Grandma Hikes and Bikes

“of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt” John Muir. My things to do in life are hiking, biking and birding.
Living in: Askernish, United Kingdom
  • Day9

    Sotira

    March 2 in Cyprus ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    An afternoon trip out to Paralimni Lake but we stopped off in Sotira on the way and found a delightful wee church - though i believe it is what remains of a once larger building. It is the chapel of Saint Mamas (Ayios Mamas) dating to the early 16th century and has the remnants of wall paintings also from the 16th century. It was lovely and had a nice feel to it inside.Read more

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  • Day9

    Cape Greco birding

    March 2 in Cyprus ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Our regular visit to the Cape and it was fairly quiet bird wise but weather was fab. When we were driving there just before 7am we thought something must be going on because there were lots of people setting up tables and chairs in all the little parking areas. A quick google and i found that it is Green Monday and a national holiday.

    It got very warm very quickly and we were soon down to t-shirts. We saw Blue Rock Thrush which was new for our bird list. Walking back to the car we found a conveniently placed bench, which we named “The Old Fogeys Bench” and sat there and had a good rest, the sea looked amazing and very inviting!
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  • Day8

    Achna Dam

    March 1 in Cyprus ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Up early and out for the day, first stop Achna dam which is according to all the signage and observation posts very near to the border (some very interesting military history of the area can be found here: http://www.militaryhistories.co.uk/greenline/sba ). The water in the dam was full - when Ian visited with James two years ago they walked around easily - this time Ian and i were bushwhacking 😂

    There were many Common Swifts flying around over the lake in the early morning which was lovely to see. An unusual sighting for here were two Great Crested Grebes our on the water, i believe they are scarce winter visitors.

    We had a good walk around and it was warm and sunny and there were masses of flowers out making it feel very much like spring. We had parked by what must be some kind of zoo as we found a large bird looking through the fence at us (a Rhea maybe? see photo).

    We spent the rest of the day in the Larnaca area, visited Kiti Dam, Larnaca Sewage Works again, Oroklini Lake then as it was getting quite late we called at Agia Napa on the way home and had a lively meal at Isaacs near the harbour.
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  • Day7

    Rain!

    February 29 in Cyprus ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    The day started off very breezy though it was still warm and sunny (unlike at home where they are just about to get blasted by Storm Jorge!). Started at Cape Greco but it was very quiet - we are feeling like this is our “local patch” now 😊 All the birds were keeping their heads down out of the wind.

    Off to the mound (old dump/tip) where it was also fairly quiet apart from 8 Meadow Pipits, a couple of Spectacled Warblers chasing each other around and a Kestrel. Headed back home for an early lunch and our now customary sit in the sun - the clouds were gathering on the horizon though...

    We decided against going out birding this afternoon and went down and parked up in Protaras, had a look at the lovely Fig Tree Bay then headed into the streets to find coffee. It is still very much out of season here and mostly a ghost town but Starbucks was open and we plumped for Oat Lattes and warm Cinnamon Buns 😊 The skies were dark with impending rain and we just managed to get back to the apartment before it lashed down with humongous rain drops.
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  • Day6

    Birding Larnaca area

    February 28 in Cyprus ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Decided on a longer day today so set off early and drove the roughly 65km to the other side of Larnaca. First stop was the large salt lake near the airport where we explored - Slender-billed Gull and Black-necked Grebe added to the list. Then further along, down a track, we found a nice little area for waders where there was a single Black-tailed Godwit plus some Ringed Plovers, Little Stint and Dunlin.

    Next stop was Larnaca Sewage Works where there is a bird hide and we spent ages in there looking over the lagoons, taking video and photos of the gulls that were there - we saw Caspian and Armenian Gulls and i was happy with the photos i took.

    We headed further down the road and had our picnic lunch (pita bread, garlic spread, feta cheese, a hard boiled egg and tomato) overlooking the beach then back to the salt lake where we saw the single Great Crested Grebe that had been reported - would never have seen it without the telescope!

