Our latest trip to Cuba in September and October 2016 to the Luna y Mares Hotel near Guardalavaca was a quieter trip than in June because apart from a three-day trip to Camagüey and a day trip to Gibara our time was spent within just a few miles of our hotel. The quantity of butterflies was quite low compared to previous visits as it had been quite dry but we still managed to see 85 species and made some exciting discoveries. The grass around the hotel gardens was quite short and didn't need cutting while we were there though it did rain towards the end of our stay. The grass in the gardens however wasn't as short as it was at the nearby sewage works though this was because they now have a herd of goats grazing it which is a shame as it now resembles a billiard table and is of no ecological value at all. The pools themselves still held the usual mix of waders and today there was 20 Black-necked Stilts, 1 Solitary Sandpiper and 8 Killdeer.
At the main lagoon (not part of the sewage works) there was an Osprey, 3 Anhinga and the usual herons and egrets and several Least Grebe with half-grown stripy-headed young. There were also several Cuban Martin which is something we do not see very often. There were more flying above the restaurant at breakfast and I thought I would leave it till later in the holiday before trying to get some pictures of them – bad move as we only saw them for the first couple of days and then only once thereafter. It was the same with Orange-barred Sulphur Phoebis philea which were very common for the first two days followed by singles up to the 26 September and then we saw none after that. A male Little Yellow Pyrisitia lisa was quartering the grass and when it settled I realised it had been attracted by the pheromones of a female that had just emerged and was still inflating her wings. It took a further couple of minutes for them to inflate fully.
Smudged Yellow Eurema lucina were common throughout the holiday and as they never settle with their wings open I spent a while trying to get pictures of the upperside in flight.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.