Day Four – 5th April
Both me and Pete were decidedly groggy this morning ! We had gone down to the hotel bar for a couple of games of pool when I learnt that the cocktails were only 2 euros! I also learnt that Cypriots don’t measure spirits out like we do! So after four cocktails I could hardly walk straight ! So we made it to Cape Greco by about 7am. It was difficult to find much around the Cape itself but the pines area again came up trumps with a stonking male Semi-collared Flycatcher ( a big lifer for Pete) and 2 Collared Flycatchers, it was also nice to see another Blue Rock Thrush and get some better photo’s.
|Blue Rock Thrush|
|Eastern Black Eared Wheatear|
After Greco we planned to explore Larnaca and then kill some time in the afternoon to wait it out for Cyprus Scops Owl (we had been given a couple of sights by the Cyprus Bird Recorder close to Larnaca). Armed with Gosney’s guide to Southern Cyprus ( which is excellent but his directions sometimes are a bit random, only slightly better than mine would be!) we wanted to check the Salt Lakes around the airport but we were a tad lost. Pete decided to pull off the road to check Google Maps and as he stopped and with the reactions of a cat ( I’ve never seen him move so quickly!) he put his bins up to a bird running around in the stubble field next to our car, I knew it was good before I looked at it by Pete’s reaction but I was totally stunned when I eyeballed what it was ‘ It’s a Cream Coloured Courser mate’ and we both just looked at each other stunned! Now there are some birds that you always hope to see in life and you wonder how good they will look in real life, well all I can say is that Cream Coloured Courser is even more stunning than you could hope for! This desert dweller is seriously stunning but also has an edge to it, like it knows it’s good looking and would probably peck your eye out if it had a chance! Quite why it was running around in a stubble field is still beyond me, it was also a total fluke that we even stopped when we did , but that’s how birding goes I guess, sometimes you can work so hard to see something different and fail whilst other times the birds almost find you.
|Cream Coloured Courser|
After the Courser I have to admit we hardly checked Larnaca at all, we were both still buzzing and I hardly even bothered checking the Salt Lakes as the heat haze was really bad. So from here we checked Kiti Dam which is supposed to be good for migrants, I’m sure it is but we didn’t feel that comfortable in the area and it was by far the worse place we saw for hunting / bird shooting evidence, there were gun shells everywhere! So we carried on to Potenta Point, what a stunning little place this was! So unspoilt and it also had a nice variety of birds. I had a sunbathe on the beach and a little snooze but still saw a smart male Collared Flycatcher , 2 Pallid Harrier, 1 Purple Heron, 2 Red Rumped Swallow and a Hoopoe.
By now it was starting to get dark so we headed a few miles inland to a small village to search for the endemic Cyprus Scops Owl. I had seen them on a previous visit but for Pete it was a must to get one as after all Cyprus is the only place in the world where they occur. Now as much as I like looking for Owls it does involve being out at night in a foreign country in the middle of nowhere and both of us have a track record for ‘incidents’ in the past ( it isn’t easy explaining that you are looking for Owls to the Police and Fire brigade believe me!) so we are both usually a little on edge. But tonight seemed ok, with a bit of patience we soon located up to three Cyprus Scops Owl’s in the countryside surrounding the village and all seemed good in the world. Then things changed ! We had got back into the car and Pete had the internal light on messing with the sat nav on his phone to get us back to Proteras. All of a sudden a spider spiralled down on its web inside the car right in front of me on the front dash! Now I don’t know much about spiders but I noticed a weird red shape on its body and it looked pretty evil , oh great a Black Widow? I went into a bit of a meltdown! All I could say was ‘ PETE PETE LOOK!’ whilst I pointed at the window! But poor Pete got excited and thought I was looking at an Owl outside so he leaned right forward with a funny look on his face and said ‘ oohh where??’ turning his head from side to side! Now this knocked the spider off it’s web and I was gone! In a flash I was out of that car and running away! When I was a safe distance I told him about the spider and Pete went in to his manager mode, swatting the spider out the car and we headed on our way! Pete calmed himself down, realised he touched a spider, did a massive shudder and asked me to never mention the spider again! Which of course I did many times as it was so funny! But at the end of the holiday and at the airport a few days later we googled the spider and it turned out to be a Cyprus Brown Widow. ‘ bites are painful but rarely fatal, limbs may balloon to twice the normal size and may also lead to vomiting and muscle cramps that can last for up to 5 days.’ That is one good thing about England, we don’t really have any creatures that can f#ck you over! All in all an eventful day!
Cape Greco: 9 Nightingale, 2 Collared Flycatcher, 1 Semi-collared Flycatcher, 1 Blue Rock Thrush, 1 Common Redstart, 3 Eastern Black-eared Wheatear
Larnaca: 1 Cream Coloured Courser
Potenta Point: 1 Purple Heron, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Black Franklin, 2 Red Rumped Swallow, 1 Collared Flycatcher, 1 Hoopoe, 1 Reed Warbler
3 Cyprus Scops Owl, 5 Stone Curlew