What makes The Magic Road a magic road? Unlike Dorothy’s magic road (made of some curious yellow brick-like material), our Magic Road will not entice you to an Emerald City with a Wizard. But our Magic Road COULD tickle your fancy with an Emerald Toucanet with a lizard (sorry). Located just 20 meters north of El Tangaral (see blue dot above), the Magic Road has become an increasingly popular birding destination. A birding hot spot, if you will.
With a nice mix of disturbed secondary forest, open pasture, low scrubby plants and a variety of seed-bearing annual grasses, birders are likely to encounter many species that are rarely seen in dense forest or closed canopy rainforest. For example; all three of our Spinetail species are regularly seen on the Magic Road.
The Magic Road is also home to some of our specialty birds…those species that birders often come down here just to see. The first one is the Scaled Pigeon; very large and spectacularly marked.
The next is truly a ‘birder’s bird’; the Bran-colored Flycatcher (who knew bran was a color?)
Here is the dynamic Swallow-tailed Kite; also known as the Tijereta (scissor bird).
The term Magic Road really began to stick when birders started seeing some very rare species (often migrants) on their walks. Here are two of our recent rarities; the Sora, a migrant rail species and the Mississippi Kite; a very rare passage migrant raptor.
We’ll leave you with our San Vito Bird Club banner bird; the Turquoise Cotinga…also seen on the Magic Road (this one is a youngster).
Enjoy the solitude, enjoy the panoramic scenery of the Magic Road. You never know…’X’ may mark the spot where you see something really special!
Social distancing, we are told, is vital to ‘flattening the curve’ of the coronavirus, or slowing down the spread. This means we should all avoid crowds and limit physical contact with our fellow citizens. The San Vito Bird Club respects and agrees with this philosophy.
However we also believe that getting out of the house, breathing fresh air and interacting with nature is important to our health, both mental and physical.
What better way, what better time than right now, during these days of worry and stress, to do a bit of bird watching? Could this activity not be an antidote to some of our fears?
The following quote is from New York state’s Department of Environmental Conservation:
‘During the current COVID-19 public health crisis, getting outdoors and connecting with nature is a way to help maintain our mental and physical health.
Scientific studies show that time outside in nature, especially among trees, significantly reduces stress and anxiety, lowers blood pressure, improves mood, energy, and sleep, and boosts the immune system.’
This does not mean we are suggesting a pre-Coronavirus bird walk! Those walks…always with much hugging, hand shaking and good fellowship…must be suspended for the time being. BUT THEY WILL BE BACK! Oh yes, they will be back. For now we must keep some distance from each other. Let’s flatten that curve and keep this thing in check.
When the viral world is back to normal, we will announce the resumption of our hugging, hand shaking, good fellowship, constantly talking to each other when you should be watching birds…San Vito Bird Club Bird Walks! Could be as early as in the next month or two.
So until that time, get out there and do some walking and birding; just you or just you and your loved ones/special ones.
Where to go?
First of all, the best place to go birding is…where you are. In Coto Brus there simply are no bad places to go birding. Hell, there are Gray-breasted Martins and House Sparrows at the Rio Java gas station. So explore your own territory. You’ll be surprised what you’ll see and hear.
The second best place to go birding is…where you AREN’T. Here are three superb and fairly unfrequented birding spots around San Vito.
The Old Road/Magic Road: This spot has become increasingly popular with birders and may soon become a ‘destination site’. It’s open and can be dusty but you should see many bird species on both sides of the road. Be sure to listen as well as watch. Now is a great time to learn some of our local bird songs. This road is between the closed brown gate (closest to San Vito) of El Tangaral and the perfectly maintained light blue house. Bring plenty of water and good shoes (a bit up-and-downy).
The Sansonetti Road: We all know the cut-in-half car advertising La Chiminea, right? It’s just past Finca Cantaros. That road goes up over the hill and comes out by the San Vito International Airport. Check out the many flowering Inga trees along the road; they have white ‘floofy’ flowers. ‘Floofy’ is an Alison word.
The Tres Rios Road: On the main road at the Neilly end of the San Vito Hospital is a mini-super. Turn down that unpaved road and keep going down. When you come to a nice, shady, riverside spot…park your car and go birding. Look for the white Vulture up on the hillside. Spend some time looking into the flowering Porro trees. See the Oropendola nests in one of them.
FYI: The best times to go birding are dawn and dusk. We suggest the hours of 6am to 9:30am or 4:00pm to 6:00pm.
So for now, get out there! And stay healthy, both menatlly and physically.
Contact Greg Homer with your birding question/concerns:
Please join the San Vito Bird Club for our regular Bird Walk, this coming Sunday, Feb. 23rd at 7:30 am. The walk begins at the Recepcion office of the Wilson Botanical Garden (Las Cruces) and will conclude up at the Comedor, where we can chat, have coffee and good fellowship.
Binoculars and field guides available as needed. Hope to see you there!