Birdwatching in Akrotiri and lady’s mile, Cyprus

It’s that time of the year when the birds are in “full bloom” in Cyprus. The migrating birds flock to Cyprus on their way across the Mediterranean. The Akrotiri salt lake and its adjoining marshes are excellent locations to observe these birds. The salt lake is also famous for the thousands of Lesser Flamingos which visit every year. I had been to the akrotiri lake many times in the past primarily for the flamingos and i have some decent pictures of those visit. I try to read a lot about birding activities in cyprus and came across Bird Life Cyprus. This organisation conducts regular birding field trips (yet to participate in one) and their website documents each of these trips and also gives lot of details on the “birding” related happenings in Cyprus.
I had mailed to few people from the contacts list for directions on some of the sites which i had found had frequent mentions on the field trips. Colin Richardson from Bird Life Cyprus was kind enough to give me detailed directions to the Phasouri reed-beds and the larnaca sewage works (along with Spiros Pools). I am reproducing these directions from his email. A big thanks to Colin for this.
As you describe, from Limassol past the Phasouri weekend market to the T-junction at the Akrotiri road. Turn left at the main road towards Ak. and along the line of trees, after 300metres a sign to the RIGHT says Cat Sanctuary, where you turn right and go past the cat sanctuary. After another 300metres approx. turn SHARP RIGHT (it says no through road, but that is not the case). It bends left and right for 200 metres and you arrive at the Phassouri reed-beds. It’s rather dry at the moment.

LARNACA SEWAGE WORKS, hide and Spiros Pools
From Larnaca airport head west towards Meneou village. After a speed bump as you enter the village turn obvious left, past two kiosks and a long term airport car park and you will head towards the sea. At the T-junction turn left. On the left is Meneou Pools, dry in summer and after 1-2km on the left across the salt flats you will see the raised timber hide at the edge of the raised sewage pools. Spiros Pools are the next pools on the left towards the desalination plant. The beach is directly on your right.

Last weekend, i went to the Phassouri reed-beds and was surprised that i had never noticed such a huge wetland so close to where i used to roam around always. There was only one big water pool and there were hundreds of small birds there. I photograph birds, but have absolutely no idea of what they are. The only distinction i make is as follows: If it is white, it must be a sea gull, if it is small and black, it must be a duck. The rest are all “wow, a new bird” for me!
We were greeted by this cow when we parked our vehicle close to the reed-beds. He didn’t see to mind us being there. We saw hundreds of small black birds (probably ducks!) in the pool and they promptly flew off the moment we approached close enough for my lens to focus on them. We didn’t manage to find any other birds there though we managed to find a new interesting driving route to reach the sea from Akrotiri.
We then proceeded to Lady’s Mile beach through the earthern road to the Cat monastery. The approach to the salt lake was much easier from this earthern road. From the other directions (either from Lady’s mile beach or from the Fasouri planatations), you have to walk a lot to reach the edge of the lake. But, from here, the lake practically started where the road finished. We found few flamingos in the nearby pool. It’s time to change my lens because it seems to have completely lost its sharpness.
I decided that we had had enough of birding and was driving back through lady’s mile where we , surprisingly, saw almost a dozen flamingos very close to the road. I had very rarely seen them on these pools. These pools are almost always exclusively occupied by the sea gulls.

I also saw a “new bird” flying overhead. It was black, but didn’t look like a duck.

Another new bird which was wandering near the edges of the pool.

I got some nice flamingo shots at this location. I also went into the pool a little distance to get as close as possible to the birds without disturbing them. A good 2.5 hrs spent. Decent photographs, two new birds, could i ask for more?

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6 Responses

  1. Cees de Vries (Holland) says:

    Your new bird is a Cormorant

  2. Tony jackson says:

    your 2nd new bird is a white wagtail ,get yourself the CollinsBirdGuide 2nd edition and enjoy a whole new world.Tony

  3. Nick Moss says:

    Not trying to be pedantic, but Akritiri holds hundreds of Greater Flamingo’s and these are what you photographed, not the smaller and much scarcer Lesser Flamingo. You mentioned at the start that the area holds Lesser Flamingo’s, so hence I just thought you ought to be correctly informed, especially as you went to such effort to obtain images.

  4. says:

    The first of two day’s out with Julia and Pete was spent mainly around the Akrotiri Peninsula but the surprise of the day was found during a spur of the moment visit to Kouklia Soakways.

  5. audrey says:

    Can we get to akrotiri salt lake using local bus from paphos ? We don’t mind walking within reason

  6. Rajaram S says:

    yes, you have buses to Akrotiri. From there, you can walk over.

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