March 3th 2020 Belize and Guatemala Field trip is open for registration! Two counties – two different field trips.
Why Belize as a birding destination? For birders and bird photographers there are more than 580 species of birds in an area the size of a Massachusetts. The small group venue offered by Yellowbilled Tours field trips will bird many varied habitats, and it is not uncommon for a week-long itinerary to produce a trip list for more than 300 species in the spring months.
Some wonderful birds you can photograph and add to your life list are Jabiru, Keel-billed Toucan, Lesson’s Motmot, Woodcreeper species, Russet-naped Wood-Rail, Yucatan Jay, Bat Falcon, Orange-breasted Falcon (Tikal), and Agami Heron. Ebird shows YBT (Rich Cimino) through 2019, in the top 100 of Belize birding with 355 species observed. YBT knows where to find the birds.
Belize is an English-speaking country making travel much easier for those North American travelers who are not bilingual. Yellowbilled Tours uses local Belize guides on portions of the field trip, supporting local Eco-tourism. Yellowbilled Tours also uses local owned lodges and services operated by Belizeans or expats who are Belizean residents.
I have made many trips to Belize and still am exploring and learning, and having a birding blast every time I go. YBT knows where to find the birds. Birding is better with our small group venue so join us for more fun!
Golden winged Warbler Belize
See the Client Testimonials are located at the bottom of this page. YBT Birding adventures have a social component. YBT does not charge a single supplement. During YBT field trips many friendships are formed.
January and March 2020 FIELD TRIPS are OPEN FOR REGISTRATION;
2019 FIELD TRIP eBird SPECIES SUMMARY SEEN: YBT – 2019 Belize trip species seen
2019 Field TRIP eBird SPECIES SUMMARY SEEN: YBT – 2019 Guatemala Field Trip species summary
The 2020 field trips are limited to 6 participants on each trip. A minimum of 3 will be required to proceed with the trip. This field trip offers new birders and birders with limited Central American birding experience a great introduction into birding the tropics.
Arrival: Day 1: 3/3/20: Birding Belize begins with us meeting at the Belize International Airport no later than 3PM. I will have a van waiting to shuttle us to the Crooked Tree Preserve where we will check into our rooms at The Bird’s Eye View Lodge. The drive will take 1.5 hours and we will bird along the way. After dinner, time allowing, we will take a bird walk on the grounds of the lodge. We will look for Common Pauraque, Boat-Billed Heron, Northern Jacana, Rufous tailed Hummingbird, Social Flycatcher, Purple Martin, Gray-breasted Martin, Clay-colored Robin, Yellow-throated Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, American Red-start, and more.
Day 2: 3/4/20: We will take a boat trip on the Crooked Tree Lagoon and up Spanish Creek seeking the Great Black Hawk, Belted, Pygmy and Green Kingfishers, many wading bird species, and we’ll look for the Wood Rail and the Jabiru. We may find sandpipers staging for their migration north. White-rump Sandpiper is possible as is Semipalmated Sandpiper. On our return we will walk local trails where we may see two species of Woodcreeper, Orchard and Yellow-tailed Oriole, Great Kiskadee, and Boat-billed Flycatcher. Late morning we’ll bird Woodcreeper Woods, and in the afternoon we will walk the Savannah Pine habitat looking for Crane Hawk plus Yellow-headed and Yellow-lored Parrots and Olive-throated Parakeets.
Day 3 & 4: 3/5 & 3/6: After breakfast we depart to the Southwestern part of Belize. Our destination is the Cayo District driving the Hummingbird Highway. We will stop to visit the renown Belize Zoo with lunch in the visitor center. There will be several key birding locations along this road way Blue Hole National Park, The Bocwena Rainforest, Mayflower National Park, Cockscomb National Park and the Maya Mountains to the west will be hotspots to visit. The Scarlet Macaw is a key focus species for us. Other habitats we’ll bird are grassland, wetlands, and jungle forest. We can expect to see several species: like Puffbird, Toucans, Toucanet, Hummingbirds, Manakins Flycatchers, Vaux’s Swifts, Euphonias, Saltators, Pigeon, Doves, Golden-hooded Tanagers, Warblers and Orioles. In the late afternoon of 3/13, we travel to the Hanna Ranch near the Guatemala border.
Day 5: 3/7:The morning we will bird to the Hanna Ranch is a working cattle and horse ranch.The birding is very good with a habitat of grass lands grazed by cattle, old growth hardwood forest and river riparian. It has a mixture of grasslands, forest and riparian habitats. Key species here are Euphonias, Tityra’s, Band-backed Wren, Thick-billed Seed Finch, Variable Seedeater, Grassland Yellow Finch and Giant Cowbird, Laughing Falcon and Bat Falcon and possible Grey-headed Kite. In the afternoon we’ll bird Mountain Pine Preserve for raptors or there can be an optional hike to the Mayan Xunantunich ruins nearby which has been good for Woodcreepers.
