The Sasquatch of San Pedro? I Think I Saw A Jabiru Stork On The Runway

I have become more and more interested in birds.  Especially over the last year or so, when I secured my Birds of Belize book and then, for my 45th birthday in August, I received my first set of binoculars.  With the nerd strap to keep them close for birding.

It’s called a bird harness – some might say “bird bra”.  It’s also IMPOSSIBLE to be cool with this on.  Like those sunglasses shades that you wear over your prescription glasses or those neck protecting hats – they add about 20 years to your look.

And that’s a conservative estimate.

You need a quick draw when a small flock of whited crowned pigeons fly overhead on the west side of the island.

My first course in birding in Belize was just a few months ago.

One of the first questions the instructors asked was “What is the bird you most want to see”?

Some answered the scarlet macaw (and I’ve actually seen them in the wild – magical), some the harpy eagle (I went to the harpy eagle’s birthday party at the Belize Zoo…does that count?) but my #1 is the jabiru stork on Ambergris Caye.

The jabiru stork is…imposing.

The adult is over 4 feet tall but a machete shaped beak.  This bird is HUGE.  They are protected in Belize – and though not the national bird (it’s a toucan!), they are iconic and appear on some of the $1 coins. (The 2012 anniversary of the Central Bank)

Fear not…I’m getting to my point!  I’ll cut to the chase.

It’s the wet season….there is quite a bit of fresh water for wading birds on the sides of roads and…

Here are some ibis, a snowy egret and a gorgeous roseate spoonbill wading by the road north just last week.

…RUNWAYS.

Just two days ago, we were flying back from Belize City on an early evening Tropic Air flight in the rain and I saw…I am ALMOST sure of it….a JABIRU STORK next to the runway.

There are no reported sightings on Ebird.  Here you can see where this monster has been spotted in and around Belize.

YES…it was getting dark and we were landing so we were moving fast and there were lots of birds down there and it was raining pretty hard…but I saw the RED!

So yesterday…I bought some provisions…and headed out to find her.

Because, like Elbert said on my facebook post about it:  “Just like Elvis Sightings , if you don’t have a photo it didn’t happen.”

To the west of the runway, going thru San Pedrito to the road that runs along the airstrip.

Did you know there was a mosque?  Interesting, right?  I need more on that too but not now…

I’m on a bird hunt.

Mosque in San Pedro

I drove all the way down – and got some glimpses of birds.  Cattle egrets and great blue herons eye balled me.  But most of the marsh on the side of the runway is not visible.  And so…I haven’t found my bird.

Yet.  I need to get back on that runway.  Perhaps I can get a deal on a flight to and from Belize City?

This is SCIENCE.  And history.  This is my moment.  I need to make it happen.





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