Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Birding the Caracol Ruins of Belize

Starting at the checkpoint at Douglas D'Silva you follow one road all the
way to the Caracol ruins.  There are some amazing views and birding
along the way.
This is a beautiful view from the road to Caracol.  
A terrible shot of an awesome bird; a Scarlet Macaw.  We had a flock of five
or so macaws fly over the road.  Luckily we were able to find them while
perched.  What an amazing bird!
Another amazing view from the road . . . a pair of King Vultures.  I wasn't
sure if we would see this species as they can be easy to miss at times.
Luckily, we saw two perched (our other 2 were in flight only).

"Welcome to Caracol"-This is the sign at the start
of the trail for Caracol.  The ruins begin only about a 1/10
of a mile past the sign.  However the birding around the
beginning of the trail was spectacular!
The view from the main pyramid.  One of the nicest things about Caracol is
that you are allowed to climb all over the pyramids.  The views and birding
on and around the main pyramid were amazing.  The pyramid in view in
this picture is the same as in the next picture.

The smaller pyramid across from the main pyramid.  As you can see from
this photo the rainforest quickly takes back the land-trees are growing
all over the backside of this pyramid but the staff at Caracol keeps the
other side clear. 

An amazing view from the big pyramid.  There were amazing views of
rainforest in every direction that you looked.  These tree-top views
put us level with many species including many of our own warblers
that winter in Central America-of course we had to get lower down to
see the Hooded, Kentucky, and even Golden-crowned Warblers.

This was one species that we viewed from above due to being able to climb
the pyramids, a Masked Tityra.  It was part of a large flock (that were mostly
lifers for me) and included some Black-crowned Tityras as well.

Squirrel Cuckoo-a species that is common throughout much of the tropics
including Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala.  It's one of the cooler birds you
can see as well.  Unfortunately in this picture, you can not see it's long tail.

A White-whiskered Puffbird-my favorite bird we saw at Caracol.  This bird
was extremely cooperative and let all three of us get close and eye level
for some great pictures.  My first ever puffbird!

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