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Belize - March 2007

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Old Wednesday 22nd November 2006, 16:00   #1
JWN Andrewes
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Belize - March 2007

Hopefully Im off to Belize next March, spending a couple of weeks at Cockscomb helping with photo-trapping Jaguars, and Im looking to put together a weeks itinerary to get some birding in afterwards. The (somewhat nebulous) plan so far is 4 nights in the Pine Ridge area (maybe hidden Valley Inn), 2 nights at crooked Tree (Birds Eye View?) and an possibly an overnight somewhere on the coast near Belize City.

So, my questions

1) Any other recommendations for good birdy accommodation in those areas?
2) Anything to particularly look out for at Cockscomb?
3) Does anyone know any good sites for Stygian Owl (or anything else) around Pine Ridge?
4) How easy is a day trip from the Pine Ridge area down to Caracol, and are there reliable sites there for Keel-billed Motmot (or anything else)?
5) A good birdy, coastal site near Belize City for shorebirds, Reddish Egret etc? (Preferably something I can day or half day trip, but an overnight may be possible.)
6) Any other useful tips or hints?

Many thanks

James
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Old Thursday 21st December 2006, 14:52   #2
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Any info at all?

Thanks in anticipation!

James
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Old Thursday 21st December 2006, 15:54   #3
James Lowther
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Hi James,
can't answer all your questions, but...
i would imagine all the lodges in mountain pine ridge would operate day trips to caracol.
also the coast strectching quite a long way north and south of Belize city is pretty much inaccessible i think?.

sorry it's a bit vague but what i do know is that you will love it!!!!!!!
I posted a trip report from my non-intensive birding/backpacking trip there on Birdtours if you haven't seen it.

ATB,

James
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Old Thursday 21st December 2006, 16:52   #4
Edward woodwood
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Crooked Tree

stay with the local Pastor (called Mr Raeburn I think) and wife in the village - top people and a lovely little place - loads of birds from the hammock incl Black-collared Hawks.

Steve (Tillet?) who wardens the visitor centre is a really nice guy and good contact there - he can sort you out with accomodation too

Cockscomb
cracking place - guess you will stay at the reserve - very good value, take your own food and cook in the spacious kitchen / rest room there used by the researchers... I loved it, tinamous and armadillos and quite a few Campehilus peckers!

take a trip from Belize city to one of the Cays for the shorebirds

lovely country, very relaxed, Belikin beer good but the food aint great!
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Old Thursday 21st December 2006, 17:35   #5
Chris Benesh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWN Andrewes
1) Any other recommendations for good birdy accommodation in those areas?
2) Anything to particularly look out for at Cockscomb?
3) Does anyone know any good sites for Stygian Owl (or anything else) around Pine Ridge?
4) How easy is a day trip from the Pine Ridge area down to Caracol, and are there reliable sites there for Keel-billed Motmot (or anything else)?
5) A good birdy, coastal site near Belize City for shorebirds, Reddish Egret etc? (Preferably something I can day or half day trip, but an overnight may be possible.)
6) Any other useful tips or hints?

Many thanks

James
Hi James,

I realize that you are probably wanting to economize somewhat, but if you treat yourself to a night at Hidden Valley Inn, you can go birding on their property. At the moment, there are 8 or 9 known Stygian Owl roost sites, so your chances of seeing one are excellent. They have a staff guide Ricki, who is very personable. He has also seen more Solitary Eagles in Belize than anyone else I know.

The day trip to Caracal is quite easy from Mountain Pine Ridge. It takes just a few hours with good to great birding along the way. I've seen Solitary Eagle three times now on that drive. Keel-billed Motmots should be vocal at that time of year, though most people look for the same pair, which seem unresponsive to tapes due to overexposure to them. There is also a good opportunity for Orange-breasted Falcon nearby, either at Thousand Foot Falls or King Vulture Falls. The HVI property is also birdy with a trail system and what not. Another excellent birding site is the road to the Rio Frio Cave. Note: recently, there has been a problem with sporadic crimes being committed along the road to Caracol, so at the moment, birding along the road is somewhat restricted, with the government providing military or police escort.

Another nice spot east of Cockscomb is Mama Noots. It is basic, but a really birdy site with very personable owners. It has Keel-billed Motmot on site (though I failed to see it there in my visit last March), though my birding was light due to my Dad's poor health. In March, it was hopping with birds. Jaguars are sighted there fairly regularly too.

Chris
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Last edited by Chris Benesh : Thursday 21st December 2006 at 17:37.
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Old Friday 29th December 2006, 12:46   #6
JWN Andrewes
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Many thanks gents

I may just have to push the boat out and stop at Hidden Valley - I do so fancy those Owls! (And Solitary Eagle wouldn't half go down well too, specially as I got oh so brief views of what was almost certainly one of these beauts in Brazil last year!)

Tim, any idea if messrs Raeburn & Tillet are contactable by e-mail, or are they amenable to on spec visitors?

Since posting my initial request for gen I've found that Half Moon Cay, with its breeding colony of Red-footed Boobies, can be day-tripped from Belize City, so may give that a go.

Whatever happens, I'll post an account sometime in spring.

Again, thank you.

James
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Old Wednesday 11th April 2007, 16:21   #7
JWN Andrewes
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Trip report now started at http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=83137

James
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