Thursday, 19 February 2009

Shopping therapy?

It's colder here than I expected. I guess I'm too used to coming to Cyprus when it's hot. When I came in November it was t-shirt weather! Well, I've had to invest in a couple of new turtle neck jumpers, especially because I've managed to get a chest infection. I imported it from London.

I've been making a few contacts here and there, and so far it's all been quite positive. The only reason I have hope for the civil service in Cyprus is the fact that young educated people are coming into it, and some of them won't be drowned by the system. Also, I'd like to flaunt the fact that Cyprus has one of the best land registers in the world.

I went birding for a bit yesterday afternoon at Athalassa Park. There's water in the lake now, thanks to the rain, so there were plenty of coots (καραπαττάς) arguing and setting up territories. There were a few moorhens, little grebes (νεροβούττης), a cormorant, mallards and teal, and also ferruginous ducks (ασπρομμάτα). Ferruginous ducks (pic) apparently are quite rare in the rest of Europe and only started coming to Cyprus in the last few years.

Also got to see a Cetti's warbler (pic; ψευταηδόνι), although if I wasn't with company that could recognise the species, I'd have no idea what sort of warbler it was. It's call is very distinctive. At least, it will be once I can recognise it. I could hear chaffinches (σπίνος), chiffchaffs (μουγιαννούδι), goldfinches (σγαρτίλι), a serin (μπασταρτοκανάρινο), a greenfinch (φλώρος) and a robin. A blackbird (μαυρόπουλλος) flew over my head. There were lots of woodpigeons (φάσσα) and hooded crows (κοράζινος), of course. Also learnt how to distinguish swallows from house martins and swifts. Swifts are bigger and have a very short forked tail and fly high looking like a half-moon. House martins are all white underneath and have a slighty longer forked tail. Swallows have the longest forked tail and a red chin. It's easy, until other Hirundinidae turn up and confuse the situation.

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