Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Zapata snap slap. 11th March.

Bee Hummingbird.  'It will sit on that branch'  Angelo in action with Grumpy.

Two things not to forget when visiting Zapata swamp are a camera and some mosquito repellent. I remembered the first but not the second. As the day progressed the crust of slapped mozzies rose and cracked as the underlying lumps swelled. But the day also brought a progression of birdy photographic opportunities as Angelo ('brother' of El Chino) took us to this tree and that tree, pointing out exactly where the bird would perch. Good birds fell routinely; Cuban Trogon, Cuban Tody, Cuban Vireo, Cuban Pee-wee, Antillean (Cuban) Nightjar, Cuban Screech Owl, Cuban Martin, Cuban Pigmy-owl, Yellow-headed Warbler, Fernandina's Flicker etc etc. The time came for Bee Hummingbird. "It will sit on that branch" said Angelo, and it did. Repeatedly. A second spot produced the same result, with a female as well. The doves followed one after another. Five Blue-headed Quail-doves, one giving a stunning view after Angelo called it out. Call me ungrateful, but this was more like shopping at Tesco's than birding.

Angelo concentrated on the endemics as he knew that's what birders want to see. Endemics, they're a bit like common birds you see elsewhere, but don't migrate, so eventually you can call them 'Cuban'. However, Angelo also called a long list of the sort of names you dreamed of hearing coming out of a crackly CB on Scilly; Black and White Warbler, Gray Catbird, Ovenbird, Yellowthroat, Magnolia Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Black-throated Green and American Redstart.

Eventually Angelo ran out of birds to show us so we paid him off and got on with some slow birding. Zapata Wren, lobster lunch, mojito, Cuban Crab Hawk, mojito, that sort of thing.

Five Cubans (Trogon, Screech Owl, Nightjar, Pygmy-owl and Emerald) and an Ovenbird.

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