Birding Belize 2006
Journal 12 Jan 06
|Up at 6:00 AM to have time to get lost going from the Sheraton to Miami Int'l. Good thing. We wound up in South Miami. Again. But eventually we found the Airport, LeJeune Drive and Dollar Rent-a-Car, not in any easy or sensible fashion. For those of you who have followed this far, another reason to avoid Dollar in Miami is that the rental car return site is very nearly impossible to find.
But with time to spare we made it to American Airlines, got ourselves checked in and the baggage vetted, with lots of time to lounge in the Admiral's Club before the flight. In Alaska Airlines' Board Room, the wireless internet connection is free. At an Admiral's Club, it's an add-on. Must be an east coast thing, like bad coffee.
The flight to Belize was uneventful. Nice views of the Forida Keys, the west end of Cuba and a bit of the Yucatan before it clouded up. Belize customs was easy, so we were able to catch an earlier flight from Belize International to Dangriga - with a stop at Belize City. Our aircraft was a Tropic Air Cessna Caravan, and it felt like home.
Dangriga is on the coat south of Belize City. Like Belize City it is built on a river delta. Unlike the dirt airstrip in Belize City, parts of the Dangriga airstrip was seal-coated.
The Pelican Bay Hotel is maybe 200 yards from the airport and is okay but not fancy. Nice birds within easy walking distance, especially along the road/trail that parallels the airstrip.
But you can't write about Pelican Bay for long without mentioning the sand fleas. They aren't fleas, but a variety of no-seeum or midge. I understand the red botch you develop from their bites isn't sand flea spit, but a virus that they carry. DEET doesn't work perfectly well, but it helps. Skintastic is supposed to be better and might be worth carrying along. When it is sand flea season in coastal Belize, they will quickly drive you to itchy distraction. We accumulated an impressive number of bites this first afternoon.
But despite the bugs, we found some very nice birds, including a Hooded Warbler and a Lineated Woodpecker, as well as excellent views of a Bridled Tern.
There's a major change in pace and mindset from Miami to Dangriga. It's the first time we've felt really relaxed this trip. Very nice people, too.
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