Birding in Belize

Bird Watching with San Ignacio Resort Hotel | A Day In A Birder’s Life: San Ignacio Resort Hotel, Cayo, Belize

By Angela Wu 10/18/2018 2 minutes


It is always a pleasure to visit the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. As a kid, we would always visit San Ignacio Resort Hotel for great food and an amazing time in their pool and swing sets. Since then, there have been many renovations and upgrades done to the establishment – marvelous nontheless!

Derrick, Pablo and I were escorted to the terrace where freshly brewed coffee, milk, sugar and bakery-fresh chocolate chip cookies, along with some binoculars awaited us. We were told that Ms. Jasmine and our birding guide for the day, Nigel, would be joining us in a few. In the meantime, we helped ourselves to a warm cup of coffee to wash away any remnants of sleepiness. For the past couple of weeks we had been waking up early to go bird watching and it had definitely caught up to us. But, there’s nothing a nice cup of coffee couldn't fix!

Before we were able to get through with our dark elixirs, Ms. Jasmine came and greeted us with the time of day. Soon after, Nigel arrived and from there, we started the birding adventure. What I loved about bird watching at San Ignacio Resort Hotel was not having the go far or having to hike a whole terrain before seeing some birds. We just walked out to the sky deck and immediately, we saw Collared Aracari Toucans resting on a balcony railing!

This was the closest we had ever been to one of these beautiful birds. It wasn’t as colorful as the Keel-billed Toucan, but its unique colors painted on the beak and its fuzzy-looking feathers makes it just as beautiful. To my surprise, these birds were smaller than I had expected. The other times I had seen this bird, they were either from a distance or in photographs. Getting to see these birds up close was a great experience.

The birds didn’t stay long on the balcony before flying to a large palm tree that was right in front of the deck and pick at the ripe fruits that had budded out of the plant. I watched in awe as they used their beaks to loosen the little fruits before throwing them up in the air, only to fall in their throats. On that same tree, there were also other birds that enjoyed the fruits.

Our guide, Nigel, mentioned that the Keel-billed Toucans usually come and rest at one of the larger trees in the area. On that same tree, there was a HUGE iguana resting on a branch. It was one of the green iguanas released from the hotel's Green Iguana Conservation Program. Above that iguana, were two Collared Aracaris as well – looked like they enjoyed staying at San Ignacio Resort Hotel as much as the guests!

We stayed at the deck for a little longer before we headed for the trails – I was determined to see the Keel-billed Toucan up close before we left. Like clockwork, this massive bird flew into the area. Nigel identified it from the croaking sounds that these birds made. I listened clearly, trying to hear the call that they made.

After being able to capture our beautiful National Bird of Belize, we continued to the trails to spot more birds. On the trail, Nigel used a short twig to collect sap from a copal tree. Smelling the sap was therapeutic for me – but don’t touch it! It was super sticky to get off my fingers.

Some of the other birds that we were able to spot on our bird watching tour with San Ignacio Resort Hotel were Olive-throated Parakeets, Social Flycatchers, Blue-gray Tanagers, Tody Motmots and a Red-eyed Vireo. Birding with Nigel and Ms. Jasmine was a pleasure! They had great stories to tell about previous birding sessions and about some of the birds that regularly visit the location.

After coming to the end of the trail, we headed back to the terrace where we got to enjoy a delectable plate of a classic Belizean breakfast. On our plates were scrambled eggs, ham, sausage links, cheese and, of course, fried jacks – it’s a must! We enjoyed our lovely breakfast before bidding everyone good bye and calling it an end to a successful birding trip, and another day in a birder’s life.

Thank you to San Ignacio Resort Hotel for hosting us! It was a pleasure to be bird watching at such a historic establishment in San Ignacio Town. For anyone visiting San Ignacio Town, you must visit the only jungle in town to see beautiful birds like the Keel-billed and Collared Aracari Toucans, Clay-colored Thrushes, and the Tody Motmot.

