Another Night Excursion at Chan Chich

A Northern Potoo on a tall exposed limb seen during the outing

A few nights ago we went out on another night drive, to look for nocturnal animals. Seeing wildlife in the dark is always a challenge, and one has to be prepared to come back relatively empty-handed, especially in comparison to a lengthy jaguar sighting. This second time around, we saw fewer birds and just one mammal apart from deer: a young gray fox, but it was still a very pleasant ride through the forest at night, feeling the cool breeze and looking up to see the stars.

We started the night off with a fox on the road in front of us, and then Gilberto spotted a Mottled Owl partly concealed behind some branches a few minutes later. Bats wheeled overhead throughout the evening, chasing small insects across the sky. The eye-shine from dozens of spiders lit up the grass and leaf litter on the side of the road as we passed by, and the bigger glow from Common Pauraque eyes shone further afield before the birds flew away.

On the way back to the Lodge, we were barely able to make out the brownish lump of a Yucatan Poorwill (pictured right) camouflaged against the tree it was perched on, its head shrouded in darkness. Then we passed the same fox – at least it seems likely that it was – on the road, which startled and was in turn surprised by a flushed Common Pauraque during its rush to be out of sight.

Tired from being up past our bedtime (a mere 10pm), we finished the evening by looking for tarantulas, and finding a baby not far from a small toad and a very green grasshopper, all within one meter of each other. Apparently, the evening wildlife festivities had been taking place while we were gone!

Baby tarantula with a cautious finger for scale

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