The wind was rip-roaring this morning (25-30 mph with an occasional higher gust) after a heavy rain in the early morning hours that was just letting up as we rolled out of bed.  I didn't really feel like fighting the wind on our bikes along the beach and knew the road would be full of puddles, so suggested we just walk up the road a ways and do some birding instead of riding our bikes north to Grande Belizean Estates, our usual birding spot.  Barry agreed, so we grabbed our binoculars and Birds of Belize book and headed out after a quick snack.

Along the way, we happened to run into a younger couple, Andy and Rhianna, who were also bird-watching.  They were staying at the Cocotal Inn on vacation.  Turns out that Rhianna had lived in Chapel Hill back in the '90s; what a small world.  She is the second woman we've met in a week vacationing here that has lived in Chapel Hill (as we did before moving here) and was originally from Minnesota.  Wild coincidence.

We walked up and down the road a short way and managed to see quite a few birds in the foliage alongside.  Most we had already seen before, but we were able to help Andy and Rhianna identify the various species and show them pictures in our book, so that was more fun than it would have been if we'd been by ourselves.  

An unexpected highlight occurred right as we were almost back to our condo and thought we were finished with our birding for the morning.  Suddenly I saw two birds flying and dipping overhead and then alight in a nearby tree.  I realized they were parrots, or similar, and looked just like the ones we had seen in GBE the week before, ever so briefly, too briefly to get a photo of.  

This time, we were in luck.  One of them spent quite a bit of time on a tree branch eating some sort of fruit, and Barry was able to get some nice shots.  When we got home, we identified them as Olive-Throated Parakeets, another bird for our life lists.  It's a real pleasure to see such exotic birds right in our own "back yard"!

Here are a few of our photos from the walk:
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Male Hooded Oriole
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Female and Juvenile male Hooded Orioles (we think)
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Not a bird!
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Palm Warbler
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Olive-Throated Parakeet
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Olive-Throated Parakeet eating fruits
1/16/2012 12:12:52 am

In all my visits, I have never seen a parakeet! Are they seasonal on the island?

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1/16/2012 01:50:44 am

Holy crap. that parakeet is a wild bird? Not just something that was let go from a pet store? I really do need to get up north.

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BeBelize Emily
1/16/2012 04:09:03 am

According to our Birds of Belize book, parakeets are believed to be resident on Ambergris Caye. We saw a pair that looked just like this the previous weekend at Grand Belizean Estates, but they moved too fast to get a photo. Really cool birds!

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