Until the next episode of A Day In A Birder’s Life, we encourage you to #birdliketheresnotomorrow with Belizing.com. Our site offers the largest selection of birding tours and birding packages all in one site. Check it out and #letsgobelizing!
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Destinations
Events
Belize Birding Festival To celebrate Belize’s avifauna, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), in partnership with the Belize Hotel Association (BHA) and the Belize Audubon ... moreSociety (BAS), decided to host the first ever Annual Belize Birding Festival on October 25-28, 2018, in the capital of the country, Belmopan City.

As nature’s best kept secret, Belize offers many birding hotspots for amateur and expert birdwatchers, including six Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Most of these hotspots are nestled in nature reserves that are tropical forests, savannahs, wetlands, islands, and coastal planes. These locations make for an ideal habitat for a diverse collection of birds.
2018 Belize Birding Festival The 2018 Belize Birding Festival will be the first of it's kind in Belize as it celebrates the love for birds and the unique collection of bird species that exist in the country. This birding festival will be hosted at the George Price Center in Belmopan City.

The Belize Birding Festival starts with a 6AM Urban Bird Watch through Belmopan. The exhibition run from 9AM till 3PM and the day includes vendor and exhibit booths, birding and photography talks, a variety of presentations, video documentaries, and key-note speaker Dr. Oliver Komar, co-author of the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Northern Central America. There will be an afternoon guided bird walk at 3:30PM and the event wraps up with an evening cocktail hour starting at 5:30PM.

More details will be posted as soon as new information is release by the organizers. See the official website at http://www.belizebirdingfestival.bz or the Belizing.com fan page at http://www.belizebirdingfestival.com

#belizebirding #BelizeBirdingFestival2018 #letsgobelizing
Why should you attend the First Annual Belize Birding Festival? The First Annual Belize Birding Festival is a great opportunity for amateur bird waters and professional bird watchers to come together and celebrate their admiration for birds.
Entrance Fee:
$10 - $25 BZD
Venue:
George Price Center, Belmopan
Address:
Belmopan City, Cayo District, Belize
Start Date:
Saturday, 27 Oct, 2018
District:
Cayo
Tours/Activities
$
75
/ Person
Departs From:
Dangriga
In this tour, you'll get to visit two islands, South Water Caye and Bird Island. You will also get the opportunity to snorkel in Belize's Barrier Reef and swim with the manatees.
$
35
/ Person
Departs From:
Orange Walk Town
Bird Watching Belize Tour Early morning river expedition or walking tour Whether you are a beginner and want to see a great variety of tropical birds, or an experienced birder with ... morea checklist of target sightings, throughout our property and the New River you will find birding packages to suit your preference.

During your Belize vacation and across various habitats you can see many of the 500+ birds that have been recorded here.
$
1,625
-
$
2,508
/ Group
 (1)
Belize is known for so many wonderful things- wildlife, cave systems, exotic rainforests- but a fascination with the birds of Belize has become one of the TOP nature-based activities ... moreon demand. The Belizean rainforest and savannahs contain some of the most exotic & colorful birds of Central America. With over 500 known bird species, you will have ample opportunities to see these beautiful creatures during your 4 nights stay at Caves Branch.

Explore the countryside with this unique Belize vacation package created specifically for birding enthusiasts who want more nature-based activities that focus on a growing attraction in Belize. Venture out on each of the daily activities in search of some of the unique winged creatures including the national bird of Belize- the Keel-billed Toucan or the exotic Mot-Mot bird the noisy Toucanets. Capture a Black-headed trogon and be enthralled with the natural beauty and distinct sounds. Learn about conservation efforts in Belize to save and protect some of the most endangered native species. This birding package can be done alone OR can be combined with a beach destination as the grand finale to an amazing vacation in Belize!

