A type of birding experience that I greatly enjoy is one of those moments where I’ve come across a simply huge number of birds. It can be during migration, in an enormous nesting colony, or with a very gregarious species.

As I mined my old birding photos, I recalled one such experience at the Palekhori-Kambi Dam in the eastern part of the Troodos mountain range of Cyprus. It was June 14 in 2008, when we stopped by the dam for a nice walk after lunch with family in the mountains. And the number of House Martins was pretty damn impressive.

House Martin colony

This picture just doesn’t do justice, as it’s a bit zoomed in. The dam wall was over 100 meter wide, which the House Martins sitting and flying about at about this density the whole way. Plus there were many clustered in a few nearby trees:

Cyprus 200

My thought was that there had to have been over a thousand Martins total. At least. It’s a common species throughout Cyprus and Europe for that matter, but sometimes the common can impress.

Written by Dan
Dan is an eastern Pennsylvania native who grew up surrounded by birdwatching and nature documentaries. He caught the itch, so to speak, when he arrived at Sapsucker Woods in Ithaca, New York, and he refined his birding skills with the Lab of Ornithology's Spring Field Ornithology course. While there he studied Molecular Biology, then met a Cypriot, got married, and ended up moving with her to Cyprus. Dan is an active member of BirdLife Cyprus and goes birding whenever his career and family allow. Birds and their conservation locally, he thinks, are things that people need to talk more about in Cyprus, so much that he now blogs and tweets almost exclusively about these topics at Migrations.