Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sun, Sea & Suspicious Holiday Makers

Suspicious being the perfect word because when your chilling out poolside with a pair of binocs it  doesn't look good no matter how you try and dress it up.
"Erm I'm a bird watcher...."(whack!) 
You always get the feeling that fellow sun seekers think your quite simply perving on the nearest Czech or Cypriot hotty, and for the majority of the time that was not the case...
....What? Don't judge me, you can't tell me you've never took a cheeky glance whilst hiding behind those shady sunglasses. How dare you....

Ermm where were we ....oh yeah Cyprus, that little island in the Med, well it was home to myself and the boss(the other half) for the past two weeks.
We were in Cyprus because one of my best mates was getting married over there, and we doubled this up as as both a chance to celebrate the wedding with friends and as a holiday as a couple. This in turn resulted in a holiday which was not birding focused, I digress much drinking and sunbathing ensued. I did however, indulge when I could. Taking myself off on little walks around the local area or just keeping a watchful eye around the pool and beach, Binocs at the ready should I need to take visual aim. 

Home for the 2 weeks was the Cyprotel Maris near Paphos 
The poolside and around the hotel complex was home to handful of regular species of bird. A handful of Collared Dove zipped backwards and forwards, stopping now and again to drink the pool water. Multiple small flocks of House Sparrow were an ever present sight, due to the major decline of these in England, there cheeps and chirps were a joy to hear. Long gone are the days I hear them on mass in local hedgerows. A real shame.  Feral Pigeon adorned the rooftops of the hotel and a lone Kestrel would do the rounds and zip through daily, generally at the same time. The hotel and Cyprus in general was abundant with many a murder of Hooded Crow, a lifer bird for me, believe it or not.
Now despite them being pretty much a Carrion Crow with a grey feathered Gilet on, I was rather excited at their presence.

Hooded Crow
We did have a couple species of reptilian keeping us company, the Sling Tailed Agama being the more predominant. Though it goes by several names including; Slagama, Star Lizard, Hardim, Stellion & Painted Dragon.
I prefer Sling Tailed Agama, makes it sound more prehistoric.

Sling Tailed Agama

Keeping a watchful eye
After a few days we transitioned from lounging around the pool to lounging around the beach and sea, a stones throw from the pool.....equally as lazy really, blast my fit and active intentions! I will defend myself however, I did hit the hotel gym on numerous occasions.
So we spent time relaxing under the burning sun on the beach and it was at this moment the game changed For it was in a small man made bay by the beach that the kingfisher was king. Day in day out he spent hours in this small bay fishing, surrounded by holiday makers. A brilliant view, at one point I took a swim into the water of the bay and got with 6 feet of him. He just stared back, not phased at all. Amazing!

'Kingy Bay'

A five minute walk South West took you to a small headland of rock, scrub and rocky shore. There were 4 Crested Lark feeding and singing here, as well as a lone Wheatear.  I stumbled upon an Ocellated Skink whilst lifting a piece of tattered carpet, a near threatened species.

Crested Lark

Northern Wheatear
This pretty much sums up the extent of my wildlife and bird watching in Cyprus, lets not forget I was on holiday after all. ;)
Keep an eye on the blog, the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page over the coming weeks and months for more regular updates about what I've been up to in the North East......