Caves Branch Tropical Feathers- Bird Watching Package

6 nights in a lovely Jungle Cabana

Daily buffet breakfast, lunch on tours, and buffet dinner enjoyed family style

Unlimited local beers, local rum mixed drinks, juices, sodas, coffee, tea, and water

4 Full Day Guided Birding Tours + 1 Additional Full Day Adventure Tour of Choice
**Surcharges apply for Tikal Maya Ruins tour, ATM Cave, Diving, Snorkelling, River of Caves 7 Mile Tour combined w/ Ziplining

Jungle Safari After Dark Tour (approx. 2 hours) which leaves right after dinner time

Roundtrip shuttle service to & from Belize City (includes international or municipal airports)

All Taxes Included
$
65
/ Person
Departs From:
Hopkins
This tour begins just before daybreak with a drive through Sittee River where the lush vegetation attracts many species of birds in Belize. Be sure to keep your eyes open and your ... morebinoculars handy as you are bound to encounter spectacular plumage, stirring calls, and the steady drumming of a hummingbird’s wings.

Some of the tropical birds often spotted in the area are keel-billed toucans, fork-tailed flycatchers, tropical kingbirds, and Amazon kingfishers, blue crowed mot-mot and harpy eagle.
$
135
/ Adult
Departs From:
Belize City
View some Belize of the most beautiful birds in the tropical wetland; Birding-by-Boat Cruise At The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect location Birds in Belize. This incredible ... morewetland ecosystem that is the largest of its kind in northern Belize is 30 miles north of Belize City. Mother Nature has designed this huge lagoon just for birds. It’s home to most of Belize 574 species of birds found in the country, including One the largest flying Bird in the Americas Jabiru Stork, different species of Birds Like egrets and herons and even the magnificent Northern Jacana just to name a few. But birds aren’t only animals you can see on this cruise. On this cruise will have high possibility To see Morlet crocodiles, green as well as spiny tail iguanas and even howler monkeys.
$
1,249
/ Person
Day 1: AIRPORT/CRYSTAL PARADISE You will be met at the airport by your Belizean bird guide and transferred to your jungle lodge accommodations. Optional stop to visit the Belize Zoo ... more(entrance fee not included, US$15/pp). We check into our accommodations at Crystal Paradise after a short orientation.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. /D

Day 2: MACAL RIVER CANOEING – morning or afternoon
Canoeing on the Macal River. While canoeing we have the chance to see Neotropic Cormorants, Mangrove Swallows, Kingfishers, Gray-necked Wood-rails and other wildlife that frequent the riverbanks such as iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks and trees.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 3: EL PILAR
We will make an afternoon visit to El Pilar, a Maya site, and flora/fauna reserve. It is excellent for birding, hiking, and provides an insight to Belize’s sub-tropical forests. We will make stops along the way to view such birds as the Collared Manakins and Honeycreepers an array of flycatchers etc. We will then return to our accommodations after witnessing a Belizean sunset.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 4: Mountain Pine Ridge/Rio on Pools/Rio Frio Caves
The Cayo District’s principal town of San Ignacio is the gateway to some of Belize’s most precious ecological gems. After breakfast at the hotel, we will experience the wonders of Mountain Pine Ridge.

Bring along your walking shoes, swimwear and adventurous mind for a full day of activity. The reserve is teaming with hills and valleys, rivers and falls, swimming holes and caves, all surrounded by the majestic beauty of Pine Forests. Our main stops will be at the Rio Frio Caves, Rio on Pools and weather and road conditions permitting, you’ll get a chance to see the 1000 ft. Hidden Valley Waterfalls. Bring along your binoculars, as there is much to see in the line of exotic flora and fauna, endemic only to this extremely rugged, but beautiful part of the county. Lunch is included before returning back to Crystal Paradise Resort. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 5: Spanish Lookout & Laguna Aguacate
A 45-minute drive north of Crystal Paradise through rolling green hills brings you to Spanish Lookout, a modern-day Mennonite settlement reminiscent of Pennsylvania farmlands. Several different habitats in the area make it a favorable birding destination. The area consists of Savannah, open farmland, and subtropical forest around the lake. In the open land and pastures, it is easy to find Vermillion Flycatchers, Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-Tailed Kites and Hawks, Laughing Falcons, Meadowlarks, Swallows, Herons, Jabiru storks just to name a few. Aguacate Lagoon Reserve is located about 20 minutes beyond the community and provides a birdwatcher’s paradise. In the forest around the lake common sighting may include Jacamars, Trogons, Puff-birds, Crested Guans and Great Curassows. Other birds may include Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Night Herons, rails, and Crakes. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 6: DEPARTURE
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Belize City/Belize Airport.B/

