Bird Walk Report: White-ruffed Manakin Lek

Looking for manakins. Photo by Harry Hull.

Looking for manakins. Photo by Harry Hull.

This story comes under the category of “Things That Go on While You’re Doing the Laundry” because we know now — thanks to Colleen Nell and Dave Janas — White-ruffed Manakins are dancing in a nearby forest! On Saturday, June 20, Colleen and Dave led us to a mossy log along the Rio Java Trail that these tiny black and white birds have chosen as a ‘lek’ in the OTS Las Cruces forest.

What, actually, is a lek? Well, it’s a little bit like a Single’s Bar but far more enchanting: leks are arenas where males display competitively to entice visiting females to have sex. (Several kinds of birds, including hermit hummingbirds, cock-of-the-rock, grouse, birds of paradise and pihas, as well as some fish, butterflies, moths and orchid bees use leks.)

We were not lucky enough to see the manakins do their thrilling displays but most of us saw them flying around and we saw two predators in the area — likely attracted by the goings-on — a Double-toothed Kite and a Roadside Hawk.

Thanks to the technical know-how of Harry Hull, you can see a short video of a full display from the Cornell Ornithology Lab’s Macaulay Library collection, by clicking here. This opens a video player in a separate tab/window in your browser where you can play the video by clicking on the “go” arrow. (Close that tab/window to return to this post.) In the clip, two males with bulging ruffs compete for the attention of a female. Both males do the “Butterfly Flight” that Colleen described as part of the display and then they dance in step on the log. Finally, as the female waits, both males, one after the other, do a stupendous aerial dive that ends with a flip and a loud mechanical wing flap!

Hiking the Rio Java Trail, Front left Dave Janas, Intern Norman Liu, Alison Olivieri. Photo by Harry Hull.

Hiking the Rio Java Trail. Front, from left, Dave Janas, Intern Norman Liu, Alison Olivieri. Photo by Harry Hull.

We are grateful to W. Alice Boyle who made this video (and more) in the course of her research on this species in Costa Rica in March 2009. Our guide Colleen worked as a field assistant for Megan Jones at Rara Avis on this very project. Colleen is currently at work on her PhD dissertation at the University of California Irvine. Dave Janas, well known to SVBC bird walk participants, will start working at Las Cruces/Wilson Botanical Garden as the staff horticulturist on July 1.

Chocolate/Birding Adventure

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We are going on a Chocolate and Birding Tour with Desafios Tours on Saturday, June 13, so please mark this date on your calendar and plan to join us for an all-day adventure!

Yes, chocolate does grow on trees! Internet photo.

Yes, chocolate does grow on trees! Internet photo.

Our tour starts at La Palma de Puerto Jiminez, a Chocolate Plantation, where we’ll learn about producing chocolate, taste local products and enjoy a coffee break with, what else? – chocolate, coffee and snacks.

Then we will go to Danta Lodge, a beautiful hotel and 30 ha property with good birding trails. We will have a substantial lunch at the lodge, including an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, and bird there for an hour or so. Weather permitting, we’ll visit another nearby property with good birding.

We need to leave San Vito by 6:30 am and will return around 5:00 pm so we will NOT be driving in the dark. This day trip will cost $45 (or C 22,500) per person.

Please make a reservation by contacting us at:

Details will be sent closer to the date. Hope to see you there!

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Haremos tour de chocolate y avers con Desafiostour, por favor marque sabado 13 junio en su calendario y unase con nosotros a un día completo de Aventura!

Cocoa Woodcreeper. Photo from

Cocoa Woodcreeper. Photo from

Este tour comienza en La Palma de Puerto Jimenez en finca Kobo donde visitaremos una plantacion de cacao, aprenderemos sobre variedades cacao y degustaremos los productos de la finca, tendremos refrijerio.

Luego iremos a Danta Lodge una hermosa propiedad de 30 ha con exelentes senderos para observar aves. Disfrutaremos de un almuerzo con entrada y postre y despues odservaermos aves en los senderos de la finca.

Nos iremos de San Vito a las 6:30 am y regresaremos al rededor de las 5:00 pm , NO manejaremos de noche.

Este tour cuesta $45 o ¢22500 por persona. Por favor hagan la reservación respondiendo a correo electronica Compartiremos espacios en los carros, por favor si ocupa un espacio apartarlo con antelacion. Para más detalles enviaremos correos cerca de la fecha. Tambien puede llamar al 83166408

!Quiz Bird #5 Unmasked/Acertijo Aviario #5 Descifrado!

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Congratulations once again to Teresa Bueno of Atenas for correctly and speedily identifying our Bran-colored Flycatcher.

Bran-colored Flycatcher (photo by Gail Hull)

Bran-colored Flycatcher (photo by Gail Hull)

This quiz had only two entries, both of which were correct, so, ‘Hello San Vito Bird Club birders?’ We need more contestants! Is this not the most fascinating thing you have ever done? I thought so too, so hi ho: let’s crisp it up. Watch for the next quiz and give it your very best guess, OK?

Again, thank you to Gail Hull for lending us her beautiful photo!

