Thursday, 26 May 2011

Cyprus 9th – 22nd May 2011: Introduction

We’d (Jenny and I) booked a late spring break over on the Greek side of Cyprus staying on the south coast in a relatively quiet hillside town called Pissouri for two weeks (with her parents joining us for the second week). At the time of booking the villa we had no real idea about the location other than it was fairly central to some of the areas we’d like to visit such as the Paphos and Kourion Archaeological Sites with fairly easy access to the Trodos areas and several beaches.

This was not a birding trip, more a relaxing in the sun and seeing some sights etc and due to the date I wasn’t really holding out too much hope of much but was hopeful I’d get a couple of lifers such as Black Francolin, Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler and connect with most, if not all of the endemic sub-species present.
Due to being really busy at work in the weeks prior to the trip I’d not really done my usual amount of research but did manage to get hold of Stagg and Hearl ‘A Birdwatching Guide to Cyprus’ which had some useful information but seemed a little out of date and I did get a couple of fairly recent trip reports off the internet, one of the most useful being one from May 2010 by P.M. Callagher which provided some useful more up-to-date information.

We flew from Leeds-Bradford to Paphos with Jet2. We hired a car from Avis, an Opel Zafira, which had plenty of room with not a great deal of go! Although we’d pre-booked and pre-paid our car we still had to wait in a queue for well over an hour on arrival which wasn’t the most pleasing. It appeared however to be much cheaper doing it this way with people booking cars on arrival paying between double and triple what we’d paid.

I managed to get to a few of the decent ‘well-known’ birding sites but generally these were visited not at the best times of day for birding so as a result I probably missed birds at these sites. I also know I missed stuff as I was driving round as I wasn’t really able to stop for everything I saw.

A bonus was that the villa randomly selected turned out to be on Cape Aspro, a really good migrant spot along the south coast half way between Paphos Headland and the Akrotiri Peninsula. Although late in the season there appeared to be birds moving through throughout the two weeks, more so in the first and included some good and a couple of scarce/rare ones too I believe.

I ended on 112 species with an interesting range of reptiles, plants and butterflies being recorded too.

Over the next few days I’ll stick on some daily accounts followed by a species list. I’ll include a few photos along the way, some from my phone (generally phone-binned) or from Jenny’s dad’s camera from the second week. We had a really good time and I’m already planning a proper birding trip back there for next year!

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