Thursday, 31 December 2015

An amazing finish to the Year

I got a text from Gavin early afternoon to inform me he'd re-found a couple of Snow Buntings just north of the village. It was a clear, bright afternoon so I decided to take a look. I parked by the runnel and made my way to the clifftop.

I could see that Gavin was still there and within 5 minutes I'd joined him. He said he'd also seen a Stonechat but there was no sign of it. We made our way slowly North checking the ground carefully. Gavin then pointed just ahead..."there's one!" I couldn't see it! It took me a good 30 seconds to pick it out as it crept about like a mouse some 10 yds ahead. We soon lost it in the grass but eventually picked it up again on the edge of the cliff.

Fortunately the sun had broken through again...

A very nice late addition to the village year list. During our chat I mentioned the recent Shag passage at Spurn with some birds landing near the sea-watching hut. Maybe there was a (slim) chance of another late addition. After all, I still had an hour's daylight! I left Gavin at the runnel and turned inland after wishing him a Happy New Year. Not 5 minutes later I received a text from him "3 Shags have just flown south".

Bit of a sickener.

I had to go back to the Cottage as Louise had computer issues. I picked Bud up and headed for Out Newton. There was still time I arrived around 3.10 and started to scan in between ball throws. The light was fading fast.

Here's the rub.

It's the last light of the year. Chance of a (no I'll resist) late addition. A Shag, no big deal, although not THAT regular.

For me it's not necessarily the look or the's the circumstances...AND THIS CIRCUMSTANCE WAS EXCEPTIONAL. Long odds indeed.

Along the water's edge it came, a solitary bird, turning onto the beach in front of me...amazing...

H.92, P160
...before continuing south...

These are the best moments in Birding IMHO.

Happy New Year...

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015 - review

The Spring of 2015 was simply AMAZING!!! If someone had said to me I'd add SIX new birds to my British List, I'd have had their temperature taken. Yet, that's exactly what happened in a roller-coaster ride of travel, excitement, great company plus the tricky logistics of fitting work in as well.

GREAT BLUE HERON - 20th April, Bryher IOS

HUDSONIAN GODWIT - 26th April, Meare Heath NNR, Somerset

CITRIL FINCH - 10th May, Burnham Overy Dunes, Norfolk

SWAINSON'S THRUSH - 8th June, Skokholm, Wales

HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL - 12th June, Pagham Harbour, West Sussex. The pic is of the Scilly bird on Tresco

CRETZSCHMAR'S BUNTING - 15th June, Bardsey Island, Wales

I also connected with the one day "first for Britain"...

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER - 23rd Sept, Dungeness, Kent

Marvelous. Looking back, seeing 3 MEGAS in 8 days was incredible!!! I guess there's no cure?

It wasn't all roses however. I declined the MOLTONI'S SUBALPINE WARBLER on Blakeney Point due to lack Plus the 6 miles on the shingle! There'll be another.

My loyalty to Scilly cost me dear again as I missed the WILSON'S WARBLER on Lewis (there might not be another). One year the BIG 1 WILL arrive on the Fortunate Isles. The THICK-BILLED WARBLER would have been mine if I'd been able to fulfil my booking on Shetland. That hurt!
I also declined the CHESNUT BUNTING which I may also pay dearly for...but that doesn't bother me, for reasons already stated at length.

Now I've reached the magic 500 I've become more philosophical about my twitching travels. I'm still keen, very keen but I try to see the bigger picture of my World Birding. I don't always succeed.

On the County scene I managed a couple of additions, namely Gull-billed Tern at Old Moor on the 16th June, the day after the CRETZSCHMAR'S BUNTING!!!. This was a superb grip-back after missing the Thorne Moors bird due to the fact I'd just had my ill-fated hip surgery.Very satisfying this one!! I also eventually connected with the Little Bittern at the same site. A massive county tick. This bird kept me waiting quite a while but eventually stayed for months. These two bring my County list to 380.

I added a surprising and pleasing number of species to my Patch list. Only Dotterel and Jay fitted into the "had" to be there category. One day soon a MEGA will fit into that category, hopefully next year.

American Wigeon

Black Stork


American Golden Plover

Red-necked Phalarope

Hoopoe - yes I know! Can't believe this was my first. I've probably not recorded some past sightings?

Citrine Wagtail


This brings my Patch total to 277.
272 of which have been seen in the recently expanded Spurn recording area. For the record the "missing" species are...

