Tree Planting Photo Essay, June 30, Concepcion

Thanks to an army of volunteers last Sunday, the Restoration Project in Concepcion on the Gamboa Property was a huge success!

Rodrigo de Sousa organized this large group for a morning of grunt work that resulted in 450 new trees planted, new fencing installed to curtail bovine wandering and reforestation to benefit the community’s future.

Troops fanned out going out and around the pasture and watershed; a morning well spent.

Even the youngest members of this volunteer group worked all morning, digging holes, staking young trees and ensuring an enhanced habitat for wildlife. Special thanks to San Vito Bird Club stalwart supporter Terry Farling for these photos!

We’ve Got Mail from Our French Friends!

A most welcome letter from Jean-Philippe Thelliez (“JP”) and Christopher Stamp who visited us in April: among the most accomplished and energetic birders and photographers we’ve ever encountered:

Jean-Philippe Thelliez and Christopher Stamp, our bon amis de France

What a wonderful chance or was it destiny that put JP (Jean-Philippe) in touch with Peter?
Whatever it was, thanks to that contact one Frenchmen and his Franglais sidekick, Christopher, had the pleasure of meeting Peter and joining the San Vito Bird Club for its Sunday visit to the Wilson Botanical Gardens on the 6th of April.

What a wonderful experience it was. First, the warm welcome by members of the group, most of whose names are remembered (more than can be said for the names of the birds! Thankfully, others have recorded the names for us).  We have never been to a place where so many birds could be seen at the same time. It was impossible to capture them all on celluloid as they whizzed here and there and at the end we felt veritably shell shocked – rather like small children being let loose in a sweets factory. But we went back for second helpings!

The following day Peter took us up to Las Tablas with Marco Mora, one of the SVBC Detectives de Aves teachers. The Resplendant Quetzal and Three-wattled Bellbird were on the menu, among others, and we had good weather until the heavens opened on the trip back down but — fortunately, according to Peter — not until after we had already negotiated the slippery bits.

Great Green Macaws in Ara Manzanillo on the Caribbean coast. Photo by Jean-Philippe Thelliez

We enjoyed a couple of days exploring the Coto Brus area following Peter’s advice and met up again with Jeimiry Badilla from Finca Cantaros. He proposed a trip to his home near Cuidad Neilly on a holiday Thursday. So us two, Jei, his wife Marylin Saldana and their daughter Georgea were jimmied into our rented “Jimmy” for an exciting road trip.  What a trip! Jei and his wife are formidable birders; highlights of the trip were a Savannah Hawk, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, a nighthawk, three trogons and three manakins (we told you we couldn’t remember all the names…).

On the social side we apéroed chez Judy and chez Jo and Peter, where the latter kindly introduced us to their pet armadillo! We ate at Rancho Amigos with Alison, Jo and Peter; Peter then joined us at Liliana’s for a final meal and helped us plan the rest of the trip.

We thank you all — and especially Peter, who helped us with initial planning and without whom our Costa Rica safari would have been much less memorable and colourful in both human and avian terms.

Oh! and the San Vito Bird Club now has two new French members who would be delighted to welcome visiting SVBC members to share the French birding experience. I think the only bird that we have in common is the House Sparrow — Moineau domestique — but WHAT are you waiting for?

Many thanks

JP and Christopher

Great Day at OTS/Las Cruces on Saturday, June 1, 2019

The SVBC activities at the Annual OTS/Las Cruces Dia de Las Puertas Abiertas were better than ever this year due to our stellar volunteers.

Here, for example, is the Bake Sale table that brought in more than $100 — the most we’ve ever made in more than five years of rustling up muffins, cookies, bird nest delicacies, cakes, cinnamon rolls and more!

Kathy Bauer, Karen Kennedy and Betty Peterson enhanced the day with painting activities including the ever-popular face painting so that by the end of the day we saw butterflies, puppies, parakeets and hummingbirds running around the trails.

Bird Walks and a mini-course on bird bill evolution were conducted by our own SVBC President Peter Wendell and Detectives de Aves Instructor Marco Mora, seen below preparing to push off with a family group. Thanks to one and all for volunteering your time and expertise.

Marco Mora, second from right, Peter on right. Photo by Jo Davidson

Join Us for a Fun Family Day at OTS/Las Cruces! Dia de las Puertas Abiertas sabado 1 junio!

