NYC Audubon

    
SOFO

    
Brooklyn Bird Club

    
BBG

     Long Pond Greenbelt
Date:  January 28 - February 3, 2015

Location: Belize

Report by: Joe Giunta

Our group consisted of Joe, Gerry, Eleanor, Sandy, Susan, Mary, Al, Irene, Elyse, Sharon, Jan and Carol. We would visit the lowlands of Belize staying at the Bird’s Eye View Lodge in Crooked Tree and the highlands staying at Crystal Paradise Lodge. It was also the first time that Happy Warblers LLC had sponsored a trip to Belize. The trip was highly successful with a total of 185 species of birds being seen by most members of the group.

A photo history, provided by Gerry, can be found at:
http://gerrymcgee.smugmug.com/Travel/Belize-2015/47584651_nSnd7H

And a bird photo album, also provided by Gerry, can be found at:
http://gerrymcgee.smugmug.com/Nature/Belize-Birds-2015/47595664_2s8f4W

Jan. 28: Our United/Continental Airways flight, out of LaGuardia, took off at 9:30am. We transferred at Houston to our Belize flight which arrived in Belize City at 2:30pm, a half hour ahead of schedule. We were greeted at the airport by our guide, Erik Hut. Eric would stay with us for the next 7 days. The birding started immediately. Before we left the grounds of the airport we saw great birds like: Vermilion Flycatcher, Eastern Meadowlark, Groove-billed Ani, Fork-tailed Flycatcher and White-collared Seedeater. The drive to Crooked Tree Lodge was about 2 hours, slowed down by stopping and picking up more birds. We saw: Limpkin, Purple Gallinule and Roadside Hawk. Our lodge was right on the lagoon of Crooked Tree. Once at the lodge we took a short break and then to dinner. After dinner we walked along the road having fantastic views of 5 Pauraques.

Jan. 29: Our routine for the entire rest of the trip was breakfast at 6am and then out birding at 6:30am. The Crooked Tree Lagoon was beautiful as we saw the sun come up over the water and change the darkness into light. During our entire trip we only had a 2-hour rain shower which occurred during the night. The rest of the days were dry and sun-filled. Our first day of birding was around the Lodge itself. We would see: Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Northern Jacana and Squirrel Cuckoo. Some members (5) of our group opted out of a full day of birding and instead went snorkeling in Caye Caulker, the rest of us birded the entire day.

A highlight of the day was the fly-in of a beautiful Jabiru. It circled our group and we all had excellent views. A small pond near the lodge was filled with egrets and herons. For big colorful birds we saw: Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Green Heron, White Ibis, and Cattle Egret. The Cattle Egrets just littered the fields and the roads.

We saw many North American migrants which winter in Belize. We saw: Yellow-breasted Chat, Magnolia, Yellow-throated, Yellow, and Black-and-white Warblers. Orioles were well represented: we saw Baltimore, Orchard, Black-cowled, and Hooded. In the afternoon we took a short ride to a Pine Tree area were we saw Yucatan Jay and many Brown Jays. An excellent, excellent day with 84 species recorded. Wow!

Jan. 30: We started the day early as usual. We had a boat ride on the Crooked Tree Lagoon. We also picked up a second guide, Andy. Now our group was at full strength, 12 birders, two vans and two guides. The boat ride would last three hours and concentrate on birds just seen at the water’s edge. We saw: Belted Kingfisher, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, White-necked Puffbird and all the herons and egrets. Special sightings were made of a few Snail Kites and one Black-collared Hawk.

Our group left Bird’s Eye View Lodge and started the three-hour ride to Crystal Paradise Lodge. We did birding along the way stopping especially for a scoped view of another Jabiru. Another stop was made for a perched Aplomado Falcon and a perched Laughing Falcon. Before getting to our next lodge we stopped at the Belize Zoo. Here we saw, in cages, Harpy Eagle, Ocelot and Jaguar. Too bad we could not count them on our trip. On the grounds near the zoo we did see and were able to count a Ferruginous Pygmy-owl.

Jan. 31: Breakfast at 6 and ready to bird at 6:30. Today we traveled to Mountain Pine Ridge and Hidden Valley Falls. Not far away but with birding along the way it took some time to get there. Only about one mile outside the lodge we stopped along the roadside seeing some great birds. Our group recorded: Blue Bunting, Masked Tityra, Blue-black Grassquit and Red-legged Honeycreeper. We continued until we arrived at Hidden Valley Falls. Another venue and different birds. Here we saw, in the distance, three King Vultures, a key bird of the trip. Then came probably the rarest bird of the trip, Orange-breasted Falcon. We had great views. I saw four of them, two were mating! Our group had lunch at the top of the hill right next to the 1000-foot falls. More birds seen were: White Hawk, Great Black Hawk and Scaled Pigeon.

Before getting back to the lodge we stopped at a Butterfly Farm where we took a tour and explored their grounds. We found out about the life cycle of a butterfly and what the farm was doing in both research and preservation. On the grounds we recorded 8 species of hummingbirds including the very beautiful Violet Sabrewing. Dinner was at the lodge followed by the usual review of the birds.

