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WEATHER: cloudy with some sunshine. Breezy late afternoon. Top temp 25C

Our early morning session found us out at the Salt Pans on the eastern track, it was a beautiful still morning with superb light. I can’t believe that we still getting almost a full turn out for these pre-breakfast sorties, a group full of enthusiasm and eager to see anything that is put before them.

It stunning out there this morning, very still and beautiful morning light

We walked along the eastern track to view the wader scrapes, we were rewarded for our efforts by finding four new species for the list. A small flock of Common Ringed Plover fed on the muddy bank in the first salt pand, they were with Little Stints, Kentish Plover, Ruff and a few Avocets.

On a dista nnt bankl we found two Stone Curlews, not very active but clear to see in the morning light. Our next new species was also very distant but unmistakably a apir of Black Terns, they were flying along the channel near the ‘salt mountain’and were joined by Common, Little and a single White-winged Tern. Our fourth new species was Ruddy Turstone, they walked about on a rocky outcrop in the a distant salt pan, very distinctive in their summer garb. We never saw a pelican although there were suppose to be 5 still present, but we saw many other species. Zitting Cisticola is making a come-back on the island, just 5 years ago there wasn’t any, now we see and hear them in many places.

After breakfast we set off for the northern shore at Petra, we made a brief stop at the ‘Scops Copse’ to look for a Scops owl but none were easily visible and we gave up fairly quickly. At the raptor watch point in the hills above Kalloni we had more success, it was cloudy but lots of birds were flying., We counted over 20 Ravens, an easter fest of Ravens perhaps? A Goshawk circled the distant hills, whilst Long-legged Buzzards and Short-toed Eagles were common sightings we saw just one Pergrine, one Black Stork and an unnamed very distant Sparrowhawk.

a Large Skipper, many are now on the wing

We stopped at Kavaki which are the slopes above Petra, covered in scrub with some rocky cliffs. As we walked up the hill a raptor was spotted which circled above us, it was another big Eagle and turned out to be an Eastern Imperial Eagle, wowza!! Another rare bird went onto to our list thanks to Dancho who has vast experience with the eastern eagle species and knew what it was more than I did.

Very few warblers were seen at Kavaki, Subalpine Warbler was all we got. But we did get good views of Blue Rock Thrush, a Chukar on a rock, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and a bunch of five Yelkouan Shearwaters flew past.

record shot of the Chukar

We ate our picnic lunch sitting by the Perasma Reservoir, we had hot sunshine and many butterflies were on the wing much to the joy of a few of the group. We saw Southern White Admiral, Black-veined White, Large Skipper, hundreds of Meadow Browns, Painted Lady, Red Admiral and a few others.

The partially drained reservoir looked a bit of a mess, the lining was in tatters and lay in bunched piles all over the place. This did not deter visiting gulls and waders, we saw dozens of yellow-legged Gulls, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover alsp Common Coot, many Ruddy Shelduck and the odd Moorhen.

the Perasma reservoir looks a mess

Our search for a Great Spotted Cuckoo went unrewarded, we drove for several kilometres along a bumpy track making a stop to scan the countryside. We found Jay, Little Owl, Masked and Red-backed Shrikes, Cirl Bunting and many common species but not a cuckoo!

We then drove to Eftalou right on the beach and followed a track all the way to Skala Sykimnias, the scenery was delightful but birdlife was minimal. Vannessa spotted a Golden Oriole from te van and we watched a fledged family of Subalpine Warblers but not much else. The imposing Turkish Coastline drew ever nearer at this point it is only 5 miles away.

Common Sandpiper taken a Perasma Reservoir

A lovely ice-cream and a nice coffee went down well, we sat in a courtyard overlooking the pretty little harbour, all the restaurant were packed with Greek people enjoying an Easter Friday Lunch.

It was hard to drag the group away but I managed to! We drove to the Napi Valley and spent a bit of time looking for Sombre Tit, We were successful but our views of two individual birds were brief. A flock of Bee-eaters were feeding near by which delighted the group. We also watched Masked Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Black-eared Wheatear and some Goldfinches.

two Temminck's Stints taken at Alykes Wetland

Our port of call for the day was the western side of the salt pans, we worked our way from te main road to the ‘salt mountain’ finding several interesting birds.  Our second Citrine Wagtail, a first winter type, was seen in a side channel, we scanned the ‘pans’ for gulls, we were missing Little Gull and Slender-billed Gull and we still are!

Spur-winged Plover

We ‘scoped’ two distant Dalmatian Pelicans, two Spur-winged Plovers, lots of Ruff and Little Stints, a Whiskered Tern and we found a Caspain Gull in flock of Yellow-legged Gulls! Nearby on Alykes Wetland we found two Temminck’s Stints, with Ruff and White Stork, a Red-throated Pipit flew over us and a White Wagtail was also listed.

record shot of the Caspian Gull

We left the salt pans at 6:30 and arrived at the hotel 15 minutes later, it was a rushed job to get ready for dinner at 7:30pm but everyone seemed to manage it. Our list now sits at 162 seen and two extra ‘heard-only’ species. Tomorrow may bring a few more as we going off to see Ruppell’s Warbler and Laughing Dove.