Please come to the Las Cruces Biological Station this Saturday for a fun-filled family day! The Las Cruces staff will provide events, workshops, music and more for every member of the family. As usual, the SVBC will host an Annual Bake Sale, Face Painting, an Artistic Mural for all to create plus an environmental education activity. See the schedules below for detailed information! Hope to see you there!

Friends From Afar — We’ve Got Mail!

Greetings, members of the SVBC:

We wish to convey to you all our sincere thanks for the welcome that the SVBC members extended to us during our recent visit to San Vito this past March. Our little group of six was comprised of short term visitors (a few days for four of us; an additional couple of weeks for two of us). Although there was only one formal SVBC member among us, we were all treated as regulars and included in a delightful variety of birding adventures: the walk and brunch at Cecilia Sansonetti’s beautiful finca; the walks at Cántaros (with the opportunity to meet new owner, Lilly, and managers, Yei and Marylin); the tense photo competitions, the awards, the refreshments, etc.

Greg Homer took two of us on an early morning walk to Tres Rios in search of, among other birds, the albino vultures. Peter Wendell gave us a primer on using eBird. Alison Olivieri gave us perfect directions to Rio Negro. And everyone else was equally gracious. We were also impressed with the club’s industriousness—from its nascent effort to merge with the Pajareros del Sur, to the continuing inclusion of young birders, the involvement with the local schools and the Detectives de Aves education progam. You folks gave us all great memories of San Vito, its birds and its birders. Thank you! 

David and Audrey Fielding, on our own behalf and on behalf of our friends: David Rorick, Sandra Braden, John Denvir and Miriam Rokeach.

David and Audrey Fielding, members from San Francisco

 

PS – It must be about time to renew our membership, so for David & Audrey Fielding, our check is in the mail (via Paypal).

The SVBC responds: this is the nicest news we’ve had in forever, so thank you both for your note and your Membership Renewal.

A New Bird Quiz: Let’s Go ‘Urban Birding’!

Quiz Bird #1

City parks are often sites of great birding adventures. In New York, Central Park is a famous spot with more than 230 documented species. It is particularly ‘hot’ during spring and fall migrations and is the subject of a wonderful documentary called ‘The Central Park Effect’. Likewise, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is another birder’s dream and hosts 175 field trips per year for all birding skill levels. In Costa Rica, La Sabana Metropolitan Park has been reforested with native trees and now boasts about 200 species of birds.

Recently, in an enormous park in Mexico City – Parque Chapultepec  — we ventured out to bird one morning and took some amazingly not-great photos BUT they are good enough to make a new Quiz Bird post for you!

Quiz Bird #2 — just the families will win the game!

Just name the five families and the first person who figures them out correctly will win either 6 Currant Scones or a six-pack of Imperial, Costa Rica’s national beer (your choice). If you can name all five species, you’ll get an extra surprise. Send your answers to: eltangaral@gmail.com. If you live in San Vito, your prize will be delivered at our next Bird Walk on Sunday, November 4 at 7:30 a.m. at Las Cruces. If you live anywhere else, we’ll mail you a non-comestible prize.

Quiz bird #3

In Cornell University’s local environmental education program, Detectives de Aves or BirdSleuth-International, any of the students would ace this quiz. Lesson 7 features bird family silhouettes and these photos, although they appear to have been taken by our anti-photographer, are perfectly adequate for you to correctly identify these groups. All our Detectives de Aves students are eligible to win this contest but no beer for them; instead, a dozen homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies. Attention Detectives: please include your name, school and grade level for proper eligibility.

Quiz Bird #5 — and it’s a gimme!

Quiz Bird #4

 

Birds on the Move/Las aves en movimiento

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Female Flame-rumped Tanager, a new record for Costa Rica. Photo by Pepe Castiblanco

On a sunny morning in early November, Pepe Castiblanco and I went to look for a bird that had never been recorded in Costa Rica until it was discovered in October. Most followers of this website know Pepe but, in case you do not, he is a birder, natural history guide, musician, raconteur, photographer, baker, restaurateur and co-owner – with his wife Kata Ulenaers — of a nearby B&B.

Pepe’s friend, Juan Abel, who is dashing and works at the Organization for Tropical Studies as a forest guard, found this bird – a Flame-rumped Tanager – on his finca, consorting with a group of Cherrie’s Tanagers. He called some friends, extraordinary birders, to come take a look and so it went. Because this is private property, the search becomes a question of permission. We were grateful to have a chance to go look and got lucky with the bird.

Juan and his wife Ruth have a large, enthusiastic dog that lunged through the door as we pulled into the driveway. Before we were able to get out of the car, the dog clipped one of Juan’s sons’ legs, sending coffee dribbling all over its back, and climbed into the car onto my lap. It was an auspicious start.

