We were up at first light to check the moth trap and there were some things that we recognised from Topes and others that were completely new to us. There was perhaps 40 species in all with some new additions that will take some research to identify. The American websites that I use seem rather poorly designed and have no thumbnail pages that you can quickly scroll through till you find what you are looking for, and instead you are left with having to click on each species individually which is a very laborious process.
After breakfast we set off for the Loma del Capiro park that lies just within the city ring road. When we visited there in March 2017 it showed a lot of promise and so determined to come back here in summer. Near the car park was a scrubby edge with lots of flowers.. and butterflies.
The first find was a Cuban Hairstreak Allosmaitia coelebs which was the first time we have managed to see this. It was slightly worn but allowed a very close approach as many hairstreaks do. The one exception that we have found is Fulvous Hairstreak Electrostrymon angelia which we have found wary and difficult to approach. Later we also saw Martial Scrub-Hairstreak Strymon martialis so it was nice to compare the two.
Along the scrubby edge was the first of six species of Swallowtail that we saw today, a Poey's Swallowtail Heraclides caiguanabus which was a great find and it stayed for a short while nectaring on the lantana. This is a female with its blueish-white spots on the hindwing whereas in males they are pale yellow like the forewing.
Unfortunately we weren't able to get to the top of eastern hill as we had last year as all the scrub had since grown up which was a pity. We did however see Purple-washed Skipper Panoquina lucas, Cuban Broken-dash Wallengrenia misera and a Caribbean Faceted Skipper Synapte malitiosa. We saw 50 butterfly species in all today if you include one or two as larvae like this Bahaman Swallowtail Heraclides andraemon.
And there were some interesting Odonata too that we hadn't seen before.
We were back for a late lunch and despite having sorted out with the hotel only yesterday that we had paid for full board we were again told at the end of our meal that we had to pay for it as it wasn't included. Such is the rather tiresome incompetence of a military state where staff spend more time looking over their shoulder to make sure they don't do anything wrong rather than thinking how they can improve their system or their service.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.