Bird Walk at Pino Colina, Sunday, January 9 at 7:00 am

Please join us for the first walk of 2022 at Hacienda Pino Colina, next door to the Wilson Botanical Garden/Las Cruces.

Judy Richardson has kindly invited us to visit her beautiful homestead where we have seen nesting Rufous Jacamars, White- crested Coquettes, White-winged Tanagers and more, so much more!

Rufous-tailed Jacamar, photo by Yeimiri Badilla

Drive through the open gate to the right (just north) of the main Pino Colina gate at 7 am. Follow the road down the hill and park near the bodega. Judy will meet us there; as always, we will have binoculars and guides to share.

Here is a photo of our last walk of 2021 at Las Cruces/Wilson Botanical Garden.

From left to right: Petra Heck, Judy Richardson, Peter Hulsinck, Tomas Wilkinson, Steffano from New Zealand, Tom and Portia’s granddaughter Ada, Portia Wilkinson and Julie Girard Woolley — photo by Alison Olivieri

Hope to see you there for fabulous birds and gorgeous gardens — it will be a real treat!

Little Bit of Heaven

Pop Quiz: if you are drinking your morning coffee at first light and you see a Northern Waterthrush, Common Black Hawk, Brown Pelicans and House Wrens, where are you?

Answer: Cabinas Los Cocos at Playa Zancudo, where else?

The waves are calling you, not to mention the River Cruise, for which Los Cocos is justifiably famous. Recent highlights included soaring King Vultures, Grey-lined Hawk, Mangrove Hummingbird and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, photo by Julie Girard Woolley

It is a total bird show there, from the river to the beach to the rice fields (where Red-breasted Meadowlarks, grassquits, seedeaters and Fork-tailed Flycatchers steal the show).

Great Egret, photo by Julie Girard Woolley

Just in case Susan England, boat captain and owner of Los Cocos, decides not to run her boats this coming high season, we had a good run with Captain Erick Chavarria who is not accustomed to birders but did a great job backing up, turning around for better views, etc. His boat is comfortable, he speaks English, is reasonably priced and on WhatsApp at 8638 7712.

River Cruise November 30, 2021

If you need to be reminded about Cabinas Los Cocos, here you go:

Cabin at Los Cocos, photo by Alison Olivieri
Playa Zancudo, photo by Alison Olivieri
Captain Susan and Captain Erick, photo by Alison Olivieri

Save the Date!

Please go find a 2022 calendar and mark February 27 as the date for the SVBC Annual Meeting.

You’ll not want to miss this one as we plan to have the famous Tico Breakfast at Las Cruces/Wilson Botanical Garden PLUS speakers, birdy games and prizes.

This event is for members only so please remember to pay your dues! Any executive committee member will be happy to accept them. The dues will entitle you to a Membership Card that you can use to receive entrance to Las Cruces at the lower price for nationals and residents, $3 or 1,800 colones per person.

Membership Dues are as follows:

Local individual = $25 or 18,000 colones

Local family, defined as two adults and two children = $50 or 35,000 colones

International Individual = $20

International family = $40

Cleaning binoculars, stretching legs!

We don’t know what you’re doing but we are going back into the field to look for birds and we’d like you to join us.

It’s time! Let’s get started! Kick that inertia through the door! Wear masks if you are more comfortable but know that we will be outside even when we break for coffee.

Recent Group on the Magic Road

Along with Bird Walks and upcoming events, we’d also like to ask you for Membership Dues. We’ve let them slide for a while now but to keep our teachers in the classroom and the Detectives de Aves lessons flying, please pay your dues now for 2022. You can do it here via PayPal by clicking on Membership in the website drop-down menu OR bring cash to the next Bird Walk.

We need your support! Those faces below? They need your vote of confidence. As always, thank you!

Detectives de Aves on the Canopy Tower

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, 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 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

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