We walked around the house, through a guava orchard. The trees look odd because each round, fat fruit is sequestered in a bag to stymie insects and birds. The Abels have chicken coops and banana feeders and a ring of old trees around their farm. We saw four Rose-breasted Grosbeaks taking the sun in a pine tree and heard woodpeckers and Slaty Spinetails churring from the woods.

After a bit, Hafjeth Abel, 19, joined our search party while he fed the chickens, steering us away from making hopeful glances at their banana feeder. The group of tanagers we were after apparently does not frequent the feeder but hangs around the other side of the property near the forest edge. Over we went and suddenly they arrived, sputtering and squeaking, with the Flame-rumped female in plain view, perched for Pepe’s camera. Two Yellow-billed Caciques came out of the forest — an uncommon sighting as they are more often heard than seen.

The new tanager comes with some confusing taxonomy. It has three common names: Flame-rumped, Lemon-rumped and Yellow-rumped. And two scientific names: Ramphocelus flammigerus and R. icteronotus plus a subspecies indicator like this: Ramphocelus flammigerus icternotus. You can consult the authority of your choice, but the Asociación Ornitológica de Costa Rica follows the American Ornithologists Union checklist so this one is being presented to the Rare Records Committee as Flame-rumped Tanager, Ramphocelus flammigerus.

Maybe another one will join it or show up elsewhere. We will try to keep ourselves updated and report back from time to time.

Juan Abel, standing back row center, found a new bird for Costa Rica in October 2017. Also pictured Pepe Castiblanco, standing right. Photographer unknown.

ESPANOL AQUI
Una mañana soleada de noviembre, Pepe Castiblanco y yo salimos a buscar un ave que nunca había sido registrada en Costa Rica, hasta que fue descubierta en octubre. La mayoría de quienes siguen este sitio web conocen a Pepe, pero en caso de que usted no lo conozcan, él es un pajarero, guía de historia natural, músico, anecdotista, fotógrafo, panadero, restaurador y co-propietario – con su esposa, Kata Ulenaers, — de un B&B de la localidad.

El amigo de Pepe, Juan Abel, quien es gallardo y trabaja para la Organización para Estudios Tropicales como guarda, encontró esta ave, Flame-rumped Tanager, en su finca, compartiendo con un grupo local de sargentos. Juan llamó a unos amigos, pajareros extraordinarios, para que vinieran a ver. Dado que esta es una propiedad privada, la búsqueda se convierte en una cuestión de permiso. Tuvimos la suerte de tener la oportunidad de ir a observar y encontrar el ave.

Juan y su esposa, Ruth, tienen un perro grande y entusiasta que se lanzó a través de la puerta mientras nos parquéabamos. Antes de que pudiéramos salir del carro, el perro atrapó una de las piernas de un hijo de Juan, echándose el café sobre el lomo, y se encaramó en el carro hasta llegar a mi regazo. Un prometedor comienzo.

A guava, bagged to exclude insects and birds. Photo by Alison Olivieri

Caminamos por la casa, hasta llegar a una plantación de guava. Los árboles se ven extraños porque secuestran su fruto en una vaina, para protegerlos de aves e insectos. Los Abels tienen gallineros y alimentadores de aves, y un anillo de árboles viejos alrededor de su granja. Vimos varios Picogrueso Pechirrosado (Calandrias) tomando el sol en un pino y escuchamos carpinteros y Arquitectos Plomizos en el bosque.

Después de un rato, Hafjeth Abel, de 19 años, se unió a nuestra búsqueda mientras alimentaba las gallinas, alejándonos de echar miradas esperanzadas al alimentador. Aparentemente, el grupo de tangaras que estábamos buscando no frecuenta el alimentador, sino el otro lado de la propiedad, cerca del lindero del bosque. Fuimos ahí y llegaron, chillando y revoloteando, con la hembra Flame-rumped a plena vista, en una posición privilegiada para la cámara de Pepe. Dos Caciques Picoplata salieron del bosque, una observación entraña, ya que frecuentemente se los escucha más de lo que se los ve.

La nueva tangara viene con una taxonomía confusa. Tiene tres nombres comunes: Flame-rumped, Lemon-rumped y Yellow-rumped; dos nombres científicos: Ramphocelus flammigerus y R. icteronotus; y un indicador de subespecie: Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus. Usted puede consultar con la autoridad de su escogencia, pero la Asociación Ornitológica de Costa Rica sigue el listado de la American Ornithologists Union, así que esta especie está presente en el Comité de Registros Raros como Flame-rumped Tanager, Ramphocelus flammigerus.

