A WALK ON THE WILDSIDE---PAUL FOSTER

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Sunday, 20 October 2019

Redwing invasion!

Plenty of Redwing are on the move at the moment.These images were taken at Spurn on the east coast last week.It looks like it has been a bumper year for the berry crop, which will suit all the thrushes that come to over-winter on our shores.I have had a few small flocks of Redwing ,on my local patches they have moved inland too.I love standing in the garden, during the hrs of darkness listening to the seep, seep of the birds, as they fly overhead!..Thanks again for dropping by & keep well!




Saturday, 19 October 2019

Falcons around Akrotiri,Sept 2019

Marsh Harriers are always a welcome sight on the Marsh.Whilst hidden in the reeds,I surprised this one hunting along the edges!
A quick run over to the Gravel Pits area, near to Agios Georgeos church proved quite worthwhile, this juveniles Montagues Harrier dropped in for a rest and afforded me exceptional views at about 40 metres.I didn't even have to get out of the car!
It only stayed for about 10 mins, but it certainly made my day there!!
A couple of fly-by Eleonora's falcon were noted back at the marsh.They would often drop out of sight ,behind the reedbeds,then suddenly appear quite close!
I crept around the reedbeds with the aid of wellingtons and stumbled across a couple of falcons having a drink and preen!
Eleonora's again taking a breather!!
Juv Montague's on its way South!!
Eleonora,s fly-by.
A few Honey Buzzard were migrating South ,throughout the day.Again I made the most of the opportunity with the camera!!
Thanks again for dropping by and taking the time to view my blog.Cyprus is a wonderful place to visit in Sept.Always good weather, great variety of birds and damn good company from the ex pat bird-watchers!!!

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Cyprus..Lady's Mile Waders

A few recent images from a day out in Akrotiri,at a place called Lady's Mile,Southern Cyprus.Usually this is a really good bet for the various types of wader that stop off here to refuel and rest up on their migration South.It can be a hit or miss affair in Autumn,depending on water levels.When I was there in mid September,there was still enough water on the salt marsh to tempt the waders to drop in.

 The main wader there in any numbers were Kentish Plover,accompanied by a few common Ringed Plover.A few Dunlin had been present ,the previous few days, but non were to be found this particular morning.A bird that I had hoped to see was Broad Billed Sandpiper,two had been reported in  the area the previous day, but look as I might,I could not pick them out!!!
 Good numbers of Little Stint were mixed in with the Plovers,giving excellent views in the early morning light!!


 The juveniles were busy probing and feeding in the rich mud there, conspicuous by their prominent white stripes down their back!!Thanks for dropping by and viewing the waders, another episode from Cyprus will follow shortly!!


Sunday, 6 October 2019

Sept in Cyprus

Unfortunately on my first morning out,I was to be greeted by the local Cypriot hunters, who do not discriminate about where and what they shoot,I had forgotten that it was Sunday, and It sounded like bonfire night around my local reservoir,honestly!After much deliberation,I decided to venture out and see what, if anything, was about.The Eastern side of the reservoir seemed quiet compared with other areas, so I took my chance!

This guy was definitely giving me the evil eye, though I was a good 500 yds away!!

 Moving on away from the local hunters, a  few birds were on the move.A nice Cyprus Wheatear showed quite well,of which there were many!!
 Red backed shrike were in attendance further up the track too!
 Whilst sat in my usual spot by the reservoir, this juvenile Honey buzzard gave me a nice fly past.It's surprising what actually comes along, when you are settled and patient!
 A real rarity in Britain,the Turtle dove landed 50 metres away ,atop a prickly mediterranean hawthorn.Lets hope, like the many other birds, it survived the gangs of hunters, that were marauding around the hillsides!!
 A common migrant over in Cyprus is the Whinchat.Mid September seems peak period for these moorland birds.A few pairs are still hanging on, in my local area, but they really have diminished in numbers!!!

It was always magical to hear the flutey calls of the Bee-eaters as they passed over over your head.You would always hear them first, before you saw them.Usually in small flocks and sometimes, up to 30 birds would pass over.Always a favourite of the many wires that criss cross the farmlands, they would perch up for a well earned rest on their Southern journey!

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Mid March in Cyprus 2019

Having returned from Cyprus recently,I thought that I,d post a few images from my Spring trip there.I was fortunate to be out there for a full 3 weeks this time, and decided to go mid March.Birds were being reported widely, so I was hoping to cash in on a few warbler species this time!A lifer for me was this Eastern Bonellis warbler, of which there were many!

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Its pale underparts definitely stood out ,amongst the many Chiffchaffs that were present!


A truly stunning little warbler with its dark wing patches.Never still and characteristics all to its self!


The only Eastern Orphean Warbler I was to encounter, suddenly appeared atop a small bush and gave me a good 5 minute runaround before I obtained a few images.


