Wilson Walk This Sunday!

Please join us this weekend for a Bird and Nature Walk at the Wilson Botanical Garden, Sunday, May 21.

The Wilson Botanical Garden

We will meet at the Reception Building at 7:30 am with binoculars to share. The walks are free and open to the public; we look forward to seeing you there.

Common Tody-Flycatcher, expert hanging nest-builder

It’s a Perfect Day

We are enjoying an extended dry season down here, after an uncharacteristically rainy March.

So it is exactly the right time to avail yourself of this learning experience: a new offering from the Finca Cantaros Environmental Association.

Velvety Manakin

One of our most productive and interesting birding sites, the team at Finca Cantaros is growing trees, managing a sizeable reforestation plot on site, running an environmental art project, installing a blind specifically for photography, and continuing its Women Caring for the Earth Project. Please offer your support to their ongoing work.

Erratum: alert reader and contributing photographer Jo Davidson noticed a slip-up in our last post. The flycatcher with the retort nest is a Yellow-olive Flycatcher, not a Golden-olive Flycatcher. (In a Google search, it also comes up as a Yellow-olive Flatbill.)

Happy Workers’ Day!

It’s a holiday here today — Labor Day, celebrated with many other countries on May 1 — a perfect time to reflect on the Bird Walk ten days ago at the Wilson Botanic Garden.

Plants always take center stage, especially in the Heliconia Garden.

Hard to beat these beauties!

Birds are busy now with nesting season activities: fighting, choosing, building, sitting, searching, ferrying and so forth. It’s hard to decide where to look! But our great guide Randall Jimenez Bourbon spotted Silver-throated Tanagers building a nest in the Pollinator Garden along with two species of euphonias doing the same.

Golden-olive Flycatchers build an impressive nest with a ‘retort’ shape you might remember from chemistry class. And quite close to the Golden-olives was a smaller nest that looked a bit like a Mistletoe Tyrannulet’s construction.

Outside the dining room is a Bottle brush tree that seems to always have one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful hummingbirds guarding it at this time of year: the White-necked Jacobin.

Photo by Randall Jimenez Bourbon, aka Ciccio
Handsome and composed, our endemic toucan — the Fiery-billed Aracari — another shot by Randall

And we end our tour with the most amazing moth, Thysania agrippina, also called the White Witch moth. It has the longest wingspan of any moth and the best camouflage ever.

Look sharp to see this amazing creature and thank you to Randall once again for such a perfect photo!

What’s New at Finca Cantaros?

Things to see and do galore!

A new program called Caminata Matutina (Morning Walk) is being offered twice a month on Saturdays by the Finca Cantaros Environmental Association. These walks are free and open to the public, announced in advance on social media.

Recently, we were on one of these with Executive Director Lilly Briggs and Regent Biologist David Arias Rodrigues. While enjoying the sights and sounds of birds around us everywhere (*see a partial list below*), we were startled by one of the huge Caligo butterflies that display big ‘owl eyes’ on their closed wings. This astonishing creature rested obligingly on a tree trunk for several minutes, allowing the ‘Matutineers’ a chance to see it well in the telescope.

We also had great good fortune to observe two of the country’s squirrel species: Variegated and Red-tailed Squirrels, seen below in an old version of the invaluable Guide to the Mammals of Costa Rica by Fiona Reid. Drawings 1-6 are variations on the Variegated version, more commonly seen in Guanacaste than Coto Brus, and the little one at bottom right is the Red-tailed.

An environmental art project created by the FCEA’s Women Caring for the Earth program has beautified and informed a rancho next to Laguna Zoncho. In the foreground below, one of the artists, Karla ‘Lita’ Esquivel, discusses the representative water birds painted onto the table tops with members of our group from Santa Teresa de Sabalito.

Just before we tap out our impressive bird list, we pay homage to the fascinating plant group called Costus, closely allied with heliconias, gingers, marantas and bananas.

Complicated spiraling beauty, photo by Alison Olivieri

And now finally to the birds — unusually busy at this time of year engaged as they are in local courting, nesting and caring for young OR eating as much as they can for the impending long migration to northern nesting grounds.

The morning chorus was in full voice and we were happy to hear Roadside Hawk, Tropical Parula, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Green Hermit, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Buff-rumped Warbler, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Gray-capped Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher and a newly-fledged White- throated Thrush with attending adults!

Please make a point of following the FCEA at https://fincacantaros.org and learning more about its many programs.

News From the Annual Meeting 2023

We have exciting news to share with all our members from last Sunday’s Annual Meeting 2023. A unanimous vote cast by attending members forged a strategic alliance with the Finca Cantaros Environmental Association (FCEA) to present the ongoing Detectives de Aves education course in local schools.

It is a happy and natural fit. The sole mission of the FCEA is environmental education and, as you will see in the video below, they are coming at it in many different and innovative ways.

Your restricted gifts over the years to support this effort will be — as always — channelled directly to teachers, transportation and supplies.

Meanwhile, the San Vito Bird Club will remain involved and work closely with the team at FCEA. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments; we always want to hear from you.

Here is a message from Dr. Lilly Briggs, the Director of the Finca Cántaros Environmental Association:

Finca Cántaros Environmental Association (FCEA) considers the San Vito Bird Club (SVBC) one of its most important allies, and we are grateful for all the ways that SVBC members have supported our work. Learn more about how FCEA got started thanks to connections through the Club in the following video, and about how we are fulfilling our environmental education goals through the themes of forest restoration and birds.

HERE is a link to the video!

We are very excited about the positive changes that this collaboration will bring to the Cantón of Coto Brus, and to all of us as well who have had the pleasure and honor to work together to build a better community.

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