Quizá otra se le unirá o aparecerá en otro lugar. Trataremos de mantenernos al tanto y reportarle de cuando en cuando.

Distinguished Visitor: a Crested Owl at Finca Cantaros

One of the most charismatic owls in the country was spotted in late June at Finca Cantaros in a large bamboo grove near the lake. Although not considered “rare”, Crested Owls are not common and provide lucky viewers with a striking visual of the large white “V” between the eyes that sticks up over the head — all feathers, of course — and known as an “ear tuft”.
Lophostrix cristata, photo by Harry Hull.

Lophostrix cristata, photo by Harry Hull.

This beautiful owl was spotted by Ismael Cruz Medina, one of the students in a local environmental education program from nearby Sabalito called “Guardianes de la Tierra”, created and taught by the SVBC education program “Detectives de Aves” teacher Eugenio Garcia.

Cantaros owner Gail Hull would be happy to show visitors where the owl has been seen during the day but, of course, no guarantees! The reserve opens at 6:30 am every day, closing at 5:00 pm. The entrance fee for permanent residents and Ticos is C1,750 per adult, C1,000 for adolescents (12-17), and free for kids under 12. Foreign visitors pay $6 per adult and $3 per teen.

Espanol aqui

Uno de los búhos más carismáticos del país fue visto durante los últimos días de junio en
Finca Cántaros en un bosquecillo de bambú, cerca de la laguna. Aunque no se considera
“raro”, el Búho Penachudo no es común y dio a los suertudos observadores un vistazo a su llamativa “V” blanca entre los ojos, que sube por su cabeza, – toda de plumas, por
supuesto – y conocida como “ear tuft” (penacho).

Este hermoso búho fue visto por Ismael Cruz Medina, uno de los estudiantes de un programa de educación ambiental de Sabalito llamado “Guardianes de la Tierra” creado e impartido por el profesor Eugenio Garcia del programa educativo del SVBC “Detectives de Aves”.

La dueña de Cántaros, Gail Hull, estaría feliz de mostrar a los visitantes dónde fue avistado el búho durante el día pero, por supuesto, ¡no se garantiza que se vuelva a observar! La reserva abre a las 6:30 am todos los días y cierra a las 5:00 pm. La tarifa de entrada para residentes permanentes y ticos es de C1,750 por persona para adultos, C1,000 para adolescentes (12-17) y gratuita para niños menores de 12 años. Para visitantes extranjeros, la tarifa es de $6 por persona para adultos y $3 para adolescentes.

New tee shirts for sale!/Camisas nuevas a vender!

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New Tee Shirts! We have a limited quantity of new SVBC tee shirts — the men’s are chocolate brown (although you’d never know it by the attached photo, sorry!) and the women’s are cobalt blue with a fetching vee neck.

SVBC camisas nuevas; tomanos de hombres cafe y mujeres azul

SVBC camisas nuevas; tomanos de hombres cafe y mujeres azul

Please let us know if you are interested in supporting the club’s activities by purchasing one or more @ $20 or C10,000 each.

Send us a message by email to: sanvitobirdclub@gmail.com to place your order no later than Monday, September 7!
International orders will require an extra cost to cover postage and handling. We will advise you of the total cost upon receipt of your order.

Espanol aqui

Tenemos camisas a vender; una foto arriba. Los hombres son cafe; las mujeres son azul con un diseno de “V” al cuello.
Por favor, avisame si quiere a comprar una (o mas) al precio de C10,000 cada una.
Vamos a pedirlas el martes siguiente, entonces por favor avisanos el lunes (7 setiembre)!
Envianos un mensaje al correo electronica: sanvitobirdclub@gmail.com

Gracias!

Saturday Meeting Location Change/Sabado Reunion Cambio de Ubicacion

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Please note we will meet at 7:00 am at the Rio Java Gas Station (between the BM and Materiales Coto Brus) for our trip to the Museum of the Stone Spheres on Saturday. Please be on time so we can arrange carpools before our departure. Hope to see you there!

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Un aviso: vamos a reunir a las 7 por la manana sabado at la Bomba Rio Java (cerca de el supermercado BM y Materiales Coto Brus) antes de nuestro viaje a la Finca Seis. Por favor llega a tiempo; vamos arreglar los carros! Te esperamos, no falta!