In the village gardens are to be found many creatures, including snakes, spiders large and small, rats, hedgehogs and shrews and of course the obligatory cat or 6, not to mention the ubiquitous ant, from the tiniest to the largest you’ve ever seen. There are various different kinds of wasp, bee and hornet, butterflies, moths and their larvae as well as flies, gnats and the occasional mosquito.
Feasting on this abundance of insects you will see lizards of many kinds, some large and warty sunning themselves on stone walls, some brightly coloured, small and quick, scurrying through the leafmould and at night, little geckoes in and around the house.
Spider carrying its young
Egyptian Fruit Bats
In spring you’ll hear a chorus of frogs and as summer progresses, be lulled to sleep by the Scops Owl (‘thoubi’) with its double hoot, along with the chirruping crickets that replace the daytime cicadas. You may be woken later by the shriek of a Barn Owl.
The cypress trees by the church are full of sparrows in early summer and there are flocks of swallows, martins and swifts hoovering up the insects. In spring and autumn you’ll hear the distinctive warbling of the Bee Eaters on their way through to other lands and you may be lucky enough to see them perching on a telegraph wire – beautifully coloured with yellow and iridescent blue and its distinctive beak designed for, yes, eating bees.
Common garden visitors are the resident Cyprus Wheatear, a smallish black and white bird and the noisy Magpies and Crows.
In the surrounding countryside, you will see the beautiful blue Roller, so named for its rolling flight, as well as various birds of prey including Red Kites and Buzzards. You may hear the distinctive ‘toot-to-to-toot’ of the Francolin and be lucky to see one. Unfortunately, the vulture no longer visits the area; its numbers are so limited it’s almost died out.
At night time you’ll see little Pipistrelle bats flitting around, and the Egyptian Fruit Bat is a regular visitor to the many fruit trees, especially figs, in and around the village.
Contact Birdlife Cyprus at www.birdlifecyprus.org for Conservation, Birding information, news and sites; and events and membership.
Birds & Mammals of Cyprus by George Sfikas, ISBN 960-226-295-8
Snakes of Cyprus by Hans-Jorg Wiedl (‘Snake George’) – a project of the Bicommunal Development Programme, February 2003.
Bats by Phil Richardson, ISBN 1-58834-020-1
Breeding Birds of Cyprus, Pub. Bank of Cyprus Group, ISBN 9963-42-068-0
Butterflies of Cyprus, Pub. Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, ISBN 9963-42-815-0