It's been a long period of staying at home due to the global Covid-19 pandemic and most of us are tentatively looking towards the future and foreign birding trips. Cyprus is currently on the UK's Amber List and if you are fully vaccinated all that is required for entry is an online form to be filled out. Upon arrival, everyone will be tested by the local Cypriot authorities. And that is it! The FCO have cleared UK citizens to travel to Cyprus so your holiday insurance is not affected.
That's the technical bit over with. And now for the good stuff......
We are staying at a private villa on the west coast of Cyprus where we will be catered for without the need of visiting local restaurants. This tour is only for a select group of 6 people maximum staying at our villa for 7 nights. We will have six and a half days birding where our primary focus will be on seeing the 3 endemics: Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Scops Owl, as well as exploring all the regular headlands and wetlands in search of a plethora of spring migrants. We will also head up into the Troodos Mountains for a number of endemic subspecies. We mighttake a break in the middle of the day and take advantage of our swimming pool and have lunch at the villa before heading out again in the late afternoon, or we'll be out birding all day. it depends just how good the migration is.
As well as the 3 main endemics, there's a whole host of mouth-watering possibilities for us to look for and the following list is a 'Who's Who' of eastern Mediterranean specialities such as Black Francolin, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Spotted, Baillon's & Little Crakes, Pallid & Montagu's Harriers, Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli's Eagle, Greater Sandplover, Slender-billed Gull, Whiskered, Black and White-winged Terns, Great Spotted Cuckoo, European Roller, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Black-eared Wheatear, Masked, Lesser Grey, Woodchat & Red-backed Shrikes, Red-throated and Tawny Pipits, Thrush Nightingale, Eastern Olivaceous, Spectacled, Eastern Bonelli's, Sardinian & Ruppell's Warblers and both Ortolan & Cretzschmar's Bunting amongst many others.
Cyprus has all the elements of a classic birding destination with anything possible: there's flocks of shorebirds moving through, flocks of terns, hirundines, wheatears, shrikes, warblers, pipits and buntings. Add to this great weather, great food and a fantastic private villa. Sounds horrible right? So for a first foray overseas after a while, then this could be just the ticket. Let's go birding.