On the way to the viewpoint overlooking the southern end of Lake Hanabanilla there is a small trail into the forest and we headed up this to see what we could find. We saw Cuban Bullfinch, Cuban Tody and a Broad-winged Hawk as well as adding a new damselfly Citrine Forktail Ischnura hastata. But then Yasiel found another highlight of the trip, a beautiful Cuban Knight Anole Anolis equestris. It was a bit above head height a little way off the path on a slim branch of a tree. Full marks to him for noticing it - I had walked right past it. And what amazing camouflage.
As we manoeuvred round to get a better shot I had to use flash as it was quite dark and it was then that the extent of the cryptic colouration became apparent with pale cream lines breaking up the outline and a diffuse oblique green band crossing the body.
And a formidable predator too judging by the size of the head.
A Cuban Brown Anole Anolis sagrei looked tiny by comparison.
Further on we came to a grass clearing in the forest where another anole kept itself hidden in a grass tussock and and refused our encouragement to come out and be photographed. I'm pretty sure it is another Escambray Grass Anole Anolis vanidicus. The habitat, slim build and thin spindly rear legs I think precludes anything else.
We retreated from the mosquitoes which were a little troublesome and went back to explore the area behind the Villa Caburni (part of Los Helechos). We had stayed here one night in March last year and so knew the little trails. There was Cuban Martin and Cave Swallow overhead as well as lots of butterflies. There was Gray Ministreak Ministrymon azia, Fulvous Hairstreak Electrostrymon angelia, Cuban Leafwing Anaea cubana and we watched a female Frosty Flasher Astraptes habana as it went through the motions of laying an egg on Erythrina but without actually doing so.
There were also several larvae of White-angled Sulphur Anteos clorinde, Orange-barred Sulphur Phoebis philea and Gulf Fritillary Agraulis vanillae which were good finds by Doug.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.