As we wanted an earlier start this morning we didn't run the moth trap last night. Instead we met up with Yasiel's friend Yanier, another guide, who knew the tree that the Escambray Bearded Anole Anolis guamuhaya was living in. We clambered up a steep bank next to the road and did manage to see it though it was quite wary and my pictures were pretty rubbish, so when Yanier said that he had got some good pictures week the before he agreed to let me have them for the website. Thank you Yanier. What fantastic creatures.
We pressed on toward the start of the Guanayara trail stopping by the road at 'butterfly corner' as usual. Once again there were lots of things nectaring on the Tournefortia flowers including Antillean Mapwing Hypanartia paullus, 2 Frosty Flasher Astraptes habana, Green Flasher Astraptes talus, Caribbean Sailor Dynamine serina, 2 Silver Emperor Doxocopa laure and a male Oviedo's Swallowtail Heraclides oviedo that spent five minutes chasing a female to no avail.
The Guanayara trail starts at the plantation of Campo el Mamey and goes down to a beautiful waterfall and follows the river along to a small restaurant where Chico was waiting for us with the vehicle. Northern Flicker is a permanent resident in the forested areas of Cuba and we watched one for a while as it fed around the base of a tree.
We came across what I thought at the time were two Spanish Flag Anoles Anolis allogus which were amazingly tame and I took pictures with my small compact from a few inches away. But the current literature actually indicates that while A. allogus is fairly widespread across Cuba, it is replaced in the Escambray by a separate species called the Escambray Blue-eyed Anole Anolis ahli. Further study in this group is much needed to clarify the situation.
We have been seeing the Macrothemis regularly over the last few days but I still have to identify the other Odonata that we saw.
Apart from a couple of brief flight views we had only ever seen the Mosaic Colobura dirce once before, so great excitement when one flew and settled on a tree just in front of Yasiel. Further on next to the restaurant we watched another on the ground as it fed on the fallen fruits of a Mountain Apple Syzygium malaccense. This has red pear-shaped fruits and originates from Malaysia and Australia. The flesh is white and surrounds a large seed. The taste is bland but was quite refreshing after the walk. We timed it quite well as we just had time to reach the vehicle before the heavens opened with a big downpour.
At the hotel restaurant that evening there were two large Cuban Tree Frogs Osteopilus septentrionalis inside on the windows so Doug caught them and put them outside.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.