Coordinating a lodge and a conservation project it is always hard to get away. Rick and Elis Simpson have invited us several times to visit the area of Ubatuba and they have done much to put that area on the map (see Ubatuba Birdwatching Centre). We had heard that the Brown-backed Parrotlets were seen recently and as visitor to REGUA Steve Brookes wanted to see them, and Adilei wanted a short break to see other birds, and volunteers Stefan Lithner and Erico de Fonso wanted to see other habitats, and finally our Helen Cavilla was ending her term as lodge volunteer helping with managing the guests at REGUA, so at the end of November we all set off for a marvellous three day tour. We passed Pereque where we saw a male and female Black-hooded Antwren Formicivora erythronotos, a Streak-capped Antwren Terenura maculate, building a nest on the side of the road and a Spot-backed Antshrike Hypoedaleus guttatus, always a hard bird to see calling in the tree above. We passed Paraty and stayed in a small hotel in Ubatuba to move out and look for Rick. Unfortunately Rick wasn’t there and neither were the parrotlets, but we saw some great tanagers and the gorgeous Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides Forficatus being mobbed, almost this bird’s most southern occurrence and recently been seen at REGUA. Rick fortunately found us at the end of the day and we returned to bird a fabulous place with hundreds of hummingbirds, a place called Sitio de Jonas. We were all ecstatic seeing the Festive Coquette Lophornis chalybeus and the truly fabulous Versicoloured Emerald Amazilia versicolor.
Back the next day early we went to a lowland forest with Rick and Elis to find the Squamate Antbird Myrmeciza squamosal and came across the Spotted Bamboowren Psilorhamphus Guttatus though its tail seems to have gone. We had come to look for the fabulous Buff-throated Purpletuft Lodopleura pipra and it didn’t take Elis five minutes to find one for us. A final unsuccessful return for the Brown-backed Parrotlets though we found the Rufous-winged Antwren Herpsilochmus refimarginatus and we had to go home, tired, happy and grateful for the company of the great birding pair, Rick and Elis Simpson. Adilei had seen new birds, Steve has promises of a return visit and Helen had tears in her eyes just at the thought of leaving.
It is quite interesting to reflect that in this region, some 300 km south of REGUA, the birds have changed habits. Those high altitude species are found in coastal regions. Could it be the lowland forest is better conserved, but where are the Hooded Berryeaters, the Black-and gold-Cotingas, or is it that the Atlantic rainforest has two clearly defined distribution zones. These need careful visits and further studies. Want to come with us the next time?