22 August 2016

REGUA's tenth Birdfair: 19-21 August

Birdfair 2016 was something of a milestone for REGUA as well as for Rachel and me personally, being our tenth Birdfair representing REGUA. To celebrate, Nicholas Locke (REGUA President) and Raquel Locke (REGUA Vice President) flew over from Brazil to join the UK REGUA team, for what proved to our most successful Birdfair to date.

REGUA's representation at the Birdfair began in 2007 when the World Land Trust kindly invited Rachel and I to use a single table on their stand. Back then hardly anybody had heard of REGUA and a certain tour company even told us "not to bother, everyone goes to Serra dos Tucanos". But there was a huge amount of interest in REGUA and this encouraged us to return the following year. After four years representing REGUA on the World Land Trust stand, Rachel and I were invited by Rick and Elis Simpson (now of Wader Quest), to share their stand in 2011, before running our first independent stand in 2012.

REGUA team 2016 - (from left) Alan Martin, Sue Healey, Lee Dingain, Rachel Walls, Raquel Locke and Nicholas Locke (Photo by
Edson Endrigo)

REGUA team 2007 - (from left) Rachel Walls, Lee Dingain and Martin Smart

The REGUA stand at the Birdfair over this period has been instrumental in REGUA becoming a well known birding and natural history destination. A large number of people have now visited REGUA (and REGUA and Serra dos Tucanos frequently recommend each other), including on tours run by many British and US bird tour companies who visit the reserve annually, and bed nights at the lodge have increased from just a couple of hundred in 2007 to over 1900 in 2015, generating much needed funds for conserving the Atlantic Forest of the Guapiaçu watershed.

Birdfair 2016 coincided with the end of the World Land Trust's Olympic Forest Reserve Appeal, to raise £40,000 to purchase 221 ha of primary Atlantic Forest (an extremely rare habitat with only around 2% remaining) in the upper Guapiaçu valley. Emotions were high late afternoon on Saturday at the World Land Trust stand when Debbie Pain, the CEO of the World Land Trust, announced that a fantastic £45,000 has been raised! A huge thank you to the World Land Trust and everybody who donated.

Other personal highlights include the two talks given by Nicholas to packed houses, seeing many old friends and past visitors to REGUA (far too many to name here), meeting lots of new friends, some new writing commissions, a productive meeting about an exciting project with the Neotropical Bird Club, catching up with the Wader Quest team, and an excellent talk by ex-fellow London birder Mark Pearson about migration at Filey Bird Observatory.

Running a stand for REGUA at the Birdfair each year takes a lot of preparation and hard work over many weeks before the event, not only from me but also from Rachel Walls (who organises everything) and Sue Healey. I'll admit that at times I do get very tired of it, but seeing the progress we've made in promoting REGUA over the last ten years makes it all worthwhile, not only for the help this provides with preserving the Atlantic Forest of the Guapiaçu watershed, but also for all the people we've met and memories made. I'm already looking forward to Birdfair 2017.

28 July 2016

Austral winter mothing at REGUA, Brazil: 3-16 July

The austral winter months are characterised by much cooler, less humid and drier weather than the summer and so far fewer moths are flying at this time of year. Despite the mainly cool conditions during our trip earlier this month, and the moth wall being very quiet, we managed to make a little progress with our inventory of the moths at REGUA and photographed a few species to add to the growing REGUA moth list.

Hapigia annulata, lodge garden, REGUA, 14 July 2016 (right-click and open link in new tab to enlarge)

Lophocampa modesta, lodge garden, REGUA, 14 July 2016

Anthophila milliaria, lodge garden, REGUA, 14 July 2016

Lots of familiar species were recorded, including.

Ormetica rosenbergi, lodge garden, REGUA, 15 July 2016

Calonotos angustipennis, lodge garden, REGUA, 15 July 2016

Male Erinnyis alope alope, lodge garden, REGUA, 12 July 2016 (right-click and open link in new tab to
enlarge)

Adhemarius daphne daphne, lodge garden, REGUA, 12 July 2016 (right-click and open link in new tab to enlarge)

Male Enyo ocypete, lodge garden, REGUA, 14 July 2016

Female Cocytius duponchel, lodge garden, REGUA, 15 July 2016 (right-click and open
link in new tab to enlarge)

24 July 2016

Mothing at home: 23/24 July

Had the moth light on at home last night, but despite the very warm temperature and seemingly every other moth trap in the country overflowing with moths, the haul in Worcester Park was pitiful to say the least:

1 Silver Y Autographa gamma
1 Least Carpet Idaea rusticata
2m Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria
1 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata
3 Riband Wave Idaea aversata, 1 typical form and 2 ab. remutata
1m Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar
1 Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella
1 Apple Leaf Miner Lyonetia clerkella
1 Little Grey Eudonia lacustrata
1 Gold Triangle Hypsopygia costalis
5 Rosy Tabby Endotricha flammealis
1 Grass-veneer Crambus pascuella
1 Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella
1 Blastobasis adustella
Lots of Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella

Silver Y Autographa gamma, Worcester Park, 24 July 2016

18 July 2016

Camera trapping at REGUA: 11-16 July

Rachel and I put the camera trap out in two locations at REGUA last week - two nights in the forest just off the trail to the São José Tower (11th/12th-12th/13th) and then three nights along a stream in the forest along an unmarked trail off the Forest Trail (13th/14th, 14th/15th and 15th/16th), baiting both sites with bananas. I messed up the positioning of the camera on the São José Tower trail so nothing worth posting from that site, but I managed to capture a few nice videos from the forest stream site (to watch in HD click on the cog icon, click on Quality and the select the highest resolution).

Forest stream


This is the same stream along which I have placed a camera trap in the past, but this time the camera was placed further upstream into the forest.

Rusty-margined Guan Penelope superciliaris, 15 July 2016. Rarely encountered around the lodge area trails just a few
years ago, today Rusty-margined Guan are occasionally seen around the wetland and up to 4 birds visit the lodge
feeders daily.

Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima, 15 July 2016

Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas, 14 July 2016

Red-rumped Agouti Dasyprocta leporina, 14 July 2016

Capybara Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris, 14 July 2016. Capybara appear to range widely from the wetland at night.

Atlantic Forest Nectomys or South American Water Rat Nectomys squamipes, 15 July 2016

Atlantic Forest Nectomys or South American Water Rat Nectomys squamipes swimming past, 15 July 2016

A small fruitbat species attracted to the bananas, 14 July 2016

Big-eared Opossum or Brazilian Common Opossum Didelphis aurita, 15 July 2016

16 July 2016

REGUA, Atlantic Forest, Brazil: 16 July

Our last day today. Rachel and I spent few hours walking around the Wetland Trail but we again failed to find the f/imm. Sungrebe that was seen by guests at the far corner of the wetland a few days ago. But we did see the male Sungrebe again, as well as 1 Scaly-headed Parrot over, 1 White-necked Heron, 2 Anhinga, 4 Muscovy Duck, 1 Ringed Kingfisher, 1 Striated Heron and lots of Capybara.

Along the Forest Trail we encountered a nice mixed species flock that contained more forest interior species (indicative of how successful the reforestation here has been) including 1 Golden-crowned Warbler (my first record along this trail), 2 Yellow-throated Woodpecker, 2 (1m, 1f) Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, 3 Green-headed Tanager, 2 (1m, 1f) Black-goggled Tanager, 2 Streaked Xenops and 1 Olivaceous Woodcreeper. Also noted were the more usual forest-edge/scrubland species including 3 (1m, 2f) Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike, 1 Chestnut-backed Antshrike, 1m Chestnut-vented Conebill, 1 Yellow-eared Woodpecker, 3 White-barred Piculet, 1 Rufous-tailed Jacamar, 1f Yellow-backed Tanager and 1m Violaceous Euphonia.

