Collecting the car I realised I was surrounded by whirling House Martins in the underground garage , all near the exit, but not venturing outside. The first youngsters from an early nesting ?
On to the Troodos on what was Good Friday in Cyprus for the Greek Orthodox Church. Few people were around and we soon were at the final area you can reach. It was calm, became bright and pleasantly warm and a walk along a summit trail was a real joy. Cuckoo's called down in the valley, Cyprus Pied Wheatear chased among the sparse mature trees, a Hoopoe put on a fine display and Coal and Great Tits enveloped the whole atmosphere in song and calls. A Turtle Dove called and Blackbirds quietly foraged on the woodland floor . Swifts whirled among the trees and I finally pinned down a Pallid Swift. Both Common and Pallid breed in the villages nearby apparently. Despite walking several trails ,and really enjoying the atmosphere and surroundings , no Short-toed Treecreeper came my way so down the winding road we went, meeting ever increasing numbers of cars ascending higher to the much favoured restaurants located at higher elevations.
Rabbit Farm pools was the next stop which provided a couple of Marsh Sandpiper and Little Stint, a single LRP and a couple of Common Sandpiper. Over 20 Ruff in tremendous plumage were extremely excitable and spooked at every opportunity, clearly on the brink of setting off on the next leg of their migration. It was now 24 C so warming up a little. A small party of Bee-eaters flew over in a cloudless blue sky so we never saw any of them and 19 Collared Pratincole were around.
A deliberate trawl of the "heath/scrub areas of the Akrotiri peninsula and that surrounding Lady's Mile produced 10 male Red-backed Shrike, all showing off their colours and hunting expertise. Locate the shrike rather became the end game of the day, but was productive and satisfying.
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