British Birder Re-locates to Birding Hotspot
…Ubatuba, BrazilRick Simpson, long time birder and erstwhile twitcher from England, has upped-sticks and moved to southeast Brazil. He has planted himself in one of the hottest of birding hotspots on the planet. The area is well known among world birders as being a ‘must –visit’ site as it nestles firmly in a zone of endemism, surrounded by Atlantic Rainforest, one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world.
The beauty of living in such a place he says is the constant feeling that every time he goes into the forest he could possibly make some sort of contribution to closing some of the gaps in our knowledge of the birds of the region. The birds of the Brazil, and many parts of South America are not completely known, even here in one of the most watched areas. There is always the possibility of discovering a range extension of an existing species, perhaps a new subspecies, or even a new species altogether.Witness some of the recent newsworthy ornithological events of the last few years. A new genus of antwren was discovered way down there in Paraná, and subsequently, a few years later, near to the city of Mogi das Cruzes in São Paulo, a second population was found in a small marsh just on the edge of town. Subsequent studies show that this may even be a new species altogether, and the finder is describing it as such. Take also the example of the red-eyed thornbird. This has long been described as having two subspecies, but, a recent discovery made by a British birder living here in Brazil suggested that these two subspecies actually lived side by side in some areas, this added to the studies already being carried out led to the two subspecies being given specific status. There is also of course the Holy Grail. The kinglet calyptura. This legendary bird had not been seen for many years until it was found in Rio de Janeiro state. There have been subsequent sightings and reports of the bird in various locations, one of them being Ubatuba!
So, no need to ask then why Rick chose to go and live there, the excitement of birding is kept alive by the thought of what could be waiting up there in the forests. Brazilian taxonomy is a dynamic and developing science, and the sightings, recordings and trip reports of visiting birders can make a significant contribution to our knowledge of the birds living in this very special part of our planet.
See his new website at: http:// www.rick-simpson.com Fatbirder
4th July 2014