Belize - A Camping Excursion - February 23 to March 4, 2007

Published by Paul Jones (pauljodi AT magma.ca)

Participants: Paul Jones, Ian Jones (Ottawa, Canada )

Comments

Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Crooked Tree, Bird's Eye View Lodge
Crooked Tree, Bird's Eye View Lodge
Hummingbird Highway
Hummingbird Highway
Five Blues Lake National Park
Five Blues Lake National Park
Las Cuevas Research Station
Las Cuevas Research Station
Paraque
Paraque
Collared Forest-Falcon
Collared Forest-Falcon

My brother Ian Jones and I spent late February, early March in Belize on a “do-it-yourself” bird tour, renting a vehicle at the international airport and camping at a variety of locations across the country. We had eight full days and two half days to work with and found 282 species. Highlights included Boat-billed Heron, Jabiru, Spotted Wood-Quail, Barred and Collared Forest Falcon, Orange-breasted Falcon, Northern Potoo, Scarlet Macaw, Lovely Cotinga, Great Ant Shrike, Yucatan Jay and Slate-coloured Solitaire. Belize is a friendly, English-speaking country with a low crime rate, easy driving conditions, advanced eco-tourism infrastructure and substantial areas of protected habitat. All this makes it a fine place to get your feet wet as an independent traveler in the tropics.

Travel and Transportation - We flew Delta Airlines Ottawa-Atlanta-Belize and picked up our vehicle, a standard diesel Hyundai “Terracan” 4X4 SUV, from Budget at the airport. The rental agencies are a short stroll across the parking lot by the airport’s main entrance doors. Belize’s highway system is good, but a truck with high and low four and extra ground clearance is needed for remoter forests tracks. The road culture is very sensible and traffic is light, so the driving experience was quite relaxed. To navigate we used International Travel Maps’ 1:250,000 chart, a serviceable resource that kept us basically on course.

Accommodations - Except at one location, we camped. For shelter we pitched simple screen tents over which we strung tarps to ward off the morning shower of condensation dripping from the forest (it never rained during our stay). Head lamps, light sleeping bags and therma-rest mattresses rounded out the kit. Belize has many parks and almost all of them offer camping facilities, so we had no trouble finding places to stay. If tenting isn´t your choice, there are other accommodations near all the birding areas, ranging from rustic to luxurious. For food we stocked up on basic supplies at supermarkets in Belize City and Belmopan and purchased fresh produce from local market stalls. To avoid the airport security hassles associated with gas stoves and fuel bottles, we brought along two Trangia burners. Small, convenient and harmless-looking, they burn wood alcohol and produce a nice flame. We had some trouble finding the recommended fuel, but over-proof rum (available at larger grocery stores) was an excellent substitute. A 70% solution of rubbing alcohol was not. We augmented our own cooking with some very tasty barbeque chicken bought from roadside stands.

Health and Safety - Belize is generally safe, but there are a few concerns to keep in mind. Malaria and Dengue Fever - mosquito borne pathogens - create a degree of risk. Botflies and Leishmaniesis are also something to consider. We took Novo-Chloroquine to combat malaria but there is no vaccine for Dengue, so we tried our best to avoid mosquito bites. For us this meant long pants, long-sleeved shirts, hats and liberal use of DEET-based insect repellents. Chiggers, sandflys and ticks can also be a problem so we kept our pant cuffs tucked into our socks and pre-treated our clothing with a Permethrin-based spray. We ended up with no tick infestations and very few chigger bites, but did stand out amongst the shorts, sandals and tank-top clad tourist crowd.

Crime is apparently an issue in Belize City, especially at night, but we felt safe there during the day. In the west near Carocol, a reconstructed Mayan site and major tourist attraction, there have been problems with infiltrators from Guatemala, but no recent incidents have been reported. A sensible approach to the forest is called for, including staying on paths, pacing yourself in the heat and always carrying a compass and water.

Weather - We visited during the dry season and encountered no rain during our stay. Daytime temperatures hovered around 30 and were quite bearable. At night, especially at higher elevations, it was cool and sleeping bags were a definite necessity.

Birding - Key habitats in Belize include:

1) Lowland Broadleaf Forest
2) Lowland Pine Forest
3) Submontane Broadleaf Forest
4) Submontane Pine Forest
5) Savannah
6) Wetlands
7) Cayes

Two or three weeks would be ideal to properly explore Belize. In our brief stay we never made it to the cayes and didn’t spend much time in savannah or pines. We also missed the far north and deep south, which each hold a number of species found nowhere else in the country. Still, a lot can be seen in a long week and we did pretty well by concentrating on broadleaf forest. In addition to visiting a diversity of habitat types, we found it worthwhile to check different samples of the same habitat, as resident birds seem to move around in complex dispersal patterns.

We found edges, such as brushy areas along roadsides, to be particularly birdy. It was hard to tear ourselves away from these easy pickings, but getting under the canopy was also rewarding. The birding is slower in the forest but it is where we had great looks at Slaty-breasted Tinamou, Spotted Wood-Quail, Crested Guan, Scaly-throated Leaftosser, Rufous Piha, Black-throated Ant-Shrike and Slate-coloured Solitaire. To see nocturnal birds we brought along a powerful flashlight (Six D Cell Mag Light) and used it to good effect. For trip prep we should have devoted more study to parrots, hummingbirds, doves and orioles. Not being the most disciplined birders, we had to scramble to keep up with members of these groups and undoubtedly missed a few species.

Field Guides - Jones’s "Birds of Belize" (2004), covering all the species found in the country, is the popular choice for visiting and resident birders and a great resource. The notes on range and status opposite the plates are particularly helpful. The guide works well in tandem with the “Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Belize” (2001). Another good book is Howell and Webb’s "A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America" (1995) but it is heavy and covers a wider geographic area. The bible for mammal-watchers is Fiona Reid's "A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico" (1998, Oxford University Press).

Sound Recordings - We loaded an iPod with Moore´s "A Bird Walk at Chan Chich", Delany’s “Bird Songs of Belize, Guatemala and Mexico”, Gilardi’s “Songs from a (Vanishing) Belizean Rainforest” and Boesman’s “Birds of Mexico MP3 Sound Collection”. The first two are cassettes, available from ABA sales. A local tech services company transferred them to CD for me and I used Mac’s simple “Garageband” editing program to remove the spoken narration. The iPod allowed us to pre-learn some songs, contemporaneously identify things we were hearing in the forest and judiciously lure in skulking species. Having this tool added immeasurably to the trip.

Locations Visited

Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary (Wetland - Agricultural - Lowland Pine)(February 23 and March 3) - Internationally recognized under UNESCO’s Ramsar wetland preservation program, this area is a must stop on any birding trip to Belize. The site is just off the main north-south highway, only an hour’s drive northwest of the international airport. It is reached by a well-marked access road that runs across a bumpy causeway to the village of Crooked Tree, where accommodations and an interpretation centre are located.

