Saturday, March 2, 2013

Campaign: Fishes of Oroklini Lake, Cyprus




March 1st 2013 

With Cypriot friends Athena and Iakovos and guided by Melpo Apostolidou from BirdLife Cyprus we explored Oroklini Lake. It is a soon-to-be famous wetland area located near Larnaka. This was our first ever wet-season ichthyological sampling here using a fry-net seine (everybody should have a fry-net with them anywhere they go...). Water levels were surprisingly high and the water that entered the lake from the upstream riverlet smelled rather bad. However the first site we sampled (near "The Sluice") is full of invert life - but no fish. The lake has a huge population of Gambusia Mosquito Fish but they are probably widely dispersed all around at this time (densities are low at high-water levels during winter here). Near the main "East Canal" outflow by the beach we tried in vain to catch elvers (young eels) - no luck. We did spot some rather large grey-mullets (but we need a fish-trap to catch those...). We did catch Mosquito Fish here and then again more at the second canal ("West Canal"). No eels this time; but, the birding was fantastic. It was a great afternoon out. 

For more info on the restoration and conservation work being done at Oroklini please see: http://www.orokliniproject.org

Melpo Apostolidou works at one of the most important NGOs for nature conservation on Cyprus BirdLife Cyprus - a group all Cyprus-lovers should support! Have a look at their new site: http://www.birdlifecyprus.org/en

Eurasian Teal (Sarseli)

Spanish Sparrow (Arkostrouthos)
The Lake from the upland behind.

Melpo at The Sluice.

Water levels very high near sluice.
Near fist sampling site adjacent to the sluice.
 Dragging the net carefully (ph. Melpo A.).
Despite repeated nettings - not a single fish (ph. Melpo A.)..
Black-winged Stilts (Kalamokanas)
Stream entrance to the lake.
Walking back to the jeep.
East Canal, the main drainage canal on the beach.
East Canal, flow to the sea.

Elvers sometimes hide in culverts (photo: Melpo A.).
East Canal flow to the sea - there is flow this year.
Stream entering the Lake near highway; water smelly.
West Canal river mouth with flow to sea.

 Fry-netting in the West Canal (ph. Melpo A.).
No life- could someone have poisoned the water? 
West Canal with reedbed - great Eel habitat.
Iakovos searching at The Sluice.
Athena and Melpo at West Canal - very dirty water... 
Walking to the first sampling site.
Chest-waders are not enough!
Iakovos balancing on slippery mud.
Searching the fry-net for tiny-tiny fishes.
West Canal, inland of coast road.
Iakovos spotted some really large grey-mullets.

Mosquito Fish - two males.


 West Canal Fry-netting (Ph. Melpo A.).
The water was much deeper than in July 2012 when we last did this.
Searching the fry-net at West Canal.
Washing the net in the sea at the end of the day (ph. Melpo A.).
Thanks team! 




























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