I heard from our friend Karlos Ross the bird guide today. He operates mainly in the Guardalavaca and Holguin area so we always meet up for some days out with him when we are there. Unfortunately the demise of Thomas Cook means that UK visitor numbers have dropped off considerably so until direct flights start up again Brits will have to travel via Canada. There are other options but I think that's probably the best one. Karlos knows the area well and can show you all the local endemics and lots of other nice things. He is good company and a good naturalist and has recently made some great finds in the Guardalavaca area. The first is Masked Duck. I haven't heard of anyone else seeing this in Cuba recently and never seen photos taken in Cuba. It is a resident but hard to find and they inhabit swamps, marshes, rice paddies, ponds and small lakes with emergent vegetation where they can remain hidden for long periods. Here is a pair with another female/immature skulking in the background.
And Karlos' other recent find is Painted Bunting which is rare in Cuba in winter though is more often seen during migration. He has found a family party of three, including this male, recently on a beach near Guardalavaca. What a fabulous bird and great photo. If you are planning a trip to the area and would like to use his services then you can contact him using Messenger or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.