Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chan Chich, Belize August 2nd, 2010

After a solid seven hours sleep, we were up at 5:15AM and out exploring less than an hour later. We headed down the main road and circled back via the Sac Be trail. We had another agouti sighting and many birds including Olive-throated parakeets, Fiery-billed Aracari, and Great Curassow. However, the only one that cooperated for pictures was this Little Hermit:

At breakfast, we had great views of the humming birds zipping around the garden sipping nectar and of the butterflies floating from blossom to blossom. That, coupled with the chorus of birds, solidified that we were really back in the rain forest. We even had some Crested Guans fluttered in and landing on the roof of the lodge. But, they quickly moved out of sight.

After breakfast we decided to hike Sylvestor Road which is traditionally one of the best places to see cats (and really not much of a road). While we struck out on cats, we had our first good Spider Monkey sighting along with a Lesser Scaly Anole:

A few minutes later, we topped that. Out of the corner of my eye, there was sudden movement along the road....SNAKE! But, this was no ordinary Snake sighting. This was a Speckled Racer that we caught during lunch. Poor toad never had a chance (See the brown and black toad legs):

Speckled Racer Having Toad for Lunch

The excitement of the snake had barely dissipated when a beautiful Banded Owl Butterfly flew by and landed on a nearby tree:

These butterflies are magnificent since they are so colorful and about as big as my hand. But, it wasn't until I got home that I noticed it was more than one butterfly. It is actually two butterflies who are presumably making a new generation of Banded Owl Butterflies.

A bit further down the road a colorful bug flew by and landed on a nearby leaf. I have no idea what this is, but it is pretty:

On the way back, we stopped where the Speckled Racer was having lunch to see if it might still be around. It was still around which gave us a better chance to see this really pretty snake:

With lunch came some of the closest lighting and loudest thunder I have ever heard. It was quite the lunch time show. Unfortunately, with it came monsoon like rain that quickly created huge puddles and mud everywhere. Luckily, the wildlife decided to come to us including this troop of Black Howler Monkeys that came to feed in a tree not 50 yards from our cabana:

Even a Gray Cracker Butterfly and a Central American Mabuya (a type of skink) came close to say hello:

Due to the iffy weather, we decided to take a drive in the afternoon for awhile to see if any cats were venturing close to the road. No cats unfortunately, but we did see lots of turkeys, more Great Curassow, and many..many..White-tailed Deer. The Puma sure have no shortage of food supply.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful. We spent most if it like this...
Looking for Critters

we didn't have much luck.

After dinner, we set off on a quick night walk since we had organized a night drive with the guides later. Our walk yielded the biggest snail we had ever seen (about 4 inches long), a great look at the Red Rump Tarantula that lived near our cabana, a Turnip-tailed Gecko, and a gorgeous but brief look at a juvenile Yucatan Banded Gecko:

While the night drive yielded no pictures, it was exciting. I had a brief glimpse of a Gray Fox before it darted into the undergrowth. More excitement came later as we were driving near the coffee plantation. All of us could see eyeshine ahead as something walked across the road, but it was too far for a clear look. As we got closer, the spotter (the guide manning the spotlight) banged on the roof for the driver to stop. From the angle of the front seat, neither the driver nor myself could see anything. But, in the back seat, Karen was more in line with the spot light and was able to clearly see the outline of a cat. But, that was the best look that any of us got. The spotter was 100% sure that it was an ocelot. One of the cats that is basically nocturnal but is seldom spotted on a night drive (We were lucky enough to see an adult and juvenile ocelot during our last Chan Chich visit which is when I took these pictures):

Wild Ocelot Cub, Belize

Despite the lack of a great look, it was exciting to see a cat. Plus, it was a great way to end our first full day.

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