Great Northern Diver - another embarrassing omission to be put right next year.
Cory's Shearwater
Pallid Harrier
Terek Sandpiper
Glaucous Gull

I added Mute Swan and Pied Flycatcher to my Holmpton list which now stands at an extremely modest 143. Plenty to go at there.

It would be rude not to mention the old stomping ground in this review. It's now 3 years since I had a tick at NDC. I persevere with grilling the Teal for a Green-winged but I still can't find one! So I remain on a tantalising 149. Hopefully a stonker will turn up for my landmark 150?

An additional bonus at the end of 2015 is an armchair British tick. Not exactly edge of the seat stuff I admit. I do follow BOU decisions however, whether I agree with them or not, so NORTHERN HARRIER makes it's way onto my list which now stands at 501.

There we are then. Here's to a bird-filled 2016. Good Birding to you all and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Monday, 28 December 2015


With the recent deluge firmly in mind I made my way over to my favourite birding seat in the Geoff Smith hide at North Duffield Carrs. So many memories over the past 27 years!

The Derwent had burst it's banks and was flowing steadily onto the Carrs...great stuff!

That's the birding canvas sorted for the next few months. Short term it will be a giant lake, much to deep for feeding for most species but once it settles, it will be fine.

No sign of any Whoopers but Pintails were well represented with at least 70 birds present...

I had a walk down to Garganey hide (while I still could). The water level was! This was the view as I opened the flap...

There was more wildfowl present than I anticipated which was pleasing. The usual suspects but plenty to scan through. Around 1 I returned to the GS hide. The force and noise of the water was far greater now...

There were multiple bursts along the bank...

It was still VERY gloomy but the show was spectacular. I then heard a familiar sound...through the dead branches way over the far side of the scrape I spotted a Kingfisher...

I haven't been very lucky with this species at NDC so any sighting is a special occasion. I was hoping (as always) for a closer view but as I had this thought, it flew off over the river. Fortunately, it returned 10 minutes later and this time it was closer...

...then closer still, if partially hidden...

It returned for one more show perching on a bullrush...

A puzzled Snipe waited for the inevitable moment when it had to vacate...

After a chip butty in Selby I returned but a group had arrived so I decided to head home. As I passed over the bridge at Bubwith it was clear the water was still rising...

I managed to increase my NDC year list to a very modest 49. I missed the summer!!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Rather damp!

Hope you had a great Christmas.

I'm taking a stab on the LDV having a bit of water present, so I'm off to give it a go tomorrow. Looking forward to it...and the fresh air!!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Original title!

Early present in the form of Northern Harrier split...

The BOURC Taxonomic Sub-Committee (TSC) has, in this issue of Ibis, published its latest recommendations relating to the British List (Sangster et al. 2016. Ibis 158: 202-205). It is formally noted here that all recommendations therein are adopted with immediate effect. As a result of these changes, Northern Harrier Circus hudsonius is added to Category A of the British List as a separate species from Hen Harrier C. cyaneus. The species is a rarity and all records must be assessed by BBRC (indicated by ‘†’ below). Northern Harrier should be listed after Hen Harrier.

  1. Isles of Scilly, Oct 1982 – Jun 1983
  2. Orkney, Sep–Oct 2008
  3. Co Durham, Feb 2009
  4. Norfolk, Oct 2010 – 2011
  5. Cambridgeshire, Oct–Nov 2013
  6. Cornwall, Nov 2013
  7. Dorset, Apr 2014
I saw the Norfolk bird.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and New Year...thanks for taking the time to read my Blog.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Techno problems

Had a crisis on Sunday evening. Connectivity problems! For some inexplicable reason my laptop decided it didn't like my wireless signal and instead of a healthy five bars I had a red cross? Why? Haven't got a clue.

The world today seems to revolve around the internet. It's an amazing invention but I have mixed feelings about it. Is conversation drying up? The number of people who seem to be transfixed by their smartphone is a worrying trend. They look at them whilst driving, cycling, crossing roads, dining...the list goes on. I refuse to get one. I do however use my laptop (obviously). I do my shopping, banking etc plus the usual Facebook, e-mail and of course my blog.

So, I needed to sort it out. Easier said than done I'm sure you'd agree.

I tried a few freephone helpline numbers I found via Louise's Ipad. One got me through to an encouraging voice but after a ten minute conversation it became apparent that it was going to take a long time to "maybe" sort it. I was also going to guessed it...the internet!!

