Archive for Birding

Rare Solitary Eagle nest found in the Mountain Pine Ridge

Posted 07-28-11 at 12:05 AM

After many years of searching for a nest of the elusive Solitary Eagle by the Belize Raptor Research Institute (BRRI) and Blancaneaux Lodge, a stunning discovery was made on June 30th, 2011. Roni Martinez, Conservation Officer at Blancaneaux Lodge and member of the Belize Raptor Research Institute, assisted by Matt Allshouse, Stacia Novy and Audrey Martin of The Peregrine Fund, found an active Solitary Eagle nest in some of the steepest terrain in the Mountain Pine Ridge. The nest contained a single chick, which was at least two months old and getting ready to fledge the nest.  Bird Life International estimates the entire wild population of Solitary Eagles at fewer than 1000 individuals and currently the IUCN lists the species as Near Threatened, but may be up-listed based on further evidence of decreasing population size and trends.

The Solitary Eagle is a rare and local resident with a small population size within its broad, but patchy distribution from Mexico to Argentina.  All aspects of its natural history, breeding biology, and population demographics are unknown. Before the discovery of this nest, only two others had ever been found. Both findings were in the 1940’s and 1950’s in Mexico and sadly the eggs and adults were collected for museum specimens from both nests, and no nesting data was collected. The discovery of this nest is a big step forward in the conservation of the Solitary Eagle as we can now begin to understand this unknown species and its requirements, so that management strategies can be implemented and its conservation status can be better understood. The Belize Raptor Research Institute currently studying the nest, is setting plans into motion to protect the area where the nest was found and establish it as a Nature Reserve with access only for research or educational purposes. Stay tuned for updates, as BRRI raptor biologists are in the field studying the chick before it fledges the nest!

Blancaneaux Lodge Guides & Conservation Officer help with ongoing Scarlet Macaw research

Posted 06-02-11 at 12:10 PM

Eddie Tzib and Roni Martinez from Blancaneaux Lodge have been helping researcher Charles Britt and Marcial Cordova of Wildlife Conservation Society of Guatemala with the ongoing research of the Belize population of Scarlet Macaws. 

This year’s project included trapping individual Scarlet Macaws and placing Telonics satellite telemetry collars on them. Although this is a slow process covering a large area, the goal was accomplished over a two week period, and now three adult Macaws have been fitted with the satellite transmitters. These collars are already sending in data on the daily movements of the birds and will be key in finally deciphering the exact migration route of the Macaws over the Maya Mountains. Over the next two months, monitoring expeditions will continue as the breeding season draws to an end.

During the expedition, illegal poachers were documented climbing some nests, which prompted intervention by FCD (Friends for Conservation and Development) National Park Rangers. The threat to the survival of this isolated and declining species remains, and Blancaneaux Lodge is committed to helping the respective authorities and researchers in their constant battle to save it from extinction.

Two Stygian Owls successfully radio tagged

Posted 01-05-11 at 11:32 AM

Ryan Phillips of Belize Raptor Research Institute (BRRI), with support from Blancaneaux Lodge's Roni Martinez and Eddie Tzib, has successfully captured and radio tagged one female and one male Stygian Owl (pictured right) at two separate locations in the Mountain Pine Ridge.

The female, who was tagged first, was followed for two days. She moved around low branches and her movements indicated that she may have been scouting for a nest site. Her movements have been recorded by GPS in order to getter a better understanding of the use of roost and hunting sites.

Phillips will be posting an update on the capture and monitoring via the Belize Raptor Research Institute website now that he is on his way back to the United States. Learn more at http://www.belizeraptorresearch.org/.