A WALK ON THE WILDSIDE---PAUL FOSTER

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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!

1 comment:

  1. Hello!
    What a wonderful series og pictures!!
    Have a nice day!

    ReplyDelete