Shot early in February by hotel guest Toby Clarkson
Last September we went to the Maya city of Caracol for the Fall Equinox celebration that was being preformed by a Maya Itza Leader from Peten Guatemala. It was a very special event that we were extremely fortunate to witness and document on film. Hopefully the Belize Film Festival will accept the picture so we have an excuse to visit Belize City for the party.
The Maya leaders told us we must stay up all night if we were to experience the ritual the proper way. Pretty plainly this was the most trying part of the trip because we were not planning on staying up, but camping and waking up before dawn for the fire ceremony. Special thanks to the park ranger Mike for sharing his coffee and making it possible.
Also we would like to thank John Chuc of Kin Winik Tours, Dr. Jamie Awe from Belize Archaeology, Maria Garcia from San Antonio Village, and especially the Marimba players from Succotz who got up at 3:30am to start jamming until the ceremony was finished after sunrise and the fire was out. Finally our condolences to the family and friends of Don Beto Cocom who was supposed to be there holding hands with us.
Outside of the trip to Caracol, the documentary contains some interviews with our family and a bit of archaeology talk about the possible correlation between Lower Dover and the Maya city of Cahal Pech located in San Ignacio.
This morning the Keel Billed Toucans that live at Lower Dover Jungle Lodge in Belize decided to stop by a large Fig Tree located near the entrance to the hotel grounds. Maybe they had a message for the large male iguana also sharing the space. More likely both animals were all there to eat the ripening fruits.
Normally it is the distinct call of the toucan that alerts guests and birdwatchers that these beautiful animals are nearby. The song of the toucan sounds almost like a croaking frog if tropical birders do not know what they were listening for. When multiple birds get together in the same tree, the noise is unmistakable.
Each bird was calling and croaking like a frog. They were bobbing their heads and doing the Toucan shuffle, trying to get lucky no doubt…
Because there were so many Toucans we though it might be a great opportunity to hear the audio of the birds with some video, so we rushed for the point and shoot camera and took this quick 1 minute video of the bird calls. This is a nice reference to understand what a toucan sounds like. A top birdwatcher is an even better bird listener.
It was another great moment in birding that our guests can expect to enjoy every time they arrive at our 100 acre property. It is not guaranteed that you will see 5 toucans in a tree but if you hang around long enough, we are sure you will be happy with what you find and photograph. Here is a run down of some other birdpics we have been lucky enough to get.
Hopefully the lady toucans liked what they saw from the fancy red bird butt feathers this guy was showing off this morning.
Or maybe he was just telling his sisters to kiss mine before he flew off to the next tree!?!
It seems as if this toucan was gesturing with his wing feathers in front. Throwing up his westside gang sign?
In all seriousness it was likely some form of mating exercise which we were lucky enough to witness. One every guest can hopefully see for themselves by visiting the lovely grounds at Lower Dover located between Belmopan and San Ignacio, only 1/2 mile from the Western Highway.
Remember what happened this time last year? We think these toucans might be considering having babies in the Bullet Tree on the Medicinal Plant trail. These baby bird photos below were taken in late May 2012 so only time will tell!
Yesterday we were doing a little afternoon bird watching near the cabanas at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge. The birding was excellent near the Horseballs Tree that was bearing ripe fruits. Horseballs is also known as Grandpa’s balls by some locally. Imaginations are creative here in Central America.
At first we spotted this Red Crowned or perhaps Red Throated Ant-Tanager. Birds of Belize claims the Red-Crowned Ant Tanager is rare or absent in the lowlands, but based on the photos we believe this is what we saw.
Both the male and female version of the tropical birds were seen eating the inner orange fruit. The female seemed to be the lighter version of the Ant Tanagers. Birds of Belize claims that both birds are best identified in direct comparison. To the best of our knowledge these were only one bird species.
That was until the Golden Fronted Woodpecker decided to stop by and enjoy the fresh fruit feast.
Lower Dover Jungle Lodge in Belize has an excellent Medicinal Plant Trail along Little Barton Creek. Each of our clearly identified mature plants, trees, and vines of the Maya has large signs that these birds contently landed on for a photograph.
Then we hit the bird trifecta when a Toucan stopped overhead and made sure his photo made the web this week.
The Maya used this medicinal tree for removing the larvae of botfly. When the outside of the fruit is punctured a very strong latex substance is secreted. This latex is used to suffocate the botfly and allow for easy removal.
As you can see it is also a one of the many mature trees we have to attract bright tropical birds in close for a great photos. The large trees make birding at Lower Dover much easier, and the jungle hike on the Maya Plant Trail more memorable.