It was only a brief visit down to the lagoon at first light to where I saw the Jutía yesterday and there was no sign this morning. An osprey was sitting on a tree and the Least Grebes were feeding their young. At this time of year there are very few herons as their arrival from N America seems to be in November.
Today the plan was to go with Carlos to see our friends Felix and Sandy who live at Gibara and to go with them to look for butterflies in the hills to the west of the town. Carlos had booked Joel and his black taxi to take us there but Joel was unwell this morning so his friend was roped in at short notice to drive Joel's taxi. Its about one and a half hours to get there and Felix and Sandy were waiting for us so we got the taxi to take us as far as he could get along the track and then walked from there. It was hot and humid (as it was almost throughout the holiday). We soon found a Mexican Sailor Dynamine postverta and we searched several Hebestigma cubense bushes and founds lots of eggs and small larvae of Cuban Longtail Chioides marmorosa. There was also what is probably a Yellow-angled Sulphur Anteos maerula larva.
We also saw several Dusky Emperor Asterocampa idyia and an empty pupa under a leaf but we couldn't find any that hadn't already emerged which was a pity. There were several skippers including Mangrove Skipper Phocides pigmalion, Hammock Skipper Polygonus leo and Purple-washed Skipper Panoquina lucas, all of which were the only ones of the trip. Near the top the view is fabulous looking back towards the coast and there were good numbers of the males of 3 species of swallowtails hill-topping here - Oviedo's Heraclides oviedo, Androgeus Heraclides androgeus and De Villiers' Battus devilliers. We found what looks like what we call a Tortoise Beetle Cassida sp here in the UK but perhaps they are in a different genus in the Caribbean. On the left is what is possibly a larva of the same beetle, but I might be completely wrong.
Paquita, Feli's wife, cooked us all a fabulous meal before we set off on the drive back to Guardalavaca having first put air in the rear tyre of the car. Thank you Paquita, Felix and Sandy for your wonderful hospitality - we'll be back to see you later this year.
Back at the hotel was a Hemidactylus mabouia Tropical House Gecko which was the first we had seen in this area although a few nights later we found several living in the external pathway lights feeding on the insects that were attracted to the lights after dark. We saw 42 species of butterfly today which wasn't bad considering we had spent over three hours in the car.
Welcome to our Blog
Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.