Female Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike Thamnophilus ambiguus, feeding at ground level along the Forest Trail, 16 July 2016

So another fantastic trip to REGUA comes to an end. Although I had a lot of work to get through and didn't have much time for birding, I had a great time seeing how successful the reforestation around the lodge area has been. I won't be leaving it so long until the next visit.

15 July 2016

REGUA, Atlantic Forest, Brazil: 15 July

Another day working on the Portuguese REGUA website. Spent a couple of hours in the lodge garden this morning where I managed some nice shots of a Rufous-tailed Jacamar that was taking out the moths leaving the moth wall, along with 2 Southern House Wren. 2 Giant Cowbirds perched in the eucalyptus on the edge of the lodge garden are my first record at the lodge, and 1m Purple-throated Euphonia visiting the feeders with 2 (1m, 1f) Blue Dacnis was the best of the other birds present.

Photographed some interesting moths at the moth wall, including some potential new additions to the REGUA moth list, but more on this is a later post.

Male Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda, lodge garden, REGUA, 15 July 2016

Record of 1 of 2 Giant Cowbirds Molothrus oryzivorus together in the lodge garden, 15 July 2016

A few hours spotlighting around the wetland this evening produced an excellent but yet another frustrating avian find. While photographing tree frogs at the wetland (by post 650 of the Wetland Trail) a Stygian Owl started calling (approximately by post 850). I quickly moved towards it and got quite close before it moved across the lake to the roughly where the tapir pen is being built. Despite the bird calling for over 10 minutes it didn't respond to playback (although I didn't have speakers with me and so the playback was very quiet) and I didn't see it - the theme for this year it seems - finding good birds by sound only. This is only the 3rd record for Rio de Janeiro State and the 2nd for REGUA, following 1 seen well on 31 July 2011 at the REGUA wetland (just a few day after I flew home from a two week trip, grrrr).

Anyway, found 5 Hypsiboas semilineatus tree frogs in the vegetation around the edge of the water, showing an incredible diversity of colouration and size - check out the individuals below seen this evening and compare to the one in the lodge garden on 8 July.

Hypsiboas semilineatus, REGUA wetland, 15 July 2016

Hypsiboas semilineatus, REGUA wetland, 15 July 2016

Also noted while spot-lighting were 4 (2m, 1f, 1) Pauraque, 3H Tawny-browed Owl, 12 Broad-snouted Caiman, several Capybara, lots of Neotropical Cichlid Geophagus brasiliensis fishes, and 2 roosting Ghost Yellow Eurema albula sinoe butterflies (many thanks to Jorge Bizarro for the identification).

Ghost Yellow Eurema albula sinoe, REGUA wetland, 15 July 2016

13 July 2016

REGUA, Atlantic Forest, Brazil: 13 July

Retrieved the camera trap today from a site chosen in the forest just off the trail to the São José Tower, only to discover on return to the lodge that I had completely misjudged the positioning and placed it too high up and close to the bananas I'd put down - live and learn! The camera recorded 2+ Big-eared Opossum Didelphis aurita and several small bats dropping down to eat the bananas I'd left out.

A walk along the Forest Trail produced a nice mixed species bird flock that included 1 male Black-goggled Tanager, 1-2 Fuscous Flycatcher, 1 Grey-hooded Attila and 1H Southern Antpipit (the first time I've recorded these species along this trail) along with 1 Tropical Parula, 1m Crested Becard, 3 (2m, 1f) White-flanked Antwren, 2m Chestnut-vented Conebill and 1 Yellow-throated Woodpecker,

At the wetland, 1 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, 33 White-faced Whistling-Duck, 3 Muscovy Duck and a Broad-snouted Caiman hauled out on an island.

Male Black-goggled Tanager Lanio melanops, Forest Trail, 13 July 2016. This forest interior species is currently fairly common along
the Forest Trail and around the wetland - an indicator of the success of the reforestation at REGUA.

Fuscous Flycatcher Cnemotriccus fuscatus, Forest Trail, REGUA, 12 July 2016