Bird Trifecta at Lower Dover Jungle Lodge

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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.

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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.

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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.

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That was until the Golden Fronted Woodpecker decided to stop by and enjoy the fresh fruit feast.

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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.

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Then we hit the bird trifecta when a Toucan stopped overhead and made sure his photo made the web this week.

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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.

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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.

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Tropical Bird Pics – Collared Aracari at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge

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Aracari at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge

Sometimes it is easy to get great bird photos at Lower Dover Field Station in Western Belize.  Today was one of those days…

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Bird Pictures from Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge

It seems a family of 5 Social Toucanette’s has been flying around the hotel grounds at Lower Dover. Recently it has been common to see multiple Aracari’s perched on the nearby papaya trees, eating when the fruit is ripe.

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Social Toucanette family at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge

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Tropical birds eating at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge

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Jungle papaya fest for some lucky birds

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Free lunch, serve yourself at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge

Today we noticed the same group of birds feasting on a bee’s nest and got these amazing bird photographs with a point and shoot camera! No tripod even… The Cannon PowerShot SX 260 HS camera is something special!

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Two collared aracari on cedar tree in Belize

It also helps that these birds seem to care less about the photographer and more about the sweet treats that nature provides. I was about 20 feet away, sitting on the ground, when most of these shots were taken.

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Each of the five toucan cousins took turns feasting on what seemed to be honey inside the woodpecker’s hole in a cedar tree. The birds would eat as much as it could for about 30 seconds before flying away due to constant stinging. One gulp of honey, two beak swipes at the attacking bees, rinse, repeat.

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Aracari eating bees from a nest

Occasionally the bird would even catch a bee, and seemingly eat it in one bite! Other times I could see the bees trying to sting the bird through the camera’s zoom finder, only to have the Aracari feast on its brother or sister one second later.

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Aracari with bee in beak at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge

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The colors and lighting were perfect for these bird photos but the camera sure did help. I would suggest anyone looking for an upgrade to look into this model. Only 25% of these photos were minimally altered with photoshop for color and tone.

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Staring contest with a bird

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Anyone that is looking to do some serious birdwatching in Belize would be silly to not stop at Lower Dover in Unitedville.  Occasionally the Aracari are so docile they decide to pose for camera shots in the palm of your hand!

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These jungle birds seem as if they are here to stay, and there is plenty of food on Lower Dover’s 100 acre property to make sure it remains that way.  Our eco-lodge is located between Little Barton Creek and Big Barton Creek, along the Belize River, an ideal location for birders. The numerous fruit trees,  85 acres of jungle, and multiple water sources attract more birds than just the Aracari as you can in Lower Dover’s top bird pictures from last year.

Baby Toucan at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge

Last summer we noticed what seemed to be a Toucan’s nest in a Bullet Tree located on one of Lower Dover Jungle Lodge’s wide nature trails. Two large male and female Keel-Billed Toucans would regularly go in and out of a small notch located where the tree limbs meet the trunk about 35 feet from the ground. We decided to set up with our Flip video camera one evening to capture the bird in flight and this is what we saw.

We were never able to confirm baby birds in the nest, until today, one year later, in the exact same Bullet tree! There is a saying around here on the most copied blog in Belize…”No bird pic no bird proof.” These are the pictures of the baby bird sticking its head out of the nest taken this morning. This was easily one of the most memorable bird sightings and all around nature experiences ever witnessed at Lower Dover.

Baby Toucan sighting at Lower Dover

Baby bird photo of Keel-Billed Toucan

Bird photography at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge

Immature Keel-Billed Toucan

Belize Birding at it’s best

Wild baby Toucan peeking out of its nest in Belize

Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge Nature Photos

These photos were taken with a point and shoot and without a tripod. Guests of our jungle lodge don’t have to be professional photographers to get great bird shots. Now that the Toucans are back nesting on a yearly basis (fingers crossed!), Lower Dover Jungle Lodge guests will continue to witness top-notch birding opportunities when experiencing “Real Belize the Right Way!”

Birding in Belize – Hooded Warbler at Lower Dover Jungle Lodge

A winter migratory bird visitor stopped by Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge in February. This is a male Hooded Warbler.

Male Hooded Warbler photograph

According to Birds of Belize, by H. Lee Jones, the Hooded Warbler is only around the Cayo District during the winter months, but has been seen from late July through April. They migrate all the way to the southern Great Lakes and southern New England in order to nest for the summer. Thanks for eating all the bugs while getting fat vacationing in Belize bird friend. Mi casa es su casa.

Birding in Belize at Lower Dover Jungle Lodge

We know this is a male Hooded Warbler because Jones tells us of it’s distinct yellow mask framed with a black hood which is clearly seen in these bird photographs.

Bird Watching is best in Belize from November until March

Birders in Belize will find Lower Dover Jungle Lodge especially rich in migratory birds from November through March.  These bird photos were taken in the middle of February.

Hooded Warbler Bird Photography from Lower Dover Jungle Lodge

Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge is the ultimate bird watching vacation