Cuba Day 11

Today is a travel day. Almost no birds. We return to the Camaguey airport and fly back to Miami. We have to change our CUCs back to dollars.

Camaguey Airport

The charter plane back to Miami does not have reserved seats, but the non-Spanish speaking flight attendant immediately picks us out as English speakers and seats us all in the emergency exit rows. This understandably perturbs some of the Cubans and Cuban/Americans on the flight who want to know why any airline would hire a non-Spanish-speaker for flights to Cuba. I must say I agree, but I don’t argue with it.

Trip total for me was 135 species including 48 lifers and 22 Cuban endemics. The group picked up a few more.

The biggest miss for me was Gray-headed Quail Dove on day 5. I think this was the only potential life bird that others got on and I didn’t. Other misses included Zapata Wren (heard but not seen), Zapata Rail, (which we didn’t seriously try for), and Stygian Owl (tough at the best of times). Only the two toughest endemics remain to be found, Zapata Rail and just maybe Ivory-billed Woodpecker (our guide Hiram is one of the last people to see a living Ivory-billed, and he thinks they are still out there in Eastern Cuba where few people go), so another trip to Cuba, especially eastern Cuba, may be called for.

Back at the hotel in Miami I finally get on the Internet for the first time since we left the United States, and start uploading these blog posts. I also call my wife who has been getting perturbed at how out of touch I was. We are so used to constant contact in the developed world we’ve forgotten how to not email/tweet/blog/skype with each other. In many ways traveling to Cuba is like stepping back in time 20-60 years. It’s a fascinating island, and relatively unspoiled, especially compared to the rest of the Caribbean. If you get the chance to go, go.

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