Birding in Caye Caulker again!

Published March 31, 2014 in Field Notes

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I had a busy birding month! I started the month of March scouting some areas in the Central American country of Belize for a tour that I was guiding for the Sierra Club and Whitehawk. I went with Marta Curti, also from Whitehawk, and it was a lot of fun. We saw 277 species of birds in less than 10 days, while we were dealing with the logistics of the tour. We started in one of my favorite places in Belize: Caye Caulker.

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There we enjoyed some of the easiest birding of the trip. We didn’t have much trouble to find the Rufous-necked Wood Rail, one of the target species for the tour, and we were lucky enough to find a singing Caribbean Elania, a species that is not always easy to find on the island. Other specialties of the area were Black Catbird, Cinnamon Hummingbird or the Caboti’s subspecies of Bananaquit. As always, it was good fun to spend some time watching waders, herons, roseate spoonbills and the Caribbean Osprey (Pandion haliaetus ridgwayi). Here, it’s important to pay attention to all those American migrant warblers!

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To my disappointment, I found that Caye Caulker has changed quite a lot since my last stay there. It’s being developed at high speed and golf carts, even regular cars or trucks, can be found everywhere. As a consequence of this, there are more people on the island. Anyone can imagine that this is having a large impact on the resident wildlife. Also, I was very concerned with the sighting of many feral cats and dogs on the island.

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Even though this situation was not very surprising, it’s still very sad. Hopefully they will stop developing soon, otherwise one of the most charming places, with the best birding on the coast of Belize, will be lost.

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After the cayes we went to Pook’s Hill, a really amazing place. That deserves an exclusive long post with many pictures!