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Trip Report – March 2018

This was a quick trip to pick up a few life birds – there were a total of about 55 that we were looking for – unfortunately we only got 30. As with everywhere else in the world these days the unreliable climate impacted our success.

Belize was relatively easy to get around and the people were great!

Yucatan Jay

Day 1: Our guide, Roni Martinez, picked us up from the airport and we headed north towards Shipstern which was to be our first stop .Once we passed through Orangewalk we kept an eye out and managed our first lifer – Yucatan Jay – before reaching the lodge, An afternoon bird walk gave us a number of species but only one life bird for us – Yellow-lored Parrot. Night at CSFI Research station.

Day 2: An early morning walk around the grounds was quite productive and we gained Yucatan Woodpecker and Yucatan Flycatcher before breakfast. After breakfast we drove to the airstrip at Sartenejah – an amazing spot for Black Catbird. and also close to a great mangrove which was full of warblers and provided us with Yucatan Vireo and Green-backed Sparrow. After a restful afternoon we spent some time looking for Orange Oriole but no luck. Dinner at a great beachside restaurant ( Crabby’s) in Sartenejah. Tried for owls and nightjars back at the airstrip – and had great views of Vermiculated Screech-owl lifer and Common Paraugue. Night at CSFI.

Yellow-throated Warbler

Day 3: Back to the airstrip before breakfast with Orange Oriole as our main target – lucked out on the way and had great views of it beside the road along with White-bellied Emerald. Then to the other side of the mangrove we visited yesterday where there were a number of Ruddy Crake breeding and we enjoyed them before heading back for breakfast.

After breakfast we started heading towards Chan Chich. Rose-throated Tanager as we were leaving. Tried a few places on the way for Grace’s warbler with no luck. Azure-crowned Hummingbird showed itself along with great views of Yellow-throated Warbler. Lunch at La Milpe (many birders stay here) before walking the trails on their property – Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, Royal Flycatcher, Northern Bentbill, Grey-throated Chat and Yellow-winged Tanager.

Northern Bentbill

Continuing on to Chan Chich Lodge we viewed dozens of Ocellated Turkeys before enjoying the wonderful grounds and accommodation at Chan Chich Lodge.

Day 4: Birded the lodge trails before breakfast which was quite birdy – but only Northern Schiffornis as a lifer. Then birded our way out to the escarpment but it was quite quiet – the views from the escarpment were spectacular and a great place for our picnic lunch. Decided to enjoy the lodge for the afternoon and then tried for a Pheasant Cuckoo that had been spotted several times but dipped once again. Night at Chan Chich.

Day 5: After enjoying Black-throated Shrike tanagers and another fruitless stake out for the Pheasant Cuckoo we enjoyed our final breakfast at Chan Chich before starting our trip to Crooked Tree. Stopped again at La Milpe on the way out of the park. We had a wonderful walk out to a

Ruddy Woodcreeper

Maya site which was wonderful and although not overly birdy provided 2 lifers – Rufous Piha and Ruddy Woodcreeper – at last!!! At a stop along the way we had very fleeting views of Botteri’s Sparrow but not a great deal else.

We checked into our B&B in Crooked Tree and then spent the late afternoon in the pine savanna behind the town.Wonderful views of Grace’s Warbler and Yellow-headed Parrot. Dinner at Bird’s Eye Lodge – Night at Becks B&B.

Day 6: Before breakfast at Birds Eye, we walked the trails nearby for Rufous-breasted Spinetail which was quite showy. Then onto Caves Branch Lodge where we enjoyed the wonderful gardens.

Grace’s Warbler

Day 7: The morning was very frustrating – we went into Blue Hole Park and spent hours searching for Nightingale Wren and Stubtailed Spadebill- both of which we heard numerous times but which never got to see!!! At least Ridgeway’s Northern-Rough-winged Swallow was easy to see. So we decided to start the drive down to Placencia – we tried a number of spots along the way for various targets but the day continued to be a bit of a write off. Night at Belize Beach Club.

Day 8: We were supposed to go on a mini pelagic today but the weather out to sea had been so bad that the birds hadn’t arrived at their nesting site and, with the sea still rough we decided to cancel. Instead drove to Cockscomb Basin Reserve – this was very birdy but none of our target species. After spending quite some time unsuccessfully searching for Black-throated Bobwhites (for the umpteenth time!) we decided to call it a day. Night at Belize Ocean Club.

Hotels

CSFI – Research Station – Shipstern
Chan Chich Lodge –  Chan Chich 
Becks B&B – Crooked Tree – no longer on the internet (no loss!)
Caves Branch Lodge – Caves Branch
Belize Beach Club – Plataran, Bali Barat

Guides & Resources

Guides:
Roni Martinez – [email protected]

Field Guide
Birds of Belize – H Lee Jones

Lonely Planet guide for points of interest.

Bird List

belize_bird_list