Cuba, Havana flowers and street photographs

Flowers, 15 March 2017

This photo shows beautiful flowers on a tree on the hill in Casablanca, a suburb of the Cuban capital Havana; where we were on 15 March 2017. As I wrote, after Casablanca we went to the old city center.

This video says about itself:

La Habana Vieja is the proper name for the central neighborhood Old Havana in Havana, Cuba. If you visit Havana for the first time, this is where need to go. If you’ve visited before, you probably still want to return – even if only to sip a cold beer in the shade and watch the hustle and bustle of the streets.

Everything was filmed in April 2016.

Major sights in this video:

Castillo del Morro Castle and Lighthouse (seen from our balcony)

La Cabaña Fortress (seen from La Habana Vieja)

Castillo de la Real Fuerza

El Templete

Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis on Plaza de San Francisco

Catedral de San Cristobal

Plaza Vieja (including Factoria Plaza Vieja, Cervezas y Maltas)

Hotel Ambos Mundos (Hemingway Hotel) on Calle Obispo

Plaza de Armas (where I got the Obama poster for my birthday)

La Floridita (where Hemingway and us had delicious daiquiris)

La Bodeguita del Medio (where Hemingway hung out, but we didn’t)

Parque Central

Payret Cinema and Capitolio

Prado (Paseo de Marti) street

Museo de la Revolucion

Memorial Granma

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana

The song in the video is “El Pescador” by Bruno Bassi of Los Hermanos – from the royalty-free music website Their collection is available via a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Havana sign, 15 March 2017

This photo from the city center shows a sign, celebrating Havana’s 497th birthday. Still three years until the big 500 years celebration.

Havana car and bike taxi, 15 March 2017

In old Havana, there are several means of transport.

Havana cars, 15 March 2017

From these vintage cars …

Havana cars, on 15 March 2017

Havana bike taxi, 15 March 2017

to these bike taxis…

Havana empty bike taxi, 15 March 2017

Havana bike taxi, on 15 March 2017

Havana boats, 15 March 2017

to these boats.

This video says about itself:

26 August 2014

In this film you will get an impression of what there is to see in the Calle Obispo.

It`s the number one shopping street of Havana Vieja. This is the place where girls are shopping and meet their friends. You can buy a lot of things here, eat something or go to the hairdresser. … The street has dilapidated buildings but also well maintained and beautifully decorated houses.

Havana clothes, 15 March 2017

Clothes hang out to dry from various windows in old Havana.

Havana clothes, on 15 March 2017

Havana drainpipes, 15 March 2017

People are at work putting new drainpipes underground.

Havana children, 15 March 2017

While the pipes are still above ground, Havana children use them in play.

Havana children, on 15 March 2017

Cuban birds and Havana buildings

Turkey vulture, 15 March 2017

15 March 2017. After seeing hummingbirds and doves on the Zapata peninsula in Cuba, we left that day for Havana. This photo shows a turkey vulture flying near a lake providing drinking water for Havana.

We had arrived there at 13:30. Cattle egrets, snowy egrets and great egrets.

Common gallinule. House sparrow.

Two ospreys flying. One lands on a small tree in the water.

Havana, 15 March 2017

We arrive in Havana, and go first to Casablanca suburb. From the hill, there is a fine view of Havana harbour and the old city centre behind it.

Havana, on 15 March 2017

Havana, Cuba, 15 March 2017

On the Casablanca hill, a singing northern mockingbird. A cattle egret flying past.

We went downhill, to the city centre.

Stay tuned!

Cuban doves and smallest hummingbird

This video says about itself:

Zapata Wren – Ferminia cerverai

A bird singing. Zapata Peninsula, Cuba (Monotypic species).

Recorded 1 August 2004.

15 March 2017, at the Zapata peninsula; the day after 14 March, the day I had seen the Zapata wren; we went to a Zapata peninsula forest edge where many doves were present.

