TOS is planning two future trips to Belize, a beautiful English-speaking country in Central America that has a rich tropical avifauna and a culture heavily influenced by the Mayan civilization. It also has a high diversity of resident and migrant raptors, including a recently discovered fall migrant flight of Hook-billed Kites that begins in October and peaks in mid-November.
In autumn 2024, Susan Foster will lead a 7-night, 8-day trip, and in late October of 2025, I will lead the 8-night, 9-day TOS trip originally planned for 2024, during peak raptor migration.
JB Journeys of Austin will organize these exciting birding and culture expeditions covering three main birding locations in the country: a lodge northeast of Belize City to try for Yucatan specialties, water birds and a few specialty raptors; Belize City and environs; and the "Mayan Mountains" region of northwestern Belize for regional endemics, Orange-breasted Falcon and good chances for all three Hawk-eagles.The 2025 trip will also include a visit to the raptor watch at Punta Gorda and nearby great birding locations in the southern part of the country.
In 2025, trip participants should have the opportunity to see over 30 species of diurnal raptors, including such specialties as King Vulture, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Roadside Hawk, White Hawk, Black-collared Hawk, Snail Kite, Gray-headed Kite, good numbers of migrating Hook-billed Kites, Laughing Falcon, Bat Falcon, Orange-breasted Falcon, Ornate Hawk- Eagle, Black Hawk-Eagle and maybe even Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle and Stygian Owl.
On both trips, we should see over 200 other species of birds, about 20% of which you will never see in Texas, including Ocellated Turkey, Great Curassow, Mayan Antthrush, Yucatan Jay, tinamous, trogons, toucans, motmots, a manakin or two, parrots and parakeets, Yucatan and lots of other flycatchers, over a dozen hummingbird species, and other neotropical birds that I'm not thinking of right now.
Two species of monkeys and some other mammals are a good bet, and there is a chance to visit Mayan ruins and learn about (and hopefully sample) locally-produced chocolate, with plenty of good food and great scenery.
Habitats will be tropical but varied, between lowland forest and rivers in the northeast, tropical savannahs in the south, and mid-elevation tropical forests in the northwest. We will have a couple of long travel days, but with several stops en route for birding on one of those days. Walks will not be especially long or rigorous, but we will be in the tropics, where it will be hot especially at mid-day, when we will take meals and rest or visit cultural sights. On the final day of the tour, we will fly from Punta Gorda back to Belize City in time to catch afternoon flights back home.
More details will be published soon, so please watch for additional information.