19 January, 2022

Up the Monkey River with Jason

A Monkey River tour is one of the most popular outings for nature lovers visiting Belize, and for good reason.  Dennis and I have taken a tour up the river many times, including a really fun night tour.  The standard tour is in the morning and we didn't want to join a convoy of boats, so this time we decided to take a late afternoon tour that would finish at dusk.  That was a good call - we were the only boat on the river and could look at whatever struck our fancy at a leisurely pace.  It seems the older I have gotten the less I like to be rushed.

Jason, our preferred tour guide (although all the guides are extremely competent and knowledgeable) driving Dennis, Becki, and me up the river.
The downside to a late evening tour is that the light can be a little low for zoomed photos on a phone camera.  
Great egret fishing for supper.
But sometimes you can catch the golden light.
Great egret on the left with a group of mature (white) and immature (brown) white ibises feeding in the shallows of the river.

A couple of mangrove swallow took a breather from catching mosquitoes over the river.  Yay for swallows!

Willows and cattails grow along the river banks.

This male green iguana is in its bright orange mating colors.  It is more than 3 feet long and was quite distant from the boat.

Adult bare-throated tiger heron.

Juvenile bare-throated tiger heron.
Bare-throated tiger herons are fairly common around here; we often see them at our place.  Even more often we hear them making their gutteral, growling song and barking calls.  They sound like a jungle should sound!

And these towering Ceiba trees look like a jungle river bank should look!  The seeds of these trees, also known as kapok trees, are still a source of stuffing for life vests and pillows.  These particular trees were roosting sites of large flocks of Montezuma Oropendolas, another bird that sounds like the jungle.  The light was too low for photos of these active birds, but we enjoyed watching them get settled for the night.  They have magnificently long tails edged in bright gold feathers, hence the name "oropendola" - golden tail.
Ceiba trees along the river bank at dusk.  Scenes like this bring peace to my soul.


  1. Reminds me of pleasant journeys I have taken along the rivers, creeks and bayous of Costa Rica and Cuba.

    1. Hope the memories warmed you up in the depths of winter.

  2. Although some of the flora and fauna on that beautiful river differs from what is seen around here, the river reminds me of our rivers- always beautiful and soothing to the soul. A miracle of sorts, an artery of the earth's body.

    1. I know what you mean - these slow moving, warm rivers share soothing vibes regardless of the particulars.

  3. Thanks for those great photos. I'd forgotten about kapok. When I was a kid, many things were stuffed with it until man-made materials came along.

    1. It used to be used on a commercial scale more than it is now, but some people still use it locally.


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