silhouette of meBack To Belize

- A Birder Diary -

"It was an itch that I had to scratch. A two year old promise I had made to myself . So I surfed the net, booked my flights, packed my binoculars, and took off for nine days in Belize!"

I arrived at Belize City International Airport at 4p.m. on Thursday October 16, 1997, and was met at the terminal by David Cunningham, my driver from the Hotel Mopan. We were planning on driving up to Crooked Tree Sanctuary that afternoon but it was too late, so David took me to his neighborhood on the outskirts of Belize City and we scouted out his backyard and environs.

Found Tropical Mockingbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Groove-billed Ani, Common Nighthawk, Prothonotary Warbler, American Redstart, Brown Jay, Limpkin, Turkey Vulture, Great Egret, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher and Snail Kite. Wish my backyard was as lively and interesting!! A great start for nine days in Belize!

Awoke early on Friday at 4a.m.. It must be the two time zone difference between Belize and Miami. Spent the hours till my flight to Gallon Jug going over field guides, drinking coffee, eating breakfast and getting anxious. Took a little walk up and down the street in front of the hotel and found: Great Kiskadee, Tropical Kingbird, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Spotted Sandpiper, Golden Fronted Woodpecker, Ruddy Ground Dove and Yellow Warbler. Not bad for birding in the city.

Hailed a five-dollar cab to the Municipal Airport (the cabs in Belize are the cars with the green license plates) and arrived in plenty of time for my 9 a.m. flight. Spoke with a gentleman who worked for TropicAir who was a birder (seems almost everyone in Belize is a birder to one extent or another), and he invited me to take a walk back into the maintenance area of the airport to check out the birds. Nothing different found there, just Snail Kites, and Cinnamon Hummers.... Ho hum.

Flight via Javier's Flying Service left right on time at 9 a.m. and I arrived 40 minutes later at Gallon Jug.

Scouted out the immediate area of the airport and found my old friend the Roadside Hawk. The bus from Chan Chich then arrived to take me to the lodge (the driver Miguel was happy to point out that the air conditioning had been fixed in the bus). En route to the lodge saw Cattle Egrets, the three vulture species (Turkey/Black/Lesser-yellow headed), more Tropical Kingbirds, and Ruddy Ground Doves.

I ask Miguel to let me off the bus at the suspension bridge so I could walk in to the lodge area. (When I left Chan Chich two years ago, we walked out.... I figured it would be nice to complete that hike by walking back in)

Spent the next hour walking slowly towards Mecca! Immediately I found myself back in birding heaven! Ocellated Turkey made the first appearance of the day, how apropos! Further along the road I find and ID female White-collared Manakin, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Dot-winged Antwren, Black-and-white Warbler, Plain Xenops, Chestnut Colored Woodpecker and Melodious Blackbird!!! Ahhhh.... The lodge comes into view.... Just as I remember.... I'mmmm Baaaaackk!

I make a bee-line to the bar for a quick diet coke and say hello to Norman the barkeep....he swears he remembers me...hahaha, bet he says that to all the tourists....

Check in at the front desk and make my way to cabana #9, which will be my home for the next seven days. Immediately around the cabana: Yellow-winged Tanager, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Rufous Mourner!

I check my Chan Chich guidebook and decide to tackle the "Road to Sylvester Village" trail following lunch. Scarf down the meal in record time, don my mosquito jacket and vest and hit the trail!

Ah, the jungle is as I remember.... Dark, damp, but fresh (strange combo I know) and the birds come fast and furious: Pale-billed Woodpecker, Keel-billed Toucan, a chocolate brown hawk (that neither I nor my description to the guides could ever identify), Thrushlike Mourner (formerly Thrushlike Manakin), Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, White-eyed Vireo, Golden-winged Warbler, Kentucky Warbler (soon to become the "trash bird" of the trip), Chimney Swifts fly overhead, Crested Guan in the trees, Squirrel Cuckoo, Red-lored Parrots and Little Hermit round out the afternoon!! By now it is "getting dark in the jungle" so I head back to the lodge for a shower and dinner.

Early to bed, early to rise....I join three ladies from New Orleans at 6 a.m. on Saturday for a guided walk with Gilberto (the Amazing Gilberto, Chan Chich guide numero uno!!)

