Bay of Pigs (Bahia de Cochinos), Cuba

Dec 17, 2017 - Harmony V

Cuba is roughly 44,200 square miles in size, though that depends on the tides that reveal or flood its 3,000 miles of shoreline among its archipelago of about 1600 tiny islands. There are about 12,400 animal species that have been found on Cuba’s land, and an estimated 42% of those are endemic to Cuba. With 31 species of endemic butterflies, 72 species of endemic ants, 47 species of endemic anoles, 18 endemic nonvenomous snakes, 45 endemic frogs, it is by far the most biologically unique country in the Caribbean. Twenty five species of birds are endemic to Cuba, and these were who we were in search of today.

We started the day birdwatching in Zapata National Park with a local guide. He knew the area very well, and even individual trees where he could wake a sleeping endemic owl. We got great views of Cuban todys, Cuban blackbirds, Cuban emerald hummingbirds, a Cuban trogon, Cuban parakeets, and many other native birds. Afterwards, we visited the Bay of Pigs museum, and then some of the group went snorkeling at Punta Perdiz while others visited a location great for photographing the world’s smallest bird – the bee hummingbird.

In the afternoon, we visited with the Director of the Zapata National Park, Frank Medina. He shared the splendor of the region, as well as the ecological challenges facing the island. Afterwards, we visited with the director of the Korimakao Community Project which offers alternative careers for artists, actors, and musicians with no formal training. Altogether, it was a lovely day meeting with locals, and exploring the many riches in this beautiful country.

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About the Author

Jeff Litton

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jeff is an environmental filmmaker and adventure cinematographer. His passion for adventure has led him through rural Kenyan villages, atop erupting Guatemalan volcanoes and to the enchanted Galápagos Islands to film Hammerhead Sharks. Being an expedition filmmaker enables Jeff to combine his love for capturing beauty with his drive to protect the environment. In the words of Jacques Cousteau, “people protect what they love.” Inspired, Jeff created, the United Global Environmental News Agency, an online resource to inspire people to care about the environment.

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