Sunday, February 15, 2009

Belize part 5 - Crooked Tree Refuge

Day 3 we awakened to the chirping of gecko's from the curtains and corners of our room in the Crooked Tree Resort, definitely the least objectionable of the fauna we shared sleeping quarters with during the trip.  A yellow-throated warbler was flycatching bugs from a streetlight in the pre-dawn.

The water levels were very low due to it being the end of the dry season and we had to drive a couple miles to reach a spot where the lodge launched a boat trip from, seeing another jabiru as well as jacanas and a warmly-plumaged gray-necked wood-rail which sprinted across the plain into cover when we stopped.  We no sooner got out on the water when we came upon a young black-collared hawk and then a tiny but brilliant pygmy kingfisher (which I was about a quarter second away from digi-scoping (from the boat!)) when it flew.  A mangrove vireo shared the water's edge with this little crocodile:

We found boat-billed herons, a couple bare-throated tiger-herons, and ultimately this agami heron whose image I captured (poorly) with the digital camera held up to binoculars:
Apparently the next "easiest" place to see Agami heron is somewhere in Paraguay, a beautiful and rare bird.

A few spoonbills flew over in nice light, and we saw a few of the smaller birds perched up including pale-vented pigeon and this white-necked puffbird:
It was peaceful and warm, but our schedule dictated that we push on, so we drove into the northern part of the country to the Lamanai ruins over impressively pot-holed roads (the road commision was out, their job was basically to pour lime sand into the holes and move on).  We averaged about 25mph I think.

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