Wednesday, 3 February 2016

CYPRUS 2016 - Day 5

Just landed home!

Apologies again for the jumbled prose and pictures. Gremlins in the Hotel internet I'm afraid. It even managed to post incorrect pictures somehow. Never mind, it's only my Blog after all! Good job I don't take it TOO seriously...or myself for that matter.

Anyway, back to my report.

Today (Sunday) was all about rare Kingfishers...hopefully. I persuaded Louise to make an early start from Perlovia as I wanted to be at Zakaki Marsh at dawn. So we left the Hotel at 5.45. Cyprus has an excellent motorway from Paphos to Larnaca, so we arrived at ZM within the hour. The Mall or more to the point Costa Coffee didn't open until 8.30, so I made my way to the hide and Louise had a snooze in the car...which was much appreciated.

It was a dull start to the day. The first birds seen were 4 Herons leaving their roost and waking up the immature Flamingo that had been strangely in residence for a few days.

My target was the PIED KINGFISHER. Common across it's range in Africa and Asia it occurs annually in Cyprus but can be hard to pin I was finding out! I was hoping this would be my best chance, relying on it paying an early morning visit to the Marsh.

This was the scene...

As you can see there's only a small area of open water but it was my best (and last) shot. It was past 7.30 now but still dull. The Flamingo was on it's island preening but there was nothing of note only Mallard, Coot and Moorhen. A few Cetti's Warblers had struck up and I had a brief view of a Moustached Warbler hoping through the reeds.

7.35 still nothing.


The star had arrived!

I thought I'd post a series of images to illustrate the next 30 minutes with this fantastic looking bird. They are of varying quality (as usual) but they hopefully convey the spirit of the bird as it went about it's early morning routine. No feeding was witnessed, just preening and bathing until it left at 8.15.

It had 2 perches. left and right of the water both low down on a reed which bent over the water with it's weight. The flight shots are obviously heavily blurred, due to the low light and distance (c50m).

So there you go...success! The undoubted highlight of my trip. It's always good when a plan pays off. Moorhen, Coot, Mallard...PIED KINGFISHER...on a small piece of open water by the docks! Ironically it did a short hover right in front of the hide at eye-level but it was only brief and too quick for me to capture. It then perched on the wires right above our car!! Louise was now much closer to the bird than I was, not that she cared as she read her novel...

It flew south towards Ladies Mile at 8.16 calling loudly.


I spent the rest of the day trawling Phassouri Marsh in search of the WHITE-BREASTED KINGFISHER. I must have used up all my luck as I didn't connect with this ultra-elusive species, made all the more difficult as it isn't tied to water!!

No matter. I was very satisfied with my prize.

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