Cooling Marshes, Kent, 7th December 2014

Tuesday, 14 April 2015


In a normal situation for me this flock might consist of several hundred whistling wigeon and that stony, grey sky would fill a winters afternoon on the Thames estuary. But this time these birds are garganey and it was Akrotiri beach they flew over last week.

I've never seen a flock of garganey like this before, it was quite a spectacle as they rushed overhead, clicking like hundreds of snap-happy tourists on their travels...

Monday, 6 April 2015

Hoopoes, shrikes and honey bread

You know how it is, you open the front door, a hoopoe flies past and there’s a lesser whitethroat skulking in the beaming orange tree across the yard...

Here are some photos from my first few weeks in Cyprus, where I'm volunteering as breeding bird field surveyor with BirdLife Cyprus for the next four months. It's been a great start - a lot of new info, sites and stunning birds; my brain is scratching to the sound of sylvias galore, the chatter of house sparrows and swallows is never far away. It took a few days to adjust to the fact that migrants I’d be waiting weeks and months for in England were already here. This weekend, in Pafos Forest, a Nightjar swept up into our headlights from a carpet of pine needles at the side of a road.

The new patch is immense, it's like Cliffe on steroids, it even has flamingos (if you squint)...

Akrotiri Salt Lake, Limassol in the background

My primary focus at the moment is atlas surveys and breeding bird transects (including nocturnal visits) which has taken me to some beautiful locations the length of the island...

And what's it all about...

The endemic Cyprus Warbler (Sylvia melanothorax), near Agros - an important breeding species 
Masked Shrike, Troodos foothills, 30th March
Black Francolins find a prominent perch to sing from
Greater Sand Plover (male), Lady's Mile, 28th March

Or possibly what it's really all about -

Cyprus is amazing.