Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Belize, part 8

It's been 5 years since I've written anything about my first trip to the Neotropics, a trip Ginger and I took to Belize 10 years ago.  This was about the 5th day of the trip, at Las Milpas, a preserve/bio station that abuts up to Chan Chich.  The night before we'd seen two scorpions walking down the bathroom wall that were the size of my hand.  Returning to the bathroom to take a shower that morning was probably as much physical terror as I've ever experienced.

Aside from a boat trip we took in Crooked Tree, this was the only time when we had a guide.  Ramon, one of the managers, would do a walk before breakfast and one before dinner with whoever wanted to go along.  My first toucan (a keel-billed) teed up nicely (this was back in the digi-scoping days).

We added some hummingbirds (wedge-tailed sabrewing and white-bellied emerald) along the road, as well as a Northern Bentbill and a Violaceous Trogon (whose image I seem to no longer have).

We eventually made our way back and I kept birding as the heat of the day intensified.  Eventually activity essentially dried up entirely, though there were a few birds foraging about the compost pile, highlighted by this Rufous-tailed Jacamar.  I've seen this species on both trips to Costa Rica the last 2 years, but never as well.

Butterflies were more active, this is (probably) a Ruddy Daggerwing.

We went back out with Ramon in the late afternoon to drive down a road where sometimes he saw Ornate Hawk-eagles.  We didn't see one though an Ocellated Turkey walked across the road.  Raptors were well represented in reasonable diversity, with a pair of White Hawks (basically a buteo patterned like a White Ibis), a Plumbeous Kite (picture a Mississippi Kite with rufous at the base of the primaries), and this young Great Black-hawk.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Townsend's 2015

I tried for the Solitaire on January 1 but had no success on a very windy cold day.  We tried again for it today and didn't find it initially in the SW corner of the blowout where we've traditionally had the most success.  Its favorite juniper had as few berries as I've seen.

We'd seen some activity in an isolated juniper on the way in and we returned to it.  Waxwings were flying in and out, joined by a few bluebirds.

We waited by the tree and eventually did see the solitaire before it flew out in front of a larger group of waxwings and disappeared.

We worked our way into a little juniper clump closer to the parking lot to sort through the tree sparrows that were working their way through when the waxwings flew in and started feeding vigorously.

As they filtered back out the Solitaire re-appeared.

 It fed briefly and then hunkered down, fluffed itself up, and settled in.

We ended up walking away from it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bird of the day ...

 might have been this boot.  While it is on the banks of the Mississippi River, it's not an Ivory Gull

This is also not an Ivory Gull though it has a white head.

These birds could be Ivory Gulls.  They're all white.

However they can't #$%^# fly, so by definition they can't be Ivory Gulls.  The Ivory Gull flew away.  Two &%%^@ days ago.

I guess we were close to St Louis, because similar to Ivory Gulls, these didn't use to regularly grace the banks of the beautiful Mississippi River.