I made the decision to take it in to PC World. I figured I'd get stung for an initial payment but it was worth a stab as the computer wouldn't respond at all. As I was leaving the village I had another thought. My pal Phil's pretty handy with computer's, so I popped down to Kilnsea.

A good few hours later...He'd fixed it!!!

We basically had to take everything of value off it via safe mode and then reset it to factory settings. Might be of use to you one day?

I can't thank Phil enough...although I've tried my best, believe me! Like I've already said I have mixed feelings about the dependency we all seem to have these days on computers and the internet but that's just the way it is I guess.

I hope to do a brief review of the year as long as my laptop behaves...

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Quiet times

I've been sorting a few things out lately, hence the lack of posts. Still keen though! VERY quiet locally at the moment with nothing of significance to report apart from the annual Black Brant/s down the road.

Hopefully something to report before Christmas...

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Cyprus numbers

Opened up the old computer for a breathe of fresh air to add my sightings from this trip. My dubious calculations now has my Cyprus list at a very modest 136. Plenty to go at!

Following my Easter trip in '95 I've added some winter birds including the 3 stars, namely WALLCREEPER, FINSCH'S WHEATEAR and GREATER SAND PLOVER


European Teal (Anas crecca)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus)
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)Bonelli's Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus)
Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)
Coot (Fulica atra)
Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus spinosus)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos)
Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans [argentatus])
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)
Finsch's Wheatear (Oenanthe finschii)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis [domesticus])
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Remainder of List

Mallard (Anus platyrhynchos)

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Garganey (Anas querquedula)
Chukar (Alectoris chukar)
Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)
Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan mauretanicus)
Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Hobby (Falco subbuteo)
Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae)
Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus)
Little Crake (Porzana parva)
Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla)
Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)
Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)
Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Gull-billed Tern (Sterna nilotica)
Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)
Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Little Owl (Athene noctua)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
Alpine Swift (Tachymarptis melba)
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
European Roller (Coracias garrulus)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra)
Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla [cinerea])
Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
Crag Martin (Hirundo rupestris)
Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)
Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba alba)
Yellow Wagtail (Montacilla flava)
Blue-headed Wagtail (Motacilla flava flava)
Black-headed Wagtail (Motacilla flava feldegg)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
Hooded Wheatear (Oenanthe monacha)
Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Cyprus Wheatear (Oenanthe cypriaca)
Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica)
Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis)
Blue Rock-thrush (Monticola solitarius)
Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Fan-tailed Warbler [Zitting Cisticola] (Cisticola juncidis)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (Hippolais pallida)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)
Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Spectacled Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata)
Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans)
Rüppell's Warbler (Sylvia rueppelli)
Cyprus Warbler (Sylvia melanothorax [melanocephala])
Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis)
Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
Great Tit (Parus major major)
Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)
Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio [cristatus])
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)
Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica)
Hooded Crow (Corvus corone cornix)
Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)
Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)
Cretzschmar's Bunting (Emberiza caesia)
Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala)
Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)

I'll be back...26th January...

Friday, 11 December 2015

Cyprus summary

Well, that's it, so what did I think?

Great weather always helps and we were blessed with continuous sunshine throughout. We were very lucky. Daylight hours were 7 - 4.30. So better weather and longer birding hours than the UK. The hotel was superb, great value for a 5 star. Paphos is Brit friendly without being "too much". Cyprus has excellent infrastructure and once you leave the urban areas you're virtually on your own.

We're at the st(age) now were we're looking for a winter destination for our holidays...I think we've found it! Oh, the Birding's not bad either. We met some friendly people on our travels with a special mention to David Hunter for showing me the Wallcreepers...

...and introducing me to the Birdlife Cyprus group.

Paphos has a large ex-pat community and many people have moved out there to live while others spend parts of the year there. Personally, I'd struggle with the summers and I still want to be in Britain for the migration periods BUT winter (Nov - March) definitely has possibilities.

It was interesting comparing it with Spain, both Mallorca and Mainland. Spain has some great birds but the logistics are not as good which can impact on the quality of your holiday. A couple of examples:

- We travelled down the Formentor Penisular on Mallorca on a superb March day this year. The scenery was spectacular, I managed to connect with a Blue Rock Thrush at a pull in...

However when we reached the end the cafe and toilet block were both shut. Not that big a deal for the lone young gun BUT a nightmare when you've got your better half with you!!

- When we toured Extremadura we spent several hours trying to find a decent place to get an evening meal and negotiating the rural villages was a nightmare.

I'm not saying I wouldn't go again but not in winter. Cyprus averages 5c warmer which makes for a more pleasant experience and break from our grim climate.

