Saturday, 7 February 2015

From Colombia to Cuba

My five day layover in Toronto is almost complete, and on Monday I will be heading to the airport to make my first visit to the beautiful island of Cuba. Last year I was invited by Worldwide Quest Nature Tours  to co-lead a 16 day tour of Cuba - an offer I couldn't refuse. I will be working with Glenn Barrett, a keen naturalist and photographer who resides in the Hamilton area.

Cuba has always been on the list of places I would love to go as it has the most diverse birdlife of the Greater Antilles. Twenty-four living species of birds can only be found in Cuba. Many other species are found on Cuba and only one or two neighbouring islands, such as Grand Cayman or Hispaniola. Cuba is home to the world's smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird, as well as other iconic species such as Cuban Tody (a tiny, colorful bird related to jacamars and kingfishers), Cuban Trogon, Bare-legged Owl, and the strikingly beautiful Blue-headed Quail-Dove.

But the birds are not the only attraction in Cuba for a naturalist like me...nearly 200 species of endemic reptiles and amphibians can be found on the islands! The endemic species include 60+ anoles, 14 dwarf boas, 10 blindsnakes, and 50+ rain frogs. The only downside is that no venomous snakes are found on Cuba!

It should be a lot of fun and I'm excited to explore the island with the group.

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I've finally begun the long and arduous process of sorting, deleting, and editing the 60 gigabytes of photos from the Colombia trip. Here are a couple of early edits from the first day in northern Colombia!

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Steely-vented Hummingbird

Savage's Salamander - Bolitoglossa savagei

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