Sunday, 7 December 2014

Walking the dog at the Asprokremmos Dam, Cyprus

I don't have a dog, we're here dog sitting for friends. That's the price of free accommodation and a free car. So today we took the dog for a walk from our house in Nata down to the abandoned village of Finikas on the shore of the Asprokremmos Dam, and on to very nearly the head of the dam itself, a round walk of a good 10 miles.

Most of the best birds were around Finikas, where I found the main target species of the holiday, Finsch's wheatear, a bird which breeds in Turkey and winters in Cyprus. I was pleased to see two spectacular males.

Cyprus pied wheatear breeds here in summer, but most have gone by now. Finsch's wheatear is distinctive because it has a white back, whereas Cyprus pied has a black back. This was a new bird for me.

While we were in the village I noticed two birds of prey flying around the nearby cliffs, and was made up to see that they were Bonelli's eagles, a species which I have seen before but only rarely and never so well.

White body contrasting with a dark looking under wing is a feature of Bonelli's eagle.

The white back is a another feature. Looking at the photographs, I would say that these were juvenile birds.

On the return journey we stopped off at the village again and had more views of the wheatears, but also a bird which at first I thought was a female Finsch's wheatear, but on seeing the photos I now consider to be a juvenile blue rock thrush. I could get used to walking the dog!

Finally, below are a couple of shots of Finikas village.

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