Belize Nature Tour
For ten days in February 2013, I was off on a delightful trip to Belize
with Mark Pretti Nature Tours.
The group, most of whom were on the Brazil trip in 2011,
were great to travel with, and Mark is exceptional at weaving the stories of how
everything in nature is linked through multiple relationships into a grand picture.
Along the way, in addition to plenty of birds and a fair number of butterflies and
other creatures, we explored the amazing Mayan ruins at Caracol and Lamanai.
Led by Mark, our group of eight stayed at four different lodges including
Bird's Eye View Lodge in the Crooked Tree Sanctuary, Pook's Hill Lodge, Hidden Valley Inn,
and Lamanai Outpost Lodge. All of them were delightful, but of the four my hands-down
favorite and well worth a return visit for the hospitality, food, accomodations,
and surroundings was Pook's Hill.
Highlights of our visit to Pook's Hill was an extraordinary view
of a White-collared Manakin patiently posing for quite awhile one morning, and the
calling of a pair of Spectacled Owls at dusk followed by a sighting of an
immature later that evening. At Crooked Tree, we were treated to a number of amazing
sights including a rare close-up and lengthy viewing of an American Pygmy Kingfisher, while
a Basilisk Lizard dashed across the water in front of us. Hidden Valley showed us
good looks at Brown and Green Jays and
the gorgeous Azure-crowned Hummingbird, and was our jumping off spot for visiting
the incredible Caracol ruins near the Guatemalan border. More ruins awaited us at
Lamanai and it was rather magical being alone at the Jaguar Temple one evening as
a flock of Keel-billed Toucans and lots of Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures settled in to
roost, while a White-nosed Coati poked among the ruins and three tribes of Black
Howler Monkeys called in the distance to each other.
As usual, I ended up getting
home with way too many (~1500) pictures, but managed to narrow it down to those shown here.
Most were taken with my Nikon D90 and cleaned up later with CaptureNX. Also as usual,
I've tried to label them correctly, but would appreciate any mistakes being
brought to my attention. Page 2 has some of the butterflies I was able to identify,
Page 3 has some of the better bird pictures from the trip, and Page 4 has more of
the pictures that didn't quite make the cut and a number of birds and butterflies
I'm still working to identify.
Click on any of the thumbnails below to see a larger image
of any of the pictures in a new window.