Cuba, Day 2, 5 March 2017 - Embalse Nina Monita, Cueva de los Portales & Vinales

We left Havana today after picking our hire car up at the airport. Heading west our first stop was at the Embalse Nina Monita a rather exotically named reservoir right next to the main highway. This has a reputation for ducks and so it proved to be with large numbers of Ring-necked Ducks and Lesser Scaup plus 2 Buffleheads and a scattering of Ruddy Duck. Other waterbirds included the only Least Grebe of the trip, loads of American Coot plus Brown Pelicans, Tri-coloured Heron, Great Egrets and Neotropic Cormorants. Several Palm Warblers were around the carpark.

Palm Warbler

Great Egret

Rafts of Ring-necked Ducks and Lesser Scaup

Brown Pelican

Our home for the next 3 nights was the tobacco town of Vinales. En-route was the cave hideout of Che Guevara La Cueva de los Portales. It's dramatic rocks, history and the opportunity for some birding was not to be missed! A small carpark and entrance fee gets you in and despite music blaring out (to nobody!) of a speaker on the campsite the caves were really nice. I quickly slunk off for some birding and scored with one of my targets really quickly - a singing Cuban Solitaire. Cuban Bullfinch, Cuban Green Woodpecker and a male Common Yellowthroat followed in quick sucession. Add to that Zenaida Dove, c6 Cuban Emeralds, 2 American Redstarts and Red-legged Honeycreeper before I started to amble back. Along the stream a waterthrush was nailed as my first ever Louisiana Waterthrush and then a Green Heron and a female Hooded Warbler (a rare winter visitor) completed a great little stop.

On the drive from there to Vinales Loggerhead Kingbird and Belted Kingfisher were added. From the rooftop terrace of our casa in Vinales Cuban Martin, Antillean Palm Swifts and an American Kestrel kept us entertained over a beer!

Cuban Solitaire

Cuban Bullfinch

American Redstart

Louisiana Waterthrush

Loggerhead Kingbird

 Cuban Martin

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