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|Thursday 1st September 2011, 11:57||#26|
Join Date: Sep 2011
It is rumored that brand new cars could be getting shipped to be offered in Cuba, as changes will allow for it next year. A brand new market for exports is definitely welcome among vehicle makers, and a brand new place to ship vehicles may be opening up after years without access. Car makers chose Cuba to be the next spot for car business, since Cubans are known to be the best in terms of cars. Their expertise when it comes to cars is great. Finally sales of brand new automobiles are finally going to resume after decades of absence, in Cuba. Here's the proof: New cars to be sold in Cuba in 2012.
|Sunday 20th October 2013, 14:32||#28|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Cannock, Staffs
I am thinking of going to Cuba next March/April with my wife for 2 weeks. We want to visit Havana for a few days and then spend the rest at a coastal area(twin centre holiday). This will not be a birding holiday as such but I would certainly like to make the most of any areas near the hotel we decide to stay in. I would also like to hire a guide for a day or two to help me find some of the trickier birds which could be possible near to area we will stay in. I clearly appreciate that quite few endemics will be missed by doing this, but I would be pretty happy to just get the Tody, Trogon and a few others.
By reading this thread, it appears as if Cayo Coco could be ideal for this(enough life and things going on for a non birder) and also easy access for me to get to a few birding locations.
Any suggestions would be gratefully received. Also, if anybody knows of any current guides, this would also be very useful.
|Wednesday 23rd October 2013, 09:10||#29|
Join Date: May 2008
Look at my April Cayo Guillemo report.
It might tempt you!
I recommend the Sol Cayo Guillermo because it is the last hotel of four so you can be out of the hotel complex area quicker.
Also it has a brilliant lagoon attached .You can also walk to the flamingo lagoon from here.
They run a daily bus to Cayo Coco if you want to visit there
Stayed from 5/4/2013 to 12/4/2013
A small island only 18 square kilometres but around 85% is mangrove forest,lagoons and swamps.
There are just 4 hotels on the island.
The Sol Cayo Guillermo Hotel
A typical Cuban AI hotel well landscaped with 1000's of plants and trees.
It borders a huge mangrove lagoon and also the sea and beach.
Great food and drinks package and a pleasant friendly atmosphere.
An open top bus plies it's trade between Cayo Coco across the causeway ,past all the Cayo Guillermo hotels to the end of the island at Playa Pilar.
Return costs are $5 return.
Otherwise you can easily walk to any of the places I have mentioned apart from Playa Pilar.
A dream Carribean beach at the western end of the island.
From the bus stop and car park head west to Zona La Punta an idyllic area far from the sunbeds.
The star bird was a Black Skimmer sitting with the Laughing Gulls at Zona La Punta..
I didn't expect to see it as it was described as both rarity and nocturnal.
At Zona La Punta I saw 2 Frigate Birds, Great Blue Heron.Great Egret,Snowy Egret,Little Blue Heron,White Ibis,10 Royal Tern,Double Crested Cormorant,Spotted Sandpiper and several Pelican..
A flowering cactus attracted 3 Cuban Emerald,a Cape May Warbler,a Parula and a Prairie Warbler.If you see a flowering cactus its well worth having a good look.
Along the sandy track to Zona La Punta an Eastern Wood Pewee appeared along with a Crescent Eyed Pewee..
The area around the car park and boardwalk was great for birds.
They included 4 grounded Turkey Vulture,Northern Parula,Prairie Warbler,Common Yellowthroat,Cuban Emerald.Gray Kingbird,Greater Antillean Grackle,Crescent Eyed Pewee,Northern Mockingbird,Zenaida Dove and my first Cuban Bullfinch.
The Punta Playuela Track
Every time a took this walk something new turned up.
From the northern path along the Sol Cayo Guillermo lagoon keep on going north west keeping the sea to your right.
Just before you reach the deserted beach there is a rough track to your left marked by a wind blown wooden parasol.
This track soon comes to a dead end but it was a great little area for birds.
After pishing about a little,a Gray Catbird appeared momentarily.this was my 650 lifer so another milestone passed.
My first and only Cuban Gnatcatcher was here along with an Oriente Warbler which was my sole sighting.
There was also an American Redstart among the coastal scrub as well as the common Prairie Warbler and Palm Warbler.
Two White Winged Dove were always about along with some Mourning Dove.Two American Oystercatcher were on the rocks before the beach.
The seaweed strewn beach was wonderful.
The All Inclusive crowd seldom ventured this far and we usually had the beach to ourselves.