Feb. 1: Today we visited and birded the grounds of El Pilar, a Maya site and flora/fauna reserve. Another venue and different birds. We saw: Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Ruddy, Olivaceous, and Ivory-billed Woodcreepers. We also recorded some very nice flycatchers like Rose-throated Becard, Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher and Eye-ringed Flatbill. Only about 5% of the site has been excavated but Eric told us what the different parts of the site were used for by the Maya. We stopped for a watermelon break while chasing a Rufous-tailed Jacamar. We ate the watermelon and saw the Jacamar. We had lunch at a restaurant in the town of San Ignacio and then returned to the lodge for a break and then some birding on the grounds of the lodge. We were searching for a Potoo and an Owl, both of which we missed.

Feb. 2: This was our last full day of birding and we were going to the Blue Hole National Park. It was very interesting to see the water flow through some limestone formations and come out to form a “blue hole.” Birding was also good on the trails of the park. We saw: Gray Hawk, Black-headed Trogon, Barred Antshrike and White-whiskered Puffbird. North American warblers were again well represented with Black-throated Green, Chestnut-sided and American Redstart being added to our list. We also had very good looks at a male Red-capped Manakin as well as a White-collared Manakin, two more great birds for our list. We had lunch outside of the lodge again and then headed back for a break and some late afternoon birding. Andy did the guiding of the group and we found on the grounds of the lodge: Summer Tanager and Blue-crowned Motmot.

Feb. 3: The weather was so nice in Belize that just the thought returning to New York, with its snow and ice, made us to want to stay longer. Well, there is always next year. At the feeders of the lodge a beautiful Collared Aracari came in joined by a Clay-colored Robin. Two nice birds that were saying goodbye to us. We boarded the vans and headed towards the airport, yet the birding was not finished. We drove through Belize City picking up a few more species. We had drive-by views of: Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird, Royal Tern and Laughing Gull. The last bird seen, I believe, was a beautiful male Vermilion Flycatcher. Our flight back to the U.S. was on time and we left with a great list and great memories of a fabulous trip.

SPECIES SEEN

Pied-billed Grebe
Brown Pelican
Neotropic Cormorant
Anhinga
Magnificent Frigatebird
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Tricolored Heron
Little Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Boat-billed Heron
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
Jabiru
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
King Vulture
Osprey
Snail Kite
White Hawk
Great Black-Hawk
Black-collared Hawk
Gray Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
White-tailed Hawk
Laughing Falcon
Aplomado Falcon
Orange-breasted Falcon
Plain Chachalaca
Limpkin
Gray-necked Wood-Rail
Purple Gallinule
American Coot
Northern Jacana
Killdeer
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Royal Tern
Rock Pigeon
Scaled Pigeon
Pale-vented Pigeon
Red-billed Pigeon
Short-billed Pigeon
Ruddy Ground-Dove
White-tipped Dove
Olive-throated Parakeet
White-crowned Parrot
White-fronted Parrot
Red-lored Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Groove-billed Ani
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Pauraque
Western Long-tailed Hermit
Stripe-throated Hermit
Wedge-tailed Sabrewing
Violet Sabrewing
White-necked Jacobin
Green-breasted Mango
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
White-bellied Emerald
Azure-crowned Hummingbird
Purple-crowned Fairy
Black-headed Trogon
Slaty-tailed Trogon
Belted Kingfisher
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
Blue-crowned Motmot
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
White-necked Puffbird
White-whiskered Puffbird
Collared Aracari
Keel-billed Toucan
Acorn Woodpecker
Yucatan Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Chestnut-colored Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Pale-billed Woodpecker
Plain Xenops
Ruddy Woodcreeper
Olivaceous Woodcreeper
Ivory-billed Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Barred Antshrike
Dusky Antbird
White-collared Manakin
Red-capped Manakin
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Greenish Elaenia
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Sepia-capped Flycatcher
Common Tody-Flycatcher
Eye-ringed Flatbill
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher
Tropical Pewee
Vermilion Flycatcher
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Thrush-like Schiffornis
Rose-throated Becard
Masked Tityra
Gray-breasted Martin
Tree Swallow
Mangrove Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Band-backed Wren
Spot-breasted Wren
House Wren
Gray Catbird
Tropical Mockingbird
Wood Thrush
Clay-colored Robin
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Tropical Gnatcatcher
Brown Jay
Yucatan Jay
White-eyed Vireo
Lesser Greenlet
Blue-winged Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Grace's Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Gray-headed Tanager
Black-throated Shrike-Tanager
Red-throated Ant-Tanager
Hepatic Tanager
Summer Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Yellow-winged Tanager
Olive-backed Euphonia
Red-legged Honeycreeper
Blue-black Grassquit
White-collared Seedeater
Yellow-faced Grassquit
Green-backed Sparrow
Rusty Sparrow
Grayish Saltator
Black-headed Saltator
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue Bunting
Blue-black Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Melodious Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Yellow-backed Oriole
Yellow-tailed Oriole
Hooded Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Black-cowled Oriole
Black-headed Siskin


Species seen - 185