Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Belize - February 5, 2008

No howler wake up call today, but the jungle noises still had us up at 5:40AM. So, we headed out again hoping our mammal luck would change. And it did. As we climbed a small hill, I saw movement in the canopy. Typically, during the day we only saw monkeys in the canopy, but this animal moved slower, didn't swing and stuck to the thick branches. Once we got up higher we found some gaps in the canopy that allowed us great viewing of a Northern Tamandua. The Tamandua is a tree dwelling anteater. What a thrill! We spent over 1/2 hour watching the Tamandua before it journeyed out of sight.

Northern Tamandua

Northern Tamandua

In the same area we also spotted our first Motmot. This is a Blue Crowned Mot Mot and is an incredible beautiful bird with a cool call:

Blue Crowned Motmot

After Breakfast, we did more hiking. This time through some of the thicker jungle trails. We saw a Squirrel Cuckoo, Sun Grebe, Trogons and other birds. As usual, the insects were out in force:

Army Ants

Here's a look at a typical jungle trail:
Jungle Trail

And, a typical critter along the trail:
Striped Basilisk

The afternoon's entertainment consisted of a drive out to the Escarpment. This is a high overlook about an hour's drive away. It is a great place to see raptors. But, our mission was to get out on the roads to see if any felines were being cooperative. Only a few miles down the road, we had our first possible feline sighting. A dark animal loped (almost weasel like) across the road ahead of us. It happened so fast we only saw it for a second or two. The guide was positive it was a Jaguarundi so we will take him at his word. But, it was too bad that we weren't closer or had more time to positively id the animal. But still...very exciting. We also saw a Coati cross the road. These are more easily identifed due to their long tails. Here are some shots from our trip to the Escarpment.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron:
Little Blue Heron

White Whiskered Puffbirds:
Puff birds

Pale Billed Woodpecker:
Pale Billed Woodpecker

View from the Escarpment:
The Escarpment

After dinner, we headed out solo for another nightwalk. Instead of taking the paved main road however, we decided to walk down the gravel Sylvester Rd. This road has had many feline sightings. The narrower confines of this road coupled with the thick overhang made this walk pretty erie. The echoing calls of Howlers didn't help alleviate the tension. My wife wasn't too thrilled with this particular walk because we had to really watch where we stepped which took our attention away from the trees and canopy. (You don't want to step on something alive in the rainforest!) So, we decided to sit and wait a while to see if anything came up the trail. After a 1/2 hour or so we gave up and turned around. So, besides hearing the Howlers and seeing the usual glowing eyes of hundreds of wolf spiders, the only new sighting was this cool Whip Scorpion:
Whip Scorpion

So, we headed to bed and dreamed of wild cat sightings....

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