Day 6 and 7: 3/8 & 3/9: Birding Guatemala Tikal Maya Ruins. This is an early morning drive to the Guatemala National Park Tikal ruins. This bird-rich habitat is suggested for all birders. We have recorded 212 species in Tikal, including Orange-breasted Falcon (2), Kentucky Warbler (6), Wood Thrush (15), Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, and many Ocellated Turkeys. This is a day and a half of intense birding in Tikal with a local guide. We stay in the Jungle Lodge, returning mid-afternoon to the Hanna Ranch Lodge. This requires an extra night’s stay in Belize at Hanna Ranch with breakfast before we leave for Belize City airport. Your return flight to the USA will be Sunday afternoon March 17th..
The cost of the field trip is $3790.00. Minimum of 3 participants for the trip to go. Covered is lodging, meals, transportation, fuel, airport pick-up & drop off, Zoo entrance fee and field guides. Not covered are airfares, alcoholic beverages, and food not provided by the lodges. Gratuities are optional. A $1,880.00 deposit is required upon registration. The balance is due January 6th, 2020, if you cancel after the balance is paid you can roll this into a guest account for a future YBT field trip of your choice within 16 months. Every effort can be made to find a suitable replacement.
Please contact Rich with questions and support in airline reservations.
Richard Cimino – c/o Yellowbilled Tours Phone 925-353-0266
60 Elizabeth Circle. Greenbrae, Ca. 94904 firstname.lastname@example.org
Client Testimonials 2019 field trip:
Belize & Guatemala March 10-17, 2019 – Client Testimonial – April 23, 2019,
Thanks Rich for a great ‘boutique’ birding experience! Well organized, good company and some super birds to boot. Rich was flexible to our every wish while keeping us on track to ensure we arrived at our intended overnight destination each evening while maximizing our birding time (at our request). On our trip, no upset stomachs nor any real issues with insects/bites (although we did take the suggested insect repellent). Accommodate was a little mixed but all very adequate. Let’s face it, you are not going to go on a trip like this to sit in your room.
The Crooked Tree Wildlife Preserve with its boat trip, was a great way to start with some truly spectacular concentrations of wetland birds that I have ever seen (and I’ve traveled), while gently introducing us to Belize’s land birds. I’ll always remember our first evening at Bird Eye View Lodge, overlooking the Preserve, beer in hand, while we logged over 100 Snail Kites flying over as they headed to roost. Watching the sun rise with a mug of coffee the following morning was equally remember able as we observed an amazing 28 Jabiru all in view at the same time. As other clients have commented, Hanna Ranch/Stables is a gem of a hide-away. We were greeted as if family friends, and the birding was terrific here, with a variety of habitats from farmland to riverine forest, all within easy walking from our rooms. In our 36 hours in Guatemala we logged an impressive 119 species and Tikal gave us a quick taste of what Guatemala has to offer on the birding front (not to forget the incredible Mayan ruins we were surrounded by and the mammals we encountered).
In summary, we pretty much connected with all the target species (although Scarlet Macaw gave us a bit of a scare), with my personal top ten trip birds being: Ruddy Crake, Thick-billed Seed finch, Great Antshrike, Crimson-collared Tanager, White-collared Manakin, Northern Potoo, Purple-crowned Fairy, Red-capped Manakin, White Hawk, and Orange-breasted Falcon. Bird of the Trip: Red-capped Manakin with a fine display of two males in Tikal within 25 feet of us – brilliant!
I’d certainly recommend this trip to all birders who are ready to take their first foray into the world of Central America birding as well as to the seasoned global birder who is looking to connect with some much sought-after species.
William Legge, Mill Valley, CA
By Kent Anderson Belize 2019 field trip.
What makes a great birding tour?- An experienced leader who is familiar with the locale and the birds.
– The trip is reasonably priced.
– 4-6 people maximum.
– Pre-trip information from the leader.
– A leader who is flexible and willing to change locales as needed.
– Excellent local guides.
– Local culture focus in addition to birds.
– Photographer friendly, you get time for your shots. Rich Cimino of Yellowbilled Tours was all of these and more on our trip to 2019 Belize and Tikal. I am a beginning birder and picked up 130 new species. The other member of the trip was very experienced and was also very satisfied with the trip. I look forward to more trips with Rich.
