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  • Writer's pictureLeonardo Merçon

Photos Show a Green-Crowned Plovercrest hummingbird, a Jewel of Nature in Caparaó!

On a trip to Caparaó, on the climb from the Capixaba side, I was fortunate to encounter a Green-Crowned Plovercrest hummingbird. A marvelous bird that I had always wanted to photograph.

[Green-Crowned Plovercrest with its crest shining in the morning sun.
Green-Crowned Plovercrest with its crest shining in the morning sun. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon

The Story Behind the Photo

But I won't start at the end of the story. Since my column is about the adventure of capturing the wonders of nature, I have to start from the beginning.


The cold dawn in Caparaó wasn't enough to extinguish my curiosity and passion for nature photography.


The adventure began with an invitation from the Instituto Marcos Daniel (IMD) to participate in an open expedition to Pico da Bandeira, the highest mountain in Espírito Santo.

Mountains of Caparaó with peaks touching the clouds.
Mountains of Caparaó with peaks touching the clouds. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon
Waterfall in Caparaó National Park visited by tourists.
Waterfall in Caparaó National Park visited by tourists. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon

"Simbora Pro Parque Project" (Let's Go to the Park Project)

The expedition was titled "Let's Go to the Park," a very cool project they run to introduce people to the wonders of Capixaba parks.

Marcelo Renan de Deus Santos, founder of the Instituto Marcos Daniel and one of the organizers of the expedition, contemplating the valley landscape in Caparaó. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon
Marcelo Renan de Deus Santos, founder of the Instituto Marcos Daniel and one of the organizers of the expedition, contemplating the valley landscape in Caparaó. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon

The Perfect Adventure Companion


My wife Ilka, always understanding of my photographic quirks, not only accepted the adventure of climbing Pico da Bandeira but also understood that I would enjoy observing birds more than climbing to the top of the mountain.

My companion for all adventures, Ilka Westermeyer organizing her things at the campsite before climbing Pico da Bandeira. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon
My companion for all adventures, Ilka Westermeyer organizing her things at the campsite before climbing Pico da Bandeira. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon

I had already climbed Pico da Bandeira once and, frankly, wasn't eager to repeat the experience.


I asked her to join the guided group led by IMD friends while I would climb more slowly, exploring the area and photographing birds I hadn't stopped to photograph the first time I climbed the peak.


"The Journey is What Matters!"


For me, the old saying applies perfectly. I don't get anxious to reach the end of the trails, but rather hopeful about what I will find along the way.


While the expedition team began their journey, I wished my wife a good hike, who was excited to climb the mountain with the new friends we made in the group.


I tried to go back to sleep, but the tent was colder than our fridge at home. With a sleepless night, I woke up very early, with my tent covered by a thin layer of ice. I decided it was time to get moving.


Burned house campsite, starting point for the climb to Pico da Bandeira. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon
Burned house campsite, starting point for the climb to Pico da Bandeira. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon

Nature Awakens


As the sun rose, I began to walk, letting the warmth of its first rays warm my body and soul. The nature around me seemed to wake up along with me.


It was then, while exploring the area, that I heard a thin chirp, typical of hummingbirds. My heart raced.

Trail to Pico da Bandeira with the burned house campsite in the distance. In the image, you can see the typical vegetation of the area. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon
Trail to Pico da Bandeira with the burned house campsite in the distance. In the image, you can see the typical vegetation of the area. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon

The Green-Crested Plovercrest


I followed the sound carefully, and to my surprise, there it was: the Green-Crested Plovercrest, a true jewel perched on one of the low branches of the typical high-altitude vegetation of Caparaó.


It stayed there, serene, allowing me to photograph it up close. Its vibrant colors and spectacular crest shone in the soft morning light.

Green-Crested Plovercrest with its green crest, seen from the side. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon
Green-Crested Plovercrest with its green crest, seen from the side. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon

This experience was a rare gift, as the Green-Crested Plovercrest has a limited distribution, being found only in specific locations in Espírito Santo, such as Caparaó.


Being able to capture this fascinating bird was a privilege, a reward that only patience and love for nature can provide.


Curiosities About the Green-Crested Plovercrest Hummingbird


The Green-Crested Plovercrest (Stephanoxis lalandi) measures about 8.5 centimeters and stands out for its green crest and the blue stripe that extends from the throat to the belly.


Green-Crested Plovercrest with its green crest, seen from the front. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon
Green-Crested Plovercrest with its green crest, seen from the front. | Photo: Leonardo Merçon

The males display more vibrant colors, like the one I found in Caparaó, while the females have more discreet plumage.


Feeding on nectar and small insects, they are fundamental for the pollination of various plants.


The Importance of Conservation


Finding this bird in its natural habitat reinforces the importance of conserving high-altitude fields and Atlantic Forest areas.


Caparaó, with its stunning landscapes and unique biodiversity, is a refuge that needs protection. Nature photography is not just a way to capture beautiful moments, but also a powerful tool to raise awareness and educate about the need for environmental preservation.


Inviting to Action


My journey as a nature photographer is filled with moments like this, where patience and passion come together to create images that tell stories and inspire conservation.


I invite you to learn more about the Green-Crested Plovercrest, Caparaó, with the wonderful Pico da Bandeira, and other marvels of our biodiversity.


Follow my work and help spread the message of preservation. If you are from Espírito Santo, share this wonder of our state with your friends. If you are from other places, come visit Espírito Santo, you will love our natural wonders "From the sea to the mountains in less than an hour!" 💚


I hope you enjoyed this story. See you on the next adventure!

...


Nature photographer and cinematographer, founder of Instituto Últimos Refúgios, Master in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development, passionate about the environment! Join me on this incredible journey of wildlife discoveries and see more beautiful stories as I constantly explore nature.


 




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