Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Judy Richardson who correctly identified the butterfly from our Father’s Day Bird Walk at the Wilson Botanical Garden as a male Surprising White, Pereute charops. Male and female butterflies often look identical so how did she know? Well, she’s a butterfly whiz and the females apparently have red stripes! According to a website called http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org, it is also known as a Darkened White. When Judy next arrives in San Vito, we will treat her to a glass of wine for her efforts.

Not to leave you hanging from that last post, here is a photo of the Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) from a website called allaboutbirds.org. This was one of the three species we don’t often see and we didn’t want you to miss out on its striking looks:

Editor’s note: apologies to Leandro Barrantes who is in his first year of teenagism — he is 13, not 9, and I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that post.

Where were you last Sunday?

We missed you! The Father’s Day Bird Walk was nice — we saw several species we usually don’t see at the Wilson Garden including Buff-rumped Warbler, Gray-headed Tanager and Lesser Goldfinch.

Jo Davidson took these photos on the spot:

The warbler
The tanager

And a bonus mystery butterfly presented here by Nancy Warshawer. Free glass of wine or beer to anyone who can identify this lepidopteran; send a note to alison.w.olivieri@gmail.com.

Photo by Alison Olivieri

Furthermore, we had the pleasure of treating Leandro Barrantes, a 9 year old neighbor, to the majesty of the Canopy Tower where he and Nancy spotted an immature Roadside Hawk at eye level.

Now, aren’t you sorry you didn’t join us? Our next adventure will be posted soon so keep an eye out and come walk with us!

Father’s Day Bird Walk 2021

Please join us for a Bird Walk this Sunday, June 20, at the OTS/Las Cruces Research Station aka Wilson Botanical Garden. We will meet at the Reception Building at 7:30 am and have binoculars to share.

As guests of the SVBC, you will enter for free; however, if you want to make a voluntary donation, that would be most welcome. (The Entrance Fee is $10 for tourists and $3 for residents.)

Let’s look for these beautiful woodpeckers:

Lineated Woodpeckers, photo by Alison Olivieri

Bird Walk on Sunday, June 6

Please join us for a Bird Walk at the incomparable Finca Cántaros on Sunday, June 6 (tomorrow!). We will meet at the entrance gate at 7:30 am and have binoculars to share.

The walk will last for about an hour.

If we have more than 6 walkers, we will go in two groups and run a little competition to see which group sees the most species.

A Voluntary Donation to the new Finca Cántaros Environmental Association would be most welcome. Hope to see you there!

The Canopy Tower Today

It is still standing and an attraction for visitors to the OTS/Las Cruces Research Station and Wilson Botanical Garden.

This photo, from 10 years ago, will remind you of pre-pandemic SVBC events! The Tower requires a climb of 75 steps to reach the top.  All of the folks you see in the photo above have done it; many times. Photo by Harry Hull III.

The slender and powerful young man in this photo, however, is the only person to have made the climb in less than one minute while toting 36 pairs of binoculars, 20 birding books and 120 juice boxes … Peter Wendell, head of the SVBC, standing alone. That’s what a pandemic will do for you. Photo by Alison Olivieri.

Thank You Again!

Speaking of which, we would like take some space here to honor the major donors to the construction of this amazing gateway to another world: Wildwood Foundation, Judy Richardson, Peggy and Fred Sibley, Jean and Fred Schroeder, Patricia J. Scott, Lauren and John Royer, Theodore Wickwire Royer and Zak Zahawi.

Finally, this is how small you look from the top; photo by Peter Wendell.

May 31, an Auspicious Day

First, we want to acknowledge Memorial Day for our members in the US — the beginning of summer but a solumn day commemorating the countless soldiers who lost their lives in wars over too many years.

Closer to home, we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Canopy Tower at OTS/Las Cruces Research Station inaugurated on this day in 2011. SVBC members, supporters and friends pulled together to raise the necessary funds for this rather daunting project that began with an enormous hole in the ground.

Special thanks to Campaign Committee Members: Julie Girard and Dave Woolley; Lydia and Ernie Vogt; Michael Olivieri; Zak Zahawi, then Director of Las Cruces; Kate Allen and Patrick Desvenain for special events assistance; our architect Felix Villalobos; Jim Zook for site consulting; the entire staff of Las Cruces for encouragement; the construction crew and, finally, the two Great Tinamous that walked right up the trail to the ongoing building site and bobbed around for a bit, leading me (at least) to think it would work out in the end.