Flood levels determine water-birding strategy at Crooked Tree. If the water is low, birds concentrate in the main lagoon channel and are easily observed from the causeway. When levels are high (as during our visit) birds are more widely dispersed and a boat trip into the remoter portions of the sanctuary (which have a real wilderness feel) is a good idea. We took a tour with Bird’s Eye View Lodge and were very happy with the results. Leonard, the guide, has a sophisticated knowledge of the local ecosystem and is able to find the more difficult species. Sightings on our 6:30-10:30 a.m. run included Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Black-collared Hawk, Great Black Hawk, Grey-necked Wood-Rail and Mangrove Vireo. We also had close looks at Yucatan Howler Monkey, Northern Tamandua (an anteater) and Green and Black Iguana. We missed Jabiru and Agami Heron, both of which can be tricky when the water is high. Leonard went above and beyond the call of duty to find us an Agami, but to no avail. Instructions he provided to a Jabiru nest located just off the main road back to Belize City secured us excellent views of that bird.

Land birding at Crooked Tree is good right in the town and is facilitated by a series of well-marked trails maintained by the Belize Audubon Society. The local residents seem to be amused to have birders wandering around their community and always had a pleasant smile or hello. Conspicuous species around the scattered houses, trees, fields and gardens included Black-headed Trogon, Vermillion, Social and Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird and Mockingbird and Blue Gray Tanager. At the pond beside Bird’s Eye View Lodge we had studying views of the commoner herons, egrets, ibises and ducks as well as a Laughing Falcon and the long-staying vagrant Southern Lapwing. Yucatan Jay was fairly easy to find early morning in the piney areas along the Trogon Trail, a road that runs north-west (or right) from the main crossroads in town. We had one family group close to the village and two more in the extensive pine forest farther down the road (bear right at the church and follow the track to get to this prime area). Other sightings on the trail included Red-vented Woodpecker, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet and Northern Cardinal.

Crooked Tree was the one place we did not camp, staying instead at Bird’s Eye View Lodge. Verna Samuels does an excellent job of running the establishment and we unhesitatingly recommend it (www.birdseyeviewbelize.com/home.htm).

Guanacaste National Park (Lowland Broadleaf)(www.belizeaudubon.org/html/parks/gnp.htm) is a small sanctuary at the junction of the Western and Hummingbird highways, just outside of Belmopan. With a well-maintained picnic area and clean washrooms, we used it primarily as a rest stop on our comings and goings across the country. The park does have a couple of short loop trails with special observation platforms built out over a riverbank. These paths were quite birdy, with northern migrants such as Hooded, Kentucky, Magnolia and Black and White Warbler as well as Ovenbird and American Redstart conspicuous. Dusky Antbird and Black-headed Trogon added a tropical flavour. We also had close views of an unwary Central American Agouti.

Five Blues Lake (Lowland Broadleaf)(www.5blueslake.org)(February 24-25) is a small national park located off the Hummingbird Highway near the village of St. Margaret (Mile 32 of the Highway). We camped two nights and enjoyed some of the best birding of the trip, but our recommendation comes with a strong proviso. The park’s main attraction, the lake, is no more, having drained away after springing a leak in its limestone base. As a result, maintenance of the access road, facilities and trails is diminishing. Infrastructure was still in relatively good shape during our stay, but it is unclear how long this situation will last. At the time of our visit, no admission or camping fee was charged, not a good sign.

To reach the park, watch for the Five Blues signs along the Hummingbird Highway near St. Margaret’s Village. Follow the access road through the community and past some orange groves to a river ford (ignore the earlier ford closer to the village). Just across the river (dry at the time of our visit) the road splits. Bear right on the path less traveled and proceed to the roofed picnic/cook shelter. We set our screen tents on the shelter’s concrete floor and used the site as our base to explore the area. Our birding plan consisted of walking down the continuation of the access road to the dry lakebed and walking back out the road to the ford. An army ant swarm on the track to the lake was accompanied by Grey-headed Tanager, Red-Throated Ant Tanager, and Northern Barred and Ruddy Woodcreeper. In the same area we had cooperative Gray-throated Chats and Black-faced Antthrushs. Another highlight was a pair of Collared Forest-Falcon nesting near the shelter. At first they were a little ways back in the forest but when we gave a vocal imitation of their call, they came racing in. Another heart-stopper was a pair of Lovely Cotinga high in a dead tree in the natural amphitheatre at the (former) lake access point. The female was holding a long tendril of dry vegetation, presumably for a nest under construction nearby. At night we spot-lighted a Vermiculated Screech Owl above the shelter and called in Northern Potoo and Crested Owl on the road out to the ford. In the grassy margins of the river at the ford we had a beautiful Ruddy Crake walking about at our feet. Mammals seen at Five Blues included Central American Agouti and Collared Peccary. One final word of caution - the river can flood rapidly during heavy rain, so keep an eye on the ford lest you become trapped in the park.

Dangriga (Urban - Agricultural - Coastal) is a pleasant Garifuna community on the Caribbean shore. We dropped in to buy supplies, specifically wood alcohol for our trangia stoves, which we finally located at a paint store on the road into town. We also used the stop to pad our bird list with a few coastal species, picking up Double-crested Cormorant, Sandwich Tern, Royal Tern, Willet and Sanderling at the sand spit near the main bridge. We found our only House Sparrow of the trip beside the waterfront produce market. Near the crossroads of the Southern and Hummingbird highways we had Black-shouldered Kite and White-tailed Hawk.

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary “The Jaguar Reserve”)(Lowland Broadleaf)(February 26) is a large area of protected forest at the base of the Maya Mountains. The access road begins at Maya Center on the Southern Highway. Park entrance tickets are sold here at the craft store (which closes at 4 p.m.). The road runs a winding ten kilometers up to the visitor center, where camping permits can be purchased. We stayed one night at the well-maintained campground and confined our birding activity to the tenting area and short trails around the visitor center. Habitat here is scrubby second growth, very rich in edge-type birds. Mid-morning we had three King Vulture and a pair of Short-tailed Hawk catching the developing thermal just above the campsite. The same location held Masked and Black-capped Tityras, Yellow-bellied Elaneia, Crimson-collared Tanager as well as a nest-building pair of Rose-throated Becard and courting groups of the beautiful Blue Ground-Dove. At night the road and paths were crowded with Pauraques. A very loud but frustratingly invisible Spectacled Owl hid in a tree above our tents and serenaded (mocked?) us until almost midnight.

