Birding Belize 2006
Journal 21 Jan 06
|A lazy start with breakfast at 7:00 AM, made lazier still when we didn't get away until almost 8:30 AM. Under and in light fog, we loaded into the same benched truck we used night birding and headed down to Gallon Jug Farm. Good to excellent birding around the fields and down an old railroad grade to a shade grown cocoa and coffee plantation. It looked as if the coffee and shade trees were planted at the same time. The birding along the railroad grade was very good.
We had one hard rain shower on the trip, but through good timing or good luck the shower came when we were at Gallon Jug airstrip. We were able to keep ourselves and the truck dry under a carport. From the shelter of the carport, we were able to pick up a lot of birds in an overgrown garden nearby, giving us a view of a Vermillion Flycatcher and an Indigo Bunting, among many others.
The bench seats on the truck are padded, but not padded enough for very rough roads. The rains seem to have been hard on the roads, and my tailbone is very sore from the rough boat ride from Southwater Caye to Dangriga. I stood most of the way back, and as a result got a quick glance at a big cat crossing the road ahead of the truck, probably a puma, but I could not be certain. We had excellent views of a King Vulture perched in a tree, by far the best views I've ever had of this strangely-colored bird.
We got back for a late lunch. In the middle of the lunch we had a bona fide tropical rainstorm, as hard as the one in Cockscomb. It lasted perhaps an hour and left everything dripping and muddy. The ability of the jungle soils to absorb water seems to have been outmatched by all of the rain recently.
At about 4:00 PM Nancy and I tried birding the Back Plaza, Upper Plaza and King's Tomb with indifferent success, although we did see a decent selection of Woodcreepers: Tawny, Strong-billed, Ivory-billed and Olivaceous, all in the space of thirty minutes. But overall, it was frustrating. Looking up and you got water splashed on your binoculars. A drippy mess. Most of the trails were hopeless mud bogs. Lots of Howler Monkeys moving around, though.
Jeff and Dave had better luck down the access road; we'll try that tomorrow.
Both Nancy and I are still struggling to shake whatever bug we've got. It keeps coming back; most annoying.
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