Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize

31 March – 2 April, 2017

As I near the end of my five months in Central America, I visit Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, a lagoon in Belize famous for harboring multitudes of birds in early spring. Most of these birds are North American migrants staging for their migration back north. Just like the migrants, I am staging for my flight back north as well.

For three days, I intensively bird the sanctuary by canoe and foot. In the process, I meet friendly local birders and even an enthusiastic young birder. Two of the birders (Francis Canto and Ernaldo Bustamante), are kind enough to show me the elusive Pinnated Bittern. Below is a selection of my favorite images.

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Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
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Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria)
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Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria)

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Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)
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Pinnated Bittern (Botaurus pinnatus)
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Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)
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Bare-throated Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum)
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Wood Storks (Mycteria americana)
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Fledgling and adult female Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus obscurus)
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Fledgling Vermilion Flycatcher
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Great Egrets, White Ibis, and Roseate Spoonbills congregating on the lagoon.
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Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)

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Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) hunting for snails.
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Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Parque Nacional Tikal

29 March 2017

Before leaving the wonderful country of Guatemala, I visit Tikal National Park in Petén. Harboring ancient Mayan Ruins, Tikal is also home to an incredible array of birds. Following is a selection of my favorite images . . .

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Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii)
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Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius)
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Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae)
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Black-throated Shrike-Tanager (Lanio aurantius)
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Black Catbird (Melanoptila glabrirostris)
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White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica)
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Brown Jay (Psilorhinus morio)
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Yellow-olive Flycatcher (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)
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Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus)

Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas

13-24 March 2017

As my time in Guatemala comes to an end, I return to Petén and travel back up the Río San Pedro to the Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas (EBG) in Laguna del Tigre National Park. Last December, I participated in a Christmas Bird Count at this same biological station (click here for the blog post). Situated on the edge of the river within the vast Mayan Biosphere Reserve, EBG is the hub of important conservation work, including biological research, community development, and environmentally and socially responsible tourism. Thanks to Cornelio Chablé, Jeovany Tut Rodríguez, and the rest of EBG’s staff, I have the privilege of photographing birds for the station’s database. Following are a selection of my favorite photographs . . .

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Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis)

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Long-billed Hermit (Phaethornis longirostris)
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American Pygmy Kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea)
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Green-backed Sparrow (Arremonops chloronotus)
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Agami Heron (Agamia agami)

Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii)

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Gartered Trogon (Trogon caligatus)

Black-headed Trogon (Trogon melanocephalus)

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Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)

Left to right, top to bottom: Scaly-breasted Hummingbird (Phaeochroa cuvierii), White-bellied Emerald (Amazilia candida), Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl), and Wedge-tailed Sabrewing (Campylopterus curvipennis).

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Spider monkey silhouetted in the canopy.
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White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus)

Yellow-throated Euphonia (Euphonia hirundinacea)

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Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata)
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Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
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A small bat clings to an overhanging snag above the river.
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Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda)
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Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum)
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Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)
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Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
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Crimson-collared Tanager (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus)
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View of Estación Biológica las Guacamayas from the Río San Pedro
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The local Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) named Bobby.
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The wonderful EBG staff and a few local students.