** itinerary is subject to change once here due to weather conditions or unforeseen events***
$
95
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
INLAND BLUE HOLE BIRDWATCHING Belize is a birdwatcher’s paradise! As many as 587 birds have been recorded in Belize and, of these, approximately 20 percent are migrants from North ... moreAmerica. Every year new species are being documented. Eight new records were accepted in 2007, including the Crested Caracara, Canada Goose, and Spot-breasted Oriole. For those interested in exploring the diversity and beauty of the avifauna of the diverse habitats MayaWalk expert birdwatching guides will point out tiny iridescent hummingbirds, impressive raptors, and various migratory and endemic songbirds. One of the best places to go on a Belize birding tour is St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, a beautiful protected area along the scenic Hummingbird Highway.

This small park covers 575 acres and has two natural features open for touring, St. Herman’s Cave: a beautiful crystalline cave in the limestone hills and the Blue Hole: a clear sinkhole filled with turquoise waters, perfect for a swim. A series of lovely hiking trails over various landscapes take visitors into the jungle where the foliage, tropical flowers, and rainforest canopy are the feeding and nesting grounds for hundreds of species of birds. For those interested in finding out more about the amazingly diverse avifauna of Belize we recommend purchasing Birds of Belize (University of Texas Press) by H. Lee Jones, illustrated by Dana Gardner-- a must-have for serious birders. Published in 2003, this is the first complete guide to the identification of all to the birds of Belize and it is beautifully illustrated and complete with habitat information. Our birding guides will be equipped with binoculars and a spotting scope to make the most of your birding experience. Enjoy the serene trails of the park and end the day with a lovely swim in the Blue Hole.
$
65
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
CAHAL PECH BIRDWATCHING Cahal Pech was the ancient palatial compound of an elite aristocratic Mayan family. The site name is Maya for “House of Ticks” (given in the 1950s when the ... morearea was used for grazing cattle) and it is situated on the highest hill overlooking modern-day San Ignacio town. This is a serene jungle setting close to the town, and the 2-acre compound is not only rich in ancient artifacts and structures, but also in wildlife. Cahal Pech is an excellent place for birding in Belize. This is a fascinating site for birdwatching as the morning mist rises over the various temples and courtyards, which were built over several centuries spanning from 1000 BC to 800AD. Belize birding tours at Cahal Pech will offer birders a chance to see a vast variety of tropical bird species, including hummingbirds, parrots, birds of prey, and many colorful migratory birds. Your bird watching vacation in Belize is not complete without a morning spent in this otherworldly environment, where the jungle allows glimpses of the cultural past of this ancient landscape.
$
100
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
An opportunity to view some of Belize's most beautiful birds. There are close to 600 species of birds, including approximately 20 to 25% migrants. Cayo District is an excellent place ... morefor bird watching with locations such as El Pillar, Mountain Ridge, Spanish Lookout etc. In addition for avid bird watchers packages can be customized to include other excellent locations in other parts of the country such as the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Lamanai, Blue Hole National Park, Baboon Sanctuary, Jaguar Reserve, Guanacaste National Park and Gra Gra Lagoon and other locations. Bird watching tours can also be combined with other tours for eg mayan sites and nature walks.

Angela Wu

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