Makara Beach Café - Upper Tsiknias River – Potomia Valley – Kalloni Salt Pans and Alykes Wetland

WEATHER: sunny all day, light winds, very hot. Top temp 32C

We took an early breakfast again today and at 7am we set off to the Upper Tsiknias River where we planned to search for two species of cuckoo. It was a beautiful morning, a clear sky, hardly a whiff of air and some stunning scenery, it was an uplifting experience, you know it's special when you get that ‘glad to be alive feeling’.

The track we took rose into the rocky hills above Arisvi and bird song rang out from all directions but one of the first birds seen was silent. It was a Chukar, perched high up on a ridge, sitting on a  dry stone wall, we had great ‘scope views of it.

Chukar - this bird was a long way off

In the nearby scrub we found Common Whitethroat, Orphean Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, both Red-backed and Woodchat Shrikes, Cirl Bunting, Black-headed Bunting and the annoying Corn Bunting but we never had a sniff of a cuckoo!

Common Whitethroat

Before we set off to lunch we drove to the beach area behind the salt oans to search the tamarisk scrub for Bush Robin, it was beautiful out there, the sea was flat calm. All we saw were Corn Buntings, Crested Larks and a paur of Olivaceous Warblers.

The peir off the beach behind the salt pans - see how calm the sea is!

For lunch we drove into Arisvi and bought picnic supplies at the supermarket. We then drove the short distance to Kalloni’s abandoned 5-a-side football field where mature eucalyptus trees offer some nice shade and the opportunity to look at Scop’s Owl again. With lunch finished and Scop’s Owl in the camera we set off for the Potomia Valley to finish our search for cuckoos.

Scops Owl

An area of flat cultivated land surrounded by high ridges was the first place we stopped as we approached Potomia. It was an idea place for raptor watching so that is what we did and over the next hour we watched Long-legged Buzzards on their nest, Short-toed Eagle, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel and Eurasian Sparrowhawk.

By the time we reached the Potomia Valley it was very hot, we saw a Sombre Tit very briefly and lots of common birds but bird activity was minimal and we were all feeling the heat. So we gave up and headed back to the hotel where we took an hour’s break from 3-4pm.

Only 2 of us turned out for the evening salt-pan session, so we asked Richard, a fellow guest at our hotel, to join us again. The wader numbers had reduced again, fewer Ruff and Little Stints were present and now you have to search for a Wood Sandpiper. Half a dozen Curlew Sandpipers were nice to watch and a small flock of 13 Whiskered Terns joined 4 White-winged Terns and together with the usual Little & Common Terns they made it a lovely afternoon birding session.

A quick stop at the ford of the Tsiknias River produced Little Bittern and two Common Greenshanks were found near the mouth of the river.

It had been a struggle today with the heat, we were chasing a few species still missing from our list and that is always hard. We added just one new species, Chukar, to the trip list. Tomorrow we have 3 hours birding before we have to leave for the airport.