Tag Archives: Birds

Volunteer Bird Guides

The REGUA conservation project attracts bird guides from around the world.   People interested in spending prolonged periods of time studying birds in the area, and showing them to our visitors.    REGUA’s volunteer co-ordinator, Rachel Walls, receives applications and arranges to interview the candidates.

REGUA has established itself on the world circuit and most birders staying at the lodge wish to see as many birds as possible of the daunting list of 464 species registered to date.

Taking advantage of REGUA’s student research accommodation facilities, volunteer birders are happy to accompany the groups of guests staying at REGUA.   The guides have heard of our resident guide, Adilei’s, field skills and once at REGUA can share on-site and off-site excursions accompanying the visitors.    This is the best opportunity to see and study the birds.

Wes Omotya
Wes Omotya (©Nicholas Locke)

Volunteer bird guides Wes and Jerome are such examples and after a couple of months at REGUA are just awesome in the field.    Wes is a field biologist from Indiana, USA and has been a dedicated birder for many years – having specialized in Hawaiian birds.   Prior to arriving at REGUA, Wes volunteered at a lodge in Ecuador and is due to start work as a guide for Tropical Birding.     He is soft spoken and his field skills, perseverance and uncanny ability to find the shyest of birds is a pleasure to witness.    He has familiarised himself with all the birds at the reserve in record time and is now to embark on a tour of Western Australia.

Jerome is a passionate and accomplished bird guide who works in the summer to help fund his own research, and spends the rest of the year as a volunteer guide.    He has specialized in the avi-fauna of South America which he knows well.    Jerome also leads tours in Europe and being at REGUA was an opportunity to learn South Eastern Brazil Atlantic Rainforest species.   He specialises in vocalisations and as one may imagine after a couple of months at REGUA his knowledge of the difficult species calls is almost as good as that of Adilei.

Jerome Fisher
Jerome Fisher (© Nicholas Locke)

Jerome confided that his favourite family is Flycatchers. Though they are notoriously difficult to tell apart and seemingly plain, he sees their identification as a deliciously satisfying challenge and is happy to spend hours in the field recording the different calls and studying their habits.    His generous and tireless nature makes him great company and he is constantly looking at improving his collection of recordings that are uploaded regularly on the internet and readily available to those interested.
This is not the first time REGUA has been visited by expert guides and the benefits are clear to both parties.   It is nice to hear from the guides that aside the birds they see, they fully approve of what REGUA is doing in establishing the reserve and protecting bird habitat for the future.

Their energy, drive and interest, their recognition and support for Adilei , their appreciation of REGUA’s objectives make us thoroughly appreciate their visits.    We are certain they will remain passionate and can communicate that conservation is possible when it is undertaken in a serious and objective manner.

Thank you all for helping us!
If you want to volunteer at REGUA as bird guide, please contact Rachel Walls at volunteer@regua.org

Nicholas Locke

New Forest Trail

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.

Plain-winged Woodcreeper
Plain-winged Woodcreeper (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

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.

White-bellied Tanager
White-bellied Tanager (© Adilei de Carvalho da Cunha)

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.

Nicholas Locke