New Feature Coming Next Week: Ask the Experts!

A new feature for the San Vito Bird Club website is coming next week; and YOU can be part of it! We call it…

Ask the Experts

Each week (or maybe a little less) we will be posing a birding related question to our panel of three experts. Our three Experts are:

Pepe Castiblanco-Local business owner, long time birding guide and photographer.

Jim Zook-Long time professional ornithologist and occasional guide.

David Rodriguez Arias-Top birding guide and photographer from Monteverde.

The three Experts will provide a short answer to your questions based upon their years of field experience and knowledge.

Please feel free to pose a birding related question to the three Experts. Send your questions to:

Our first ‘Ask the Experts’ posting will appear next Thursday, July 23rd.

Photos Of the Week/Fotos de la Semana

We hope you enjoy our new weekly feature; Photos Of the Week (or POW).

SVBC members–we want to see and display your photos!  For more information:


Esperamos que usted disfruta nuestra característica nueva: Fotos De La Semana (o FDLS).

Miembros de SVBC–queremos miran y exhibir sus fotos.  Por mas información:


Pura Mariposa – Only 8 days left!

Did you know there are only 8 days left to contribute to the KickStarter campaign for the Pura Mariposa photo book?

You can support the campaign by pre-ordering some greeting cards, a calendar, the photo book, or all of the above. Everything will be delivered in time for the holidays. Just think, instead of giving a case of Atlas beer, you can give something from the heart, that expresses your love for nature, beauty and Costa Rica. If there is any type of void in your life, this may just fill it. You may even become more interesting to others.

Please check out the kickstarter campaign and become a backer. All funds contributed will be refunded if the campaign doesn’t reach it’s funding goal.

For the love of birds, butterflies, and all things living, this is opportunity knocking at your door. A special gift that you can share with others!

Our New ‘Education’ Pages

BirdSleuth logo simpleWe invite you to visit our two new website pages: “Education” and “Detectives de Pajaros Videos”.

The Education page–click here–is where you will find an up-to-date summary of our collaboration with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Education Program “BirdSleuth-International” or, in Latin America, “Detectives de Pajaros”. We hope it will pique your interest and galvanize you to get involved by visiting a class, donating materials, or sponsoring the program in a local school.

And we hope you will have fun visiting the “Detectives de Pajaros Videos” page–here— where you can watch parts of the program in action. We have written a brief summary of each lesson to introduce the accompanying video. Special thanks are extended to member Andrew England who donated his time and talents creating all the videos.

Note that you can always get to the Education page and its sub-page, “Detectives de Pajaros Videos”,  by clicking on the “Education” tab on the navigation bar under the banner photo of any page or simply by clicking on the “Detectives de Pajaros” logo (illustrated above) in the right-hand column of the home page.

Contact us by clicking here to provide your always-welcome feedback!

New Butterfly Photo Gallery!

Please take a look at the new Butterfly Photo Gallery we have just added to this website by clicking here. We hope this new feature will interest you as much as it does us!

The species shown are all commonly seen here in the Coto Brus region and can be found near your house (or sometimes in it!), by the roadside, in gardens and often on bird walks. They are every bit as fascinating and beautiful as birds, with complicated life cycles that, for some species, even include migrations.

You may notice we have omitted the iconic butterfly of the tropics: the omnipresent Morpho. Here is one of those so you won’t feel bereft.

Blue Morpho. Photo by unknown photographer, posted on

In the not too distant future, we plan to add another photo gallery — this one of moths — to complete the other half of the order Lepidoptera as well as broaden the scope of our website. We will post an announcement of this feature as soon as it is published.

At last–a website for the SVBC!

Harry Hull (Photo: Gail Hull)

In this age of the ever-expanding Internet, the San Vito Bird Club is excited to have its dream of its own website finally “hatch”! As the Club’s activities expanded, communicating more frequently with its members than the twice-annual Newsletter became more desirable, and we’re confident the website will accomplish that and much more besides.

As chairman of the Club’s Communications Committee (“CommComm”) appointed by Club president, Alison Olivieri late last summer to bring a website into being, I’d like to offer a few thoughts on the process of developing a website and the potential that it creates as well as give recognition to the key contributors (to date!).

Creating a website for a small organization such as the SVBC seems at first a rather straight-forward task: make it primarily a vehicle for announcing–and reporting on–the Club’s activities, throw in some of the “content” that the Club has generated over its relatively short history (like the old Newsletters and a few publications), and liven it up with plenty of photos, one of the great attractions of the Newsletters. The CommComm quickly realized that this view of what a website could be did not do justice to the powerful medium of the Internet: the observation that if a picture is worth a thousand words, a website is worth a million gives you the idea. The structure of the site grew to include topics and “content” that would be of interest to visitors to this corner of Costa Rica, whether real or virtual. So the site is enhanced with a Gallery of Local Birds and a guide to the best birding sites that will be of interest to almost any birder curious about the species special to our area and how best to see them. Plus there are links to websites useful for birders and travelers to Costa Rica in general. And of course, the site is a perfect way to explain what the SVBC is all about–its mission, goals, and projects past and present.

One of the greatest challenges for me personally has been reining in my ambitions for the website. The more we learn about the wealth of information “out there” relevant to the Club’s interests, the more tempting it is to find a way to make this information easily accessible from the site. Keeping the focus on what is really unique about our organization and location has kept the “construction” process from getting out of hand! But this doesn’t stop us from expanding the site over time into subjects that are dear to our hearts and mission. For example, we plan to add information on what to do if you encounter an injured bird, or what organizations to contact for birding trips.

A quick comment on the kind of website we’ve chosen. We decided early on that the website had to be easy for the Club’s leadership to personally maintain without having to become expert at HTML and the complexities of sophisticated websites. This led us to, a web-based website creation system developed primarily for bloggers. You’ve no doubt visited many such sites, perhaps without realizing it. (WP) is also very economical–free if you don’t want a few bells and whistles such as a custom domain name (like our And WP has a zillion “themes” or pre-designed “looks” from which to choose. This does limit control over a lot of possible website design features; but for our modest purposes, such limitations in no way frustrate our goals for the site, and, as it turns out, help satisfy our requirement for a web-masterless site. We’re very happy with the results and hope you will be, too.

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Liz Allen, a great friend of the Club with experience in creating custom websites, who has been our technical guide as well as frontline site developer using the WordPress system. It is comforting for us that she will continue to be a resource for us as the Club takes over the responsibility for managing the site. And the other members of the CommComm–Alison Olivieri and Lydia Vogt (the Club’s Secretary)–who have put in many hours of work, from brainstorming to content wrangling, should also take a virtual bow. It’s been a real pleasure working with such a dedicated–and jolly!–team.

So please, explore our site! Let us know what you think, and information you’d like included. And if you really like what you see, consider joining the Club… With your involvement, the sky’s the limit!