Jaguars are rarely seen at Cockscomb, evidenced by the apocryphal tale of a researcher who spent two years in the sanctuary studying the cat without seeing one. The elusive Jaguar aside, this does seem to be a very good place for mammal watching. Our sightings included a Common Opossum in the trees at the back of the campsite, a Nine-banded Armadillo that visited our tents at night, an attractive but unidentified orange and white rat inhabiting the thatched picnic shelters, Yucatan Howler Monkey calling back in the forest and a Northern Tamandua on the trail to the waterfall. Just prior to our arrival, visitors reported Ocelot and Baird’s Tapir.

The Coastal Highway (Lowland Pine - Savannah)(February 27) between Dangriga and La Democracia is a well-maintained sand/gravel road that offers birders the chance to sample extensive tracts of the above-noted habitats. To explore the area at dawn we pulled off the road in the late afternoon a little ways north of Gales Point. We followed a side track about a kilometer back and set our tents on the open savannah, a practice for whose safety and legality we offer no endorsement. On the downside the area was buggy, humid and not particularly birdy. More positively, the landscape was a beautiful and peaceful mix of open grassland, scattered pine and palmetto. We found our only Yellow-headed Parrots and Grey-crowned Yellowthroat of the trip here and also saw Common Black Hawk, Mangrove Vireo and Hepatic Tanager.

Thousand Foot Falls (Submontane Pine) (February 28) is a spectacular overlook in Belize’s high country and another must stop on any bird trip to the country. Access is via the Chiquibul Road, which runs south off the Western Highway at Georgeville. The initial section of the route is rough but past the checkpoint at the Maya Gate conditions improve and the turnoff to the falls is well marked. Key birds at the site are Orange-breasted Falcon, White-collared Swift and Black-headed Siskin. We were fortunate to pick up all three within five minutes of our arrival. Pulling into the parking lot at 1:30 p.m., pairs of siskins were singing and displaying around the observation shelter. Bands of White-collared Swift raced overhead and dropped chattering into the gorge. A quick binocular scan revealed an Orange-breasted Falcon perching on a tree on the cliff face just to the right of the falls. At 2:30 the falcon’s mate came low over the lookout from the west and flew down to meet its partner. The pair engaged in a brief aerial display and ended up alighting on a distant dead pine to the left of the falls. If this species is not immediately apparent on your arrival, a patient and systematic search of all potential perches in the area might reveal the bird. On the drive back to the main road we stopped to check a bird flock and found a Plumbeous Vireo. We missed Grace’s Warbler, a species to be looked for in pines. We didn’t overnight at the falls but did drop in to investigate the nearby Hidden Valley Inn, a luxurious place.

Douglas da Silva (Submontane Pine - Submontane Broadleaf)(February 28) is a sizeable forestry station and the last major stop on the road to Carocol. The Belizean military operates a checkpoint at the crossroads where it is compulsory for travelers to stop and register. Camping permits are purchased from the forestry department in a separate building. In addition to Belizean forces, the British Army’s 22nd Cheshire Regiment was present on a training mission, giving the area a rather martial feel. The campground, currently undergoing improvements, is located to the right of the crossroads in an open field amid tall pine. A large group of Swallow-tailed Kite has a colony near the campground and we spent a long time watching them engage in various aerial activities. Ferruginous Pygmy Owl is also here, but we didn’t see one.

From our campsite we walked and drove the main road back out into the pine forest. At the edge of the station two Rufous-capped Warbler as well as large numbers of Indigo Bunting and Blue Grosbeak were present in the roadside scrub. We found three or four Rusty Sparrow several kilometers farther out near a fairly dense stand of pine. The forest, which had been devastated by an insect infestation, is coming back but is still a bedraggled mix of thriving saplings, dead snags and a few remaining mature trees. We back-tracked towards 1,000 Foot Falls as far as the Rio Ons Pools, where we had Bat Falcon, Yellow-throated Warbler, Golden-headed and Hepatic Tanager and Black-headed Siskin. The campsite also has good access to submontane broadleaf forest along the road down to the Rio Frios Cave. We walked the road twice and picked up Buff-throated Foliage Gleaner, Green Honey Creeper, Tropical Gnatcatcher and, most spectacularly, a Barred Forest Falcon that we called in near the top of the road. Slate-coloured Solitaire has been seen in this area.

Las Cuevas (Submontane Broadleaf)(March 1-2) is a remote scientific research station located south off the road to Carocol in the vast Chiquibul forest. Birders should definitely try to make this a stop. We found Las Cuevas to be a relaxed, friendly place with excellent facilities (including a campsite, dorm and individual rooms) and amazing birding. The food, prepared by Celia, was especially good. That said, this is not a tourist resort and a degree of planning is required for any visit. Information on staying at the station is thoroughly set out at www.mayaforest.com/index.htm. Some things to be aware of include the fact that prior to the dry season solidly setting in, the final five kilometres of the access road contains vast mud holes. I am still not sure how I managed to navigate through one particularly viscous 100 metre section. Apparently keeping the vehicle in first gear and high four is the secret to traversing mud. Further, the Chiquibul is suffering heavily from Guatemalan campesinos who cross the border to loot the forest of various plants and animals. The Guatemalans are shy and generally retreat at the sight of people, but an amiable squad of Belizean soldiers maintains an outpost at the station to keep an eye on things (in addition to mining plants and animals, the intruders carry off any un-watched equipment). Finally, because of the border issue, the remoteness of the region and the fact that various scientific studies are ongoing, it is necessary to register the departure time, route and return time of any hike you make into the forest. All this shouldn’t dissuade a serious visitor to Las Cuevas, but one should be aware of the special nature of the place.

Birding begins on the shaded veranda at the back of the main station building, which overlooks a clearing in the forest. A lone tree by the veranda attracts a variety of species and even in my final seconds at the station it still added new species to the trip list (Green-breasted Mango, Boat-billed Flycatcher and a male Green Honey Creeper). Earlier, the soldiers directed my attention to a “big red parrot” at the edge of the clearing and I got my life Scarlet Macaw. A walk out the access road revealed Slate-headed Tody Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet, Blue Bunting and a pair of impressive Great Antshrike. A short distance from the station a well-marked trail leads off the access road and runs up a hill to a fire lookout, now aptly renamed “The Bird Tower”. In the forest leading to the tower we had good views of Slaty-breasted Tinamou, a covey of Spotted Wood-Quail, Rufous Piha, Black-throated Ant-shrike, Northern Bentbill and Slate-coloured Solitaire. The tower itself offers a panoramic 360 degree view of the Chiquibul forest. In a half hour period from 9:30 to 10:00 a.m. we saw six Plumbeous Kite, six White Hawk, two Great Black Hawk, one Short-tailed Hawk and one Black Hawk-Eagle. A Lovely Cotinga was reported at the tower just prior to our visit.

