Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cuba Bird Study Program

Our group of enthusiastic census takers recently returned from a great trip to Cuba. We not only counted and documented many neotropical migrants but were lucky to see all the "gettable" endemic and soon to be endemic bird species.

Our first few days for a small group of four was spent birding in Mexico where we not only saw some great birds but also visited a couple of great archaeological sites at Tulum and Chichen Itza. Both sites were outstandingly inspiring and must have been even more so when their civilizations were at their peak. I could not help but feel an overwhelming sense of the struggle and loss of human life that must have gone on here, especially at Chichen Itza. If you have the chance, do not miss this experience. I am planning a Yucatan Peninsula tour that will include these two sites not too far in the future. There are some birds that are endemic to the area making this destination doubly interesting.

This was my second trip to Cuba and interesting to see some of the changes that had taken place in three years. There were not many, but the most prominent were the number of people using cell phones and the new public buses in Havana. The endemic birds were spectacular as expected, I finally getting a good look at two, the Zapata Sparrow and Blue-headed Quail Dove, that I had missed on the first trip. To see some photos of the birds, click on this link.

I am off to the Galapagos Islands in about nine days for my first time. It is the celebration of Darwin's 200th birthday so that will make it a bit more special.

Thanks for reading. I will post some more photos of Cuba as well as the Galapagos Islands when I get back. There is no Internet access on the trip.

I plan to publish a book of my as well as other travelers' Cuba photos before too long. I will let you know when that is available.
Cheers, AG

Cuban Tody

Successful Eagle Season

Without the Eagle Festival this year, EcoTravel had its best eagle season benefiting from the many people who might have gone to the festival looking for boats. The ice coverage for about 10 days was ideal, concentrating about 35 eagles in the stretch of river from Essex to Hamburg Cove. Once the ice left town, the eagles spread out and were not so numerous. The lower numbers did not reduce the quality of the sightings offering many close encounters and superb photo opportunities.

We are now in our Osprey season and trust that you will be able to join us on one of those boats or some of our other great bird and natural history tours.

Photos are of first year, second year, and adult bald eagles.