10 December 2012

Banded Ground-Cuckoo...ECUADOR (2 Dec)

Back in September the world of Neotropical Birding was rocked with the news that a pair of Banded Ground-Cuckoos had been seen daily at a site in northwest Ecuador. This bird is famously shy, in keeping with all the other neomorphus ground-cuckoos, and genuinely rare, with scant records in most years. World birders trawled the web for updates, and some crazy folks (who I even have to admit may be friends of mine!), flew in from countries afar to come and check off this mega-lifebird, for fear another chance may not come along like this in their lifetime, and who can blame them for this fear. This situation had NEVER happened before, a twitchable Banded Ground-Cuckoo. World birders and local bird guides (like me) alike were atwitter with this news, and could not resist making the pilgrimage. I had done this in September, and had been itching to get back there, as since that time, the local Un Poco del Choco reserve manager, Nicole, had managed to habituate the juvenile bird at least to come in daily and pick insects out oh her hand! The latest news also indicated one of the accompanying adults had recently shed it's usual retiring nature, and was also coming in to feed at close quarters; I simply had to check it out again, with the lure of an adult too in the mix. I headed down there with Tandayapa Bird Lodge manager, and good friend, Pablo Cervantes, another keen for photographer like me, who could not resist another fix of the cuckoo...We arrived, a little late, to see a frantic Wilo waiting for us, who quickly led us down the trail to where we found his beaming wife, almost rubbing shoulders with the juvenile Banded Ground-Cuckoo. The light was poor in the shady forest, though the bird was close so I still managed some OK shots, even without the use of flash. Meanwhile Pablo was frustrated that the bird was simply too close for his 400mm lens! Who would have thought that one day we would complain that we cannot get picture perfect shots of a Banded Ground-Cuckoo, when in years past (which were actually quite recent), we would only be too happy to merely see one, let alone photo them.

It was great to see it again, and hope this amazing "birding event" continues long into the future, so that many others can enjoy this landmark moment as much as I have done.

More to come from Ecuador very soon...

1 comment:

caro said...