In the entrance to Las Cuevas’s cave, located at the edge of the station clearing, Ridgeway’s Rough-winged Swallows were preparing to nest. We explored the initial portion of the cave (it goes back many kilometers) as far as daylight would allow, finding shards of Mayan pottery and admiring various geological formations. A short distance into the forest, just over the Mayan causeway, is Elegans Pond, a small pool that holds water after other sources have dried up. We sat by the pond’s edge in the late afternoon and observed a number of birds come into drink, including Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher and a beautiful Prothonatory Warbler. The finest aesthetic moment of the trip occurred here - watching a Purple-crowned Fairy hover and repeatedly drop into the sun-dappled water to bathe. A long trail leads off the back corner of the station grounds to a camp at the Monkey Tail River. The initial portion of the trail held Black-faced Antthrush and Red-crowned Ant Tanager. Judging by the number of tracks, the path also seems to be a major Tapir migration route.

Mammals seen at Las Cuevas included a troop of Central American Spider Monkey brachiating in a long line off the Bird Tower Trail, three Tayras crossing the access road near the station and a family of Gray Fox basking in the morning sun in the station clearing.

Closing Thoughts - We had a great trip. Belize is a relaxed and easy place for independent travel. Nothing we encountered caused much stress (except maybe the mud on the Las Cuevas road). We seem to have timed our arrival well, with bird song and nest building activity in full swing. According to locals, for the time of year the water should have been lower at Crooked Tree and the Las Cuevas road drier, but everything worked out. Our only regret is that we weren’t able to spend at least two full weeks in the country.

Paul Jones, Ottawa, Canada

Species Lists

Annotated Bird List - Belize - February 23 to March 4, 2007

1. Great Tinamou - Tinamus major
Haunting call frequently heard in broadleaf forest, sounds like “oh noooo, oh nooooo, oh noooooo” to us

2. Slaty-breasted Tinamou - Crypturellus boucardi
Common at Las Cuevas, up to four seen along the forest trails in a single day, call reminiscent of a mournful train whistle “toooo-wooooooooo”

3. Pied-billed Grebe - Podilymbus podiceps
Several seen from the causeway at Crooked Tree

4. Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis
Common along the coast, even in downtown Belize City

5. Neotropic Cormorant - Phalacrocorax brasilianus
The common inland cormorant

6. Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus
Affiliated with the coast, several seen along the Dangriga waterfront

7. Anhinga - Anhinga anhinga
Several seen at Crooked Tree

8. Magnificent Frigatebird - Fregata magnificens
Common along the coast in Belize City and Dangriga, one also seen at Crooked Tree

9. Bare-throated Tiger-Heron - Tigrisoma mexicanum
One seen, one heard at Crooked Tree

10. Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias
Common at Crooked Tree

11. Great Egret - Ardea alba
Common in wetlands

12. Snowy Egret - Egretta thula
Common in wetlands

13. Little Blue Heron - Egretta caerulea
Common in wetlands

14. Tricolored Heron - Egretta tricolor
Common in wetlands

15. Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis
Common

16. Green Heron - Butorides virescens
Common in wooded wetlands

17. Black-crowned Night-Heron - Nycticorax nycticorax
Several at Crooked Tree

18. Boat-billed Heron - Cochlearius cochlearius
Three sightings on the Crooked Tree Boat Tour, the guides know established roosts

19. White Ibis - Eudocimus albus
Common at Crooked Tree

20. Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus
Two seen around the Bird’s Eye View Lodge

21. Roseate Spoonbill - Ajaia ajaja
Present in small numbers in the pond at Bird’s Eye View Lodge

22. Jabiru - Jabiru mycteria
One on a nest just off the Northern Highway between the Airport and Crooked Tree, this bird is hard to find when the water is high

23. Wood Stork - Mycteria americana
Common in wetlands

24. Black Vulture - Coragyps atratus
Common

25. Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura
Common

26. Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture - Cathartes burrovianus
Good numbers at Crooked Tree, including two feeding at the water’s edge by Bird’s Eye Lodge and five in one tree on the boat tour - the yellow, blue and red on the head of this bird can merge into a pinkish cast at any distance, so a good second look is sometimes needed to pick one out

27. King Vulture - Sarcoramphus papa
Not uncommon, we had excellent views of this great bird at Five Blues Lake, Cockscomb, I,000 Foot Falls and Las Cuevas

28. Black-bellied Whistling Duck - Dendrocygna autumnalis
Common at Crooked Tree

29. American Wigeon - Anas americana
One at Crooked Tree in the pond at Bird’s Eye View Lodge

30. Blue-winged Teal - Anas discors
Common at Crooked Tree

31. Osprey - Pandion haliaetus
Common at Crooked Tree, also seen along the coast and at Cockscomb

32. Hook-billed Kite - Chondrohierax uncinatus
One at Cockscomb

33. Swallow-tailed Kite - Elanoides forficatus
Common at Douglas da Silva

34. Black-shouldered Kite - Elanus leucurus
Uncommon in agricultural/savannah areas

35. Snail Kite - Rostrhamus sociabilis
Common at Crooked Tree

36. Plumbeous Kite - Ictinia plumbea
Common

37. Black-collared Hawk - Busarellus nigricollis
Four on the Crooked Tree boat tour

38. White Hawk - Leucopternis albicollis
Pairs at Five Blues and Rio Frios Cave, six seen from the Bird Tower at Las Cuevas

39. Gray Hawk - Asturina nitida
One in the pines near da Silva

40. Common Black-Hawk - Buteogallus anthracinus
Singles at Crooked Tree and on the Dangriga coastal road

41. Great Black-Hawk - Buteogallus urubitinga
Pairs at Crooked Tree, da Silva and Las Cuevas, the key field mark, an extra white band on the upper tail coverts, is surprisingly easy to see

42. Roadside Hawk - Buteo magnirostris
Common, the default vehicle-spotted raptor

43. Short-tailed Hawk - Buteo brachyurus
A forest dweller, we had soaring birds at Cockscomb, Rio Frios Cave and Las Cuevas

44. White-tailed Hawk - Buteo albicaudatus
Two sightings, one just east of the Southern Highway on the road to Sitti, the other on the Southern Highway just before the junction with the Hummingbird Highway

45. Black Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus tyrannus
One at Las Cuevas from the Bird Tower

46. Barred Forest-Falcon - Micrastur ruficollis
One called in at the start of the road to Rio Frios Cave, da Silva, their highish-pitched “ca ca ca ca ca ca ca ca ca ca” was heard several other locations

