Our Tuesday flight from Heathrow to Holguin yesterday was delayed by an hour so we hadn't arrived at the Luna y Mares Hotel until 8pm but we were up early this morning, Lynn to have a swim and me to check out the lagoon. I was surprised to see how few birds there were - very few herons, and no osprey, kingfishers, ducks or grebes! I can only guess at the reasons. The water level was very high and we had heard that during the hurricane last year the shingle embankment between the lagoon and the sea had been breached so perhaps the salinity of the lagoon has greatly increased killing many of the fish. I did see a few warblers - Yellow, Black-throated Blue, American Redstart and Northern Waterthrush.
After breakfast we checked out the balcony area next to the Mares pool. It was great to see the gardens looking so good and full of flowers which is a credit to Amaury and his gardening staff. This juvenile Cuban Green Anole Anolis porcatus was athletically trying and failing to catch insects including a male Mesogramma Skipper Atalopedes mesogramma.
There were several other butterflies nectaring on the Lantana including Limenia Scrub-Hairstreak Strymon limenia, Miami Blue Cyclargus thomasi, Fiery Skipper Hylephila phyleus and best of all Cuban White Ganyra menciae. We don't often see this species though I am getting more proficient at identifying it in flight.
We later went and checked the sewage works ponds just behind the horse riding stables. In the bushes were Parula Warbler, Cuban Vireo and a Blackpoll Warbler which was the first time I had seen one in Cuba. Andy Mitchell tells me that large numbers passed through Cuba last autumn. Unfortunately I only managed a record shot and it moved on. The lagoons held the usual Black-necked Stilts, Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs, a Least Stint and a small flock of Blue-winged Teal.
Amongst the butterflies were Hispaniolan Leafwing Memphis verticordia, Smudged Yellow Eurema lucina, Common Long-tailed Skipper Urbanus proteus, more Cuban White Ganyra menciae, Tropical Checkered Skipper Pyrgus oileus and several Concolorous Skipper Burca concolor.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.