Wednesday 28 May 2014

Field Trials

I've just bought my wife Jan, a new camera in a somewhat lame attempt to develop her interest in 'wildlife' photography so we can both enjoy holidays with a joint interest in birds. I decided to get to know the camera in the field but as all the fields were sodden with persistent rain I needed somewhere with hides. The Tame valley is probably flooded, so I went to Brandon Marsh near Coventry. The majority of birds of interest were on the main island on the East Marsh lagoon so it would be a good test of the new camera in the poor light. The main target was a pair of Garganey. There was also a single Dunlin.
Garganey, Brandon Marsh N.R.
Pair of Garganey

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Yellow Wagtails

Monday 26th May 2014
Not much to blog about recently, it was only towards the end of the week that I really did any local birding and then there wasnt a lot to talk about. Managed to catch up with the remaining warblers I hadnt seen and had good views of Cuckoo, Kingfisher, Lesser spotted Woodpecker at various sites in the Tame valley but generally not much to get excited about unless you were prepared to venture further afield.
Checking through the Photos from Cyprus again I found a quite interesting shot of a Wagtail I'd taken on a Football field. Most wagtails would have migrated through Cyprus much earlier and such is the variety and number of sub-species/intergrades that I usually dont spend alot of time sorting them out to sub species etc. but with so few wagtails to photograph I got the big book out to look at these.
Yellow Wagtail, showing features of Montacilla flava beema (female)
Yellow Wagtail, probably Montacilla flava feldegg (female)

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Cyprus - May 2014, in conclusion

Unfortunately no great 'finds', this year just the regular late migrants. That said the Birdlife was still fascinating with great birds in some wonderful habitat. The final few images didnt 'fit in' with earlier posts, sort of odds and sods.
Red rumped Swallow, Choletria
Red-backed Shrike, Phasori
Plain Tiger
Spotted Flycatcher - everywhere
Cretzschmar's Bunting, Akamas
Sardinian warbler - female
Spectacled warbler - female

Monday 19 May 2014

Cyprus 2014 Agia Varvara - Grasshoppers, Lizards and Birds (and Goats)

An open area of hillsides easily accessible from Paphos and yet quiet and undisturbed, the area just up the road from Agia Varvara offers habitat for a large variety of insects, lizards and birds, in particular Raptors. The following images show just a few of the many species to be found there.
Red footed Falcon, female, Agia Varvara
Red footed Falcon, male
Red footed Falcon
Stone Curlew
Little Owl
Great spotted Cuckoo
Great spotted Cuckoo
Great spotted Cuckoo
Other species seen included Montagues Harrier, Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, Black eared Wheatear, Red rumped Swallow and Spectacled Warbler.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Cyprus - May 2014

Zakaki tip and Ladies Mile
Had 2 visits to this area one in heavy rain and one in sunshine.
Birds seen included. Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Black winged Stilt, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper,Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Temmincks Stint, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Ferruginous Duck, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Little Tern, Citrine Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail (Blue headed, Black headed), Turnstone, Pallid Swift.

Paphos area: this included Mandria, Agia Varvara, Kouklia, Asprokremnos Res, Mavrokolympos Res.

Mandria produced Collared Pratincole, Stone Curlew, Northern Wheatear, Short toed Lark, Black Francolin, Eleanora's Falcon, Marsh Harrier, Shag, Mediterranean Shearwater(off shore), Whiskered tern and Fan tailed Warbler.
At Agia Varvara were at least 30 Kestrels, Lesser Kestrel, Red footed Falcon, Little Owl, Roller, Great spotted Cuckoo, Black eared Wheatear, Whinchat, Spectacled Warbler, Hoopoe, Stone Curlew and Montague's Harrier.
The 'Finikas' end of the Asprokremnos Res. had Alpine Swift, Red rumped Swallow, Pied Flycatcher, Long legged Buzzard and Bonelli's Eagle.
Kouklia pools were completely dry. The Orchards had Bee eater and Long legged Buzzard but little else. Mavrokolylympus Res was also quiet.
Bonelli's Eagle, Kholetria
Alpine Swift, Kholetria
Alpine Swift
Black eared Wheatear, Agia Varvara
Crested Lark, juv., Mandria
Collared Pratincole, Mandria
Collared Pratincole
Hoopoe, Agia Varvara
Bee eater, Kouklia

Friday 16 May 2014

Cyprus - May, 2014

Based at Paphos, Jan and I enjoyed our annual Spring visit to Cyprus.We spent most of our time walking familiar tracks around the local farmland and on the Akamas peninsular. Although most of the birds had migrated through earlier there are always the late migrating species, stragglers and of course the resident breeders. I should say that after the furore in Malta we saw no signs of illegal hunting activity. Although there are spent cartridges everywhere, they were all rusty presumably discarded during the winter shooting. I'm sure if you looked hard enough though in the mountain passes for example, there would be signs of illegal activity. Development of land for housing and the demands for water may be a greater long term threat.
The weather was rather mixed ranging from torrential storm to hot sunshine. It was on one on the wetter days we took a drive to Ladies Mile pools, Zakaki and Phasori Reed beds near Limassol. It was a pleasant surprise to find an observation tower/hide had been put up since last year. It gave great views over the first pool which attracted a variety of Waders, Terns, Ducks and Passerines. Despite the rain I was able to take some photographs in relative comfort.
Great Reed Warbler,Zakaki
Great Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Wood Sandpiper, by far the commonest Wader at the pool.
Curlew Sandpiper
Citrine Wagtail
Little Tern, luckily the sun was out on the second visit to the Limassol area, giving the opportunity for some flight shots from the hide.