“An artist’s eyes ever rest.” Lisa Brunetti

P2710838 scarlet rumped caciques at feeder y nest

The Scarlet-rumped Caciques’ nest dangles almost-eye level from the corner windows where I sit.

Poza Honda – Manabi Province – Ecuador —-

After ten days in Portoviejo, I returned to discover a new addition to the natural sountrack – Chirpings of ravenous hatchlings! The parent birds seemed to glare at me with disgust, that ‘Just when we needed you, you vanished, as did the banana buffet. Could there be a connection?”
“Rangewriter Linda” commented on last-week’s post: “Ah Lisa, it is clear. Your purpose for being present in this Garden of Eden is to document the beauty you see around you. Your brilliant illustrations are so much better than Master Audubon’s because no creatures are harmed in your captures.
Those Caciques have captivated me. They are simply stunning with that bright blue eye set against the dramatic black background. Do tell about the scarlet bottom, though…I see only black. 😉 ”   

P2720309 scarlet rumped cacique y nest

For Linda!

I retrieved almost-ripe platanos from the refrigerator, warmed them slightly in a pan of water, then presented the anemic fruits with token apologies. For the next 24 hours, the pair provided easy entertainment for my daylight hours. Working in synchronized harmony, the pair darted in an out of the nest as they foraged for caterpillars between trips to the banana feeder. They also flashed their scarlet feathers – not easy to capture with the camera without blurred results!  Enjoy the slideshow!

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The Scarlet-rumped Cacique ranges from to Honduras in Central America to southern Ecuador.  Within the Scarlet-rumped Cacique there is a clear division between populations in the Andes and those in Central America and the Pacific Lowlands of South America. “ (Neotropical Birds Online)

There is also a Yellow Rumped Cacique which is more bashful/elusive than its red-rumped cousin.

P1610527 YELLOW RUMPED CACIQUE dec 17 9 30 am

How about ‘Christmas Yellow’ for those with red/green color deficiency?!!!


“Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the prettiest of us all?”


As lovely and entertaining as they are, these chatty and handsome birds were not the top act for the day. A quieter show awaited at ground level. This artist’s eyes are forever scanning the visual fields, and at times a new glitch taps at my subconscious. “Pay attention —“

000 brown wood rail setting P2720715 brown wood rail country.jpg

000a brown wood rail P2720829 9 am brown wood rail view

Look near the dragonfruit trellis!

000aa brown wood rail P2720828 9 am brown wood rail

The rails stay close to cover

00 a brown wood rail P2710644 BROWN WOOD RAIL

Here’s one hiding place

00 ab brown wood rail P2720767 BROWN WOOD RAIL

At the edge of the yard, they can often be spotted – but one must be quick to see them!

00 abc brown wood rail P2720746 BROWN WOOD RAIL

From Neotropical Birds Online“The Brown Wood-Rail is a very poorly known species, which is reportedly rare over much of its range, with just one record from Peru, and at least in Ecuador it has apparently declined significantly in response to extensive habitat modification throughout the western lowlands in recent decades. “

Ah! It’s a joy to see the Brown Wood Rails‘ return to the comfort of the back yard. I would like to say that they are comfortable with my presence, but no, their reasons for loitering at ground level are obvious.  Their addiction – ripe bananas – lures them in the same way that their presence glues me to the viewing stage. I too am addicted to observing the Brown Wood Rails and all other inhabitants of the natural world!

Before the bananas ripened, a lone bird circled the perimeters of the back yard. Clinging near draping heliconias and other dense areas, the birds move between predictable hiding places.   An attentive observer will soon learn to predict the birds’ most-used routes, and with camera ready, I glean more images!

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The attentive observer might also be rewarded with other sightings, like another not-easy-to see Little Tinamou!  Sneaking under the Porterweed and Brugmansia, the Tinamou passed just beneath the windows, and I dashed to the kitchen window and waited for a second viewing.   Yay!   It emerged beyond a 5-foot tall boulder then ambled to the dense growth beyond the yard.


When the bananas approach maturity, the Brown Wood Rails check the supply more often. Pumping its tail, one will strut across the close-cropped areas, pass near the bananas, then dart back to safer areas. Once the bananas ripen, the birds provide an all-day performance. I marvel at my luck, at my good fortune and realize how blessed I am to witness and document the behavior and quirks of this elusive species.

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These banana-feeding photos were taken on July 29 and 30. I will return on August 2 and look forward to the next ‘fix’ of immersion in nature!
If you’re interested in photographing these birds, this next week all but guarantees an opportunity to observe this bird in its natural habitat – with extra-easy photo sessions. There is one requirement, however, one has to be ultra quiet, as the birds dart away at the slightest movement or sound! (But you probably knew that already!) Contact the owner, Jorge via jurgarnet@icloud.com, as I will be off line and watching the birds, starting on Friday through Wednesday of next week.

The museo is about to close, and the laptop battery is almost dead.  Tomorrow I will be on line again and look forward to your feedback on both posts.   Thank you all for your support!   Love, Lisa