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This large salt lake forms an important part of one of the best birding areas in Cyprus along with the well-known Lady's Mile Beach, the pools at Zakaki and the reservoir known as Bishop's Pool.
Despite some parts being degraded through landfill and development this area is still one of the most popular destinations for birders visiting Cyprus.
The salt lake itself is large and shallow and fringed with reedbeds and saltmarsh. In summer the lake may dry out completely but for the remainder of the year it provides a feeding and roosting area for a large number and variety of waders.
Waterfowl, herons and various seabirds also occur but the best-known bird is Greater Flamingo which winters at Akrotiri in thousands and many are still present well into the spring. In addition to the flamingos, various members of the heron family and Glossy Ibis, the lake attracts Common Crane and also on occasion, the very local Demoiselle Crane which can be very difficult to find in the Western Palearctic Region. Waterfowl can include most of the commoner northern species with the addition of small numbers of White-headed Duck and Ferruginous Duck in winter and Ruddy Shelduck on passage. Waders include Marsh Sandpiper and Little Stint, Pied Avocet and Black-winged Stilt. Spur-winged Plover and Greater Sand Plover and Broad-billed Sandpiper are regular, Terek Sandpiper is a possibility as is Cream-coloured Courser.
Slender-billed Gull passes through the area in numbers in spring, joined by Gull-billed Tern and White-winged Black Tern is regular in autumn.
Passerines at Akrotiri include breeding Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Pied Wheatear, various larks, pipits and wagtails on passage and Moustached Warbler, Penduline Tit and Bluethroat in winter. Dead Sea Sparrow used to be found on the north side of the lake but they were always elusive and no longer seem to occur at all.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Grebe, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Shelduck, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Duck, White-headed Duck, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Levant Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Northern Hobby, Eleonora's Falcon, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Crane, Demoiselle Crane, Common Quail, Stone-curlew, Collared Pratincole, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, White-winged Tern, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Greater Short-toed Lark, Bimaculated Lark, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Red-throated Pipit, Black-headed Wagtail, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Moustached Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Blackcap, Penduline Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, European Goldfinch
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Akrotiri is conveniently situated only a few km to the west of Limassol where accommodation is plentiful. Leaving Limassol through the New Port, turn left at the Lady's Mile Beach sign and on leaving the built-up area the sewage lagoons and pools of Zakaki are on the right and the lake beyond.
Further along this road is the RAF garrison barrier where visitors may be asked for passports etc but there are rarely any problems as birders are now commonplace in the area.
The road goes right across the sand at the end of Lady's Mile and along the southern shore of the lake. Beyond, on the left, is the gate to Bishop's Pool, a man-made reservoir surrounded by vineyards and orange groves that also has a great reputation for turning up good birds. Turn right along the lake's western shore but stopping along the yellow-lined road is forbidden. Continue to the north-west corner and park on the grass to view the northern part of the lake. Here, an unmarked road leads to the Phassouri Reedbeds.
Content and images originally posted by Steve