The main attraction were two Piping Plover which were not only supposed to be rare but also endangered.They were here every day with two Wilson's Plover.Other birds seen here were several Turnstone,a Spotted Sandpiper and 3 Sanderling.A Red Breasted Merganser put in a cameo appearance one morning.There was a Semipalmated Plover present on one morning,
Common Blackhawk was regular along with,Turkey Vulture,Pelican, Royal Tern and Laughing Gull.
The Cayo Guillermo Lagoons
As you enter the Cayo there are lagoons on both sides of the road all the way to Playa Pliar about 8 kilometres away.
The big attraction was Flamingo Lagoon ,the second lagoon on your right as you head west.
There were at least 50 Flamingos most days.
The rest of the lagoon and muddy edges was teeming with birds including,Great Egret,White Ibis,Tri Coloured Heron,Green Heron,scores of Least Sandpiper,as well as Lesser Yellow Leg,Short Billed Dowitcher,Willet,Stilt Sandpiper,Black Bellied Plover, two Semiplamated Sandpiper, Killdeer,Blue Winged Teal,Common Moorhen,Barn Swallow, and Laughing Gull.
The usual Common Blackhawk was seen and a Crested Caracas was reported to be further down the road one day.
A Palm Warbler and Yellow Warbler were seen in the bushes
I saw an American Crow one morning which surprised me since it wasn't even mentioned in the Helm Guide.
All the lagoons were worth checking as the situation changed from day to day.
The Sol Cayo Guillermo Hotel Lagoon
This was the last productive lagoon as you travel west.
It is the only one not viewable from the main road but the public can access the northern track.
Just turn right past the power station and take the sandy track till you turn right to walk along the northern track.
All the birds mentioned can be seen from this area or anywhere from the hotel grounds where they meet the lagoon.
Sadly the hotel removed the resident crocodile in case it went all inclusive and ate a guest.
Health and Safety gone mad if you ask me.
It was the only lagoon where I saw the Roseate Spoonbill.
I recorded- Flamingo,Roseate Spoonbill[6 maximum].Green Heron,Snowy Egret,
White Ibis,Little Blue Heron,Reddish Egret,Stilt Sandpiper,Cattle Egret,Great Blue Heron,Killdeer,Least Sandpiper[maximum6]Semipalmated Plover,Turnstone,Spotted Sandpiper,Royal Tern[10 maximum] Frigatebird,Double Crested Cormorant,Laughing Gull,Turkey Vulture,Common Blackhawk,
The Sol Cayo Guillermo Hotel Grounds
The four hotels on the island a very similar.
There were lots of plants,trees and lawned areas as well as the extensive beach area.
Apart from the birds in the abovementioned Sol Cayo Guillermo Hotel lagoon I spotted the following from the rest of the hotel-
Laughing Gull,Ring Billed Gull,Frigate Bird,Pelican,Turkey Vulture,Common Blackhawk,Cuban Green Woodpecker,Crescent Eyed Pewee, Cuban Emerald,Prairie Warbler,Northern Perula,Common Yellowthroat,Palm Warbler,Cape May Warbler,Mockingbird,American Redstart,White Winged Dove,Ground Dove,Mourning Dove,Eleinda Dove,Greater Antillean Grackle,American Kestrel,Collared Dove,Loggerhead Kingbird, Northern Waterthrush,House Sparrow
|Wednesday 23rd October 2013, 13:56||#30|
Join Date: May 2008
Forgot to mention that you are unlikely to need a guide.
The birds are easy to identify with a good bird book to hand.I used the Helm Guide to the Birds of the West Indies.
You can use the island bus to get around,the taxis or hire a scooter.The roads are virtually traffic free.
|Wednesday 23rd October 2013, 21:33||#31|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Cannock, Staffs
Many thanks for the super informative post.
I have in fact been looking at that hotel which looks great.
I will certainly do plenty of homework before I go so I am not concerned about id, just maybe locating some of the scarcer species. Are you aware of any particular guides in the area?
Also, did you happen to come across the Tody or Trogon? These would be high on my 'want' list.
|Thursday 24th October 2013, 08:31||#32|
Join Date: May 2008
The Sol is a decent hotel.
The food and drinks AI package is fine and the service is good.
It is beautifully landscaped.
The low level accomodation is well spread out so you never feel crowded.
Best thing about it is the wonderful picture postcard beach and the lagoon which surrounds it.The lagoon and gardens are full of birds.
I met some birdwatchers who took the bus to Cayo Coco to see the Tody but I don't know if they saw one.
I think you would have to take a long trip to the mainland to see a Trogon.
I am not sure if there are any guides in the area.
There are no villages on the island so no local population[the hotel workers are bussed in every day fron the mainland a one and half hour journey hence the island is unspoilt]
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