Birding | Crooked Tree Village, Belize

Waking up at a specific time without an alarm clock is something I have practiced for years, but still four bells I thought might be pushing it.  However, I awoke without a hitch and was on the road by 5:00, on my way to Crooked Tree Village.

Band-tailed Barbthroat | Crooked Tree Village Belize | Image By Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Band-tailed Barbthroat at Crooked Tree Village, Belize

Turtle | Crooked Tree Village Belize | Image By Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Forest Turtle

Crooked Tree is an island village, about 80 miles northeast of San Ignacio, but just over two hours behind the wheel...Belize time.  It is surrounded by lakes and rivers, and only accessible by boat until recently, when a causeway was built connecting it to the Northern Highway.

Jabiru Stork | Crooked Tree Village Belize | Image By Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Unknown Birds

I wanted to arrive early while the birds were still active, searching for their morning meal.  Crooked Tree Village is renowned for its birding along with their Annual Cashew Festival in May.

Wood Stork Jabiru Stork | Crooked Tree Village Belize | Image By Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Wood Storks & Others

Driving in Belize is never, shall I say...dull.  And driving in Belize while it's dark presents more challenges.  But my early morning drive before the sun was up wasn't bad at all.  There were not many cars on the road and the normal groups of people usually waiting at speed bumps hitching rides were absent.  About one hour in I did get flagged down by two incoming pickup trucks and thought, "Here we go.  Another roadblock like in the Yucatan where money would be extorted," but I was simply told to pull over because a bicycle race was coming through.

King Vulture Jabiru Stork | Crooked Tree Village Belize | Image By Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

King Vulture

I made it to the dirt causeway just after 7am, crossed and parked my Jeep in the Belize Audubon Society lot.  The heat hadn't hit yet and I praised my brain's mental alarm for its early rise.

Tropical Kingbird Jabiru Stork | Crooked Tree Village Belize | Image By Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Tropical Kingbird

I deal with the heat down here in one of two ways:  I either pound my fists on the table and scream, "THIS HEAT IS OPPRESSIVE!" or I ask people if I can borrow a sweater because I'm a little chilly.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Jabiru Stork | Crooked Tree Village Belize | Image By Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Tree Duck)

Crooked Tree is quite small and the B.A.S. has trails set up complete with winding boardwalks that meander over wetlands and through the forests.  I first chose the Limpkin Trail to the South and, not seeing too much wildlife, got a little discouraged.  Before heading off on the Hummingbird Trail to the North, I stopped into the B.A.S. office, since it was now open for the day.

Common Black Hawk Jabiru Stork | Crooked Tree Village Belize | Image By Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Common Black Hawk

Inside I met Whilhelm Gillette, "Like the razor," he said to me.  Whilhelm was the self-proclaimed baby at this branch of the Audubon Society, and was in his fifties I guessed.  Even though he had only worked at the B.A.S. for five years, Will was very knowledgable of all the wildlife, and we chatted awhile about it as well as life growing up in this small village.  

Yellow-winged Tanager Jabiru Stork | Crooked Tree Village Belize | Image By Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Yellow-winged Tanager

The Hummingbird Trail proved to be where all the wildlife was, and I spent the rest of my day wandering on and off it, snapping pictures as I strolled.

Baltimore Oriole Jabiru Stork | Crooked Tree Village Belize | Image By Indianapolis-based Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Baltimore Oriole

"There is no salvation in time.  You cannot be free in the future.  Presence is the key to freedom, so you can only be free now."

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One Comment

  1. Dad May 5, 2015 at 4:02 pm #

    What glorious pcs. Well worth the earlly rise&journey ,. Miss your face!!love ya Dad