Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Golden Oldie: Diamond Jane

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The tag line under "Belize Field Notes" says "Camera traps, natural history and news featuring Chan Chich Lodge." It probably hasn't escaped your notice that I haven't posted camera trap photos for a long time. There were 3 on loan when I started this blog but they have since gone south, that is, are defunct. They need repair and honestly, it is not worth it to send them up to the USA, get repairs, have them shipped back and pay duty on the whole shebang. And anyway, technology being what it is these days, we'd be better off buying the latest and greatest instead of trying to fix several-year-old units.

Oh well. I thought you might enjoy my favorite jaguar photo of all time which is also my very first jaguar camera-trapped. This was using a small all-weather film camera and the TrailMaster set up. August 8, 1993 a bit after 11AM, this gorgeous female jaguar was photographed at the intersection of the River Trail and Sylvester Village Road at Chan Chich Lodge. Could she have been more beautifully illuminated?

Remember Norm? Some of Belize Field Notes readers will remember Norm, the well-loved, irreverent heart-of-gold bartender at the Looter's Trench back in the day. As we carefully studied this fabulous photo, it was Norm that dubbed her "Diamond Jane" for the horizontal diamond shape smack in the middle of her side. Can you find it?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Knock-knock, who's there?

Thanks to Alan once again, for sharing more of Chan Chich's birds. These are Pale-billed Woodpeckers (Campephilus guatemalensis), possibly a pair although the female normally has more black on her head than is shown here. North American visitors often comment that this resembles a Pileated Woodpecker, which indeed it does, although it is somewhat smaller. This species is readily seen around Chan Chich Lodge -- it likes good quality forest -- and is well known for the distinctive knock-knock on wood, making it fairly easy to spot.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Belizean Classic

Here's a real Belizean classic -- the Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulphuratus). It's probably the most sought after bird by visitors, birders and non-birders alike. Not only is it gloriously colorful, just like a tropical bird should be, it is also Belize's national bird. It's readily seen around Chan Chich Lodge, often in the treetops, and where there is one, there are usually several. The toucan is not known for its melodious voice, quite the contrary -- it croaks.

As you might expect, this species is a frugivore, or fruit-eater. Perhaps more surprisingly, it also eats eggs and nestlings, one reason why you often can see small birds dive-bombing, scolding and attempting to drive it off.