Again this was a lifer for me and having missed one the previous day on Paphos headland, was a very pleasing find!


Common Rockthrush.This one was found in Anarita Park and drew many an observer.It stayed for a couple of days and gave pleasing views.Actually,although brightly coloured, it was sometimes very difficult to locate amongst the many thorny stems and bushes!


A few are usually reported in the park every Spring passing through to their breeding grounds!


Another first for me on the island!!


Subalpine Warbler were beginning to be reported in the last few days and I was keen to catch up with this colourful species.


I chanced upon this one whilst out with a friend that lives on the island,a keen birder himself, this one was around the crop fields of Mandria and gave prolonged views!


A quite diminutive warbler, never still and constantly keeping within cover.Sometimes it would disappear for 5 mins, then reappear 20 yds away!!


Another first too.I was really clocking up the new species that I encountered.I have been to Cyprus many times before around Springtime,and week by week new species come in at different times.Thanks for looking in on the blog and I will post more images shortly!!!


Friday, 20 April 2018

Cyprus 5

A 4.30 meet up with Albert and we were on our way up to the Troodos mountains and Mt Olympus.Albert had told me about a track through the woods, near to a Cypriot army base, where a wagon had left tyre tracks in the soft clay over the winter period.This had then filled up with water and provided the local birds with a readymade drinking and bathing area.A welcome retreat for them to cool off.Albert was going to set up his hide adjacent to the track, and I was going to use the car as my hide, with a blind covering the window!Arriving before first light, we were both in position by 6.15am.Anticipation was great, as Albert mentioned that sooner or later, the birds would be going about their daily routine.The Crossbill is a bird of the pines and I was hopeful of encountering this rather stocky bird with its peculiar bill.True to form after about an hours wait,I could hear the chip, chip,chip call as 3 females and a juvenile dropped into the trees at the side.They were ever so cautious, weighing up any particular signs of danger.It seemed like an age ,before 1 decided that it was safe to drop down onto the pool, accompanied by a Chaffinch! 
 They would descend from the top branches very cautiously, before committing themselves to a drink.

 This female was only 6  metres away from my position, but as always in woodland, the light was all over the place!

 A Serin called from within the canopy, before it too decided to make its way to the pool!
 Short toed treecreeper was a first for me, talk about camouflage against the tree bark..amazing!
 Another bird that I was hoping to see was Hawfinch,it wasn't long before one dropped in to drink!
 Female Crossbill,I was hoping for a crimson coloured male, but it wasn't to be.Have to save that one for a future trip!!

 With all the kernels from the pine cones consumed, they have to supplement the diet with copious amounts of water!

 Tentatively quenching its thirst.Maybe 10 seconds of drinking and they were back in the treetops.They never seemed to stay on the ground long!
 It was just a shame that the light couldn't,t get through the treetops, but I suppose this kept the water quite cool for the birds!

 It's not often that you encounter a Treecreeper on the ground but the draw of water brings them down!He never seemed to be away from the pool!
 Siskin were amongst the species  seen.It was like a mini oasis, a proper watering hole.
 A male Hawfinch visited maybe 6 times whilst we were there.Something was always going on at the pool!
 Two Jays hung around for an age before deciding to drink.They were extra cautious and extremely shy and would take flight at the slightest movement.It took a good few attempts before they were confident to drink!They differ from our birds by having a reddish forehead, striped black moustache, bright blue feathers which are also also striped with black!
 The Jay is one of the 4 endemic birds native to Cyprus too, along with the Coal Tit and Treecreeper,the 4th one is Scops Owl!
 Coal Tit,different to our species!
A Short Toed Treecreeper ascends the tree trunk, looking for insects and spiders!
It seemed strange to see one on the Ground,but like the rest of the birds it must take on water!A surprise visit was made by this Woodlark below,I didn't think for one minute that I would see one of these up Mt Olympus!
So this is what it all the fuss was about,2 small tyre tracks left by an army truck, which captured some of the winter rains.Unfortunately it drys up very quickly with the  heat,so the birds will have to find another source of water to quench their thirst and bathe.Albert tells me he usually brings with him a 35 litre barrel of water to supplement the stocks..every little helps I suppose.The large rocks in the pool are purposely left there to deter vehicles from driving through it, a very good ploy!Possibly this was one of my best days out in Cyprus,a good selection of birds to photograph and the great company of Albert too.He really does go out of his way too make sure you are catered for.Albert spent 5 hrs sat on a little plastic chair in his hide.Giving me the comfort of his car to obtain my images.He wouldn't, have it any other way though,a true friend indeed. Albert if you do read this...thank you so much for an enjoyable morning in the Troodos,oh and I,ll add...he isn't a guide, just a great photographer/video maker who always goes the extra mile, to make sure you enjoy the moment!