A two hour walk along the main road heading east from the lodge rewards us with: Masked Tityra, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Red-lored Parrot, Black-headed Saltator, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Amazon Kingfisher (at the suspension bridge), Ornate Hawk-eagle (along the River Trail just a little way in from the main road), Northern Wheatear (on the lawn at the suspension bridge - a second record for Belize), Palm Warbler, Black-cowled Oriole, Rose-throated Becard, White-crowned Parrot, Magnolia Warbler, and Brown-crested Flycatcher. Whew! Back to the lodge for breakfast.

After breakfast, I and the three New Orleans ladies head up to the Upper Plaza and "accidentally" run into Gilberto again (who is supposed to be grooming the trails). He drops his rake, grabs his binoculars, and takes us in search of Mot-mots! What a guy!!

From the Upper Plaza we make our way to Norman's Tomb (a ruin that Norman the barkeep extrordinaire discovered). The birds again are agreeable, but no Mot-mots. We find: White-bellied Emerald hummers, Black-faced Grosbeak, Eye-ringed Flatbill, White-throated Spadebill, White-breasted Wood Wren, Hooded Warbler (soon to become another "trash bird" of the trip), Olive-backed and Yellow-throated Euphonia (none of the Scrub variety on this visit to Belize), and Ivory-billed Woodcreeper!

An excitable Spider Monkey starts shaking the tree limbs high above us, I guess to try and scare us away or to alert his relatives. He actually starts breaking off pieces of the branches and drops them closer and closer to us. The ladies find this performance amusing and watch his antics.

I take the time while we're not walking to look around, and notice an area of concentrated bird splay on the trail.
I point it out to Gilberto, who nods his head sagely and says, "Poop."
I nod my head in agreement and repeat, "Poop."
Trying to add my own knowledgeable information to the stimulating conversation, I add, "I've found Screech Owls at home by looking straight up from a pile of poop like this."

In his quaint accent, Gilberto then relates the story of an American gentleman who was visiting Chan Chich, and while on a guided walk like this, was also enjoying the antics of a Spider Monkey overhead. The man was trying to take a picture of the monkey, and Gilberto warned him not to stand directly under the monkey or he might be sorry. The man ignored Gilberto, saying "I just gotta get this shot!" At which point, the monkey brought out the heavy artillery and let go a large quantity of "poop" that landed right on the gentlemen's upturned face and camera equipment.

We all found this story highly amusing and made sure we weren't standing in the monkey's line of fire from that point on.
"Gilberto," I said. "We've got a saying for the moral of that story back in the states."
"Que?" asks Gilberto.
"Monkey see, Monkey poop." I say.

Time to head back for lunch....I find Collared Aracari but no monkey snipers awaiting me in the trees at cabana #9...

After lunch and a little hammock time, I take a solo walk along the Logger Trail and back up the main road. Olivaceus Woodcreeper makes it's first appearance for me, Plain Xenops reappears and I find one of my target birds! The Little Tinamou!! Geeze, it's getting dark again already and I make my way back along the main road picking up Red-throated Ant Tanager, Wood Thrush and Swainson's Thrush.

Shower, dinner and planning for tomorrow make up the rest of my late afternoon....

For my pre-breakfast walk on Sunday, I decide to explore the River Trail. But before I leave the compound I notice that the Bat Falcon is sitting on the snag to the north....same place it was two years ago!!

Superglue is amazing stuff!!!

The River Trail officially leaves the compound from behind cabana #5 (where the new swimming pool is also located) and winds north and west following the Chan Chich Creek and the Little Chan Chich Creek till it meets up with the Road to Sylvester Village. But being the trailblazer that I am, I start from the Sylvester Road end! And once again, I try to make due with whatever nature offers.... Black-headed Saltators show up, as well as Thrushlike Mourner, Summer Tanager, Gray-headed Tanager, Ruddy Woodcreeper, and Dusky Antbird. Belize it or not, that little walk took 2 hours! Boy do I walk slow when I'm zoned!

After another hearty breakfast (I stuck with the ham-and-cheese omelets), I hit the trail again! This time I start at the Upper Plaza and finally spot the pair of elusive Blue-crowned Mot-mots! They're hanging out above the looter's trench that was dug into the west side of the tomb. I remember that the New Orleans contingent is leaving Chan Chich this morning and they have yet to see the Mot-mots, so I scramble up the mound that separates the Upper Plaza from the compound and look down into Chan Chich. I finally see Phyllis (who along with her sig-other Rich were visiting from San Francisco) and as quietly as possible try to catch her attention...

"Yo! Phyllis!!" I shout. She looks up and waves.

"Could you tell the ladies in Cabana #3 that the Blue-crowned Mot-mots are here!!"

