Our next guests, two couples from Massachusetts, spent two days of bird watching with David. Really, they spent two days just birding, since they never emerged from the cabin without binoculars around their necks, scanning the area to look for birds and listening to see what they could hear. Over the course of the two days, they saw 106 different species of birds, and heard but didn’t see another 12, which far exceeded our previous record of 70 seen and 37 heard – which was set by a former guest who recommended that this group spend a few days at our place birdwatching with David.
Our new kitchen palapa was a hit. Tom and I have been discussing whether or not we should screen it, but after sharing it with birders for a few days, we decided that we definitely want to leave it open so the birds can be more easily seen.
We get a big kick out of hosting birders. They don’t require any attention at all, and we have as much fun watching them as they do watching the birds. We started every morning early, so that everybody was in the dining room when the sun was just about to rise and the birds started calling and moving. Nancy, Denny, Joan, and Larry would sit down and start eating, but as soon as a bird chirped or moved outside the palapa, everybody would jump up and start looking at it with their binoculars. At one point a trogon landed high in a tree outside the palapa and was blocked from view by the overhanging palapa roof. Everybody rushed out to get a better look, and as the bird flew off and jumped from tree to tree, everybody followed. One more bird for the list! At some point the official birding would start with David, and they would set off down the driveway or off on a trail in the jungle to see what they could see. Each of our guests saw at least one bird that they hadn’t seen before, and even David was happily surprised to see a few that he didn’t think were in this area.
At night, when all we could do is listen to the owls calling in the jungle, we enjoyed pleasant discussions. Tom and I know the area where everybody lives, and actually went to horse competitions right across the road from Denny and Nancy’s house. Then, we found out how small the world really is when Josh, the writer of Lonely Planet’s Belize book, pulled up in the driveway to see our place. When he started talking to everybody, he asked if they knew a certain gentleman in their town, and they did – and Josh told them that this man is his brother-in-law, so they realized that they know Josh’s sister. In addition, Josh and I found that we attended SUNY Brockport for English degrees at the same time, so we had an interesting discussion remembering some of our professors.
Joan, Larry, Nancy and Denny left our place and headed for Tikal, before coming back to Belize to spend a few days at the Macal River Jungle Camp before going to Placencia for the final leg of their Belize adventure.