Zenaida dove, 15 March 2017

Including Zenaida doves.

Zenaida dove, on 15 March 2017

Zenaida dove, Cuba, 15 March 2017

Blue-headed quail dove, 15 March 2017

And blue-headed quail doves. They live only in Cuba.

Blue-headed quail dove, on 15 March 2017

Grey-headed quail dove, 15 March 2017

And grey-headed quail doves. Also only in Cuba.

Grey-headed quail dove, on 15 March 2017

There were also other birds: ovenbirds. And Greater Antillean grackles.

A bit further, along the road, was a red-shouldered blackbird. Another Cuban endemic species.

Bee hummingbird, 15 March 2017

Then, we went to see the world’s smallest bird, the bee hummingbird, again.

Cuban emerald hummingbirds were present too.

A northern mockingbird sang from the top of an electricity pole.

We continued our journey to Havana.

So, stay tuned!

Cuban flowers, owls, woodpeckers, crabs

This video from Cuba says about itself:

4 April 2013

Zapata swamp is the natural habitat of the Cuban Crocodile, considered as a national symbol after its resemblance with the geography of the island.

On 14 March 2017, the day after 13 March on Cuba, we were at the Zapata peninsula.

Early in the morning, we went aboard a rowing boat.

Flower, Zapata swamp, 14 March 2017

Many beautiful flowers on the banks.

A Greater Antillean grackle on a bush. A yellow-headed warbler.

The main aim this morning is to see the Zapata wren. When the boat stops, we don’t see it where it is supposed to be.

Flowering grass, 14 March 2017

We do see this flowering grass.

After a walk on a muddy path, we do see the Zapata wren.

As the boat goes back, we see a belted kingfisher.

Turkey vulture, 14 March 2016

And this turkey vulture.

A limpkin flies overhead.

After landing, a flock of Cuban parakeets. They live only in Cuba.

Killdeer, 14 March 2016

And a killdeer plover. Probably, a migrant from North America.

In the afternoon, again a boat: a motorboat this time.

Brown pelican, 14 March 2017

On a lake bank, a brown pelican.

Also, an anhinga, drying it wings. A double-crested cormorant.

A great blue heron.

An osprey sits in a tree.

An Antillean palm swift flying.

A belted kingfisher sits on a bridge.

A yellow-bellied sapsucker on a palm tree.

Later that afternoon, not by boat, but a forest walk.

A blue-headed quail dove.

Stygian owl, 14 March 2017

A bit further, a big owl on a big tree; a Stygian owl.

Greater Antillean nightjar, 14 March 2017

On another tree, a Greater Antillean nightjar: endemic to Cuba and Hispaniola.

Cuban screech-owl, 14 March 2017

Then, in a hole in yet another tree, a smaller owl: a Cuban screech owl, endemic to Cuba.

This video says about itself:

A Fernandina’s Flicker (Colaptes fernandinae) and brief footage of a West Indian Woodpecker (Melanerpes superciliaris) at Hacienda La Cortina, Cuba, on 07 April 2013. The flicker was interested in a cavity in what may have been a royal palm.

Fernandina's flicker, 14 March 2017

On the forest edge, we also saw a Fernandina’s flicker: this male at its nest.

Yellow-bellied sapsucker, 14 March 2017

A bit further, another woodpecker: this yellow-bellied sapsucker.

Cardisoma guanhumi, 14 March 2017

Finally, we see crabs crossing a road. It is their mating season, and it has rained, sending them on migration. They are two crab species: Geocarcinus ruricola; and Cardisoma guanhumi (pictured).

Also about birds in Cuba: here.

Golden oriole, flamingos in Winterswijk and Germany

This video from Latvia is about a golden oriole nest. It shows the young birds, fed by their father.

On the day after 3 May 2017 in Winterswijk, 4 May, we went north from Winterswijk. Near a lake we heard a male golden oriole sing. Probably, he had just returned from Africa, and had survived illegal hunters in Malta and elsewhere on his spring migration.