She waves again and heads towards Cabana 3, while I go back to relocate the Mot-mots.

Those darn Mot-mots (motmotis elusiveness) have moved higher up into the canopy and are harder to see! I keep an eye on them as the New Orleans birders sneak up behind me. They're paid their bills and are now reaping the reward. I manage to point out the Mot-mot and their smiles tell me I've made their day. The bus is waiting for them below, and with quiet thanks they head on their way. I leave them with my standard Chan Chich farewell, "Remember, it gets dark in the jungle..."

After they've left, I spot Rudy-tailed Flycatcher and Yellow-backed Oriole. Moving on to the King's Tomb I discover 2 (count em! TWO) Rufous-tailed Jacamars, Slaty-tailed Trogon, female Red-crowned Ant Tanager (with her red crown), and Black-throated Shrike Tanager! An impressive little convention of birds at the top of the King's Tomb!!

I take the Sac-Be Trail shortcut out to the main road and tick off another Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher. Back on the main road I make a discovery of a great marker #79....the birds love this little place along the road! Chestnut-colored Woodpecker and Long-tailed Hermit are there. As well as, a male While-collared Manakin (doing his mating display! Amazing! "Snap, Snap, BRRRPPP!" cool !!), great look at another Squirrel Cuckoo, Blue-black Grosbeak, Gray Catbird, Masked Tityra, and Golden-fronted Woodpecker are all hanging out around marker #79! Will check out this place often over the next few days....

Back to the lodge for lunch and conversation, a little hammock time, then back out to the main road to recheck #79...

A little rule of thumb for birding that I found to be true during my stay....the early afternoon is not the best time to bird at Chan Chich (or most anywhere else in the world, I would imagine). Everything seems to be hiding or resting from the heat of the day. Birding before noon seemed to be the best.

Nothing new or of note to be mentioned from my Sunday afternoon walk....until I reach the suspension bridge and bump into Gilberto (who was relaxing and birding on his own). The amazing Gilberto points out Cinnamon Becard for me as it flocks with the Olive-backed and Yellow-throated Euphonias.... He claims that the Euphonias literally "cover" the Becard at times like a blanket! While I didn't observe this behavior myself....I defer to Gilberto, he knows all !!

Tomorrow is Monday, and I plan on attacking Chan Chich's longest trail....the Bajo! So I head back to the lodge with Gilberto, wish him a good night at his turn off to the staff village. Then the usual evening schedule of shower, dinner and sleep to prepare for the Bajo Trail.

Up and on the main road for a short walk by 5:30a.m. on Monday. Finally see a male Red-capped Manakin and continue east on the main road, past the suspension bridge and turn north on a little unused road just east of the bridge. Gilberto had mentioned that Tody Mot-mots might be found there. I will see!

I find the usual cast of characters along this road, as well as a one-legged Kentucky Warbler and the mysterious chocolate colored Hawk. At the summit of the road is an overgrown clearing where I believe Chan Chich management was planning on building an observation tower (but the swimming pool won out in the budget) and I stand there for half an hour, just enjoying the sounds of the morning. A Howler Monkey starts screaming to the south, and keeps it up non-stop for at least 5 minutes! It sounds like he's right beside me! I am sure every creature in the jungle is awake by the time he finishes his aria!

It appears the elusive Tody Mot-mot is not to be found here this morning, so I slowly walk back towards the main road. I stop just before leaving the clearing and turn back for one last look around. Looking nonchalantly up... I see a raptor sitting on a branch about thirty feet away from me, looking nonchalantly down. I raise my binocs and who do I see? But the immature Ornate Hawk-eagle looking back at me!! Beautiful creature, he cocks his head curiously as he examines me, and I remain motionless as I examine him. This is the best view you could ask for....up at a slight angle, and only thirty feet away! The white of his breast is clear and smooth, his little black head feathers ruffle in the breeze. He doesn't seem alarmed or concerned by my presence. Amazing! I quietly thank him for the visit and the opportunity to admire him and reluctantly back away and continue back towards the lodge. One last look back reveals he sits there still, also enjoying the morning and looking forward to breakfast like I am...

I beat a hasty retreat back to the lodge to get breakfast right at 7a.m. (I still plan on doing the Bajo Trail this a.m.) and find a female Blue-black Grosbeak at marker #79. Good spot!

I inhale a quick breakfast and head out for the Bajo Trail. Heading west on the main road, I turn right through the western service area....the village "dump" provides me with an overwhelming look at 5 Slaty-tailed Trogons and another Jacamar!

