East is good! We started at Oroklini Marsh, arriving at 9am following an early breakfast. It's one of many superb sites at this end of the island. Highlights here included
Red-crested Pochard 2 males
Spur-winged Plover 4
Greater Flamingo 50
Ferruginous Duck male
Onto the nearby Achna Dam. We started at the dam end, parked the car and made for a convenient bench. There was a raft with a Cormorant resting on it. There was also a white "lump"...surely not...WHITE PELICAN!!! Very satisfying and very rare in March.
Flushed by this success we headed for the "shallow end". What a superb area with some outstanding habitat. I added...
Little Ringed Plover 10
As we were leaving we crossed a beautiful meadow carpeted with wild flowers. There were hundreds of White Wagtails, Swallows and Swift's present...a remarkable sight! Then I spotted it, a bird I was particularly keen to see. A stunning Black-headed Wagtail. Happy days indeed!! We also had great views of a Hoopoe as we approached the road.
Our final couple of stop were around Larnaca airport. Firstly Menou Pools. There were hundreds of Flamingos present, always a pleasure to see. They weren't my target on this occasion however. I pulled the car up by the edge of the pool and started to scan. Took a while but I don't eventually found 6 Stone Curlews. Nice!
Last stop was the hide overlooking the Sewage works. While I was setting my stall out I could hear the typical scratching noises of a Sylvia Warbler. This one was a fine Sub-Alpine in all it's finery. Yet another pair of Spur-winged Plovers were noted.
THEN...the strangest thing happened! There were hundreds of Swallows around the hide. Some were trying hard to enter obviously nest prospecting. They banged into it on more than one occasion! Then the sound of fluttering wings, I looked down expecting to see a Swallow on the hide floor...but no...I was looking at a...SWIFT!!!
The bird was stunned and lay there motionless. What to do...how about pick it up! I walked down the stairs with it and showed it to Louise. When she'd recovered I asked her to take a pic. Then it was time for the big moment. It seemed to have recovered as it was now scratching my hand and screeching! I threw it gently into the air over some long grass
...and up and away it went... wonderful! A close encounter with one of the most enigmatic species and a personal favourite to boot. I should have videod the moment.
To finish off the best day of the trip so far we flushed a Black Francolin on the way back to the road.