47. Collared Forest-Falcon - Micrastur semitorquatus
A pair near the Five Blues cook shelter responded vigorously to a vocal imitation of their call (a very, very loud “Gow! Gow! Gow! Gow! Gow! …). We quickly realized they were nesting in a nearby tree and left them alone after that, but they continued to put in appearances hunting along the access road - both the forest-falcons are amazing birds

48. Laughing Falcon - Herpetotheres cachinnans
One sighting only, at Bird’s Eye View Lodge

49. Merlin - Falco columbarius
Two, one at the Five Blues ford, the other on the road just before da Silva

50. Bat Falcon - Falco rufigularis
A pair on the Crooked Tree boat tour and a single perching on a dead pine at the Rio Ons Pools

51. Orange-breasted Falcon - Falco deiroleucus
The pair at 1,000 Foot Falls

52. Plain Chachalaca - Ortalis vetula
Fairly common

53. Crested Guan - Penelope purpurascens
A group on the “50 Hectare Plot” at Las Cuevas, also heard at Cockscomb

54. Spotted Wood-Quail - Odontophorus guttatus
A covey of five on the hill trail to the Bird Tower at Las Cuevas

55. Ruddy Crake - Laterallus rubber
One walking around at our feet on the dry riverbank at the ford to Five Blues - two other noisy birds in tall grass nearby responded well to an imitation of their call

56. Gray-necked Wood-Rail - Aramides cajanea
One on the shore near Bird’s Eye View Lodge

57. Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
Several in the Bird’s Eye View Lodge pond

58. American Coot - Fulica americana
Several in the Bird’s Eye View Lodge pond

59. Limpkin - Aramus guarauna
Common at Crooked Tree

60. Black-bellied Plover - Pluvialis squatarola
One on the beach at Dangriga

61. Killdeer - Charadrius vociferous
Common

62. Southern Lapwing - Vanellus chilensis
One, the long-staying vagrant at the Bird’s Eye View Lodge pond

63. Northern Jacana - Jacana spinosa
Abundant at Crooked Tree

64. Greater Yellowlegs - Tringa melanoleuca
Two at Crooked Tree

65. Solitary Sandpiper - Tringa solitaria
One at Crooked Tree

66. Willet - Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
One on the beach at Dangriga

67. Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularia
Uncommon

68. Sanderling - Calidris alba
Several on the beach at Dangriga

69. Least Sandpiper - Calidris minutilla
Common around Bird’s Eye View Lodge

70. Common Snipe - Gallinago gallinago
One on the coast road north of Dangriga

71. Laughing Gull - Larus atricilla
Common along the coast

72. Gull-billed Tern - Sterna nilotica
Seen along the coast and at Crooked Tree

73. Caspian Tern - Sterna caspia
Seen along the coast and at Crooked Tree

74. Royal Tern - Sterna maxima
Dangriga

75. Sandwich Tern - Sterna sandvicensis
Dangriga

76. Rock Dove - Columba livia
Dangriga and Belize City

77. Pale-vented Pigeon - Columba cayennensis
Common, seen well on the Dangriga Coastal Road

78. Scaled Pigeon - Columba speciosa
Seen at Five Blues and Las Cuevas

79. Red-billed Pigeon - Columba flavirostris
Five Blues

80. Short-billed Pigeon - Columba nigrirostris
Common, the frequently heard song, a querulous, spoken, “who cooks for you?” is a signature sound of the broadleaf forest

81. Common Ground-Dove - Columbina passerine
Two by the road near Sitti River

82. Ruddy Ground-Dove - Columbina talpacoti
Common by open roadsides

83. Blue Ground-Dove - Claravis pretiosa
One at Five Blues but common at Cockscomb

84. White-tipped Dove - Leptotila verreauxi
Seen at Crooked Tree

85. Gray-fronted Dove - Leptotila rufaxilla
A pair at the base of the Las Cevas Bird Tower

86. Ruddy Quail-Dove - Geotrygon montana
Several sightings at Cockscomb

87. Olive-throated Parakeet - Aratinga nana
Sitti Road, Las Cuevas

88. Scarlet Macaw - Ara macao
One seen, one heard at Las Cuevas - if this bird is a must see a place called Red Bank just south-west of Maya Center is apparently good for them in February and March

89. Brown-hooded Parrot - Pionopsitta haematotis
A small flock at Five Blues

90. White-crowned Parrot - Pionus senilis
Small flocks at Five Blues and Las Cuevas

91. White-fronted Parrot - Amazona albifrons
Small flocks at Crooked Tree

92. Red-lored Parrot - Amazona autumnalis
Common

93. Mealy Parrot - Amazona farinose
Common

94. Yellow-headed Parrot - Amazona oratrix
Two sightings of this impressive parrot along the coast road between Dangriga and La Democracia

95. Squirrel Cuckoo - Piaya cayana
Sightings at Crooked Tree, Five Blues and Las Cuevas

96. Groove-billed Ani - Crotophaga sulcirostris
Common at Crooked Tree

97. Vermiculated Screech-Owl - Otus guatemalae
Common, we called one in at the Five Blues cook shelter and heard lots there and at Cockscomb and Las Cuevas - note that this Owl’s trill bears a passing resemblance to the more wooden call of the Cane Toad, Bufo marinis

98. Crested Owl - Lophostrix cristata
Heard and called in at Five Blues, but provided shilouette views only

99. Spectacled Owl - Pulsatrix perspicillata
Responded vigorously to a vocal imitation at the Cockscomb campground, but chose to fly into an impenetrable tree, also heard at the Coastal Highway campsite

100. Mottled Owl - Ciccaba virgata
Heard at night at Five Blues, Cockscomb and Las Cuevas, would not respond to imitations

101. Pauraque - Nyctidromus albicollis
Common, seen every night of the trip, eyes glowing red on gravel roads, approachable to less than one metre

102. Northern Potoo - Nyctibius jamaicensis
One seen and heard on a night walk at the Five Blues access road a short distance from the cook shelter, “rasssssssssssp poc poc”

103. White-collared Swift - Streptoprocne zonaris
Groups of five to 25 racing around the gorge at 1,000 Foot Falls

104. Vaux's Swift - Chaetura vauxi
Seen at Las Cuevas and Crooked Tree, the wintering Chaetura swift

105. Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift - Panyptila cayennensis
Five Blues, Cockscomb, Rio Frios, Las Cuevas, flying high above canopy

106. Long-tailed Hermit - Phaethornis superciliosus
Fairly common, extraordinary views of lekking males obtained at Cockscomb on the Wari Trail

107. Little Hermit - Phaethornis longuemareus
Uncommon, seen at Five Blues, Cockscomb and Las Cuevas

108. Wedge-tailed Sabrewing - Campylopterus curvipennis
One at Las Cuevas

109. White-necked Jacobin - Florisuga mellivora
Five Blues and Las Cuevas, an impressive bird

110. Green-breasted Mango - Anthracothorax prevostii
One, in the veranda tree, Las Cuevas

111. White-bellied Emerald - Amazilia candida
Common, the default small, white-bellied hummingbird

112. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird - Amazilia tzacatl
Common, the default hummingbird

