We set the moth trap last night at the security gate up the road just as we had done last year when we were here, and this morning when we got there just after first light there were over seventy species in and around the trap. Due to weight restrictions on the flight the moth trap consists of a cardboard box with a Wemlight bulb. So this isn't hardcore mothing like back home but it still provides lots of interest and more than enough to take me a few days to sort out when I get home. I could have happily spent a few hours setting the moths up for decent pictures but we didn't have time for that mainly because of getting back in time for breakfast so we had to to make do with hasty pictures taken with the Panasonic compact. When I have gone through them all I will load them onto the moth pages on the website but here are a few to be going on with.
We set off in the jeep with Yasiel and Chiquitico and stopped for a while at 'butterfly corner', but as it was overcast there was nothing flying and we pressed on to the start of the Guanayara trail. Here the sun came out for a while and we saw a Stinky Leafwing Historis odius sometimes flying around but mainly feeding on a Mamey Mammea americana fruit high up in a tree. The fruit is eaten though not widely but the seeds contain cyanide and when grated are mixed with rum or coconut oil and used to treat head lice and chiggers.
At the start of the trail there was a sizeable flock of Cuban Parrots, 27 in all. This is by far the biggest number we have seen anywhere.
It rained on and off during the day so we only managed 31 butterfly species today.
There was a new Odonata with two white spots on the side of the thorax that I haven't yet managed to id yet.
When we got back to Topes we went to look for an Escambray Bearded Anole Anolis guamuhaya that Yasiel had been told about on the edge of village. A few days previously there had been a film crew there filming the wildlife and a girl working at the tourism office had spotted it. It had been caught, filmed and released. But today it was hiding so we went to look for the Cuban Knight Anole Anolis equestris that lived in an avocado tree a bit further down the road. It was quite high up and surprisingly wary so only distant record shots were possible.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.