Let’s Ring in 2023 with Bird Song

Join us for a New Year’s Day Bird Walk at Rio Negro! Possibilities include Bi-colored Hawk, Plain Xenops, Plain Antvireo, White-winged Tanager, Long-billed Gnatwren and more galore!

We will meet at — and depart from — Finca Cantaros at 7 am and should return by 10:00.

As we need to minimize the number of cars, please RSVP to alison.w.olivieri@gmail.com, also letting us know if you need binoculars.

Hope to see you there 👁 Sunday, JAN. 1, 2023 👁

The trail entrance at Rio Negro. Photo by Alison Olivieri
Identify these two Rio Negro regulars and we’ll buy you a coffee. Top photo by David Rodriquez Arias. Bottom photo yours? Please let us know.

Bird Walk Sunday, December 11!

Please join us this Sunday at Helen and Greg Homer’s Magic Road, starting at 7:30 am.

This location is usually very rewarding with a wide variety of birds and butterflies.

The walk is free, bi-lingual and open to the public. We will have binoculars to lend and bird books to share — come and join the fun!

Directions: take the road from San Vito south, passing Escuela Linda Vista on the left. Pass the former B&B Casa Botania on the right and look for a light blue house with a red door, decked out for Christmas, also on the right — you will see our cars parked ahead at the beginning of the Magic Road.

Bird Walk on Sunday, Please Join Us!

Let’s go out together for an Avian Ambulation at OTS Las Cruces Wilson Botanical Garden.

The date: Sunday, November 20

The time: 7:30 am

The place: Wilson Botanical Garden Reception Building

The cost: free as a bird — the SVBC will cover your Entrance Fee

We will have co-leaders Julie Girard and Alison Olivieri, along with binoculars and field guides to share thanks to Peter Wendell, a member of our Executive Committee.

Come and enjoy San Vito’s incredible natural history!

Hummingbird, Hawk, Warbler

Tell us these three species and we will buy you a coffee…..

La Rojita is in San Vito

Welcoming migrant birds in September and October is such a pleasure! Black-and-whites, Chestnut-sideds, Golden-wingeds — these small and fearless flyers have made it back again!

This week a Summer Tanager — La Rojita — arrived in our garden with its cheerful ‘picky-tuk’ call and bright red feathers.

Summer Tanager, photo by Julie Girard

Each of these arrivals is a miracle. Flying thousands of miles with hunger, muscle fatigue, bad weather … how does it even happen?

Let 2023 be a special year for these visiting migrants and bring some joy and peace to all.

We plan to augment occasional Bird Walks with butterfly and plant experts and to add outings to special ‘birdy’ places we haven’t visited in recent years.

Please help us with these plans by sending your annual dues for 2023. You can click on the Support the Club button found below or on the website’s Home Page (www.sanvitobirdclub.org) and pay via PayPal or credit card.

Or bring cash to a Bird Walk — the dues are: $25 resident individual, in colones C15,500; $50 resident family, in colones C30,000 OR $20 international individual and $40 international family.

We look forward to spending more time together in our favorite pursuit.

Your Bi-weekly ‘Tiny Moment’

From Alison Olivieri

This was a tiny shock of recognition and not much needs to be said as the keen birders you all are will spot the juvenile Fiery-billed Aracari immediately.

We were verandah-watching with our good friends Helen LeVasseur and Greg Homer several months ago, eyeing the Banana Dehydration Station, when a band of these rogues landed all around us.

And there among them was the youngster — a first for us even after all these years of admiring each and every arrival.

Photo, with joy, by Alison Olivieri

Drum Roll Please . . .

Sending thanks to Nancy Nelson and Dan Fender for starting our recent Teacher Transport Fund Challenge — we have more than doubled their lead gift thanks to the following generous supporters:

Denise Dausey

Helen and Greg Homer

Catherine Lindell

Dorothy MacKinnon

Alison and Michael Olivieri

Judy Richardson

Jean Schroeder

Lydia Vogt

Recently, the teachers are working far afield, bringing the Detectives de Aves course to students in La Casona, Agua Buena, Chanengua and other remote locations. Most are without cars so we rely on busses, taxis and willing drivers to get them where they need to go.