We arrived at Zwillbrocker Venn nature reserve, on the Dutch-German border.

Zwillbrocker Venn, 4 May 2017

A curlew calls.

We arrived at the lookout tower near the lake. Thousands of black-headed gulls. A few Mediterranean gulls nest here too, but we could not find them.

Scores of flamingos. Many Chilean flamingos; also greater flamingos and Caribbean flamingos. Mainly offspring of feral birds, they nest here, and winter mainly in Zeeland province in the Netherlands.

How a flamingo balances on one leg: here.

Tufted ducks swimming.

On the other side of the tower, a brimstone butterfly, and a singing tree pipit.

Flamingos and black-headed gulls, 4 May 2017

Then, we arrived at a hide. A better view of the black-headed gulls and flamingos.

Flamingos and black-headed gulls, on 4 May 2017

A male shoveler duck swimming past.

Also, many gadwall ducks.

Flamingos, black-headed gulls, gadwall and shoveler ducks, 4 May 2017

Near a second hide was a great cormorant nesting colony.

Birds, fish, flowers in Winterswijk

Fish ladder, 3 May 2017

This blog has mentioned already the fish pass at the old Berenschot water mill near Winterswijk. From 3 May 2017, the day after 2 May in Winterswijk, is this photo of another fish pass in the Slinge river, a bit further downstream.

Before this fish ladder was made, there was a 80 centimeter high rapid here. Impossible to pass for fish, except maybe salmon. The new fish ladder consists of eight 10 centimeter high steps; with space in between them for fish to rest to ‘climb’ the next step. This helps at least five fish species which are quite rare in the Netherlands: chub; brook lamprey; burbot; dace; and ide.

Not far from the Berenschot water-mill is an important spawning ground for these species, which they can reach now. Besides fish, also, eg, water beetles and snails use the pass.

A nuthatch calls.

Ground-ivy flowers.

White nettle flowers.

Cow parsley, 3 May 2017

Cow parsley flowering along a cycling track near the Slinge.

A blue tit.

A male and a female buzzard in mating flight.

A northern lapwing.

An orange tip butterfly male

A peacock butterfly.

Woodland, 3 May 2017

A bit later, a bit more to the south, a partly woodland, partly farmland area.

Stream, 3 May 2017

Including a small stream.

Trees, 3 May 2017

A song thrush sings.

Farm, 3 May 2015

So does a yellowhammer.

Four roe deer in a meadow.

A wren sings on a tree stump.

Dandelions, 3 May 2017

Many dandelion flowers in a meadow.

Moss ‘flowers’ and Egyptian geese in love

Moss, 2 May 2017

This photo from the small lakes north of the Wooldse veen nature reserve shows moss plants. Some people would call this ‘flowering’ moss. However, mosses are ‘primitive’ plants, which have no seeds or flowers, but spores.

The photo is from 2 May 2017; two days after 30 April 2017 in Winterswijk.

Earlier that day, we had heard a chiffchaff, a blackbird, a song thrush and a pheasant.

Near the farm, the tulips still flowering.

A buzzard flies.

In the Buskersbos, ragged-robin flowers.

A large earth bumblebee on a white nettle flower.

Great spotted woodpecker and green woodpecker sounds.

A whitethroat sings near the Oude Borkense baan bridge.

In the afternoon, we went to the Wooldse veen.

Willow warbler, chiffchaff, cuckoo sounds.

On the boardwalk, a big spider: a raft spider.

A tree pipit flying and singing.

A male stonechat on a shrub.

Two goldfinches in a tree.

As we go back, we arrive at the two small lakes.

Moss, on 2 May 2017

In the northern lake, a female tufted duck.

At the southern lake: a grey heron. Barn swallows flying.

Egyptian geese, 2 May 2017

The two Egyptian geese come back; still much in love with each other.

Two starlings bathing.