Sunday Bird Walk: Finca Cantaros

Please join the San Vito Bird Club for our bird walk on SUNDAY, JULY 31.

Meet at the gate of the beautiful FINCA CANTAROS at 7:30am. We will explore the trails, view the lake and who knows…find a northern migrant bird? It is very early for migrants to appear down here in the southern zone but there are always a few bold and intrepid birds who leave the north early as they just can’t wait to get back; and who could blame them.

Binoculars available as needed. Hope to see you there.

Swainson’s Thrush: author unknown.

Sunday Morning Bird Walk: Wilson Garden–April 3

Please join the San Vito Bird Club for a Bird Walk.

When: Sunday, April 3 at 7:00am-9am.

Where: Meet outside the Wilson Garden Recepcion office. Binoculars available as needed.

We normally have a couple of breakfast options for sale after the walk; not sure that’s going to happen this week. It could happen…stay tuned. If not, coffee and tea will be available following the walk.

April is prime migratory bird season down here. Swainson’s Thrushes, Piratic Flycatchers, Scarlet Tanagers, a variety of warblers and vireos could be out.

There is no charge for this bird walk if you are a San Vito Bird Club member. If you’re not, Sunday might be a good time to join.

Hope to see you there.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, a migrant from North America. Photo by Gail Hull.

Bird Walk at Finca Cantaros: Sunday, March 13th

Please join the San Vito Bird Club on our next birding walk.

When: Sunday, March 13th at 7am-9am.

Where: Meet at the front gate of Finca Cantaros. We will be escorted through this beautiful and unique property. Part of the walk will include a search for the ‘pato magico/magic duck’ on the lake!

Anything else?: Binoculars and field guides will be available. Please leave your pets at home.

We look forward to seeing you there.

The Magic Duck

Please Join the San Vito Bird Club for a Half-and-Half

On Sunday, Feb. 13th please join the San Vito Bird Club for a Half-and-Half Bird Outing.

(Half-and-Half means this outing is half bird WALK and half bird SIT.)

Meet up near the entrance to the Magic Road (you may contact me…Greg Homer…if you don’t know the location of the Magic Road. 7:00am to 8:30am

  1. We will walk a few hundred meters down the Magic Road, birding along the way. Expect to see a variety of seedeaters, tanagers and flycatchers. This is the first HALF.
  2. We will then reverse course and along the way have a relaxing SIT in a lovely flat spot just inside Nacientes Encantadas (a protected property of Asociación Ambiental Finca Cántaros). Five or so folding chairs will be provided, Bring a light folding chair if you have one. This is the second HALF.
  3. Bring some water (snack?) and proper footwear. The Magic Road can be a bit goofy; rocks and gravel.

Hope to see you there. We’ll have fun and we’ll see some nice birds.

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!

Bird Walk at Wilson Gardens: Saturday, Oct. 2

Please join Alison Olivieri, Greg Homer and the San Vito Bird Club for an escorted Bird Walk at the Wilson Botanical Gardens (Las Cruces) on Saturday, Oct. 2nd beginning at 7:00am.

Good quality loaner binoculars and field guides are available.

All attendees must first check-in at the main gate for a quick temperature check. As a participant in this San Vito Bird Club walk, admission is free. More to come on this later. Meet up in front of Recepcion, as usual.

Following the Bird Walk, about 9:00am, Wilson Garden offers coffee, tea and cold water at no charge; however a tip to the kitchen staff is greatly appreciated. For this walk, Wilson is also offering two breakfast options*. Delicious and typical.

Option #1.       Complete tico Breakfast: Gallo pinto, egg (scrambled or omelet), fried plantain and local fresh cheese with hot drink (Coffee, tea or aguadulce) and season fruit for USD $8.00/C5,000.

Option #2.       Small breakfast: Egg sandwich (local cheese, bacon or ham, and egg) on  whole wheat bread with hot drink (Coffee, tea or aguadulce) and season fruit for USD $5.00/C3,000.

All activities, including the post-walk dining and socializing, are out of doors. But masking up is fine.

Hope to see you there. Again…Saturday, Oct. 2nd from 7:00-9:00am.

Let me know if you can join us and if the breakfast (delicious and typical) will be part of your morning. Fill out the short form attached below:

Or send me, Greg Homer, an email.

*Breakfast is considered one of the three most important meals of the day.

photo courtesy of San Vito Bird Club

Bird Walk Sunday April 18

Please join us for a Bird Walk at the Las Cruces Wilson Botanical Garden this Sunday, April 18. We will meet at the Entrance Gate at 730 a.m. and observe the following Covid-19 protocols:

  1. Wear a mask
  2. Wash your hands at the sink
  3. The guard will take your temperature
  4. Record your name, national ID, phone number and temperature
  5. Pay the Entrance Fee: $3 residents/nationals, $10 visitors

Maybe we’ll see these top-heavy flycatchers building a nest outside the Reception Building. And we’ll do three stops at the Heliconia, Maranta and Pollinator Gardens.

Please click here to sign up — we look forward to seeing you there!

Where We Bird–The Magic Road

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.

Sooty Spinetail- photo courtesy of Pepe Castiblanco
Pale-breasted Spinetail-photo courtesy of Pepe Castiblanco
Red-faced Spinetail-photo courtesy of Pepe Castiblanco

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.

Scaled Pigeon-photo courtesy of Jo Davidson

The next is truly a ‘birder’s bird’; the Bran-colored Flycatcher (who knew bran was a color?)

Bran-colored Flycatcher-photo courtesy of Yeimiri Badilla

Here is the dynamic Swallow-tailed Kite; also known as the Tijereta (scissor bird).

Swallow-tailed Kite-photo courtesy of Jo Davidson

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.

Sora-photo courtesy of Pepe Castiblanco
Mississippi Kite-courtesy of Pepe Castiblanco

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).

photo courtesy of Troy Edson-Smith

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!

Bird Walks and Birding During the Coronavirus Situation

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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

(photo courtesy of Helen LeVasseur)

Special Bird Walk: La Troja! Sunday, March 8

Please see the attached information below. Our friend and neighbor, Jose Luis, owner of Restaurante La Troja in Limoncito is having a bird walk this coming Sunday, March 8th at 9:00am.

The trails of La Troja are truly special. The La Troja habitat, a bit drier than San Vito should offer several bird species rarely seen up here.

La Troja is about a 20 minute drive from downtown San Vito. Please try to carpool.

There will be no San Vito Bird Club walk on that day.