Thank you Arturo Kirkconnell Jr for working hard to make our Cuba birding trip so successful.  I’m sure I speak for the four of us when I say that we enjoyed Cuba, its nature, and culture surrounded by joy.  I’ve been at a loss to think of a single negative comment to balance out all the praise.  Everything was great, starting with our airport pickup by Adrian and his father, Roberto.  I’ll never forget them as our first greeters to Cuba.  Adrian actually pointed out our first endemic—Cuban Blackbird.  Hostal Guido in Havana was perfect lodging for our first and last nights.  I especially liked the kind lady who prepared and served breakfast there.  Our chief goal was to sweep Cuba’s 26 endemic species.  With your extensive knowledge and experience with where and how to find these birds, coupled with your keen eyes and young ears, we surprised ourselves by sweeping all 26 by day 7 of our 9-day adventure.  Simply stated, the birding just couldn’t have been better.  And it wasn’t just the endemics—as a group, we tallied more than 160 species, many of which were new birds for all of us.  Personal highlights were the “swarm” of Snail Kites on our drive to Viñales, a (second!) Gundlach’s Hawk dashing past us in the Valle Ancon, TWO Stygian Owls!!, “swimming with quail-doves” on two mornings, the Zapata Swamp experience with you and your father, and the unforgettable Palpites hummingbird garden.  I also appreciate your smooth inclusion of the Cohiba tobacco farm visit, and for teaching all of us to enjoy Guarapo.  And gosh, our driver “Ray”—I tip my hat to Ray and his trusty vehicle—always skillful, always safe, and always courteous.  I was also delighted to meet Arturo Sr and have him autograph my Cuban bird guide in Playa Giron.  It is obvious to me that Y’all have a great thing going with Kirkconnell birding and I will highly recommend your services to anyone seeking serious ornithological study of Cuba’s great birds.  I already have, by the way!  Again, many thanks to you and everyone involved with our highly successful trip.  And best wishes in the future.


Randy Pinkston