Until next time, Belize

This past week has been pretty amazing! Matt and I traveled north to Crooked Tree, stayed in a very nice lodge and visited the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary (where we saw jabiru!). We then traveled down southeast to Hopkins, a very nice, very small beach town where we ate pizza on the beach and went to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary – known for being a jaguar reserve. We spent all day hiking through the jungle and while didn’t see any cats we did see some amazing birds! The highlight of the day was watching a pair of rufous-tailed jacamars (male and female) feeding each other insects. To say it was incredible would be an understatement. We then met up again with Devin and Rachel and went southwest to San Ignacio where we explored several Mayan ruins – Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, and we even went into Guatemala and visited Tikal which was breathtaking. We also had the opportunity to visit the Iguana Project which is a breeding program for green iguanas in San Ignacio. Green iguanas are considered a delicacy in Belize, especially pregnant females. It is illegal to kill them and they are endangered but unfortunately there just isn’t much enforcement. The Iguana Project collects eggs laid in the river banks each year, incubates and hatches the iguanas, then releases them between 2 and 3 years old when they are large enough to no longer be an easy meal to natural predators. It was pretty impressive.

But now it is time for me to go home. I am so very thankful for the two months I spent here in Belize. I learned a great deal about the country, met some very wonderful people, and  had the chance to work with some amazing animals. I am truly grateful that I have had this opportunity.

Rachel will be here for one more month. Nikki will be home on Saturday and Rachel is going to stick around to help with the baby parrots that are pouring in. Currently we have 3 white crown fledglings, 3 red-lored pre-fledges, 5 white front pre-fledges and one naked baby that we don’t know what it is! Tomorrow Rachel will be picking up two more and there is a rumor that there are 12 somewhere in the pipes as well. The worst part about these babies is that the vast majority of them have been stolen out of their nests to be sold as pets. Unfortunately stealing parrots from their nests and selling them (and oftentimes for not very much money) is an easy way to make some money – Nikki recently remarked that some families send their kids to school using the money they make selling baby parrots. It is a very large problem that will take many years and many dedicated people to find a solution for. We are also going to pick up a magnificent frigate in the morning before heading to the airport. It was found on the beach with a broken wing and the veterinarian here has pinned it. We got a glimpse of it today – what a beauty!

Rachel is going to try and keep up with the blog through June, but for now, thank you for going on this adventure with us. We are so grateful for the love and support we have been shown the last few months. Neither of us are sure what our futures hold but we will always remember our time in Belize – and I am sure we will both be back!

Trish

Dock chairs at the Crooked Tree Lodge - perfect for birding!

Dock chairs at the Crooked Tree Lodge – perfect for birding!

View from the dock at Crooked Tree.

View from the dock at Crooked Tree.

Nest of mangrove swallows! So wonderful to watch them fledge. :)

Nest of mangrove swallows! So wonderful to watch them fledge. 🙂

Jabiru! This is one tall stork reaching heights of 5-6 feet.

Jabiru! This is one tall stork reaching heights of 5-6 feet.

Limpkin, Cockscomb Basin.

Limpkin, Cockscomb Basin.

Snail kite with snail! He was so graceful catching it - just floated over the water, put a foot down and boom!

Snail kite with snail! He was so graceful catching it – just floated over the water, put a foot down and boom!

I was so excited to see wild yellow headed amazons, they are almost extinct in Belize. This one was seen calling to a mate at Crooked Tree.

I was so excited to see wild yellow headed amazons, they are almost extinct in Belize. This one was seen calling to a mate at Crooked Tree.

The view from our room in Hopkins.

The view from our room in Hopkins.

This display is of the traps they used to capture the jaguars at Cockscomb Basin to collect samples and place a transmitter.

This display is of the traps they used to capture the jaguars at Cockscomb Basin to collect samples and place a transmitter.

Buff-throated foliage gleaner (I think) Cockscomb Basin.

Buff-throated foliage gleaner (I think) Cockscomb Basin.

Rufous-tailed jacamar! So insanely beautiful! Cockscomb Basin

Rufous-tailed jacamar! So insanely beautiful! Cockscomb Basin

Waterfall at Cockscomb Basin.

Waterfall at Cockscomb Basin.

Ben's Bluff, Cockscomb Basin.

Ben’s Bluff, Cockscomb Basin.

The Iguana Project in San Ignacio.

The Iguana Project in San Ignacio.

Rachel and Devin with Gomez - the largest male iguana in the collection.

Rachel and Devin with Gomez – the largest male iguana in the collection.

Matt and I with young iguanas. The guide collected the iguanas off the walls and put them on all of us.

Matt and I with young iguanas. The guide collected the iguanas off the walls and put them on all of us.

There were piles of green iguanas everywhere you looked! A variety of colors and ages.

There were piles of green iguanas everywhere you looked! A variety of colors and ages.

Fork-tailed flycatcher - an amazing bird to see! His tail flows in the wind. San Ignacio.

Fork-tailed flycatcher – an amazing bird to see! His tail flows in the wind. San Ignacio.

One of the temples at Cahal Pech.

One of the temples at Cahal Pech.

Blue-crowned motmot seen at Cahal Pech.

Blue-crowned motmot seen at Cahal Pech.

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The view from the tallest temple at Xunantunich.

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Montezuma Oropendola – Tikal

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Temple at Tikal, the round altars were used in sacrifices.

Tikal - the Gran Plaza which houses two large temples which face each other, the royal housing unit and the royal mausoleum. There were swarms of rough-winged swallows going in and out of every crevice of these structures.

Tikal – the Gran Plaza which houses two large temples that face each other, the royal housing unit and the royal mausoleum. There were swarms of rough-winged swallows going in and out of every crevice of these structures.

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The tallest temple in the Mayan civilization, Temple 4 in Tikal. We made it to the top! Luckily they had a staircase of normal-sized stairs on the side of the temple.

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Rachel and Devin at the top of Temple 4, Tikal.

Naked baby parrot! I am rather amazed that they can stand upright as this age. Aren't barn owl babies so much cuter than this?

Naked baby parrot! I am rather amazed that they can stand upright as this age. Aren’t barn owl babies so much cuter than this?

Juvenile gray hawk, came in today after being attacked by grackles. Bruised shoulder, eye and ego.

Juvenile gray hawk, came in today after being attacked by grackles. Bruised shoulder, eye and ego.

Baby pygmy owl! Found on the ground with a dead sibling after a storm rolled through.

Baby ferruginous pygmy owl! Found on the ground with a dead sibling after a storm rolled through.

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