    A stop at Oroklini Lake on the way back and photographed a very interesting gull which Ian and I disagreed with the identification. We spent quite some time in the evening researching and consulting with our friend James about and it was decided it was a Heuglin’s Gull (Ian had been saying Baltic Gull so this time i was right 😂)
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  • Day5

    Paralimni Lake

    February 27 in Cyprus ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Our usual early morning trip to Cape Greco to see whether any migrants had come in but it was fairly quiet so we didn’t walk quite as far as we usually do. Afterwards we headed to the old tip/dump near the caves where we wandered around. Quite a few birds there including both House and Spanish Sparrows and quite a few Spectacled Warblers chasing each other around and one conveniently posed for a photo 😊

    Back to the apartment for lunch and a sit in the sun on the balcony then headed off to explore Paralimni Lake which is less than 10km from here. The water level is quite high but there were areas where there were quite a few birds and we enjoyed walking around and exploring. It was starting to get dark so we headed back and i cooked us veggie pasta sauce and spaghetti instead of eating out for a change.
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  • Day4

    Agia Napa

    February 26 in Cyprus ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Up early as usual, warm even at 6:45am and didn’t need a jacket on - though i should have taken some mozzie precautions as the little buggers bit me on my back as i was walking the fields looking for birds!

    We birded all around Cape Greco then headed to the mound near the caves which used to be a dump or landfill site, i think at one point quite a lot of EU money was spent on it as there are benches, picnic areas and footpaths but it’s all looking a bit derelict now. Almost the first bird i saw was a Ruppell’s Warbler and Ian was a bit miffed as he missed it...

    Headed back to our apartment for lunch and a break on the balcony in the sun for a wee while then headed to Agia Napa where we had a walk around the pretty harbour.
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  • Day3

    Cape Greco

    February 25 in Cyprus ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Up early and off to the nearby Cape Greco. Weather was quite breezy but sunny. One of the first birds we saw was a Cyprus Wheatear which was a new bird for me. We walked a long circular route, looking for birds and admiring the views. I think there must have been an influx of Song Thrushes as there were many many birds around. Many Chukar around too, every time i pointed the camera at them they ran away 😂

    Another good bird popped up while we were prowling around in the bushes - Cyprus Warbler - also a life bird for me.

    We eventually returned to the car, went to look at another couple of places then headed back for lunch. I had had a headache when i woke up so decided not to go out again. Ian went out but regretted it as he also had a headache and spent the rest of the day in bed - we had planned to go out to eat and didn’t have much food in so i scraped together what i did have: peanuts, apple and melon. An early night as we’ll get up early again tomorrow.
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  • Day2

    Let the birding begin...

    February 24 in Cyprus ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Up at just gone 6am, actually we had overslept as the sun was already up. Headed out to Paphos headland and walked there, birding and taking photos, chatted with a local birder. Red-throated Pipit and Greater Sand Plover were lifers for me 😊

    Back to the apartment, coffee and a snack then checked out to head over to the east of the island where we’ll be for two weeks. Stopped at Oroklini Lake on the way and picked up two more life birds - Spur-winged Lapwing and Laughing Dove.

    Eventually found the apartment we’ve rented for two weeks - there is a great balcony with a fab view across to the sea. Popped to a supermarket (there is a Lidl) just down the road. Then headed off into Ayia Napa to see if we could find somewhere to eat. Ended up totally lost and everywhere seemed to be closed - even Pizza Hut 😱 Ended up back at Lidl and took food back to the apartment to eat. A weird mix of amazing pitta breads, some kind of garlic sauce spread on it, hot cheese pie (basically flaky pastry with feta cheese in) and peanuts. All highly nutritious i’m sure...

    Both knackered so an early night.
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  • Day1

    Arriving Paphos

    February 23 in Cyprus ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    A long day, up early to get the flight from Edinburgh but all went smoothly and due to a strong tailwind we landed an hour early in Paphos. Stepped off the plane to 18C and sunshine. There seemed to be a collective sigh of relief from all us Scotland folks 😊

    Picked car up and drove to Paphos harbour where we parked up, grabbed our binoculars and found a coffee, starting to add birds to the list.

    When it was time to check in at the airbnb we headed off but found that we were at the totally wrong place. A quick call to the host and he whatsapp’d me the correct location. We’re just here in Paphos one night before heading over to the other side of the island. 6pm and getting dark, 10 species added to the bird list so far. Time to go find something to eat, and maybe beer...
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