Birds of Belize.

I finally got around to putting together an album of all of the different species of birds I photographed on my recent trip to Belize. Here is the link to the album.   It can also be found on my Belize photograph page.http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2/belize-february-2015/nggallery/belize-2015/birds-of-belize-february-13-20-2015#gallery/1b3db4187a3c1ae17741376927f6e2f7/1020. I tried to name the ones I could identify and guessed at others. If I incorrectly identified a species or if I wasn’t able to identify a species please feel free to correct me or to provide the right identification.duck capped fisher- (1 of 1)

These are only the birds I was able to photograph, saw many other species that were too quick for me to capture on camera. I was amazed by the abundance of birds in the Crooked Tree area. And I was not there under ideal conditions for observing the many species of water fowl and inhabit and visit the lagoons near crooked Tree. The water was still high, from the fall floods. When the lagoons dry up later in the Spring, 1000’s of birds flock to the area for easy fishing in the shallow waters. I still was more than please with the beautiful birds i was able to see and hear. Hope to get back someday, when the water is lower and when the cashew are being harvested.  And if I don’t, I have so many places I want to visit, , than the village of Crooked Tree, it’s abundant wildlife, friendly limpkin (1 of 1)residents and the staff of the Birds Eye Lodge will always be fondly remembered. It is a vision of paradise in this wonderful country.

 

“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”
Steve Irwin

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Black-collared hawk Crooked Tree Belize

Don’t want to put our local turkeys on the spot but I like this magnificent bird, a black-collared hawk .I photographed  this one in Belize  and I think it has the wild turkey beat in appearance. Here is a link to  some more photographs of this beautiful bird. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2/belize-february-2015/nggallery/belize-2015/black-collared-hawk belize#gallery/5489f221decc881b58f85fc6be80668e/850Black Collared hawk 3 (4 of 10)Black Collared hawk 1 (9 of 10)

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Back to Belize and my visit to the Community Baboon Sanctuary.

It was two weeks ago today that I visited the  famous Community Baboon Sanctuary located in the rural Belize River valley. The sanctuary protects Howler Monkeys, an endangered species , which are locally known as baboons. The 20 square mile sanctuary protects the monkeys environment. Local farmers agreed to protect the monkeys and the trees they live in. It was started , and continues to be run, by a group of local woman.

It was a pleasant drive to the sanctuary and I was given a tour of the grounds by a local guide.  We were lucky to meet a few howler monkeys including a mother and her baby. They were as curious as I was. We didn’t get to hear the howling sounds they are famous for but it was still a wonderful experience to see them roaming free in their native habitat. I had uploaded  a video of some monkeys I heard howling in Crooked Tree and this is the link if you are interested in what they sound like. It is a frightening sound but cool sound. .  http://youtu.be/paPhafpx3PM  and here is a link to some more photos I took on my visit to the sanctuary.    http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-Baboon Sanctuary  (26 of 49)2/belize-february-2015/nggallery/belize-2015/baboon-sanctuary-belize

 

“The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”
Pope John Paul II

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The Belize Zoo, a model for preservation and conservation, and a wonderful place to visit with the animals of Belize.

I will never forget my first visit to a zoo, it was in Philadelphia and I was around six years old. I was absolutely mesmerized by the wonderful creatures in front of me. Elephants, snakes, monkeys, birds …..it was a magical experience, igniting my life long love of animals and nature.

I have visited, and enjoyed, many zoos since then, including  San Diego,  Washington,  Reykjavik,  Phoenix, and even Las Vegas.

However, after  a safari in Tanzania and Kenya last  year, a remarkable adventure, I came to realize animals do not belong in zoos for our viewing pleasure. To see elephant families roaming free, their entire lives, interacting and loving a mud bath, a morning stroll or munching on food, at their own pleasure was enchanting. Or lion families, stretching out in the sun on an isolated rock formation, interacting with  each other. I came to the conclusion that they were born free and deserved to stay that way . I swore no more zoos for me, where the poor critters are penned in cages for our pleasure.

So, on my recent visit to Belize the zoo was not on my agenda, However, a change of plans, due to a bout of a run in with the local bacteria, gave me some free time and a lot of folks, both locals and visitors highly recommended  the zoo since it was world famous for it’s conservation methods.  I was so glad I took their advice. What a wonderful place. NONE of the animals were captured in the wild. They were all  either injured, unwanted pets, or endangered species, bred in the zoo or given as gifts from other zoos. All are native to Belize. They are kept in large areas that are as close as possible to their native environments. And the messages that identify and provide information about the animals is so entertaining.  And the message is that we must protect our natural heritage. The folks at this zoo sure are proud of there’s and it is an important message for our entire planet. It is one zoo I’d recommend. I have organized the photos from my visit on this page. http://wp.me/P5GeDV-eD  The billboards and their messages are just as entertaining as the animals. If you like critters and conservation spend a few minutes and you will learn a lot about the natural heritage of Belize. Like Paul Simon said , and  click here for the song, ornate hawk eagle (2 of 25)“It’s all happening at the zoo” This zoo anyway.

