2019 Departure Dates & Costs
Departure: December 31, 2019 to January 7, 2020
Cost: $1,840 USD per person double occupancy from Belize City (includes 7 nights stay, all meals as indicated, guide fees, tours, road transfers from and back to Belize City and between lodges). Read more about Birding in Belize on our Blog...
Pick up at the airport on arrival. Transfer to Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. This sizeable reserve in North-western Belize is home to several Yucatan specialties such as the Ocellated Turkey, Rose-throated Tanager and Yucatan Flycatcher. We will bird along the way as time allows. Check in and orientation upon arrival at the lodge. Dinner and La Milpa. Night stay at La Milpa Eco-Lodge and Research Station. Pre-count meeting at Chan Chich Lodge to determine birding logistics for tomorrow’s Gallon Jug bird count.
Today we are conducting the annual Gallon Jug bird count, over a 15-mile circle. At different points throughout the day, we will be criss-crossing several different habitats in this massive private reserve. We will be on the lookout for Hummingbirds and honeycreepers, tanagers and trogons, cuckoos and flycatchers. At the end of the day, we will tally our results for the final count results. It will be a full day of birding and driving but certainly rewarding. All meals and night stay at La Milpa Eco-Lodge
Today we explore the massive Rio Bravo Conservation Area. This is the only large tract of forest left in North-western Belize. It connects the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala and the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. A large chunk of the Maya Forest! Several miles of roads and bird-packed trails await you. Here we search for Crested Guan, Great Curassow and the rare Crested Eagle. Don’t be surprised at the Red Brocket Deer and Ocellated Turkeys strolling between your cabin and the bar. All meals and Night stay at La Milpa Eco-Lodge. A Night Safari will be available in case you are interested in trying your luck for the elusive Jaguar.
Final morning of birding around Rio Bravo. After breakfast, we will explore a few trails looking for Yucatan specialties and some forest raptors. We move on to Chaab’il B’e Lodge in Toledo today and our next bird count destination. On our drive out, we will stop and scan the rice fields once more for Jabirus. As we travel, we will stop at several spots to stretch a bit and do some birding where we have opportunities to see the critically endangered Yellow-headed Parrot, Aplomado Falcon White-tailed Hawk and Lesser Yellow-Headed Vulture. Lunch at The Ranch in Santa Cruz en route to Toledo. After arriving at Chaab’il B’e, we will have a relaxed evening. After dinner a night walk on grounds will be available for those interested. Our target species for tonight are Mottled Owl, Common Pauraque and Striped Owl. Dinner and night stay at Chaab’il B’e Lodge.
Sunrise birding available on grounds from 6am till breakfast. Golden-hooded Tanager, Passerini’s Tanager and Collared Araçaris are found throughout the property. After breakfast, we will head to the “Dump” wetlands. This area is good for several good species such as Gray-breasted Crake, White-throated Flycatcher and Aplomado Falcon. Next, we will visit the ancient Maya City of Lubaantun. At this site, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Gartered Trogon, and Rufous-tailed Jacamar are all possible. Many species of Warblers and Forest Flycatchers are also possible. In the afternoon, we will stop by two large freshwater ponds where Teals and other waterfowl can be found. After a stop back at the lodge to freshen up, we will be on our way to our cultural dinner experience and will also bird the Joe Taylor Creek area where Maroon Creole is located. Breakfast at Chaab’il B’e, Packed Lunch, Dinner at Maroon Creole Fire Hearth Cooking. Night stay at Chaab’il B’e Lodge. Pre-Count Meeting in PG Town for tomorrow’s bird count.
Today we will be conducting the annual Toledo Christmas bird count. Toledo’s count is led by Dr. Lee Jones who assigns teams and we cover the entire district. Come of the premier bird guides in Belize usually come South to bird this CBC and participants get to benefit from their volunteerism for this big day. All meals and night stay at Chaab’il B’e Lodge.
After coffee we will bird the grounds again for any final birds we missed on previous days. While having breakfast we will tally final numbers on our list. You will then have time to pack for your transfer to Bird’s Eye View Lodge and the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. We will traverse a large area but will stop along the way to bird. With stops the drive will take about 3.5 hours. Lunch will be at Cheers Restaurant where you can eat and look at Vermillion Flycatchers and Buff-bellied Hummingbirds. Next is Crooked Tree, a massive Ramsar site which provides home and wintering grounds for millions of waders. Relax and settle in for a bit. A sunset boat ride awaits you on the Crooked Tree lagoon. After several miles of greatbirding along the lagoon and connecting creeks, we watch the sunset with a cold Belikin Beer in hand. Cheers! Dinner and night stay at Bird’s Eye View Lodge.
After coffee, we jump into the boat again for a sunrise boat trip down the lagoon. Whatever we missed yesterday evening, we are likely to get today. Keep an eye out for the massive Jabiru, Black-collared Hawk, Snail Kites and the secretive Agami Heron. We return to the lodge just in time for breakfast when we will do our final tally on our lists. After packing, we start driving out of Crooked Tree to the International Airport. Around the village, we have time for the abundant Warblers, Tanagers and Saltators.