Cuban parrots, cigars, and anhinga


Cuban parrot, 6 March 2017

Our earlier blog post mentioned our arrival in Viñales town. There, still on 6 March 2017, we saw this Cuban parrot. A pet, not a wild bird. This species lives only in Cuba, the Bahamas and Cayman islands. The pet trade did much damage to Cuban parrots; but recently, conservation measures seem to work and the numbers of wild parrots are increasing again.

Cuban martins, endemic to Cuba, flying around. A northern mockingbird on a wire.

The next day, 7 March, we went up a mountain trail in Viñales National Park. 7 March 2017 was our second full day in Cuba. And our second day in the Viñales region.

We heard a Cuban solitaire sing.

This is a video of a Cuban solitaire singing.

A Cuban trogon in a tree. Like the solitaire, an endemic species.

A termite nest.

This video is called A singing male Cuban Bullfinch (Melopyrrha nigra) at Cayo Coco, Cuba, on 13 April 2013.

This species lives around Viñales as well. We saw it this 7 March near the mountain trail.

Then, a yellow-headed warbler. And a white-crowned pigeon.

And a western spindalis, aka stripe-headed tanager.

Then, we continued to Pinar del Rio city. To a building which in the 1950s used to be a torture prison of dictator Batista. After the 1959 revolution, all political prisoners were freed. The building became a cigar factory which it still is today. It is open to the public.

Pinar del Rio cigar factory, 7 March 2017

In the factory hangs a poster of the late President Fidel Castro smoking a cigar. As he did. Later, he stopped smoking, as tobacco is not healthy, even though Cuban cigars do not cause as much damage as cigarettes.

Fidel Castro on why he stopped smoking: here.

Fidel Castro quote, 7 March 2017

In the factory courtyard, a quote by Fidel Castro.

Cuban cigars have the reputation of being the best in the world. We saw the workers make them by hand from three parts: filler, binder, and wrapper. 60% of this skilled work is done by women. At the factory entrance, a sign wished women well for International Women’s Day which would come next day, on 8 March.

House sparrows on the building.

In the afternoon, we went from the place where tobacco leaves turn into cigars to a place where tobacco leaves have their earlier stages.

First, we arrived at a lake. Smooth-billed anis. Great egret. Snowy egret. A little blue heron. And a belted kingfisher flying. And seven muscovy ducks: farm birds, not wild birds.

Tobacco growing, 7 March 2017

Then, we arrived at a tobacco farm. Like elsewhere in Pinar del Rio province, much tobacco grew there.

Tobacco leaves, 7 March 2017

Under palm leaf roofs, harvested tobacco leaves fermented.

Tobacco leaves, on 7 March 2017

We were in La Jutia valley, named after the endemic mammal, the Cuban hutia.

Cuba, 7 March 2017

A palm warbler on a wire near the farm.

As we walked on, mourning doves. A Cuban peewee.

We arrived at a lake. An artificial lake, made for firefighters to have water against wildfires. It attracted birds: brown pelicans. A little blue heron. An anhinga flying.

As we walked back, a female red-legged honeycreeper; and a northern parula.

Stay tuned for more on Cuban birds!

15 thoughts on “Cuban parrots, cigars, and anhinga

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