In March 2012, Paul lead our first trip to Belize. We received a warm welcome, the lodges were superb, the weather was perfect, and the birding was first class. Here are a few of his photographs from this tour.
Ornate Hawk-eagle was one of the 'birds of the trip'.
The rare Orange-breasted Falcon is perhaps more reliable in Belize than anywhere else. What we were not expecting, however, was for one to be sat on a dead tree right next to where we parked the van!
A pair of Black-cheeked Woodpeckers regularly fed on palm fruits right next to the dining area.
The Stygian owl is always a difficult bird to find, so we were thrilled when our guide at Hidden Valley Inn took us to a roosting bird.
Yucatan Woodpecker was one of a number of Yucatan endemics that we saw.
Again, local help was invaluable in seeing this Striped Owl. Quite how many tourists walk past this bird at Lamanai, oblivious to its presence, is anyone's guess.
Yucatan Howler Monkey seen from the top of the main temple at Lamanai.
Two Willets on the beach at Dandriga.
The near-endemic Rusty Sparrow was seen easily in Mountain Pine Ridge.
A male Ocellated Turkey
These wonderful Military Crickets gain protection by looking like ants.
Laughing Falcons and snakes play an important part in Mayan mythology. Here one was seen bringing a vine snake to its mate, by the main temple at Lamanai.
Collared Trogon male
Two huge ceiba trees at Caracol
The Caana ('sky palace') structure at Caracol is still the biggest building in Belize over 1000 years after it was built.
Black-headed Trogons (male above, female below)
Paul has just returned from a recce in Belize. No less than 44% of the country is protected by way of national parks and reserves; the greatest proportion of any country on Earth. Huge tracts of forest are still intact and the wildlife is correspondingly rich and varied. The Mayan ruins are awesome and the internationally renowned lodges and hotels are second to none. All adding up to a superb birdwatching holiday.
Yucatan Nightjars are common at the Mayan sites of Chan Chich and Lamanai
No need to set your alarm clock at Lamanai; the Yucatan Howler Monkeys will wake you !
This Yellow-throated Warbler was attracted to crumbs at the breakfast table at Crooked Tree.
Whilst spotlighting at Chan Chich we found plenty of Jaguar-food but no Jaguars
Male and female Vermilion Flycatchers
Belize is one of the best places in the world to see the diminutive Tody Motmot
Slaty-tailed Trogon is common and rather approachable
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird is the most common hummer
Roadside Hawk is one of the best-named birds we know!
Ornate Hawk-eagles are reliable at Chan Chich
Where protected, Ocellated Turkeys are rather fearless of humans
Northern Violaceous Trogon is one of four species that are likely to be seen.
Northern Barred Woodcreeper (below with a grasshopper at an army ant swarm)
The superbly named Montezuma Oropendola
Belize boasts the second largest coral reef in the world. Magnificent Frigatebirds at Man-o-war Caye.
Ospreys too nest on the cayes
Brown pelicans and Brown Boobies can also be seen on the cayes.
Luxury at Lamanai
The view from one of the rooms at dawn.
The ruins at Lamanai are breathtaking. Unlike in other places, the Mayan sites in Belize are not over-run with tourists.
We had Lamanai and Caracol virtually to ourselves!
The climb to the top of Caracol just requires strong legs, but to get to the top of Lamanai (above) requires a good head for heights too!
We had Lamanai to ourselves
immature King Vulture
This Automeris zozine - an Emperor moth of the Saturniidae family - was attracted to the colourful decor in the doorway of our hotel!
Common Vampire Bat inside a Mayan building at Chan Chich !
Habitats at Chan Chich are rich and varied.
The rooms of this first class lodge are nested tastefully amongst ancient Mayan ruins.
Caracol is Belize's most impressive Mayan site. Appearing out of the early morning mist, the largest structure, Caana is still the biggest building in the country.
A boat trip at Crooked Tree, where we saw Jabiru, Agami Heron, Boat-billed Heron (below) and a multitude of other waterbirds.
Black-collared Hawk is locally common at Crooked Tree
Black-cowled Oriole feeding on necter from banana flowers
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