Friday, January 20, 2017

CUBA Days 6-7 (03-04Jan2017)

Missing the Fernandia's Flicker was not an option so on our way out of Playa Larga, we stopped one more time at the amazing Soplillar Forest and surrounding farms.  Angel was fairly confident we would get it in the morning and he was right.

Cuban Parrot

Cuban Pewee

GLC - GLC is an acronym that works for two awesome things.  Great Lizard Cuckoo is one.  Ginger Lemon Cookie is the other.

Len K was the one to point out the Flicker in a distant tree.

Fernandia's Flicker

GLC again.

Not the best setting but definitely the closest looks we got.

White-crowned Pigeon

Red-legged Thrush

Ugh, this Helmeted Guinea Fowl took off running before I could get off a decent shot.  They are countable in Cuba.

Cuban Blackbird

Most of the rest of the day was spent in transit to the historic town of Trinidad founded in 1514!!  We checked into our hostel and had a late lunch in town.

Len, Ginger and your humble author listening to some awesome local music and about to imbibe mojitos.

James - a very good man and he has a HUGE ....... list.  This dude is like top 5 for number of species seen in the ABA region.

Trinidad is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

We headed back out for some birding in the hills outside of town before dark.  The road we chose was climbing straight up a relatively large mountain and our driver was not too happy about it so Derb asked him to pull over so we could bird the road a bit.

It was a long shot but Derb started using playback for Gundlach's Hawk.  Within a couple minutes we heard a hawk responding on the far hillside.  Then Keith found it way in the distance up in a tree.  A Gundlach's!!!

This is what it looked like uncropped from my 400mm.  Nice right?  I was shooting through trees and it was 400 or so yards away maybe more.

Here he is through a scope with my iPhone.  Basically he looked like a big Cooper's Hawk but they don't have Cooper's here except possibly during migration.

Cuban Tody

Next day was mostly spent driving to our next birding spot in Najasa just south of Camaguey.  For lunch we stopped at some roadside place that looked kind of sketchy so I skipped it and went birding in the courtyard next to the restaurant.  I had 8 species of warbler in about 20 minutes!  I did end up regretting not getting the food as everyone said it was actually pretty good.

Cape May Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler

Smooth-billed Ani

Northern Parula

The big targets for the day were Giant Kingbird, Plain Pigeon and Cuban Palm Crow.  Luckily all three can be found in Najasa which is just south of Camaguey, our next hotel.  It did not take too long to find the Kingbird and the Crow which is good because those were the endemics.  The Pigeon can be found on Puerto Rico and perhaps some other places.

Giant Kingbird looks kind of like Gray Kingbird but the bill is enormous and Grays leave Cuba in the  winter.

Palm Crow - yes I know it looks like Cuban Crow or any old Crow for that matter.  However the calls are way different and in fact we saw both Cuban Crow and Palm Crow at this spot.    Palm Crows can  be found on Hispaniola and Cuba but are split into two species.

We knew this was a Cuban Palm Crow because it flew off the ground and was calling.  If you see a Crow on the ground in Cuban it is most likely Cuban Palm Crow.  Cuban Crows on the other hand almost never alight on the ground.

Giant Kingbird flycatching.

In this photo you can see the nasal bristles completely cover the nares or nostrils.

Crested Caracara

Gundlach's Hawk!!!  Supposed to be ultra rare but this was our third sighting for the trip.

West Indian WP

Cuban Pygmy owls were slowly gaining trash bird status.  We seemed to get them everywhere.

Crested Caracara

Gundlach's came back for another flyby.

Cuban Crow - note the nostrils are visible.

Then finally 3 hours later....

Plain Pigeon - we had a couple flybys.

Cuban Palm Crow

Short wings is also a field mark for these bad boys.

That night we stayed in Camaguey, a fairly decent sized city by Cuban standards.  The weird thing is we ran into a family we had seen earlier in the trip at a roadside stop.  Just goes to show how small Cuba is even though in land mass it is big.  On the roof top we watched the sun set and I saw a definite green flash.

Next installment is the North Coast.  Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment