Feline Trifecta

LeanderOcelot

When Leander caught this cat in his camera some weeks ago, there was no telling if and when, or where, we might see it again. Last night, a family from Los Angeles who just the night before had seen two other species of cat during the night safari at Chan Chich Lodge, decided on a guided trek through the forest starting at 8pm.

They headed down the Sylvester Road and the paths that stem off of it, and before too long they encountered an ocelot. Their guide, Ruben, perfectly illuminated the cat and they had a chance to follow it long enough that their gaze created a visual memory as striking as the image above. No camera. No problem. Sometimes memory is better. I do not know of any other guests seeing three species of cat, let alone over the course of two days.

As I mentioned to them, not to be a killjoy but to set the stage for their next miracle, I am hoping for them to have the first known pentafecta, seeing a jaguar and a jaguarundi before they depart. Since their departure is less than three hours from the time I am posting this, I had better go get them back into the forest.

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Ocellated turkey / Pfauentruthuhn (Meleagris ocellata) | Detail of the side of a male individual. I’ve seen birders taking more than just one extra mile and a good effort to get a glimpse of the near threatened Ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata). At Chan Chich Lodge in Belize, this gem was the species I would see most often and at ridiculously close distance. As most megafauna species, the turkeys are being hunted in other places, hence being rare and shy. Hunting is banned in a vast area around the lodge, so many animals are very easy to see and not afraid of humans. Leander Khil

But before I go, some unrelated news, given that today is Easter. First, thanks to Leander Khil for this photo above, to complement the one above that. I recommend visiting his website, especially if you are a serious birder and even more so if you combine that passion with photography as he does.

I had a conversation yesterday with one of our other guides, Luis, while we both looked at a group of ocellated turkeys. They are in the midst of mating, so some of their non-feather their colors are accentuated. I do not have a photo of that at the moment, but I want to note what Luis told me anyway. These birds, which are among the most abundant of all avifauna at Chan Chich, lay their eggs more secretly, more effectively, than can be imagined for birds so large. It got me thinking that hiding eggs at Easter time is a norm in the world of turkeys.

Hiding from what/whom? Do jaguars or jaguarundis hunt for eggs? Hmmm.

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