Sunday, November 29, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
BIRDS OF AMBERGRIS CAYE
The White Ibis
The " Bird of the Week" has a way of picking itself, as did this bird of the week, for instance.
I was cruising through the lagoon river and a white bird flew over that seemed to be carrying a twig in its bill. I watched it, hoping it would reveal a nest in the mangrove hollow, when I noticed it wasn't carrying a twig at all; it was just the proud owner of the longest, most odd-shaped nose (bill), I've seen since Jimmy Durante. Another in the order of Ciconiiformes from the family of Threskiorenithidae is this 'white ibis'. Flying above, it can be distinguished from an egret by its outstretched neck and black wing tips that look like five black fingers on each wing, of course, if you're close enough, a long slender decurved bill. One bird book calls it sickle-shaped; it reminds me of a Hermit Hummingbird's bill, only big. The ibis uses it as a specialized tool for eating animals from the lagoon's shallow bottom.
I watched it walk for a few minutes. It steps forward a step and extends its neck forward with each step, cocks its head to point one eye downward, then quickly puts its special bill to work. I had hoped to hear the soft, grunting noise I read that they make while eating and hunting, but I disturbed it by getting to close, and it made its alarm noise instead, and flew off. It nests inside the mangrove tree for protection, not on top but in the middle. The mangrove grows like bars around its nests that prevent things like me from even getting close. I've only seen six white ibis on this island; three flying along the coast at Basil Jones, one in San Pedro lagoon, one at the Costa Del Maya lagoon.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
‘You can observe a lot just by watching!’
Yoga Bera, a famous old baseball player once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching”. If you
have been observing birdwatchers you’ve realized over the last 10 years it has become a billion dollar
industry, according to Tourism Consultants, Bird watching is the second fastest growing outdoor activity
on the planet.
In the past every community had a family with a birdwatcher in it, but they where usually kept in
a closet and never talked about in public, and forget the stereotype of elderly birders wearing white
socks under sandals, eating bag lunches and taking bus rides to national parks.
Baby boomers flooding the hobby tend to fly to faraway ecotourist destinations stay in expensive
hotels and treat themselves to gourmet meals and boat excursions. US Parks and Wildlife reports, 95,000
birdwatchers spent more than 39 million usd in just one state in North America, formally only known for
Birding is a jackpot for a country savvy enough to see it. US, Canadian and European travel retailers
are busy devising ecotourism vacation packages for upper income vacation travelers.
Birders bring cash to unlikely spots. The smaller villages in Belize need tourist to survive the dynamitic
economic change our country has embraced. Belize Tourism leaders have been savvy enough to market the varied Belizean habitats.
A good example is how the Orange Walk community known primarily in the past for its sugar cane
industry and orange harvests has found new resources in tourism through the new river birding tours to
the rainforest at Lamani.
Crooked Tree Village once only known only for the Cashew nuts it produced now has tourist pass
through spending their money in hotels, restaurants and gift shops, while taking boating tours to see the
many species of waterfoul in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.
Birdwatchers have skyrocked these communities economy. Tour operators in San Pedro (a former poor
fishing village) on Ambergris Caye, market a day trip as an eco-adventure for the aware “birder”.
While visiting Belize along with your days watching of Avian delights you may also observe a wonder of many wonders, the versatile Belizean people who have successfully made the vocational transition into the new economy of their country.