February 1 – 7, 2015
Would you like to visit a rainforest nature resort dubbed the “hummingbird capital of Honduras” or search for the beautiful and critically endangered Honduran Emerald? Join Eagle Optics as we team up with Zeiss Sport Optics for this outstanding birding adventure to Honduras. No need to pack the binoculars! You will be provided with the brand-new Zeiss Victory SF binocular to use during the trip and opportunity to purchase it at a discount when the trip ends.
The Lodge at Pico Bonito, a highly acclaimed birding and rainforest resort within the 270,000 acre Pico Bonito National Park, will be your home base from February 1-7, 2015. Intrepid adventurer and Eagle Optics Sales Manager, Ben Lizdas, and Zeiss representative, Steve Ingraham, will be your hosts.
Cost for double occupancy is $1,569 per person or $2,236 per person for a single room and includes:
For more information or registration, please email James Adams at email@example.com or call 504-2440-0388 or 504-9462-6810. Reservations are limited to only ten participants.
BEN LIZDAS — Ben has been working at Eagle Optics for 13 years, consulting with birders about optics and spending time birding across the country at numerous birding festivals. As Sales Manager, he’s also had the chance to develop a love for tropical birding on trips to Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Guatemala.
As a former restoration ecologist, Ben fell in love with birds and birding while doing vegetation studies on the prairies and oak savannahs of Southern Wisconsin. Having witnessed the avian diversity of North and Central America, he maintains a fondness for those grassland birds that first piqued his interest 10 years ago.
STEVE INGRAHAM — After 11 years with ZEISS Sports Optics, Steve Ingraham is now the Senior Brand Advocate for Birding and Nature Observation. He has been a recognizable face in the birding community for over 30 years, as a writer and speaker, and sometime tour leader.
Feb 1 — Arrive at San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Transfer to The Lodge at Pico Bonito (2.5 hr drive)
After a mid-day arrival, we head east along Honduras’ North Coast. Our destination is The Lodge at Pico Bonito, a highly acclaimed birding and rain forest resort within the 270,000 acre Pico Bonito National Park. A late afternoon arrival at The Lodge will afford us time to unpack, refresh, and enjoy some light birding of the Lodge grounds before dinner.
Feb 2 — The Lodge at Pico Bonito - Lovely Cotingas
Our first day at The Lodge at Pico Bonito will begin at 6:00 AM on the spacious, front deck of The Lodge’s Itzama Restaurant for an early breakfast and orientation. Our guide will lead us throughout the Lodge grounds for several hours to view numerous bird species that are common in the early hours. A climb to the top of the Toucan Tower observation platform offers a bird’s-eye view of the forest canopy and can include heart-stopping views of the coveted Lovely Cotinga.
Throughout the morning we will bird areas of tropical, secondary, and gallery forest and plantation areas along the Rio Coloradito. Along this route, avian diversity is the rule, and we may see such species as Lovely Cotinga, Masked and Black-crowned Tityra, Tody, Blue crowned and Turquoise-browed Motmots, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Black-cowled Oriole, Black-headed, Gartered, Collared and Slaty-tailed Trogons, Royal Flycatcher, and Green, Shining and Red-Legged Honeycreepers. The opportunity exists to see up to 20 species of hummingbirds, including Crowned Woodnymph, Blue-throated Sapphire, Violet Sabrewing, Purple-crowned Fairy, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Brown Violet-ear, Green Violet-ear and White-necked Jacobins.
Lunch at The Lodge at Pico Bonito.
After lunch and a light siesta, we’ll ascend with our guide along The Lodge’s loop trail system in search of the forest interior birds this rain forest paradise offers.
In addition to the Toucan Tower at the trail’s beginning, this route offers an elevated ridge platform overlooking the Rio Coloradito and surrounding forest slopes. We will visit observation Tower #3 in an area of bird-rich secondary forest and overgrown plantations.
White-collared and Red-capped Manakins occur at various locations here and the rare Grey-headed Piprites may be seen as well. Both Keel-billed and Tody Motmots are frequently encountered along this route. Other species here include the Great Curassow, Crested Guan, Slaty-breasted and Little Tinamou, Scaly-throated Leaftosser, Keel-billed Toucan, Emerald and Yellow-eared Toucanet, and Collared Aracari. The Lodge’s 420+ bird list includes the coveted Royal Flycatcher, a host of other flycatcher species, and many of the trogon, woodpecker, woodcreeper, tanager, and oriole species.
This loop trail route passes several overlooks along the Rio Coloradito and sightings of Great and Northern Potoos as well as many raptor species can be made here.
Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito.
Feb 3 — Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge
Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge is named for the Cuero and Salado Rivers which meet at the coast. The refuge comprises over 35,000 acres of rivers, lagoons, mangroves, and forests that are home to diverse wildlife and over 350 species of birds. We’ll meet our guide early for breakfast then depart for the refuge by 6:30AM. Access into this wilderness is via a small motorized train, which takes us along a century old track through bird-rich ranchlands, marshlands, and plantation areas. Birding from the train is always fun and exciting as the conductor is eager to stop and point out species of interest along the way. Depending on the season, a variety of raptors, wading birds, and edge-habitat species can be viewed along the railway. Once at the Refuge, we will explore the various aquatic and forest habitats from a small, motorized skiff. Our guides and boat handlers are superbly trained spotters and often silence the boat’s motor to quietly paddle in for a better look. Agami, Boat-billed, Bare-throated Tiger, Yellow-crowned Night, and Tri-colored Herons, Jabiru, Pygmy Kingfisher, Laughing and Bat Falcons, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Gray-necked Wood Rail, and Sungrebe are only a few potential highlights of a visit to Cuero y Salado. From February through March, we may have the opportunity to visit an established Boat-billed Heron rookery, consisting of several hundred pairs of these broad-billed, wide-eyed, bill-clapping, mangrove inhabitants. Other tropical wildlife commonly seen here include: Black Howler Monkeys, White-faced Monkeys, Lesser Anteater, Central American Coati, Raccoon, Green Iguana, American Crocodile, and Spectacled Caiman.
Lunch at The Lodge and the afternoon to relax, visit The Lodge’s butterfly farm, or birding from the Lodge’s decks or gardens.
Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito.
After dinner, we’ll be guided around the Lodge’s gardens and plantation areas where Mottled, Vermiculated Screech, and Black and White Owls, and both Great and Northern Pootoos may be found. A stop by The Lodge’s frog ponds always delights with the sounds and sights of a breeding Red-eyed Treefrog colony.
Feb 4 — Rio Aguan Valley and The Endemic Honduran Emerald
We’ll begin this full day of birding Honduras’ unique dry forest habitat with an early breakfast at The Lodge, and departure by 4:30 AM. The target of our search is the beautiful and critically endangered Honduran Emerald, which survives only in remaining pockets of tropical dry forest to the south of Pico Bonito National Park. Descending the “rain shadow” or southern side of the Park, cloud forested peaks and pine studded slopes give way to an arid, almost desert-like plain once dominated by tropical thorn or dry forest. Although endangered, the Honduran Emerald is considered common within its habitat and regardless of the season, our chances of seeing the Honduran Emerald are very good.
Our ride into “Emerald country” can be equally exciting, as a surprising number of bird species inhabit dry forest. Along the way, we’ll also visit localized wet areas within this arid region. These sites can be magnets for wading birds and other species. We’ll go after species such as Double-striped Thick-knee, Lesser Roadrunner, Lesser Ground Cuckoo, Beardless Tyrannulet, White-lored Gnatcatcher, White-throated Magpie-jay, Banded and White-bellied Wrens, Stripe-headed Sparrow, and Salvin’s Emerald among others. We’ll enjoy lunch in the nearby ranching town of Olanchito and return to The Lodge by 4:00 PM.
**PROVIDING A MINIMUM OF TWO PEOPLE, THIS CAN BE EXCHANGED FOR A DAY OF SNORKELING THE CAYOS COCHINOS, AN ARCHIPELAGO OF 15 SMALL KEYS THAT IS THE MOST PRISTINE PART OF THE MESO-AMERICAN BARRIER REEF SYSTEM.**
Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito.
Feb 5 — Hummingbirds of Rio Santiago
Rio Santiago Nature Resort is a 150 acre, private preserve located 30 kilometers west of The Lodge at Pico Bonito. Its secluded, rain forest location and impressive numbers of hummingbird feeders has earned it the name of “hummingbird capital of Honduras”. Throughout most of the year, Santiago’s trails and main garden areas abound with bewildering numbers of some of Honduras’ most well-known hummingbird species.
Rufous-tailed, Stripe-tailed, Scaly-breasted, and Cinnamon Hummingbirds, Brown Violet-ear, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Violet Sabrewing, Crowned Woodnymph, Stripe-throated and Long-billed Hermits, and White-bellied Emerald are but a few of those species that frequent Santiago’s feeders.
Santiago’s trail system also offers views of the spectacular Keel-billed Motmot and Rufous-tailed Jacamar along with Black-crested Coquette and Red-capped and White-collared Manakins.
Lunch/Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito.
Feb 6 — Lancetilla Botanical Gardens
We’ll meet our guide for breakfast, and depart for The Lancetilla Botanical Gardens by 5:30 AM. Set amidst a coastal valley flanked by low, rain-forested hills, The United Fruit Company founded Lancetilla as a station where tropical fruit and wood trees were studied for commercial value. The Gardens were founded in 1925 and some of that work continues. This diverse tropical treasure, composed of a mosaic of forest and edge habitats, is today best known for its superb birding. Honduras’ annual Christmas Bird Count is held at Lancetilla, and every December bird watchers flock to confirm and add to the Garden’s growing list of colorful, tropical species. The current bird list reads like a who’s who of tropical birds and includes motmots, manakins, woodcreepers, warblers, woodpeckers, toucans, tanagers, and scores of others. Thanks to this diversity a typical day of birding here could yield Little Tinamou, Common Black Hawk, Ornate Hawk-eagle, Ruddy Crake, White-fronted and Red-lored Parrots, Squirrel Cuckoo, Black-headed, Gartered, and Collared Trogons, Turquoise-browed and Blue-crowned Motmots, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Great and Barred Antshrikes, Long-billed Gnatwren, and a host of other resident and migrant species. We’ll complete our morning at Lancetilla with lunch in the beachside town of Tela, and return to The Lodge by late afternoon.
Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito.
Feb 7 — Breakfast and Depart The Lodge at Pico Bonito for San Pedro Sula International Airport