San Francisco, California
April 4, 2018
Close to 300 species of birds were seen by those of us fortunate enough to be on the March 2018 Yellowbilled Tours Belize birding field trip. Rich Cimino is an expert guide to finding the birds and offering his knowledge to us. Having organized these Belize field trips for several years, Rich has developed a network of contacts at nature centers and ranches where the birds can be found. At the Hanna Ranch in western Belize Rich was welcomed as an old friend by the staff at this family run amazingly beautiful place. There was wonderful sightings Keel-billed Toucans, Yellow throated Euphoria and Painted Bunting. In Guatemala, Tikal – Rich stand on the goal of finding us the Orange breasted Falcon – he located the falcon and we had wonderful looks using his scope and a few good photos, too. An added feature to the field trip is there were only four of us. This made traveling easy, getting in and out of the vehicle was easy, comparing bird notes and bird I.D. was easier with only four birders. I am looking forward to continuing to use Yellowbilled Tours on other field trips with Rich. by Matthew Poltorak, Connecticut
March, 2018 Belize field trip: Hi Rich Thank you so much for a wonderful trip into the wilds of Belize. The trip was the right length and it was everything you said it be. Lodges and food was great. I thought you were a wonderful tour leader: calm, under control easy to get along with. Adding Tikal was the right idea too. What a perfect birding spot. I will recommend your birding tours to anyone when I have a chance. By Kent Van Prunedale, Cal.
March 2017 field trip we explored the southeastern district of Belize and finished with 183 species a good time was had by all. by Tony and Alan
Belize field trip – 2016 I love to travel and have recently retired which gives me the time. I also decided to learn more about the birds I have always loved. I met a nice man and his wife on Audubon Bird walk. I discovered he (Rich Cimino) leads field trips to a number of locals. As well he and his wife (Janet) also volunteer for the Marin Audubon Society leading trips, and in conservation and native plants habitats. I attended a few of his local walks. I wanted to visit Belize and was able to find a spot on Rich’s small field venue of four birders, which made the trip very comfortable. This was a magical trip–a beautiful county with warm people. Yellowbilled Tours uses good lodges. With Rich’s ever-present good spirits and attentiveness to the beginning birder, his encouragement, (“see how good you are getting”) and sharp eye and ear for every movement and sound, we found over 250 species of birds. I had a short wish list of a Bat Falcon and a Roseate Spoonbill. Rich went the extra mile to be sure I saw both birds. From the Crooked Tree boat trip on the lagoon, to the Mayan ruins, and horse back riding this was a very special trip with very special people. I highly recommend Yellowbilled Tours.
by Jeanine Starritt, Novato, California
There are so many words that I would like to express of how much the Yellowbilled Tours Belize Birding trip has meant to me. It has been a field trip that I will never forget.
Thank You, Theresa McGovern, San Francisco, California
Belize field trip – 2014
What a wonderful, fun and enlightening trip we had with Rich! We can hardly add to all the fine testimonials here, but heartily concur. Rich has eyes like a hawk and never misses a bird or a way to find a good view for you to enjoy it. He’s done all the homework and provides fun lodges, good food, great local guides and most of all super amounts of birds! The entire trip was a big eye-opener for us both for the birding and learning about and enjoying Belize! Lots of laughs, no grumbling.
Dr.Tom and Susie Melvin Lafayette CA.
Recent Birders Testimonial on their 2014 Belize Bird Tour:
What a wonderful adventure we had and many, many thanks to Rich and Janet and also to Bob and Janet #2…you all helped to make the trip a huge success…still thinking about those amazing gorgeous birds in the scope, everyday a “Life” experience for sure.
Thanks for answering a multitude of questions for us everyday and for loving “happy hour” as much as we do too!
Hi new friends, Thanks to each of you, I had a wonderful time. The birds were terrific. The female Harpy Eagle in the Belize zoo will be a lifetime memory!!
Janet Hicks, Napa, Cal.
Yellowbilled Tours is a proud supporter of the BBC – Belize Bird Conservation: Belize, once British Honduras, is a sparsely populated, English-speaking country. Known for its biodiversity, Belize is a birder’s paradise with over 600 species of birds to be found including 40 species of raptors. We will be birding a variety of habitats from majestic tropical rain forests, fertile farmlands, fresh water marshes and swamps to pine-cashew tree savanna regions. We will explore the National Parks of Belize – Mayflower, Blue Hole and Cockscomb, using the groomed trails within the parks, seeking out Squirrel Cuckoo, Yellow-winged Tanager and Rufous-tailed Jacamar. Over 200 birds species may be spotted. On the banks of Crooked Tree Preserve, we will look for Jabiru, Stygian Owl, and stop at a few “hot spots” to see several Seedeater species, Bunting and Grosbeak species. We will hike the trails through grasslands and forests to see Summer Tanagers, Wedge-tailed Saber Wing, Spot-breasted Wren, Gray-necked Wood Rail, Black-colored Hawk and Bat Falcon, to name just a few in this area. We will boat along the Crooked Tree Lagoon seeking Tri-colored Heron, 4 Kingfisher species, as well as several more raptors and many marsh species. We will spend an additional day exploring the northern countryside, then travel south to the more tropical region along the Caribbean coast.