We re-dedicate the Tower to all birders — past, present and future.

Photo by Harry Hull III
From La Nacion, May 31, 2011

Finca Cántaros Environmental Association

Something great has come out of this strange and terrible pandemic: the Finca Cántaros Environmental Association. With the Class A brain of Dr. Lilly Briggs whirring and whirling while the world was at a seeming standstill, here comes a new nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education, forest restoration and research with three key action words: “Learn. Connect. Act.”

Canada to Costa Rica and Back

Based in Canada but operating in San Vito, the FCEA will have impact and influence in the Canton of Coto Brus but also the entire country. Working with Proyecto Cerulea partners Ernesto Carman and Paz Irola, Lilly had the country’s second MOTUS tower installed and has already downloaded information on migrating Swainson’s Thrushes, originally tagged in Canada(!).

The Website

And that is just ONE of the myriad projects being worked on by Lilly’s knowledgeable and energetic team. They have just launched a new English-language website — we encourage all our members to take a look. It is beautiful and packed with information about the ongoing projects, plus you can meet the team.

The Projects

Interested in, well, birds? Of course! Weekly Bird Counts are conducted at Finca Cantaros following strict protocols. What about bats? Monthly site visits by the Monteverde Bat Jungle crew are gathering information on local bats and watching natural reforestation in action, especially in the Children’s Rain Forest of Coto Brus, just outside Cántaros’ forested area. Reforestation? There’s a Tree Nursery collaboration with Osa Conservation! Sustainable food production? Women Committed to the Earth is a program working on agroecology practices applicable to local conditions. Art and Science? What about Nature Sketch from the Robert Bateman Foundation? And finally we circle back to the SVBC sponsored program, member-supported Detectives de Aves, now being taught in local schools for the first time in almost two years.

Bird Walk Sunday, May 9

Please join us this Sunday for a free Bird Walk on the Poro Road. We will meet at 7:30 am down the hill where we leave the cars. As always, we will have binoculars to lend.

Directions: from Las Cruces toward San Vito, take the first unpaved (lastre) road to the right after the hospital. From San Vito toward the hospital, take the unpaved road to the left after Soda La Negra.

The walk will go for about an hour. If we are lucky, we might see a pair of nesting Riverside Wrens or Double-toothed Kites! We don’t have a sign-up link this time — we will be there anyway.

REMINDER: International Migratory Bird Day and a Global Big Day occur the day before, on Saturday, May 8. Don’t forget to bird around your house, along the road or at your favorite spot and submit your list to eBird.

Please Buy Virtual Cookies and Cake . . .

As part of the Finca Cantaros Environmental Association’s Earth Day Celebration, SVBC members’ ovens were fired up for a Bake Sale. Take a look at the yummies below and place your order via PayPal. It’s easy as pie (!) — all you do is go to your PayPal account and search for ‘Finca Cantaros‘ or ‘info@fincacantaros.org‘ to make your donation.

Galletas de Dulce by Pedro

Now for the Strawberry Cake:

Queque Rosada de Fresa

And, while you are at it, please go to the brand new English-language website of the Finca Cantaros Environmental Association: www.fincacantaros.org — prepare to be impressed and proud to participate!

Watch this space for an article about this new nonprofit organization. We are so excited to have these wonderful neighbors and when you meet the team, learn the vision and hear about ongoing events and activities, you will be too.

Oh, wait, if you really DO want cookies or cake, email us and the next time you are near we will see that you have some.

Celebrate Earth Day 2021 on Saturday, April 24 at Finca Cántaros

Join us on Saturday, April 24 for an Earth Day Festival at the Finca Cántaros Environmental Association from 9 am to 3 pm.

As you can see from the posters below, the team has created all kinds of activities including guided walks, workshops (How to Make a Vegetable Garden, Exploring Nature) and two science talks, one about bats and one about bird migration (The MOTUS Tower) PLUS the 1st Annual Science Fair for elementary school students!

Meet your new neighbors! Practice your Español! Bring your recyclable glass to trade for a glass! Buy treats at the Bake Sale* and enjoy live music and art presentations!

All activities will be outside and adhere to Covid protocols. This will be a fun-filled day in a strange and difficult time so please treat yourself by visiting the AAFC — Asociación Ambiental Finca Cántaros!

And here is the schedule:

*If you would like to buy virtual cookies and make a donation to the new Asociación, please go to your PayPal account and enter ‘Finca Cantaros’ or info@fincacantaros.