Crooked Tree Wildlife Refuge

Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Belize  , Belize,
Friday, February 25, 2011

We took the local bus from Dandriga to Belmopan and then on to Belize City in our journey to the north of Belize where the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is located. At the bus station in Belize City, I asked the driver how to find the Jez Bus which runs out to the preserve. He turned to a dark little man in his 60's with dreadlocks and the Rastafarian outfit that was totally shabby and this guy introduced himself as Dennis. Dennis took us around several blocks past characters that even made Dandriga look better in retrospect. So here we are following this guy whom we don't know from Adam down streets with fewer and fewer people and sure enough there sits a blue bus....locked up and empty. Dennis assures us that the driver has just gone to lunch (it is already 1:45) and that we should wait with him there "because he will keep us safe". I am bigger and younger than he is and neither of us would have half a chance against most of the people in these streets so I suggested that we find a phone and I called the Reserve. They knew that the bus did not actually leave until after 5:00 and so I told Dennis that we were going to abandon him and his plan and take a taxi. He cheerfully said " fine my cousin will take you". Across the street he hails a guy in a beat up minivan who actually looks pretty good and so we negotiated the fare and climbed in. I felt better when he started telling us about his family and children and eventually the ride turned out to be a short lesson in local Belizean culture and events. I think from his tales that Belize has just as much a problem with the drug runners and their impact on the local people and police as the other countries which we have visited. He made them all sound bad, though I noticed that he had a long nail on this pinky finger himself.
Once at the Bird's Eye View Lodge on the preserve we stowed our packs, grabbed our binoculars and headed out. Within an hour or so we had already seen nearly 40 birds and after our guided boat ride the next morning we were up over 70. I couldn't believe that the words were coming out of my mouth; but I was saying things like "just another flock of Anis and it is just another Snail Kite". But it was true. Rare birds at home are really common here.
I'll compile my bird list after we do our canoe trip in the morning and add it in. After that we are on to Costa Rica.
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Steve on

JoJo: Good stuff! Is or was Sharon an avid birder?

JJ on safe???

Bobby A on

Good story - do be safe.

Frank on

Great pictures, Joe

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