I'll do the numbers tomorrow...

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Back home

Arrived back at 4pm picked the pets up and sorted things out. The mini break was a success on all fronts. Things got even better when the phone went. It was the Surgeon I should have seen last week ringing to apologise for the mix up. He then went on to tell me that he was prepared to operate on my hip to correct it! Quite a relief after 3.5 years as you can imagine. My persistence pays last.

It's too late to start my Cyprus review, so I'll post that tomorrow. For now, here's a few more of the Finsch's Wheatear's...varying quality and distance...


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Cyprus - Day 5

Have to be a quick summary of the day as we leave for home early tomorrow (unfortunately). Still we've had a great time with dawn till dusk sunshine in the high teens. Slightly better than back home I would guess? Oh and I've also connected with some great birds. This trip wasn't about quantity, it was about quality. The plan worked!

Today started at the salubrious Paphos Sewage Works hoping for a glimpse of the superb Spur-winged Plover. Wonderful bird, dodgy location! The viewing was difficult as it was very limited through the vegetation, not to mention the pipes and ironwork. After around 15 minutes I managed to pick one up resting on the settling tank wall. Then another and another. I reckon I ended up seeing at least 10 birds.

As already stated, time is limited tonight and I don't have the time to go through my photos properly (Louise is VERY patient). So here's a pic of the Plover...try to ignore the pipes...

Extremely pleased to see this bird as they don't always show apparently.

Boosted by this success we moved on and headed for Nata Ford which is at the northern end of the Asprokremmos reservoir. No water in sight here but I went for a brief stroll anyway. I kept seeing lots of birds disappearing into thick cover. I needed to give the boss time to read so I tried another short track. I then caught sight of a shape in thick reeds, this time the bird hung around. I managed to get a partial view with the bins. It was a Sparrow! It kept hopping around but remained in the same area. Eventually after fiddling with the camera settings I managed to confirm Spanish Sparrow.


With patience...eventually...

After a short diversion when we took the wrong road we eventually arrived at the Diarizos Valley north of Kidasi. I wanted more of the Finsch's Wheatear...hopefully! We'd seen three birds on Saturday, I'd have settled for one. We stopped at the first site on the track and waited. Nothing for 30 minutes then there it was up on the wall...

1 down.

After it moved on I tried around the bend where we'd seen the second bird. Again a lengthy wait and then I picked it up low down in the valley. It was interesting watching the bird feeding. Perching on rocks, walking on the ground then back up to perch on grass stems...


I then pushed my luck and tried for the third bird another 400 yds further up the road. We positioned the car and waited yet again. The sun was sinking fast now and the previous sites were in deep shade. This site however was higher and was still in full sun. Then, out of nowhere there it was, bird number three! This was my lucky day. After watching this stunning bird for a good 15 minutes I managed a few decent shots...

What a fantastic afternoon. I have more, as you can imagine but I've got to go now. Hope you enjoyed the pics. I'll do a summary when I get back...

Monday, 7 December 2015

Cyprus - Day 4

Back to the headland in Paphos at dawn this morning. Nice view...

A Crested Lark was enjoying the first rays of sunshine on the path...

On arrival at the point I began scanning for the target bird. The Golden Plovers were very difficult to see even with the bins as they blended in perfectly with the rocks. I couldn't see anything "different". As the light grew stronger I was hoping for something to didn't.

I then noticed a gull approaching. It circled a few times and then it landed near one of the concrete blocks. I was hoping for something "good". It was...very GOOD!


It continued to preen and as the light got stronger I manged a few more pics of this special Gull...

Note the long neck
Finally the sun was strong and I managed this photo which really illustrates well the head profile of this species...

Rested and was gone...

not great but it does show the diagnostic wing and tail pattern
More scanning! least I'd found another species of Plover, but which one? Time for an identification challenge. I don't see many Kentish/Greater Sand Plovers in Britain!!! My first thought s I'll admit were GS. Simply because of the location...which of course is poor. The more I looked at it the more I became unsure...happens a lot with me! The bill didn't look thick/long enough, the legs too short plus it appeared hunched not elongated. Has to be Kentish...but there's no neck collar? Then again the smudging on the chest suggests GS. I contacted David Walker again for another opinion. He confirmed Greater Sand so that's good enough for me. Here it is...

Comments welcome.