 

“Like us, animals feel love, joy, fear and pain, but they cannot grasp the spoken word. It is our obligation to speak on their behalf ensuring their well-being and lives are respected and protected.”
Sylvia Dolson,

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Orange Walk, Belize, a quick drive through tour. February 15, 2015

And before we headed back to the Bird’s Eye view lodge, our driver, denver gave us a quick drive through tour of the agricultural town of Orange Walk. a sleepy town, with brightly painted houses. We then drove back the 30 some miles and got back just in time to catch a sunset. We drove the three miles dirt road to the village of crooked Tree and got back just in time for dinner. i ate and was in bed early, it was a long but exciting day. Here is a link to my photo gallery of our short visit to orange walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2/belize-february-2015/nggallery/belize-2015/orange-walk-belize-february-15-2015#gallery/1102b99f6c80fbd8452cf0e65322f73f/384orange walk (7 of 10)

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Sugar and fuel from the same plant, sugar cane. Orange Walk Belize. February 15, 2015

After our boat ride, our driver gave us a tour of a local sugar cane plant where the not only process the cane into sugar products but also use the by products to produce fuel.  Not a bad idea as long as they don’t cut down the jungles to raise more sugar cane.  Learned a lot on how sugar canes grows and is harvested. they set the cane on fire, to rid it of poisonous snakes, and then the cane is cut by hand. The can then regrows, like grass, after being cut. i uploaded some pictures of the mature and newly sprouted sugar cane here  http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2/belize-february-2015/nggallery/belize-2015/sugar-can-prodessing-plant-orange-walk-belize-february#gallery/a82564023acbbfa858a7518f67e3b5da/360sugar cane (2 of 11)

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Pennsylvania Amish in Belize? No just their cousins, the Mennonites of Belize. February 15 2015

After our visit to Lamani we returned by boat down the New River. Although are return was much faster , we still got to take in the sights of the river including the Mennonite children  who were happy to see us. The Mennonite community in Belize fled from Mexico and not contributes a great deal to the Belize’s agricultural production. We also passed few fisherman. The clouds sure were pretty until they thickened and gave us a brief, but heavy shower. It was a great day  on the New River.  This is a link to a gallery on my photographs page. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2/belize-february-2015/nggallery/belize-2015/lamanai-river-boat-ride-home-2152015

Lamanai boat ride to Orange walk (5 of 11)

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Lamanai Belize, learned and saw a lot of cool nature stuff at the Mayan ruins. 2/15/2015

Sorry no blog posts these past few days but been working on my photographs page. Still not finished but you can not comment on or share the photos with this post.  I have been sharing my experiences from my recent visit to Belize.

In my prior posts I shared our boat ride up the beautiful New River and our tour of the ruins.,   We first visited the museum.  And as we toured the ruins, our guide also pointed out many of the interesting plants and trees of the region and how they  were used by the ancient Mayans. The photo above is the trunk of the sacred ceiba tree. He also pointed out a few species of poisonous plants. We also saw the uncommon black headed and collared trogons, howler monkeys and a snake with it’s head caught in a crevice.  It was a pretty cool day. This is a link to photos I uploaded to my own photograph page. I have left some explanations and comments and you can now leave comments or ask questions about a photo and i will try and answer them http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2/belize-february-2015/nggallery/belize-2015/lamanai-ruins-and-museum-visit-2152015#gallery/f2546f23255b494c166585f503f9cb93/330snake (1 of 1)visit-2152015

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Lamanai Mayan Ruins Belize 2/15/2015

Some more thoughts on my visit to the ancient Mayan site of Lamanai. After an exciting boat ride up the New River we disembarked and had a nice lunch. We then toured the museum and learned a lot of the history of the Mayans who inhabited this area  over 3500 years ago.  Our guide introduced us to some of the flora and fauna of the area as we walked toward the ruins of the once large city.

My first encounter with the works of this ancient culture was the magnificent Jaguar Temple. We then explored some ancient residences of the royal families.  My mind imagined the generations who were born, lived and grew old amid this ancient structures. I got to see a ball court where the Mayans played games with a large rubber ball. The winner of some of these games was rewarded with a passage to the afterlife, with his death.

We next climbed the High Temple, standing 125 feet above the jungle. It was a steep climb but the spectacular views were worth it. Finally we viewed and explored the Mask Temple, containing  two of the best preserved stone mask in Belize. I always wanted to explore  a lost city in the jungle, since I  first read about them in the  How and Why  Wonder Books, Lost cities.  Scratch another item off the bucket list.  I created a photo gallery on my photograph page of some photos I took and also posted them on my Flicker site.

Lamanai ruins  (18 of 27)Lamanai ruins  (26 of 27)

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Lamanai, Belize getting there, a wonderful drive and boat ride up the New River. February 15 2015.

Can’t believe it’s already a week since I visited the Mayan ruins at Lamanai. Couldn’t upload a lot of photos in Belize so wanted to share them, and a little bit of my adventure to this ancient site.

Lamanai means “submerged crocodile’ in Mayan and an appropriate name for this site located on a lagoon of the New River. And the only way to access it is a 24 mile boat ride up the river, and yes we saw a crocodile.

We disembarked from the town of Orange Walk, about 30 miles north of Crooked Tree. The boat ride itself was just about as great of an experience as visiting the ruins. We saw spider monkeys, iguanas, many species of birds and, of course a crocodile. We also passed a  Mennonite farming community along the banks of the New River. These folks fled here from Mexico and produce the bulk of Belize’s agricultural products. The boat ride under the lush jungle vegetation, deep blue tropical skies  and cumulus clouds was one will not forget. Real felt like i was in an Indiana Jones movie. I shared the experience with two couples who were staying at our lodge and a Christian Ministry group, who, were, amazingly, from near my home town in Northeastern Pennsylvania.Great group to share the adventure with. And it sure was a great adventure, and would only get better. Amir, our local guide pointed out many of the plant and animals of the jungle and gave us a great background on the local history and culture. I uploaded some  photos of the sights along the way to my Flicker site. Here is the link   https://flic.kr/s/aHsk8HtZnW but i also uploaded them on my photograph page, along with some comments. Check them out. I learned how to down size the photos so they should upload much faster. If any one has any questions please leave them on the post and I will try and answer them.

 

 

“Let the sea breeze blow your hair, let the sunset bring tranquility to your heart, let the distant places you travel allow you to explore yourself.”
Somya KediaNew River cruise to Lamanai 2-15-2015 (12 of 26)

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