Cuba November 2007
Wildlife Trip report
and Photographs

www.Digitalwildlife.co.uk

Many of the below images are record shots but some may be good enough for publication. For any enquiries please contact me via e-mail, details on this page Click here

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I spent two weeks during November 2007 in a (Cuban) five star Hotel (Melia) on Cayo Guillermo, which is attached by a Causeway/bridge to the larger island of Cayo Coco on the northern coast of Cuba. I was there for a family wedding, so though not strictly a bird watching holiday; I did get up most mornings and explore the area around the Hotel which produced excellent birding on its own, habitat includes extensive water and mangrove areas, scrub and scattered trees, the hotel grounds and obviously the beach.


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Green Heron, (Btorides virescens) seen regularly around the hotel fish ponds and other lakes and mangrove.

The journey from the air port across Cayo Coco to the hotel at dusk, produced the first bird of the trip a Crested Caracara, an excellent start.

The next morning I was up at dawn and birding around the Hotel (Melia) on Cayo Guillermo. I had taken with me the 'field guide to the birds of Cuba - Orlando H. garrido and Arturo Kirkconnell' I had no knowledge other than the information in this guide to help me. Honestly the first bird a saw was a House Sparrow!!

It wasn't long before a barrage of new birds was bombarding me. These included variouse American Warblers, many species of Herons and Egrets around the lakes and mangrove areas along with Belted Kingfisher and Cuban Black/Crab Hawk, Turkey Vulture and many others (by jeff brantner). There are four pages of photos here and a little information.


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Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) The commonest raptor in all the areas i visited.


View from the Hotel beach at Cayo Guillermo. This pier had been wrecked in a storm, but was put to good use every morning by the local Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls and Neotropic and Double Crested Cormorants.


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Cuban Black Hawk or Cuban Crab Hawk
(Buteogallus gundlachii
formally Buteogallus anthracinus gundlachii)
emdemic, and common. One bird frequented the hotel grounds and was
fed crabs by hand by one of the grounds staff.


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American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Common around the Hotel and Cayo coco


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Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) Common on Cayo Guillermo

 


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House Crow (Corvus splendens), just this one bird on one day hanging around the hotel pool
(Melia Cayo Guillermo), this is a common Asian bird know to have colonisd other areas of the world by hitching a ride on ships.
Note: I later found out this bird remained for many months and was the first record for Cuba and only the second record for the West Indies!

 


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Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) Seen almost daily on Cayo Guillermo



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Greater Antillean Grackle (Quiscalus niger) common scavengers around the hotel

 



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Great Egret (Ardea alba) also known as the Great White Egret and White Heron.
Common, one morning i saw over 100 of theses birds together on one of the nearby lakes.

 


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Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) formerly known in North America as the Louisiana Heron,
seen almost daily on Cayo Guillermo

 


Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Common on Cayo Guillermo

 


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Above and Below,
both pictures show a flock of egrets and Ibis photographed early one morning not far from the hotel.
There are White Ibis, Snowy Egret, Reddish Egret (white and dark morphs) Tricoloured Herons, and Black necked Stilt.

Both images can be clicked and will open up larger


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Sanderling (Calidris alba), often seen running around on the tourist beaches

 


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Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), common in scrub areas.

 


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Sunrise, Cayo Guillamo, Cuba

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One of many Lizards (Anole Species) seen around the Hotel. There were also tree frogs and crabs often around the grounds.

 


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Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) Cayo Guillermo

 


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Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), sometimes called Snakebird, Darter, American Darter, or Water Turkey. One or two seen on Cayo Guillermo.


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1st winter Reddish Egret, (Egretta rufescens) Cayo Guillermo


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Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) Cayo Guillermo

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Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus ) Cayo Guillermo

 


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American Coot (Fulica americana) Cayo Guillermo

 

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end march2012