guide for the day, Victor Tjernberg from Birdlife Cyprus, was already there with his scope set up.  As soon as I looked through the scope I knew in a second it was a European Roller! I knew then that our day was off to a good start.  My dad and sister left to go to the beach and my mom and I stayed for our five hour birding tour!

 We walked out onto a dry marsh trail lined with low lying shrubs on one side, with tall reeds on the other.  We spotted several Hooded Crows, but then we heard the elusive Black Francolin that Victor said was common to hear but as soon as you look, it is gone.  But no more than ten minutes later, who do you think we saw fly out of the sky and land right in front of us? It was a male and female Black Francolin! As soon as we got the camera focused, they were gone!

Our next stop was a pond that the farmers used for irrigation, and the pond was surrounded by farmland.  Next to the pond was tall tree, that half way up on one of the branches was a Little Egret Nest.  We saw the female sitting on the nest with the male perched next to her.  In the pond below was a family of ten Little Grebes.  

We drove for a little while longer and walked for about 100 meters on a dirt road with lots of salt crystals.  We came to a clearing and saw a flamingo wading in the salty shallows and he was using his feet to stir up cray fish at the bottom.  He looked like he was dancing, he never stopped shuffling his feet, even when he caught one and ate it.

We drove for about ten minutes and finally got to a cliff edge, and looked down with the ocean far below us with pools surrounded by rocks.  The pools were remains of an old quarry. There were about five pools, and Victor said he could see outlines of turtles on the fifth pool.  In the distance was the British Military Base with power poles and when I looked through the binoculars I saw two circling Griffon Vultures.

This was our first birding trip in Cyprus, and we have thee more ahead of us.  My next post will describe our experience with our first European Roller count for Birdlife Cyprus.

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