Birding Xenornis Trail, a report by Bill Adsett

On March 16 visiting bird tour guides John Coons and John Rowlett birded the Xenornis Trail with Dave Kluber and myself.
We saw and/or heard many of the specialities - Brown-billed Scythebill, Black-headed Antthrush, Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Black-eared Wood-quail, Slaty-winged Foliage-Gleaner, Striped Woodhaunter, Plain Antvireo, a very tame Tawny-Throated Leaftosser etc., - but no Xenornis.
However, there was a pair of Stripe-throated Wrens. As far as I know, the first record of this species in the area was two years ago on the north side of Cerro Vistamares, in rastrojo. Until then, the species had not been recorded west of Nusagandi. This new record is from the west side of Cerro Vistamares, in heavy forest. The birds were identified both by sight and by voice.
There was again no sign of Black-headed Brush-finch. I have come to the reluctant conclusion that if nobody sees it soon in the Cerro Jefe-Cerro Vistamares area, we shall have to assume it has been extirpated from the area, for reasons unknown. There has been no new habitat destruction or significant disturbance in the area for many years, the population appeared stable in the early 90s, so why has the bird either become very scarce or died out altogether there?