There is no doubt that Belize is a birder’s paradise, according to the owners of The Lodge at Chaa Creek, who have been sponsoring professional, scientific and amateur bird watching for over three decades. And now the latest edition of Audubon Magazine not only confirms this but highlights it to an audience far beyond the Belize eco resort’s usual reach.
“Belize is definitely birding heaven, with over 308 species recorded in the Chaa Creek nature reserve alone,” Mr Choco said. “Even people not generally interested in birding soon become fans just by walking along the miles of trails and spotting the toucans, parrots, falcons and other birds that make their homes here. One such specie of birds is the bare throated Tiger-Heron, scientifically known as Tigrisoma mexicanum. This specie of heron is approximately 30 inches. It has a very slow, lumbering flight and a heavyset neck.
The tiny Caribbean nation of Belize is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, which stretches from Mexico through Central America and is home to a diverse range of birds and wildlife. Mr Choco said that this, combined with Chaa Creek’s own 365 acre private rainforest reserve, has created an unparalleled opportunity for birding. “We’re basically a protected region within a protected region, so it’s a great sanctuary for local and migratory birds, and that’s why we have such an abundance of wildlife here,” he said.
The Great Kiskadee is found from Texas, USA to Argentina and is common in Bermuda, where it was introduced in the 1950s. The Great Kiskadee lives in open woodlands, streamside thickets, groves, orchards and parks. In the tropics it occurs widely in many semi-open habitats, usually avoiding dense unbroken forest. It is a permanent resident throughout its range and does not migrate.
We recommend Chaa Creek to any soft-adventure traveler – and really want to support the conservation incentives of the Flemings. Jean & I visited Chaa Creek in the fall of 2009. Boy, had it changed since I was there in the early 90′s – back then it was a few thatched huts and outdoor deck / restaurant set on the banks of the Macal River. Of course the location hasn’t changed! But there’s tons more cabanas, an infinity pool that looks like it could be at a luxurious resort (which actually Chaa Creek is now), a proper restaurant aside from the bar….
Granted, Belize is unlike anywhere else when it comes to natural beauty and breathtaking flora and fauna, and I defy anyone to not take at least a passing interest in the amazing, colourful birdlife of that little Caribbean paradise, but still, my sudden love affair with our fine feathered friends came as a complete and now very welcome surprise. Even my best mates shook their heads in wonder.