Birding Belize 2006
Journal 17 Jan 06
|Nancy had a rough night so we re-scheduled a planned trip to Man-o-War Island and the outer reef to the afternoon. In the morning, I combed the public part of the islet pretty thoroughly for birds. Found a Brown Booby, a Palm Warbler and, while at lunch, a Yellow Warbler. A few good photos. At lunch, without binoculars, Nancy spotted the Yellow Warbler in the crown of a palm. And nailed the identification. She got her binos and a bird book, but it really wasn't necessary.
The couple next to us, new to the islet yesterday, are odd. They are from Ft. Worth, Texas. He has an odd voice and an odd accent. She is small and petitite, but has a balcony you could do Shakespeare from. Her back must hurt all the time carrying them around. Neither are birders.
After lunch we boated out to Man-o-War Island, also referred to as the Bird Sanctuary. It's a tiny atoll crowned with trees and several hundred Magnificent Frigatebirds. A lot of courtship activity, a great deal of nesting behavior, including stealing nest sticks from each other, and a few nesting pairs. Lots of males showing their gular pouches, females being massively disinterested, and adolescents just making the scene. There were birds perched, birds stealing from each other, birds flying, all in comparative quiet. Even the new entry on my LFL was quiet. I don't know how you could ever capture it on film, either still or video.
There were a few Brown Boobies, a few Brown Pelicans, one Spotted Sandpiper and Nancy heard a Yellow Warbler. No landings allowed, and it was too shallow to circle the islet. But still a lot of fun.
Afterwards we explored some mangroves and then motored to a point south of Tobacco Caye. Nancy and our guide did a little bit of snorkeling while I hung out in the boat. An improbable Great Blue Heron hunted along the reef and a Sooty, Royal and Sandwich Tern flew by and, for some reason, a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
In the late afternoon the wind died down completely and the Caye quickly became quite hot and humid.
The Caye is relaxing but the birding is mediocre. We're ready for Chan Chich and the big time.
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