Back in July of last year Yosiel Álvarez noticed that he, and others posting on social media, were seeing Tailed Cecropian Historis acheronta for the first time in Habana. This has always been considered as a scarce resident species in Cuba. On 21 July 2021 however on a visit to Rincon de Guanabo, Habana del Este municipality, he saw more then 200 individuals flying in mangrove forests, coastal scrub and ruderal vegetation near the road. All were flying west above the tree canopy at high speed. There are still some around in the area at this time indicating that have bred locally. The photograph above was taken just last week by Yosiel. What a wonderful opportunity to find the larvae in Cuba - something that has never happened before! The foodplant is thought to be Cecropia. You can read more about Yosiel's observations in the paper he has written here.
Antillean Palm Swifts at Vinales
I've just been sent the above image by some friends who are currently traveling in Cuba. They tell me that they loved watching the Palm Swifts entering the palm thatch on the wall of this building at Vinales. They were seen entering even at the lowest level which is around 2m from the ground presumably as they went to roost in the evening as they wouldn't normally start nesting until about May.
They do also nest in palm trees themselves such as these in Cienfuegos Botanic Gardens.
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
The Yellow-crowned Night Heron is found around the coast and lake shores of the tropics and sub-tropics of the Americas. It feeds mainly on crustaceans (crabs and crayfish) as well as insects and fish. This beautiful and interesting photo of an adult that has just caught what appears to be some sort of marine lamprey was taken a few days ago by Jose Alberto Perez Hechavarria. Well done Jose.
Blackpoll Warbler Setophaga striata is said to be a fairly common transient through Cuba in the autumn and spring, and also possibly occasionally winters on the island. This lovely photo of a female/immature was taken by Roberto Jovel in his garden in Baracoa in early November 2020. He says that in the east he sees them occasionally at the end of October/early November as they pass through on their way south.
During summer they can be found breeding throughout the boreal coniferous forest. They breed nearer to the tundra than any other warbler. Studies have revealed that the spring migration is primarily overland whilst the autumn routes over water were dramatically different. In the fall the birds migrate from their breeding grounds across the northern latitudes. Traveling east they converge on the north-eastern United States south to Virginia where they fatten up feeding on berries, putting on up to 2g per day. Most Blackpolls then fly directly from north-eastern North America over the Atlantic Ocean to their winter range in the northern part of South America with some stopping in the Antilles. This route averages 3,000 km (1,900 miles) over water, requiring a potentially nonstop flight of around 72 to 88 hours. What an amazing feat for a small Nearctic warbler.
A recent study demonstrated how climate change and habitat loss have combined to drive a 600-km northward shift in the breeding range of Blackpoll Warbler over the past 45 years. Even though the species is still extremely abundant across its range, it has been undergoing a significant decline since 1970. The rate of the decline is difficult to asses but assumed to be at least 25% over three generations (10.5 years). Therefore, the species is as a precaution now listed as Near Threatened.
The first Blackpoll Warbler that I saw was on the Isles of Scilly one October back in the 1970's. Sightings on this side of the Atlantic were commoner then they are now. Sadly those days will never return.
What a wonderful talent Brian Bilston is. And what a corrupt load of lying shits there are in this Tory Government. I hope you all remember this when it comes time to vote.
And here is another from Sally Hall written over coffee yesterday morning when the BBC asked what we were doing 20 May 2020.
Pity the Nation
And pity the nation who was once a beacon of democracy and is now a pitiful laughing stock across the world because of our lying self-serving politicians that enable the police to commit the crime of stealing and destroying the banner below because they didn't like its message. They are stripping us of our power to protest.
Welcome to our Blog
Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.