Birding Belize 2006
Journal 13 Jan 06
|I counted over 50 sand flea bites this morning. Dark red points with large pinkish-red blotches around them. Mine don't itch; Nancy's do. Who said birding was an easy sport?
We were up at 6:45 AM for an 8:30 AM trip to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. That beautiful Hooded Warbler was there to greet us outside the Lodge. Our guide was David Obi, also known as Bredda Dave, who is a locally known Garifuna musician. He knows the area, and knows where there are birds, but is still learning the birds. We drove up in warm, sunny weather along the paved Southern Highway to Maya Centre. From there we drove on a gravel and mud road up into the Maya Mountains a few miles past Cabbage Haul Gap to the Jaguar Sanctuary Headquarters.
We birded the headquarters area while David oriented our fellow passengers, John and Clair from Cork, Ireland. Then we headed out along Wari (Pig) Lopp Trail. We'd gotten maybe a quarter mile when it started to rain. It varied from mist to drenching tropical showers, but it rained most of the time. Until the last quarter mile, when the sun came out. We still found good birds, although I wasn't able to take photos. We found, among others, Blue-gray, Passerini's, Red-crowned and Rose-throated Tanagers, Red-crowned Ant Tanager, Ringed and Green Kingfisher and both Waterthrushes. Birding was best from an overlook fifteen feet above the South Fork of Stann Creek. But it was a bit of struggle, and we ended up soaked to mid-thigh with shoes that were caked in mud. For some reason, the pouch on my pull-over Goretex raincoat filled with water.
We hade a very nice picnic lunch brought along from Pelican Bay, under a picnic shelter in bright sunlight under beautiful blue skies. Then we headed out along the Green Trail. I was seduced by the sunlight into taking my camera. We made it a quarter mile before it started raining, and this time it was serious. You could hear it coming in the distance, a roar of rainfall on leaves. Continuous, drenching rain, hard enough to make it difficult to breathe. So my camera ended up wearing my raincoat and I made do. As before, the sun came out the last quarter mile.
On the way back, we stopped at the Garifuna community of Hopkins for a bit. It was surprisingly prosperous; perhaps some money has come in the last few years.
Everybody knows Bredda Dave. As we drove through Hopkins and Dangriga, adults and chidren would greet him. And we now own two of his CDs.
We did an evening walk around the edges of Dangriga again. Good birds, but nothing new. And we had out pant legs tucked in to our socks.
Click on the thumbnails below for a larger photo
This site © 2006 Jim & Nancy DeWitt
All rights reserved
All photos by Jim & Nancy DeWitt except as noted