on March 1, 2013
The jungle dawn walk was the last of our six excursions, but sadly one that I missed out on due to a rather unpleasant stomach bug. My wife went on her own and the following are her words and her first venture in to ghost-writng!The alarm went off at 5-30am – it was pitch black and not a time I would normally be up and about; however by 6am, when we all (3 of us) met in the lobby it was light and a very pleasant temperature. Coffee and muffins were served before Levi, our guide for the morning, welcomed us.Before leaving the lodge behind we were delighted to see a hummingbird sat calmly in a tree, great photo opportunity but I had my husband’s camera and either because I am not used to using it or because the bird blended too well in with the background I was unable to get a photograph.We soon left the lodge behind as we walked along the road to Lamanai; the dawn chorus was in full throttle, the air crisp and clean.There was plenty of activity in the jungle but the birds remained tantalisingly out of view, maybe a glimpse of a tail or the twitch of a branch to keep us ever hopeful.Whilst continuing to make progress in the jungle our guide told us about Mayan culture and the Spanish invasion and how in this area the Mayan had managed to ‘run off’ the Spanish conquistadors.We arrived at the old sugar mill to find that the jungle has started to take over with tree roots winding through and round the old wheel and cogs; all the bricks used to build the sugar mill were brought from Europe and the winding mechanism from New Orleans. It was to manage the sugar cane industry that many Chinese were brought in to the country – to undertake the labourious tasks linked with the busiess. Now of course the strong Chinese community in Belize is self employed and involved in restaurants and retail. There are very few Chinese people who aren’t self-employed or employed by fellow Chineese. Moving away from the sugar mill and into a more dense area of jungle our guide stopped us in our tracks and after several minutes we were delighted to watch a white ringed cote in the undergrowth. He was well camouflaged and whilst calmly walking through the undergrowth he moved with incredible speed as he crossed the walkway,Moving on to the Jaguar temple we entered the plaza and I was delighted to see a Toucan, albeit high in a tree in the distance, a little further to the right the largest kingfisher to be found in Belize and further round, nearer to the temple, two howler monkeys in profile. Whist these two howlers were quiet we could hear, in the background, the very distinctive growling of others.Our time was up and while waiting for the boat to take us back to the lodge we were able to enjoy the golden cascade of orchids and the single black orchid.Whilst on the jetty we watched the flycatchers and swallows dipping and bobbing near the lagoon and saw the king vultures resting in the trees – I’m sure they were still alert to any prey they may see!This was an enjoyable, interesting and informative way to start the day and build an appetite for breakfast on our return.
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