113. Buff-bellied Hummingbird - Amazilia yucatanensis
One, Crooked Tree, far reaches of the Trogon Trail

114. Cinnamon Hummingbird - Amazilia rutila
One, in the ornamental plantings at the Jaguar Reef Lodge

115. Purple-crowned Fairy - Heliothryx barroti
One at Rio Frios, two at Las Cuevas

116. Black-headed Trogon - Trogon melanocephalus
All sightings north of the Western Highway, common at Crooked Tree

117. Violaceous Trogon - Trogon violaceus
Common

118. Collared Trogon - Trogon collaris
Fairly common at Las Cuevas

119. Slaty-tailed Trogon - Trogon massena
Heard at Las Cuevas and Five Blues

120. Blue-crowned Motmot - Momotus momota
Abrupt “hoot-hoot” call a regular feature of the dawn chorus at Five Blues, Cockscomb and Las Cuevas, hard to see but stunning views obtained at all of above

121. Ringed Kingfisher - Ceryle torquata
Common at Crooked Tree

122. Belted Kingfisher - Ceryle alcyon
Common at Crooked Tree

123. Green Kingfisher - Chloroceryle americana
Sightings at Crooked Tree and Five Blues

124. White-whiskered Puffbird - Malacoptila panamensis
One at Five Blues near the cook shelter and one at Las Cuevas near the campground

125. Rufous-tailed Jacamar - Galbula ruficauda
Fairly common in broadleaf forest

126. Collared Aracari - Pteroglossus torquatus
Just a few sightings

127. Keel-billed Toucan - Ramphastos sulfuratus
Common

128. Acorn Woodpecker - Melanerpes formicivorus
Common in pines

129. Black-cheeked Woodpecker - Melanerpes pucherani
Common, likes Cecropia Trees

130. Red-vented Woodpecker - Melanerpes pygmaeus
A Yucatan endemic, we had three sightings at Crooked Tree - two down the Trogon Trail and one in the big tree opposite the pond at Bird’s Eye View Lodge, listen for the typical Melanerpes tree-frog trill

131. Golden-fronted Woodpecker - Melanerpes aurifrons
Seen at Crooked Tree

132. Smoky-brown Woodpecker - Veniliornis fumigatus
Seen at Five Blues and Rio Frios Cave

133. Golden-olive Woodpecker - Piculus rubiginosus
Seen at the Five Blues ford and Cockscomb

134. Lineated Woodpecker - Dryocopus lineatus
A pair at Five Blues

135. Pale-billed Woodpecker - Campephilus guatemalensis
Crooked Tree and Las Cuevas

136. Rufous-breasted Spinetail - Synallaxis erythrothorax
Common but skulky in trailside brush

137. Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner - Automolus ochrolaemus
Sightings at Rio Frios and Las Cuevas

138. Plain Xenops - Xenops minutus
Singles at Five Blues, Rio Frios and Las Cuevas

139. Scaly-throated Leaftosser - Sclerurus guatemalensis
One along the Bird Tower Trail, Las Cuevas, lives up to its name

140. Tawny-winged Woodcreeper - Dendrocincla anabatina
Five Blues, Cockscomb, Las Cuevas

141. Ruddy Woodcreeper - Dendrocincla homochroa
Five Blues at ant swarm

142. Olivaceus Woodcreeper - Sittasomus griseicapillus
Five Blues, Cockscomb, Las Cuevas

143. Wedge-billed Woodcreeper - Glyphorynchus spirurus
Five Blues and Rio Frios

144. Strong-billed Woodcreeper - Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus
Five Blues

145. Northern Barred-Woodcreeper - Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae
Five Blues at ant swarm

146. Ivory-billed Woodcreeper - Xiphorynchus flavigaster
Seen at Crooked Tree on the Trogon Trail, Cockscomb and Five Blues

147. Great Antshrike - Taraba major
A cooperative pair was on the Las Cuevas access road near the station by a gravel pit - the song is similar to Barred Antshrike, but lacks the final “ka-wuck”

148. Barred Antshrike - Thamnophilus doliatus
Common in scrubby areas, the rising “ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-k-k-k- ka-wuck” song is a signature Belize sound

149. Slaty Antwren - Myrmotherula schisticolor
A pair on the Las Cuevas access road

150. Dot-winged Antwren - Microrhopias quixensis
Common

151. Dusky Antbird - Cercomacra tyrannina
Five Blues, Guanacaste, Rio Frios

152. Black-faced Antthrush - Formicarius analis
Fairly common in mature broadleaf forest, once you figure out the song

153. Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet - Ornithion semiflavum
Sightings at Five Blues, Rio Frios and Las Cuevas, a very inconspicuous little bird

154. Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet - Camptostoma imberbe
One at Crooked Tree on the Trogon Trail in dry open scrubby forest

155. Yellow-bellied Elaenia - Elaenia flavogaster
Cockscomb at the campground and da Silva at the edge of the station

156. Ochre-bellied Flycatcher - Mionectes oleaginous
Five Blues

157. Sepia-capped Flycatcher - Leptopogon amaurocephalus
Five Blues

158. Northern Bentbill - Oncostoma cinereigulare
One seen and heard on the Las Cuevas Bird Tower Trail, we realized retrospectively that we had been hearing the distinctive note at other locations on the trip

159. Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher - Poecilotriccus sylvia
A pair on the Las Cuevas access road

160. Common Tody-Flycatcher - Todirostrum cinereum
Crooked Tree on boat tour, Cockscomb at campground

161. Eye-ringed Flatbill - Rhynchocyclus brevirostris
Five Blues, a retiring species

162. Yellow-olive Flycatcher - Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Rio Frios

163. Stub-tailed Spadebill - Platyrinchus cancrominus
Fairly common in broadleaf forest but seldom seen, the “dippity dunk” call signals its presence

164. Royal Flycatcher - Onychorhynchus coronatus
Three along the access road to Five Blues past the ford

165. Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher - Myiobius sulphureipygius
Fairly common under the broadleaf canopy

166. Tropical Pewee - Contopus cinereus
One seen calling at Cockscomb along the river

167. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - Empidonax flaviventris
Common

