With the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions on travel, as with so many places around the world, REGUA tourism levels have collapsed.
Rainforest Trust, who have helped to raise funds for us over the years, came to our aid and helped us support Adilei, REGUA’s bird guide until guests can return.
With this hiatus in his usual work Adilei has been able to do many regular walks around the reserve as well as maintaining the trails. On a recent survey of the wetlands, Adilei spotted a female Masked Duck in the middle of one of the wetland lakes. He played the call and to his surprise the bird flew toward him and landed a few metres away. The bird called with a series of short high-pitched calls in a falling crescendo.
Masked Duck is associated with wetlands which have rafts of water plants on the surface. They use these plants as camouflage and hide out of sight. As it is small duck and sits rather low in the water it can be very hard to find. Adilei’s photograph actually shows the bird in relatively clear water, maybe it was reassured by the call and Adilei’s calm, quiet enjoyment.
REGUA’s wetlands have always had this species and many guests have seen it here, however as the wetlands have matured and with the growth of the planted trees, and increased weed growth, sightings have reduced and they have become increasingly hard to see.
A male was seen last year and with this latest sighting, hopefully we will be able to see more of them in the future.
REGUA is always eager to establish an exciting new trail for visitors to enjoy. The Anil Valley looks to be a good find. Only an hour’s drive away from the reserve, the lowland area had been studied by Igor Camacho, one of REGUA’s bird guides, for several years whilst doing his biology degree.
He has found many species there including, Yellow-green Grosbeak, White-tailed Trogon and Pale-browed Treehunter as well as the enigmatic Little Tinamou which had been hunted almost to extinction.
On the way there is also a site where it is possible to see Buff-necked Ibis. This sounded exciting and Nicholas and Raquel Locke decided to visit the area. The forest path started at 80 metres above sea level and provides easy walking. A most promising start as Black hawk-eagle was spotted soaring above. Very soon a bird flock was found which contained Pale-browed Treehunter – which looks like the Streaked Xenops without an upturned bill.
A little further along the forest path Thrush-like Schiffornis called, whilst further on Rufous-capped Anthrush displayed on the ground. The Yellow-green Grosbeak, associated with quality forest, fed in the low canopy. A Bare throated Bellbird called and was found easily, a giant of a bird not too far away and intent on making his presence heard.
The species that are normally associated with quality forest are all here and what a pleasure to find them so close by. Adilei – REGUA’s local bird guide – returned a couple of days later to walk the same path and took some fine shots of the White-tailed Trogon, surprisingly uncommon on the REGUA reserve, yet common here. Adilei saw the endemic Thrush-like Woodcreeper as well as the Yellow-green Grosbeak. He also photographed White-bellied Tanager another great bird to see.
With such a positive start, REGUA hopes to add this to the off-site programme, once several more surveys have been carried out. Hopefully this will prove to be a popular destination for guests.