10-09-2005

Our arrival the 9th was too late in the day to do any serious birding. So we collected our car and drove -mostly in the dark- to our apartment in Pomos. Pomos is a very small town, situated about 20 km north east of Polis, on the north coast of the western part of Cyprus. The apartment was great with a balcony overlooking the sea and an exceptional cold pool. This morning I got up early to start what became the best birding day on the island. I started at our apartment and walked around Pomos into the hills inland. The first birds showed before sunrise: large flocks of Grey andPurple Heron migrated to the west, apparently to the Akamas peninsula to feed.
First interesting warbler was a Sardinian but the fun really started a few minutes later with three warblers chasing each other, being of three different species: Sardinian chased by a beautiful male Cyprus Warbler (my best sighting of this species) and a stunning Ruppell’s Warbler overlooking it all! Apparently Ruppell’s is rare during autumn migration. And the fun was not over yet. While walking up a hill in the outskirts of town my first wheatear proved to be a female Finch Wheatear! Unfortunately it flew off quite quick, never to be seen again. And a bit further up the hill I found the second Cyprus endemic and my first new species: Cyprus Wheatear. Other interesting birds during this early morning trip were: Red-backed ShrikeChukar and Crested Lark.
During breakfast on our balcony a flock of Little Egrets flew over sea with one Squacco Heron among them.
An afternoon trip to Polis and the Baths of Aphrodite in the Akamas peninsula (signposted from Polis) was good for a few new common species including my first Bee-eater and a few genuine (?) Rock Pigeons.
In the centre of Polis a flower pot held the first interesting butterfly: African Grass Blue. A Swallowtail was flying in a small park in Polis.
Late afternoon was used to explore the hills south of Pomos with the first Red-rumped Swallows and the endemic subspecies of Coal Tit and Jay.
All in all a very good start to the trip.