168. Least Flycatcher - Empidonax minimus
Uncommon

169. Black Phoebe - Sayornis nigricans
Three at the Five Blues ford, seems to have a preference for dry, rocky riverbeds

170. Vermilion Flycatcher - Pyrocephalus rubinus
Common in open areas

171. Bright-rumped Attila - Attila spadiceus
Heard at Crooked Tree and Cockscomb campground

172. Dusky-capped Flycatcher - Myiarchus tuberculifer
Common and small

173. Great Crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus crinitus
One heard at Five Blues

174. Brown-crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus tyrannulus
Uncommon

175. Great Kiskadee - Pitangus sulphuratus
Common

176. Boat-billed Flycatcher - Megarynchus pitangua
One sighting in the veranda tree at Las Cuevas, not a blazingly obvious bird (to us)

177. Social Flycatcher - Myiozetetes similes
Common

178. Tropical Kingbird - Tyrannus melancholicus
The default Tyrannus, we never got it together to pick out a Couch’s

179. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Tyrannus forficatus
One in Belize City

180. Fork-tailed Flycatcher - Tyrannus savanna
Common at Crooked Tree, seen in other open, agricultural area

181. Thrushlike Schiffornis - Schiffornis turdinus
Distinctive song heard frequently in broadleaf forest, only a few sightings

182. Rufous Piha - Lipaugus unirufus
Seen and heard high in the canopy on the trail to the Bird Tower, Las Cuevas

183. Rose-throated Becard - Pachyramphus aglaiae
A nest-building pair at the Cockscomb campground

184. Masked Tityra - Tityra semifasciata
Fairy common atop the broadleaf canopy, listen for the funny grunting calls

185. Black-crowned Tityra - Tityra inquisitor
Uncommoner than Masked, we saw two at the Cockscomb campground sitting by a semifasciata

186. Lovely Cotinga - Cotinga amabilis
A rare and charismatic broadleaf resident, we were lucky to find a pair at Five Blues Lake - a female (briefly joined by its mate) was perching atop a dead tree in the natural amphitheatre at the (former) lake entry point

187. White-collared Manakin - Manacus candei
Common in broadleaf forest, listen for the wing snap of lekking males, who allow close approach and study

188. Red-capped Manakin - Pipra mentalis
Same as above

189. White-eyed Vireo - Vireo griseus
Common and singing in tangles

190. Mangrove Vireo - Vireo pallens
Common at Crooked Tree and along the coast road north of Dangriga

191. Yellow-throated Vireo - Vireo flavifrons
One at the Five Blues ford

192. Plumbeous Vireo - Vireo plumbeus
One in a bird flock along the road to 1,000 Foot Falls

193. Tawny-crowned Greenlet - Hylophilus ochraceiceps
Uncommon in broadleaf forest

194. Lesser Greenlet - Hylophilus decurtatus
Common in broadleaf forest

195. Brown Jay - Cyanocorax morio
Common and loud

196. Yucatán Jay - Cyanocorax yucatanicus
Fairly easy to find early morning at Crooked Tree along the Trogon Trail and its extensions

197. Gray-breasted Martin - Progne chalybea
Uncommon, seen on telephone wires at Crooked Tree and along the coast highway

198. Mangrove Swallow - Tachycineta albilinea
The commonest swallow

199. Northern Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx serripennis
A large group of swallows milling about the limestone walls and mud puddles of the former Five Blues Lake were definitively identified as this species, the complete white-undertail coverts and absence of “head-lights” are fairly easy to distinguish on flying and perched birds

200. Ridgeway’s Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx ridgwayi
This species was nesting in the cave by the research station at Las Cuevas, the white spots on the forehead and darkened undertail coverts are very distinctive

201. Spot-breasted Wren - Thryothorus maculipectus
Common but hard to see, listen for finger on comb “z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-zip” call

202. House Wren - Troglodytes aedon
Common around the village of Crooked Tree

203. White-bellied Wren - Uropsila leucogastra
Five Blues

204. White-breasted Wood-Wren - Henicorhina leucosticte
Common in broadleaf forest but hard to see, listen for loud “klink” call

205. Long-billed Gnatwren - Ramphocaenus melanurus
Hides in viney tangles along roads and trails through broadleaf forest, we finally had to call one in

206. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Polioptila caerulea
Crooked Tree, Five Blues

207. Tropical Gnatcatcher - Polioptila plumbea
One on the road to the Rio Frios Cave, black cap easy to pick out

208. Slate-colored Solitaire - Myadestes unicolor
Seen and heard (beautiful song) on the Bird Tower Trail and access road, Las Cuevas

209. Wood Thrush - Catharus mustelina
Common winterer in broadleaf forest

210. Clay-colored Thrush - Turdus grayi
Common

211. White-throated Robin - Turdus assimilis
Heard at Las Cuevas

212. Gray Catbird - Dumetella carolinensis
Common

213. Tropical Mockingbird - Mimus gilvus
Abundant in urban and agricultural areas

214. Blue-winged Warbler - Vermivora pinus
Two sightings, Rio Frios Cave Road and Las Cuevas

215. Northern Parula - Parula americana
Three sightings, Crooked Tree, Cockscomb and Las Cuevas

216. Yellow Warbler - Dendroica petechia
Uncommon

217. Chestnut-sided Warbler - Dendroica pensylvanica
Uncommon

218. Magnolia Warbler - Dendroica magnolia
Common

219. Yellow-rumped Warbler - Dendroica coronata
Uncommon

220. Black-throated Green Warbler - Dendroica virens
Uncommon

221. Yellow-throated Warbler - Dendroica dominica
Uncommon

222. Black-and-white Warbler - Mniotilta varia
Common

223. American Redstart - Setophaga ruticilla
Common

224. Prothonotary Warbler - Protonotaria citrea
One at Elagans Pond, Las Cuevas

225. Worm-eating Warbler - Helmitheros vermivorus
Uncommon

226. Ovenbird - Seiurus aurocapillus
Uncommon winterer

227. Northern Waterthrush - Seiurus noveboracensis
Common

228. Louisiana Waterthrush - Seiurus motacilla
Two only, Five Blues and Las Cuevas

229. Kentucky Warbler - Oporornis formosus
Common

230. Common Yellowthroat - Geothlypis trichas
Uncommon

231. Gray-crowned Yellowthroat - Geothylpis poliocephala
One sighting, Coastal Highway north of Dangriga, a neat bird

232. Hooded Warbler - Wilsonia citrine
Common

233. Wilson's Warbler - Wilsonia pusilla
Uncommon

234. Golden-crowned Warbler - Basileuterus culicivorus
Uncommon

235. Rufous-capped Warbler - Basileuterus rufifrons
Fairly easy to find at da Silva and Las Cuevas

236. Yellow-breasted Chat - Icteria virens
Three sightings, Five Blues ford, Coastal Highway north of Dangriga and Cockscomb

237. Gray-throated Chat - Granatellus sallaei
Seen at Five Blues and Las Cuevas, all sightings in a dense “alder-type” brush

