The Hotel Pinares de Mayari has good facilities, good food, clean unheated pool and nice rooms in wooden cabins set in spacious grounds where you can run a moth trap - what more could you want? Well, a few more moths would have been nice but I was only using a wemlite bulb rather than an MV with a heavy choke.
We explored locally first of all looking for one of the newly described Calisto sharkeyae but although Doug had a brief look at one as well as a Calisto bruneri, all that I managed to see was the common Calisto herophile. So I spent a while photographing an obliging Cuban Bullfinch that kept coming back to to some bare branches in front of me till I realised that it was waiting for me to move away from the berry tree where it wanted to feed.
The large bright pink orchid Bletia purpurea was quite common. This is not endemic and is found in the US and Central America as well as other islands in the Caribbean. A beautiful hawk-moth or Sphinx larva was camouflaged on a bare stem. I've since identified it as Isognathus rimosa Rimosus Sphinx. It seemed to have eaten most of the leaves already. We don't often come across phasmids here but I took a picture of this stick insect and have sent it to a world expert for his opinion. And I'm starting to get to grips with some of the odonata but some still coming across new ones
There were a nice selection of butterflies including this nice group of yellows mud-puddling.
We also saw Cuban Sicklewing Eantis papinianus, Caribbean Sailor Dynamine serina, Orange-washed Sulphur Phoebis avellaneda, and in the open areas with sparse fine grasses were two Nanus Skipperling Oarisma nanus. We also saw De Villiers' Swallowtail Battus devilliers, Polydamas Swallowtail Battus polydamas and Gundlach's Swallowtail Parides gundlachianus down near the river. In this area there was an Aristolochia growing at the base of some of the pines but despite careful searching we couldn't find any eggs or larvae of the Parides.
A slight dampener was put on the afternoon when I discovered at lunch-time that I had lost my mobile phone out of my (normally zipped) pocket. We had covered quite a bit of ground during the morning in some rough terrain and thickets so the chances of finding it seemed pretty slim. Not wanting to waste good time in the field we didn't go back till the evening. I had a pretty good idea of where it might have happened and against all the odds I found it - happy days, must be more careful in future.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.