The Road To Sylvester Village (it must be becoming my favorite trail of the trip) provides me with some more surprises this morning. Another target Tinamou, the Slaty-breasted, is found and enjoyed. Eye-ringed Spadebill makes another appearance and three yellow-bellied Trogons flyover....can't ID them so quickly...DRAT! But I become easily distracted from the Trogon quandary by the Gray-throated Chat that pops up and becomes a lifer for me!! Adding to my sightings, the first male American Redstarts of the trip.

Finally, I reach the start of the Bajo Trail and plunge in. I hear another Spadebill....I'm getting good at recognizing it's call (Gilberto would be proud of me). The Bajo Trail is muddier than any of the others that I've tread at Chan Chich, and the mosquitoes are a bit livelier; but my mosquito jacket serves me well (one of my best purchases).

There's a lot of action along the trail, but nothing new or exciting till I reach about 3/4 of the way around the path....suddenly there's a clearing in the trail and the sun breaks through. I find Gray Catbird, Spot-breasted Wren, White-eyed Vireo, Long-billed Gnatwren, Smoky-brown Woodpecker and Dot-wing Ant Wren. A Blue Bunting hops out onto the grass and snags some breakfast from the seedheads! Nice Bird!!

The Bajo Trail is long and hot from this point on....but the birds don't disappoint! Nothing else new is spotted but there's plenty of my familiar friends to be found and ID-ed, so not all is lost!

The end of the Bajo Trail rejoins the Xaxe Venic road way to the west of the lodge and it's a long, thirsty, uneventful walk back for lunch and hammock time....

I spend a longer time in the hammock this afternoon, I deserve it after Bajo. I take a short walk in the late afternoon down to the lettuce lake at the head of the River Trail to look for herons and kingfishers but only find Prothonotary Warblers....darn!

Tuesday morning the 21st, I've signed up to go on a bus trip to Laguna Seca with Louis as our the guide; David and Edwina from Virginia and Linda from New York....we're a small but eager bunch! Better to bird!

I hang around the lodge this morning waiting for the bus and watch Purple Crowned Fairies, Little Hermits, Long-tailed Hermits and Rufous-tailed hummers feed. What a boring way to start the day... We eventually head out to Gallon Jug (to drop off the couple who are going horse back riding) and continue on to Laguna Seca. American Kestrel, Cattle Egret, Eastern Kingbird, Roadside Hawk and Plain Chachalaca are easy to see.

Laguna Seca is a lake/wetland area where we hope to see a bit of variety in the bird life. I'd be happy to see the puffbirds we had two years ago. Upon approaching the lake, I spot Northern Jacana on the far bank and Louis scopes it for us for a closer look.

Between the lake part of Laguna Seca and the wetland is a large expanse of snags that hold a multitude of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, we check every bird, hoping for a Black-crown. No luck. Common Moorhen, Great Blue Heron, and Anhinga are found. The Night-Herons finally take wing and move to the far shore, but one bird remains. What might that be....hmmm?!?! It's the much sought after Bare-throated Tiger-Heron!! NICE BIRD!!

Belted Kingfisher flies by....Black-collared Hawk flies by....WHAT?!? Cool! He perches on the snags and we get really good looks at him via the scope. Pinnated Bittern is spotted in the pepper grass, it's head blends in so well with the waving reeds.

We take another trail west along the wetland, but it is progressively overgrown and blocked with deadfalls. Louis finally calls a quiet halt to our stumbling and points eagerly ahead. After lengthy directions from Louis we finally see what he has seen....a Boat-billed Heron perched in a tree about ten feet away! (on my last visit to Belize two years before, Black-collared Hawk and Boat-billed Herons had been frustratingly looked for at Crooked Tree Sanctuary....and finally found there after long, butt-numbing boat rides. Yet here they were again, much easier to see, if not easier to get to. You just gotta be in the right place at the right time...)

The bus returns to take us back to the lodge for lunch, and we enjoy the air-conditioning. It's one of the few modern creature comforts that you don't really miss when you're "in the zone", but you sure bask in it when it appears in the wild!

After lunch and the required hammock time (required by me, for me) I head out for a late afternoon jaunt along the Sylvester Road. It has become my favorite trail....

