Cuba, March 25-April 4, 2015 Mar 25—Apr 04, 2015
Our second Cuba tour of 2015 began with shocking views of Zapata Sparrow, as well as Cuban Tody, Cuban Gnatcatcher, Cuban Vireo, Cuban Martin, Cuban Green Woodpecker, Cuban Emerald, Oriente Warbler, and Cuban Blackbird. What a cocktail of Cuban endemics to start the tour!
In Cayo Coco we nailed white morph individuals of both Reddish Egret and Great Blue Heron. Additionally, several Caribbean specialties and near-endemic species were seen in this bird-paradise, including West Indian Whistling-Duck, Key West Quail-Dove, Great Lizard-Cuckoo, Red-legged Thrush, Bahama Mockingbird, and Cuban Bullfinch.
Our next location was the fascinating town of Trinidad and the beautiful mountains in Topes del Collante. Near the hotel reception area we had our first contact with Cuba’s national bird, the Cuban Trogon, and Black-cowled (Cuban) Oriole. Topes del Collante also gave us insight into the local coffee production and an opportunity to taste some of Cuba’s finest dark roast.
We continued to what I consider to be the most important bird area of Cuba, the Zapata Peninsula. The dry and moist forest of this swamp is the site for seeing the astonishingly beautiful Blue-headed Quail-Dove, as well as the Cuban Parakeet. Another key bird of Cuba occurring here and seen well was the Bee Hummingbird.
Towards the last third of the tour we visited the west side of the island, Soroa and Viñales. This was the site of the last two endemic birds of the tour, the Cuban Solitaire and the Black-faced Grassquit. Also, we nailed the Olive-capped Warbler and enjoyed astonishing views of the Stygian Owl.
A full day in Havana allowed a visit to Old Havana where we enjoyed the architecture of the colonial time. On Havana’s main avenues we enjoyed the Art Deco buildings dating back to the 40s and 50s.