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Felicidades otra vez a Teresa Bueno de Atenas por identificar de forma correcta y rápida nuestro mosquero estriado (Myiophobus fasciatus).

Tuvimos solo dos entradas para este concurso; de las cuales ambos fueron correctas.

Hola San Vito Bird Club pajareros? Donde estan? Por favor, ocupamos mas contestas! Busca nuestro juga proxima y intentar a ganar!

Nuevamente, ¡Gracias a Gail Hull por prestarnos su hermosa fotografía!

Trip to Aguas Calientes and Finca La Libertad on Thursday, February 12

Please join us Thursday, Feb. 12 for a day trip to Aguas Calientes and Finca La Libertad. Once again, we will meet at the cemetery in San Vito to consolidate car pooling. Please be there no later than 8:15 am.

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird in flight. Photo by Julie Girard.

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird in flight. Photo by Julie Girard.

Our first stop will be Aguas Calientes, a natural thermal pool near Gutierrez Braun on the way to Amistad Park. We will bird around the entrance and along the path to the pool. In the past we have seen many species of migrants there including American Redstarts, Ovenbirds, Black-and-white warblers, Kentucky Warblers, Northern Waterthrushes plus local hummingbirds and Sulphur-winged Parakeets. Please bring bathing suits and a towel if you’d like to take a dip in the pool!

We’ll travel from there to Finca La Libertad, a working farm belonging to the Barrantes family where we will have a tour of the fruit orchard and vegetable garden and do some birding on the forest edge. A tasty Tico lunch will be provided while we feast our eyes on the beautiful Talamanca Mountains.

At $25 per person, a minimum of six people will be needed to run the trip with a maximum of 12 as space is somewhat limited at the pool. Please let us know ASAP if you would like to attend by sending an email to:  First come, first served!

This adventure is for members only so if you would like to participate but have not paid your dues for 2015, please bring them with you! Hope to see you there!

1st Annual Volunteer Thank You Lunch/Primer Almuerzo de Agradecimiento a los Voluntarios

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As the rainy season draws to a close we decided it was time to thank members who’ve volunteered time, energy and supplies over the past several years with a special Volunteer Thank You Lunch at OTS Las Cruces!

Whether it was painting faces at the Festival Eco-Cultural and the Feria Brunka Emprende, baking and selling for our fund-raiser bake sales, contributing expertise to the Detectives de Pajaros community projects or anything else, we are extremely lucky to have these members who consistently, year after year, help the SVBC participate in community-based special events.

Horticulturist Dave Janas leading the Garden Walk November 8, 2014. Photo by Liz Allen.

Horticulturist Dave Janas leading the Garden Walk November 8, 2014. Photo by Liz Allen.

We have bird walks all the time but just prior to our lunch on Saturday, November 8, Dave Janas led us on a Garden Walk to the Cactus Garden, Cycad Hill, the Economy Garden and the Hummingbird Garden, pointing out interesting plants and answering all kinds of questions along the way. A trained horticulturist, Dave is new to the Wilson Botanical Garden — we all hope he will be here for some time to come!

Many of the “lunchees” signed up to help Dave twice a month with gardening projects that will renovate and beauty-up the botanical grounds. With a garden of this immense size, projects and needs for equipment and supplies never end so if you have time and energy to contribute, please contact Dave at or click here to contact us or just send an email to

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Attendees at the SVBC Volunteer Thank You Lunch in November 2014. Photo by Liz Allen

Attendees at the SVBC Volunteer Thank You Lunch in November 2014. Photo by Liz Allen

Conforme la estación lluviosa se acerca a su fin, decidimos que era tiempo de agradecer a aquellos miembros que han aportado tiempo, energía y suministros durante los últimos años con ¡Un Almuerzo de Agradecimiento especial en la OET Las Cruces!

Ya fuese pintando caritas en el Festival Eco-Cultural y la Feria Brunka Emprende, horneando y vendiendo para nuestra venta para recaudar fondos, aportando experiencia a proyectos comunales de los Detectives de Pajaros o cualquier otra cosa, tenemos muchísima suerte de tener a estos miembros que consistentemente, año tras año, ayudan al SVBC participar en eventos especiales enfocados en la comunidad.

Tenemos caminatas para pajarear todo el tiempo pero, justo antes de nuestro almuerzo el sábado 8 de noviembre, Dave Janas nos guió en una Caminata de Jardín por los Jardines de Cactus, la Colina de las Cícadas, el Jardín de la Economía y el Jardín de Colibríes, señalando plantas interesantes y respondiendo toda clase de preguntas durante el camino. Dave es un horticultor entrenado nuevo en el Jardín Botánico Wilson ¡Todos esperamos que esté aquí por un tiempo más todavía!

Muchos de los “almorzadores” se inscribieron para ayudar a Dave dos veces al mes con proyectos de jardinería que van a renovar y embellecer los terrenos botánicos. Con un jardín de este inmenso tamaño, los proyectos y las necesidades de equipo nunca terminan. Así que, si usted tiene tiempo y energía para contribuir, por favor contacte a David a la dirección o haga click aquí para contactarnos o envíe un correo electrónico a la dirección