Crested Guan and Eye-ringed Flatbill show up. Rudy Quail-dove is finally ID-ed! A Blue-crowned Mot-mot puts in an unexpected appearance. What's he doing in this part of town? Long-billed Gnatwren scolds me and a Rose-throated Tanager graces me with a look!!! Been a long day, good birds one and all. I head back to my cabana and hop in the shower. Minding my own business, I realize I'm hearing hymns being sung somewhere. Such sweet voices, raised high in praise! This really is Heaven!! (I had forgotten that the young Mennonites were coming to Chan Chich for dinner that night, and they were apparently at the pool area doing what they like to do. Sing hymns.) After dinner, it's straight to bed, perchance to have religious dreams about tomorrow's adventures.

By Wednesday a.m. I've gotten my morning ritual down pat. A before breakfast stroll up the main road to the suspension bridge is just what the doctor ordered! Two Great Curassow females make a first appearance for me on the south side of the road. A pair of Crested Guans soon follow, and a pair of Ringed Kingfishers show up at the bridge. Slaty-tailed Trogons and two Chestnut Colored Woodpeckers show themselves on the way back to the lodge for breakfast. It seemed to be a morning for couples.

After breakfast, the pre-lunch hike takes me back out west to the village dump where I get a great look at the elusive Gray-necked Wood Rail!! Ovenbird, Long billed Gnatwren and my first Green Heron of the trip meet me along the Sylvester Road. At marker #49 a White-whiskered Puffbird pokes it's head out of the bush and I get a close look! Geeze, I love this Sylvester Road!!

I decide to keep walking north up the Sylvester Road for as far as it will take me....past the culvert (at the junction with the Bajo and River Trails), north...ever north...

Farther up the road, there's little low spots that are filled will rain water or river overflow. These spots seem to be the best for birding along Sylvester Road.

A giant hummer seems to be heading straight for me down the road!!! It veers to the left and alights in a tree over one of the wet-spots. Binoculars up! It's an American Pygmy Kingfisher!! Way Cool!!! It darts away into the forest, there is more water back there, I can see it. Twenty feet up the road, another kingfisher pops into view! It's a Green Kingfisher!! Too Cool!!! A couple more yellow-bellied Trogons fly over! Darn, I wish they'd land in view!

Looking up the road, I see the undergrowth is starting to cover the path and I also notice a small mammal heading my way. Binocs up! It's a fox (or should I say vixen), trotting straight down the road, directly at me! I have to keep changing focus as it draws nearer, it finally stops as I almost reach my "close focus" distance. Eventually, she looks up and seems to notice there is something in front of her in the road (it's me). We gaze at each other. She takes some time to make up her mind as to what to do, cocking her head to the left and right. I slowly lower my binocs to see just how close to me she really is and discover she's stopped about 25 feet away. Close enuf for a handshake! As I lower my glasses, she confirms that there is one of those "human thingies" just a little too close for she scoots back up the road and disappears into the brush to the east. A National Geographic Moment.

I notice movement even further up the road, where it curves to the east and appears to disappear. Hmmm, looks like something yellow and black. Ah, male Great Currasows, and females! Must be a flock of them! It's getting close to 10:30 a.m., I've been slowly walking north for about an hour and a half. I decide to start heading back to civilization.

White-throated Spadebill gives me a nice close look as I start back. Olive-backed and Yellow-throated Euphonias cavort in the trees. A pair of Plain Chachalacas are flushed as I pass.

Crossing the culvert, I decide to take the River Trail. Worm-eating Warbler puts in an appearance, as well as a couple of Gray-headed Tanagers at an ant swarm. My second Gray-necked Wood Rail is found slinking through the undergrowth along the river.

After a leisurely lunch, and extended hammock time, I decide to make a short afternoon trip back to the Upper Plaza. Crested Guan and Wood Thrush are hanging around, as well as another Chestnut Colored Woodpecker. Finally I get good looks at the Aztec Parakeet (Olive-throated Parakeet) that usually roosts high in the trees in the center of the lodge area. But these are closer, although directly overhead. I'm coming down with a severe case of "parrot neck" and the thought of "parrot poop" inspires me move along and head back to the lodge for the evening.

Thursday the 23rd is the day I get Chan Chich all to myself. The last guest (Linda from New York) leaves today at 3p.m. and I will truly be solo till the end of my stay.

I hang around the lodge this morning, forgoing my pre-breakfast walk. I've slept in for a change, awakening at 6 a.m.. At the lodge I make an upsetting discovery. Checking the chalkboard outside the lodge office where "daily sightings" are listed, I see that the Chan Chich staff came across a Jaguar laying in the middle of the main road at 6:30pm the previous night! Wouldn't you know it! The staff gets to see the big cats, but not us drooling tourists who would kill for a such a sight!! You just gotta be in the right place....