The Transport Fund is an enormous help with the rising costs of fares and gas! We can’t possibly thank Nancy and Dan enough for their far- sighted and successful Challenge.

Tiny Birds, Tiny Moment

This Tiny Moment comes to us from across the Atlantic Ocean; we thank UK resident and International Member Charles Jones.


Stepping out one recent morning with my little dog and trusty blackthorn walking stick, I noticed a louder-than-normal round of singing from the House Wrens that frequent a drainpipe out near our garbage can grouping.

House Wren photo by Jo Davidson

At just the right moment, my dog became fascinated with a blade of grass…so I could actually look up in time to see a baby wren fledge from its drainpipe nest and careen onto the ground!

Luckily, a passing scent caught the dog’s attention because then two more fledglings bravely flew out. For a few moments it was sheer pandemonium as the fledglings tried to get their bearings, with the parents flying about to and fro…to and fro. Finally, the five of them gathered their wits and flew across the road to relative safety.


At the same time when those House Wrens were fledging in Cambridge, England and our sharp-eyed friend Charles Jones was viewing their activity, Michael and I watched a similar House Wren drama unfold in our very own San Vito garden…with a cup of English tea.

Sunday Walk Rained Out + Pop Quiz

We’ve had unseasonable rain for about a month and the forecast says this will continue for another few days……

Are we tired? Depressed? No: just struggling along with the barometric pressure! It seems more like October than May at the moment.

All of this is to say we will not have a Bird Walk this weekend but we encourage you to go out and look around — in between showers — because, guess what, there are birds’ nests galore out there!

And here’s a Pop Quiz just to keep you sharp! Identify this nest — the first correct answer sent to: alison.w.olivieri@gmail.com wins a prize. We promise.


A Moment from Al Zucha

My pleasure to meet SVBC members as I am a recent International Member with plans to migrate to San Vito in Spring 2023 with a month-long visit in Aug/Sep 2022. While I’ve been birding for decades, I remain a novice. Since I live on the Houston Ship Channel, shorebirds are a constant. However I looked at the migration patterns and see that Red-winged Blackbirds’ range is to Panama.

Each morning the pup and I watch the chest-bumping patches of red signal dominance for the feeder. One chirps from a nearby shrub and then swoops in — wings back, chest out — and creates space and dominance — if not but for a seed or two. As seed protection, feeder sensitivity is set to to allow two Red-wings at once (finches up to four). Each grabs a seed, hops to the left, cracks seed, dumps hull, and enjoys the effort. “Conk-la-ree!”

Red-wings are ubiquitous on Texas coastal plains. Some flocks register in the tens of thousands. Red-wings were the first wild bird I learned to identify. Maybe that’s why red, black and yellow remain my favorite colors.

Photo by Greg Lasley/VIREO

Tiny Moments

Small bits, brief memories, filling our lives with joy — we all have these! Let us share them, from us to you and you back to us.

We’ll start: every day I walk my small dog and need a sturdy bamboo stick for balance (plus sunglasses, phone and keys). By the time binoculars and, worse, a camera are added it becomes completely unmanageable so the equipment is left at home.

I hear birds all around and see movement everywhere but am forced to concentrate on my steps to stay upright so it can become a vexation.

But suddenly the little dog will stop and spend minutes inspecting one or two blades of grass during which I can look around and this is when the Tiny Moment might happen.

The other day, two Yellow-bellied Elaenias popped onto a nearby wire fence and began to dance, each showing the other both their sides with fully poofed-up crests.

They make a noisy, vomitous call and thus are more often heard than seen. Needless to say this was new, thrilling and an out-of-myself moment — we all live for these!

Please send us one of yours (with photos if you’d like) to me: alison.w.olivieri@gmail.com or Greg Homer: eltangaral@gmail.com.

From The Birds of Panama, a Robert Dean illustration.