238. Gray-headed Tanager - Eucometis penicillata
Uncommon, seems to like ant swarms

239. Black-throated Shrike-Tanager - Lanio aurantius
Fairly common at Las Cuevas

240. Red-crowned Ant-Tanager - Habia rubica
Uncommon at Las Cuevas, seen on trail to Monkey Tail River

241. Red-throated Ant-Tanager - Habia fuscicauda
Family groups common in broadleaf forest, often scolding

242. Hepatic Tanager - Piranga flava
Seen in pines along Coastal Highway north of Dangriga, 1,000 Foot Falls and da Silva area

243. Summer Tanager - Piranga rubra
Uncommon

244. Crimson-collared Tanager - Ramphocelus sanguinolentus
Cockscomb campground and trails

245. Passerini's Tanager - Ramphocelus passerinii
Five Blues ford

246. Blue-gray Tanager - Thraupis episcopus
Common at Crooked Tree

247. Yellow-winged Tanager - Thraupis abbas
One sighting at Five Blues

248. Yellow-throated Euphonia - Euphonia hirundinacea
Small flock along road to Rio Frios Cave

249. Olive-backed Euphonia - Euphonia gouldi
Small flock along road to Rio Frios Cave

250. Golden-hooded Tanager - Tangara larvata
Common at Cockscomb, also seen at da Silva and Rio Ons Pools

251. Green Honeycreeper - Chlorophanes spiza
Female on road to Rio Frios Cave, male in the veranda tree, Las Cuevas

252. Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus
Common

253. Blue-black Grassquit - Volatinia jacarina
Five Blues ford

254. Variable Seedeater - Sporophila americana
Five Blues ford, watch for the olive-brown females

255. White-collared Seedeater - Sporophila torqueola
Abundant, the default roadside finch

256. Thick-billed Seedfinch - Oryzoborus funereus
Small group along the river at Cockscomb, look for the rusty-brown females

257. Yellow-faced Grassquit - Tiaris olivacea
Common around the Cockscomb visitor center, one at the Las Cuevas septic field

258. Orange-billed Sparrow - Arremon aurantiirostris
Five Blues and Cockscomb, in tangles under the broadleaf canopy

259. Green-backed Sparrow - Arremonops chloronotus
Five Blues and Cockscomb, thick road side scrub in broadleaf forest

260. Rusty Sparrow - Aimophila rufescens
Three 50 metres in from the road between da Siva and the Rio On Pools, they were in a loose group, next to a surviving stand of pine

261. Chipping Sparrow - Spizella passerine
One small flock at the da Silva camp ground

262. Grayish Saltator - Saltator coerulescens
Five Blues

263. Buff-throated Saltator - Saltator maximus
Five Blues at the ford

264. Black-headed Saltator - Saltator atriceps
Common and loud

265. Black-faced Grosbeak - Caryothraustes poliogaster
Common

266. Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis
Two at Crooked Tree off the Trogon Trail

267. Blue-black Grosbeak - Cyanocompsa cyanoides
Fairly common, a pair was nesting at the Five Blues cook shelter, seen also at Cockscomb and Las Cuevas

268. Blue Bunting - Cyanocompsa parellina
One at Las Cuevas along the access road

269. Blue Grosbeak - Guiraca caerulea
One flock of a dozen birds in the roadside scrub just before da Silva

270. Indigo Bunting - Passerina cyanea
Common at da Silva and Las Cuevas

271. Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus
Seen at Crooked Tree on the Boat Tour

272. Melodious Blackbird - Dives dives
Common

273. Great-tailed Grackle - Quiscalus mexicanus
Common and loud

274. Black-cowled Oriole - Icterus dominicensis
Crooked Tree, Five Blues, Cockscomb

275. Orchard Oriole - Icterus spurious
Common

276. Hooded Oriole - Icterus cucullatus

277. Yellow-tailed Oriole - Icterus mesomelas
One at Crooked Tree

278. Baltimore Oriole - Icterus galbula
Common

279. Yellow-billed Cacique - Amblycercus holosericeus
Five Blues and Cockscomb in thick tangles

280. Montezuma Oropendola - Psarocolius montezuma
Common

281. Black-headed Siskin - Carduelis notata
Common at 1,000 Foot Falls and along the road to da Silva

282. House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
A single bird in Dangriga

My brother Ian stayed an extra week at Las Cuevas, assisting the station in developing an annotated checklist. Additional birds during this time were:

283. Little Tinamou - Crypturellus soui
284. Bicoloured Hawk - Accipiter bicolor
285. Ornate Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus ornatus
286. Great Currasow - Crax rubra
287. Central American Pygmy Owl - Glaucidium griseiceps
288. Tody Motmot - Hylomanes momotula
289. Streak-headed Woodcreeper - Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
290. Greenish Elaenia - Myiopagis viridicata
291. Paltry Tyrannulet - Zimmerius vilissimus
292. Rufous Mourner - Rhytipterna holerythra
293. Blue-headed Vireo - Vireo solitarius
294. Green Shrike Vireo - Vireolanius pulchellus
295. Green Jay - Cyanocorax yncas
296. Band-backed Wren - Campylorhynchus zonatus
297. Nightingale Wren - Microcerculus Philomela
298. Golden-winged Warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera
299. Tennessee Warbler - Vermivora peregrine
300. Bananaquit - Coereba flaveola
301. Common Bush Tanager - Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
302. Painted Bunting - Passerina ciris

Annotated Mammal List - Belize - February 23 to March 4, 2007

1. Common Opossum - Didelphis marsupialis - two spotlighted at night near the Cockscomb campground

2. Northern Tamandua - Tamandua mexicana - Two sightings, one on the Crooked Tree boat tour, the other on the trail to the river at Cockscomb, the Cockscomb one was tracked down by the terrible racket it was making ripping apart an ant nest in the heart of a Cohune Palm

3. Nine-banded Armadillo - Dasypus novemcinctus - one, at night, Cockscomb campground

4. Yucatan Black Howler - Alouatta pigra - one seen on the Crooked Tree boat tour, heard at Five Blues, Cockscomb and Las Cuevas

5. Central American Spider Monkey - Ateles geoffroyi - a troop brachiating in a long line off the Bird Tower Trail

6. Gray Fox - Urocyon cineroargenteus - two, mid-morning basking in the sun on the station lawn at Las Cuevas

7. Tayra - Eira barbara - a family of three of this striking weasel at Las Cuevas, crossing the access road at 60 second intervals

8. White-nosed Coati - Nasua narica - one, mid-morning on the Wari Trail at Cockscomb

9. Collared Peccary - Tayassu tajacu - two on the road back to the Five Blues ford

10. Deppe’s Squirrel - Scirus deppei - one or two daily

11. Central American Agouti - Dasyprocta punctata - singles at Crooked Tree, Guanacaste and Five Blues