After breakfast, I head out the main road (as usual) sighting Keel-billed Toucans, more Currasows, Yellow-winged Tanagers, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Red-throated Ant Tanager and Pale-billed Woodpecker. At the bridge I decide to take the Logger Trail back towards the lodge. The water level is higher today, it must have rained in Guatemala over night.

An immature Rudy Quail-dove flops along the trail ahead of me, just inviting something to enjoy it for breakfast, so I watch it for awhile hoping the Jaguar is still around! No such luck!! Hooded Warbler and Wood Thrush call all around. I reach the Upper Plaza and find the familiar Trogons, Mot-mots, and finally a Lesser Greenlet.

After lunch, I invite myself along on the ride to Gallon Jug to see Linda off on her flight (and to check out the birds there. Maybe my priorities were a bit different.) At Gallon Jug I get good looks at Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Brown Jays along the runway, and Blue-black Grasquits in the tall grass.

Driving back to Chan Chich, I finally get a good look at one of those yellow-bellied Trogons - perched above the road. We stop and positively ID it as Black-headed! Rudy Ground-dove and Brown-headed Parrot are seen at the turn off from Gallon Jug to Chan Chich. I asked the driver to drop me off at the suspension bridge (as usual) and I walk back to the lodge, checking out a group of Black-headed Saltators along the way.

I pack it in early this afternoon. I call it a day at 4:30p.m.. It gets dark early in the jungle, and it can be lonely too.

Friday morning I wake up and have a leisurely breakfast, I'll be leaving Chan Chich soon to catch my flight out of Gallon Jug at 9:45a.m.. Rufous-tailed Hummers keep me company, feeding just outside the screen window. The driver and I leave early for the airstrip, I want to have a chance to bird around Gallon Jug again before I leave. Walking up the road beside the airstrip, I ID Black & Turkey Vultures soaring overhead, along with one hovering White-tailed Kite. Spotted Sandpiper, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Savana Vulture (lesser yellow headed), Snowy Egret and Little Blue Heron are present to see me off on my flight.

Good-bye Chan Chich, till next time....

I'm met back at Belize City Municipal Airport by Jose, my driver for the afternoon. He has been assigned to take me to Crooked Tree Sanctuary for a visit. Little did I know that this would entail my having to endure his running commentary at 120 decibels (it seems to be his usual level of speaking), as he points out to me every school and hospital in downtown Belize City, expounds on the political situation (the Red and Blue party system), the influx of Chinese immigrants (and their monopoly of the fried chicken industry), the current poverty level in Belize (and it's effects on his nine children), his favorite movies from the 50s and 60s (when he was a ticket taker at the Belize Cinema), his description of the five different "races" in Belize, and the winter weather in Chicago where his wife works as a domestic. But I won't even mention his refusal to drive above 25mph for the entire trip, I won't nit-pick...

For some reason I have a slight headache when we reach Crooked Tree, and am not in the mood to take a boat trip around the "lakes". Instead we check out the village/town at the entrance to CT and find a few birds that make my perseverance pay-off. Blue-Gray Tanager, Vermilion Flycatcher, Snail Kites, Black-cowled Oriole and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks push my total number of species for my trip to Belize to 154 !! (24 lifers, 2 heard only) Nice list of sightings if I do say so myself.

I persuade Jose to take me back to Belize City after only a brief visit to Crooked Tree.... And he obliges, actually hitting 30mph at times on the straight-a-ways along the Northern Highway.

Thus my second trip to Belize ended with an uneventful Saturday morning spent at the International Airport in Belize City, and a flight back to the civilization of Miami. I guarantee there will be a third trip! The birds are unbelievable and there's some I haven't seen yet!


I discovered a few "truisms" that I would like to share
with anyone considering visiting Belize.


Belize Trip Specs


High - upper 80s; Low - 68
(wind chill factor - ceiling fan)
Rain: one day for 30 seconds
Generally overcast, slight breeze every day

Personal Chan Chich Schedule:

Awaken at 4 a.m.; coffee at 5 a.m.;
Hike 6a.m. - 8:30a.m.
Breakfast 8:30a.m.
Hike 9a.m. to 12:30p.m.
Lunch 12:30p.m.
Hammock time till 2:00p.m. or so
Hike 3:00p.m. to 5p.m.
Shower time 5:30p.m.
Dinner 7:00p.m.
Bedtime 8:30p.m.
(your mileage may vary)
another gif of me