birding around guardalavaca
There is always lots to see bird-wise around the hotel Sol Rio de Luna y Mares near Guardalavaca and if you want a good local bird-guide to take you out and show you things locally, or even further afield, then I recommend Carlos who really knows his stuff, is excellent on calls and knows where to go to see particular species. He is usually at the hotel around 1pm most days or he can be contacted through Nancy, the hotel's Thomas Cook rep. Carlos also does a walk each Thursday morning starting at the reception of the adjacent Paradisus hotel. We have been on this twice, once walking around the gardens of the Paradisus and in March 2015 he led us for a walk just outside the hotel grounds. He first pointed out that a pair of Cuban Orioles were building a nest on the underside of a frond of one of the palms outside the hotel entrance. We watched them bringing in dried grass and cleverly weaving it into place. Further along an American Kestrel had a nest in the top of another dead palm.
The Gundlach's Hawks that can sometimes be seen in the area were nowhere to be seen today but Carlos heard a Mangrove Cuckoo as we walked back down the road and it showed for a short while. On Cuba this is a resident with a very restricted range found in some areas along the north coast and along part of the SE coast. The similar Yellow-billed Cuckoo is an uncommon summer resident for which there are few breeding records and has more yellow on the bill and lacks the black extending behind the eye.
Cuban Lizard-cuckoo is much more common and widespread wherever there are trees and bushes and the loud guttural call is often the first clue to its presence.
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