Ellen and I are in the jungle of western Belize, staying at Chan Chich Lodge, where we had a great walk this morning with another couple of birders and our expert guide, Marvin. Chan Chich is a marvelous place for ecotourism, deep in virtually untouched jungle with twelve luxurious cabanas set around a the central square of a former Mayan ceremonial site, and surrounded by massive mounds built by the Mayans, some probably still containing relics and remains. The birds and wildlife were our reason for coming, and it took all day yesterday by jetliner, then a four-seat Cessna airplane, finally a six-mile drive on this road in an all-terrain vehicle. While Chan Chich is remote, we are not roughing it. The food is gourmet delicious, the room and lodge are marvelous, and the staff is wonderful and knowledgable. This is not a cheap vacation, but it’s a great adventure. Here are my best pictures from this morning’s walk of about four hours.
One of the largest, commonest and most tame birds here is the Ocellated Turkey, a more colorful version of our wild turkey. A flock of them walked right by us today.
One of the most sought after types of tropical birds by birders are Trogons. There are three kinds here, and we’ve already seen all three. This Slaty-tailed Trogon was the best one I was able to photo.
Parrots are always great fun to see in the wild. This pair of Mealy Parrots gave us long, excellent views. A mated pair, they were acting affectionate, one snuggling close to the other. I got a video of that, which I hope to edit and show later.
There are beautiful butterflies as well, like this one which I am unable to recall the common name of. Mexican something.
Halfway through our walk, by prearrangement, breakfast had been brought out to this screened viewing platform for us, and it was delicious. Just behind the platform, on a high hill, the jungle drops off steeply to a small stream. We saw more cool birds here. As usual, only a small percentage of what we saw resulted in good photos.
There are half a dozen hummingbird species here, including this Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird.
A Banded Peacock butterfly.
The other common parrot here is the Red-Lored Parrot. There are a number of them on the lodge grounds, very noisy and entertaining.
Not long after we got back it began to shower off and on, and did so for the rest of the day so far. We didn’t mind, and spent most of the time enjoying the porch of our cabana, where we even saw a few more birds.
Not sure how often I’ll be posting from this trip, but more soon.