“A man is getting old when he walks around a puddle instead of through it.” -R. C. Ferguson
Poza Honda/Manabi Province/Ecuador – With great pleasure I bring updates on the nesting Becards! The rainy season has arrived, so my footware of choice is much like the ones pictured above. This past week I met a new neighbor who lives a few kilometers away; Nancy looked at my boots and asked, “Are you a vaquero?” (A rancher/cowboy/cowgirl)
I laughed and explained that I’m an artist. The locals have been curious about the gringa that stands on the roadside and gapes skyward. Some stop and inquire, and most appear interested to learn about the little black bird and its ‘canela’ mate. I explain in my butchered Spanish that the Slaty Becard only lives in their area of Ecuador and a small part of Peru – and that it’s approaching extinction – yet one pair is nesting, and I point to the nest.
Nursing an ‘over-doer’s backache,’ I’ve shifted my activities down to ‘first gear,’ though I feel no pain while walking and watching birds. The arrival of the rainy season has presented its own challenges, and I’m seasoned enough to navigate those mud boots in extra-slow 4WD mode.
The gravel road had a thick layer of sediment, which turned to oozy slippery mud after the first life-giving rains arrived. Within a week, the landscape transformed from dull greens and browns to an explosion of variants of green. It also kicked off a nesting frenzy, and the area songbirds burst into melodies of happiness.
Many birds favor this thick area of vegetation; almost daily one can watch the handsome Orange-crowned Barbets forage in total harmony with other feathered members of the neighborhood. One day while walking back from the Becard’s nest, I heard a familiar faint ‘tweEEEET’ overhead. Wow! Straight up, and very near the Scarlet-rumped Caciques’ nest was a second pair of nesting Becards Continue reading