Still no birding for me as I try to acclimatise to zero temperatures whilst clearing 10 days of ice off the car, catching up with children and grandchildren, not to mention 80 e-mails or attacking the mountain of post behind the front door, 50% of which I immediately junked; this despite being on a mailing preference list. Oh well, I suppose it keeps the postman in a job plus the paper recyclers, the leaflet writers, designers, printers and packagers, envelope manufacturers and the local authority waste collection crews.
So as Sue gets on with 2 weeks’ worth of washing I’ll be just as productive and post a few pictures and tales from Cyprus until I hit the local patch tomorrow.
Almost everyone who visits Cyprus tours the glorious Roman remains situated on the Pafos headland. It’s a must. The preserved mosaics alone are stunning, but if piles of old stones don’t turn you on, the birding is pretty interesting even in November but out of the busy migration of spring and autumn. The ruins provide lots of perches for birds, with nooks and crannies where insects abound and where between the sloppy Roman pointing and the fallen stonework, plants take root and sparse vegetation flourishes in the dry climate.
The predominant species here were larks, finches, White Wagtails, Stonechats, equal numbers of Black Redstarts and House Sparrows, plus Hooded Crows with smaller numbers of Sardinian Warblers, Blackcaps and Collared Doves; and of course Blue Rock Thrushes, a species designed just for here.
I sat at the top of the amphitheatre ruin and wondered whether Birdius Caesar was familiar with the birds I now watched? Bored with watching lions kill Christians every weekend, sick of the running gladiator battles and the endless chariot races, did he slink out of the back row then set off over the headland to watch the Crested Larks and Skylarks or seek out the Blue Rock Thrushes? And did he secretly admire the kites, Kestrels and Hooded Crows that mopped up after the carnage in the arena; and homesick for Italy, did he yearn for the spring migration that would bring Swallows, Hoopoes and even more raptors heading for Europe?
Lizards were all around, and I’ll wait for DM to point me in the right direction with names, but they are certainly hard to photograph, scuttling off back into the dark shadows at the hint of a toga, a sandaled foot or a waiting Kestrel.
After a hard morning’s slog over the red hot tourist trail there’s nothing better than a cold beer, but as every good birder knows, you don’t go anywhere without bins and camera. And taking a few pictures while propped up in the sun isn’t too taxing especially when a Black Red stops by to share your sunbed.
I hope to get out tomorrow but the overnight forecast is snow falling on top of already treacherous ungritted roads so I think I should play that one by ear.