Cyprus birding late September with a heavy focus on studying raptor migration, but made time for a few visits as well to the marshes and pools at Akrotiri and Larnaca.
There's a very amiable birding community of locals and regularly returning visitors and it was good to catch up with all, many thanks for your help both online and in the field.
Please find a summary of repeat visits throughout to Akrotiri for raptor migration and one watch from Cape Greco. A full trip report being worked upon with many Honey Buzzard photos plus birding video compilations coming soon.
Sometimes raptor watching (migration) can be seeing a sky full of raptors, perhaps at distance when it can be like studying a deep field image of galaxies from the Hubble or James Webb telescopes. Whilst this can be good, it can also be confusing or overwhelming at first. I've seen this at Cape May, New Jersey, USA in autumn when the winds are pushing the raptors towards the point, but they remain to thermal to the north rather than passing overhead. Watching raptors on the move will always be exciting, and the experience at Akrotiri was seeing the raptors either lift off locally or move into the area from a northern component, some of which were off heading out over the Mediterranean Sea. Others coming into the area in the afternoons to roost before continuing their journey either the following day or soon after. Raptor watching at the three locations mentioned below had a nice anticipation in waiting to see what was coming through next. For the bigger raptors it was more often than not another Honey Buzzard. But not always so, what friends were tagging along?
Personal totals over the week shown below in which Honey
Buzzards dominated but a nice variety of raptors seen. This included a wandering Bonelli's Eagle, shown opposite, that had 'issues' with the HBs, and Black Kites plus Marsh and Montagu's Harriers through. A good variety of falcons included local Eleanora's Falcons, passage Red-footed Falcons and Falco friends. 'Steppe' Buzzard new for me as was a male Levant Sparrowhawk on a day with several 'Sprawks' clearly on the move. But, not just about the raptors. Bee-eater and hirundine passage was spectacular, always something to see.
Marsh Harriers through (18) and a few Honey Buzzards (11) with Red-footed Falcons (4) moving in, then out. A smart juvenile Montagu's Harrier flew past the point. Barn Swallows and Bee-eaters got going mid-morning with totals of 595 and 127 respectively as well.