After breakfast we headed for Evertou Reservoir north of Paphos in search of Raptors. We arrived around Noon and I set up my 'scope. Nothing for 45 minutes so we decided to have our lunch. You guessed it, as soon as I sat went to get it out of the car I noticed 2 "shapes" above me. Raptors silently drifting south. After fumbling for the camera I managed to regain my balance and fire off a few shots as they drifted away. This was my best pic of an adult Bonelli's Eagle...

Nothing else was seen in 4 hours but it didn't matter, it was worth the trip for this sighting alone.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Cyprus - Day 3

Started the day back at Lower Ezousas Pools hoping for a wasn't to be. I don't have much luck with this species. I DID however have stunning views of a Moustached Warbler...even though it was pre-dawn...

Taken at 7.05am
A couple of Water Rials also visited the puddle...

Next it was back for Breakfast then down to Paphos Headland to try for the Greater Sand Plover. The headland was bigger then I anticipated and I struggled to be honest. I did make it to the prime site but all I could see were around 50 Golden Plover and a Common Sandpiper...

Time to treat Louise to a nice lunch as a continuing thank you for putting up with my exploits! Paphos is VERY impressive. Lots of nice waterfront bars and restaurants. The blanket BLUE sky helps as well. After an extended lunch (very nice chicken kebabs) I tried to navigate Anarita Park (another Finsch's Wheatear site) but it wasn't clear to me which track to take so we abandoned our attempt and moved on to Aspro' Dam. I was hoping for a raptor or two but it wasn't to be. There was little else around but I did manage a pic of this Sardinian Warbler that showed itself briefly...

To finish I returned to L.E. Pools (puddle) to try again for Bluethroat but again there was no sign.

Heading North up the peninsular tomorrow to try for Cyprus Warbler, Bonelli's Eagle and Long-legged Buzzard. Firstly though, I'll be back on Paphos headland searching for the star Plover...

Saturday, 5 December 2015


Not often I get a LIFE bird these days. So the opportunity to see a "new" bird just couldn't be missed. David had mentioned to me yesterday that Birdlife Cyprus were having a field trip and "The Wheatear" would be one of the target birds. I asked him if it would be OK if we tagged along and he said it would be fine, especially as I'd made a contribution to Birdlife Cyprus!

We met at Asprokremnos Dam car park at 9.30. After a short walk up to the Radio mast (where little was seen) we moved on for a brief stop on the dam itself. The view was spectacular...

The only birds seen here were Grey Heron, Cormorant, Yellow-legged Gulls and this Sardinian Warbler which showed itself briefly...

We then mad our way north along the road to Troodos. We made a stop at a nice cafe and used the facilities. We struck lucky when a group of 9 Griffon Vultures were spotted soaring over the distant hills. This species is quite scarce in Cyprus and David told me that the resident population has recently been supplemented with birds from Crete. They appear to have integrated well.

Onwards now to the FW site at Kadasi. We took the track up into the hills from the main road. As we turned the first corner a FINSCH'S WHEATEAR was spotted on a rock close to the track. I got a conclusive view but the bird was distant...

We saw three birds altogether, all distant.

After lunch the group moved on. After saying goodbye and thanking David again for his help, I decided to hang around a while to see if I could get better views. The group were a very friendly bunch and we both thoroughly enjoyed our morning with them.

Over the next couple of hours I waited patiently for a bird to appear. No luck. Eventually I managed to track one down. I managed a few decent shots but I'm only posting one as the Wi-Fi signal has slowed.

So here it is...another cracking bird...and a LIFER to boot...

Friday, 4 December 2015


Today I met Dave Walker outside the Hotel at 9 and we made our way to the Avagas Gorge to look for the elusive Wallcreeper. I guess it's probably one of the most sought after birds there is. I was lucky enough to see a family in the French Pyrenees when my lads were young but that was over 20 years ago!

We arrived around 9.30 and started our walk up the spectacular gorge...

It was an uncomfortable journey, with frequent stops...but I made it, eventually. We were in position for 10.30...

...but there was no sign of any birds except he large flock of Jackdaws. We then saw Robin...

Wren and Grey Wagtail. Local birds making the most of the micro-climate.

Still no sign by 11. Then, there it was...

David had gone on ahead but was on his way back as we both picked it up simultaneously! Quite a moment for yours truly as I'm sure you can imagine. Since my initial sighting all those years ago, I've looked for this bird with no success on several occasions, so today was special, very special. High fives with David!!

Below are a few passable images from different distances and angles that I managed to grab over the next few hours. Considering the distance and the constant shade they're not too bad. We definitely saw 2 birds...


What a bird...

I even managed a hand held video clip...I think! See below...