Hummingbird Workshop Sunday, Oct. 4/Taller sobre Colibríes el domingo 4 de octubre

Espanol sigue

What hummingbird is this? Photo by Jo Davidson.

What hummingbird is this? Photo by Jo Davidson.

Birders and photographers: please come to a Hummingbird Workshop at Lydia Vogt’s property, Finca Sofia, at 8:00 am this Sunday (Oct. 4)!

You will find this beautiful and “birdy” property on the road to Los Angeles, just past the large AyA water tank on the left. The gate will be open a little before 8:00 am and you will see the sign for “Finca Sofia”. Park inside the gate; please bring something to sit on plus a hat or sunscreen.

We will spend an hour or so sitting by the “Pavo” and “Rabo de Gato” bushes watching and identifying hummingbirds feeding on and guarding these food sources. Last week on our bird walk there we had 8 species of hummingbirds in as many minutes!

As usual, we will have binoculars and bird books to share. This will be a good opportunity to learn these beautiful but difficult-to-identify birds!

Espanol aqui

Pajareros y fotógrafos, ¡por favor únansenos en un Taller sobre Colibríes en la propiedad de Lydia Vogt, Finca Sofia, este domingo (4 de octubre) a las 8 am!

Encontrarán esta hermosa y “pajarera” propiedad en la carretera a Los Ángeles, después de pasar el tanque grande de agua del AyA a la izquierda. El portón estará abierto poco antes de las 8:00 am y usted verá el letrero de “Finca Sofia”. Parquéese dentro del portón; por favor traiga algo sobre lo cual sentarse y un sombrero obloqueador solar.

Vamos a pasar más o menos una hora sentados junto a los arbustos de “Pavo” y “Rabo de Gato” viendo e identificando colibríes alimentándose y resguardando estas fuentes de alimento. La semana pasada, en nuestra caminata para pajarear allí, ¡vimos 8 especies de colibríes en la misma cantidad de minutos!

Como siempre, tendremos binoculares y guías de campo para compartir. ¡Ésta será una buena oportunidad para aprender sobre estos pájaros hermosos pero difíciles de identificar!

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

Espanol sigue

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!

Ta-daa: Quiz Bird #6!/¡Acertijo Aviario #6!

Congratulations to Nilanthi Kelsey of London (yes! UK!) for correctly and speedily identifying this Prothonotary Warbler, Protonotaria citrea.

Prothonotary Warbler (photo by Bill XXXX).

Prothonotary Warbler (photo by Bill Batsford).

Nilanthi kindly declined her prize so we will send our tee shirt to Linda Threatte, (first runner up) of Pisgah Forest, NC!

We had 9 entries for this contest; 7 of which were correct. Congratulations to: Mike Judd, Wendy Russell, Patty Scott, Dave Janas and Nic Korte!

Again, special thanks are extended to Bill Batsford of New Haven, CT for permission to use this photo, taken in April 2015 at the Connecticut Audubon Larsen Sanctuary in Fairfield, CT.

Espanol aqui

Felicitaciones a Nilanthi Kelsey de Londres (si! Angleterra!) por identificar rápida y correctamente a la Reinita Cabecidorada.

Pronotonaria citrea (foto de Bill Batsford)

Pronotonaria citrea (foto de Bill Batsford).

Nilanthi rechazo su premio debido al costo de correo; entonces vamos a enviar la camiseta a Linda Threatte, la subcampeona, en el estado de North Carolina.

Tuvimos 9 entradas para este concurso; 7 de las cuales fueron correctas.

Nuevamente extendemos un agradecimiento especial a Bill Batsford de New Haven, CT, por su permiso para utilizar esta foto, tomada en abril de 2015 en el Connecticut Audubon Larsen Sanctuary en Fairfield, CT.

!Quiz Bird #6/Acertijo Aviario #6!

Espanol sigue

Quiz Bird #6!

Quiz Bird #6!

Here is a Mystery Bird of medium difficulty:

Clue #1: During the breeding season (April-August), we notice the absence of shorebirds, thrushes, flycatchers, warblers, orioles and tanagers; about 25% of our total species migrate to North America to breed.

Clue #2: This photo was taken in April in the small state of Connecticut.

Clue #3: In Costa Rica, it is usually found within 6 meters of the ground and favors thickets near water.

Please send your answer ASAP to sanvitobirdclub@gmail.com. The prize for this contest is a black SVBC tee shirt, women’s size 14.

We extend our thanks to Bill Batsford for permission to use this beautiful photo.  Please note: if your initials are JR, JZ or FS you are not eligible for this game!

Espanol aqui

Quiz Bird #6

Acertijo Aviario #6

Aquí hay un Pájaro Misterioso de mediana dificultad.

Pista #1: Durante la temporada de cría de abril – agosto, notamos la ausencia de aves playeras, zorzales, mosqueros, reinitas, bolseros y tangaras; cerca del 25% del total de nuestras especies migran hacia América del Norte para criar.

Pista #2: Esta foto fue tomada en el pequeño estado de Connecticut en abril.

Pista #3: En Costa Rica, usualmente se encuentra bajo los 6 metros al suelo y prefiere los matorrales cercanos al agua.

Por favor envíe su respuesta tan pronto como le sea posible a este correo electronico: sanvitobirdclub@gmail.com. El premio para este concurso es una camiseta negra del SVBC talla 14 femenina.

Un agradecimiento especial a Bill Batsford por su permiso para utilizar esta hermosa foto.

 

 

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.

!Quiz Bird #5/Acertijo Aviario #5!

Sigue en espanol

This is a hard one, so get out your field guides!

Mystery Bird #5 (photo by Gail Hull)

Mystery Bird #5 (photo by Gail Hull)

Clue #1: This bird belongs to the most diverse (and some say most ‘difficult’) group in Costa Rica comprised of 78 species.

Clue #2: The photo was taken in April at the San Joaquin Wetlands just outside of San Vito on the road to Sabalito.

Clue #3: Our bird stays low in secondary growth and is often found near water.

The prize for this contest is a handy-dandy rain poncho – lightweight, compact and perfect to tuck into your pocket or birding pack — especially useful at this time of year.

Please note: if your initials are JD, JG, JR, JZ or LA you are not eligible for this game!

Espanol aqui

Este es difícil, ¡Así que saquen sus guías de campo!

Pista #1: Esta ave pertenece al más diverso (y algunos dicen que al más “difícil”) grupo en Costa Rica compuesto por 78 especies.

Pista #2: La fotografía fue tomada en abril, en los humedales de San Joaquín, en las afueras de San Vito sobre la carretera a Sabalito.

Pista #3: Nuestra ave se mantiene en la parte baja del bosque secundario y se encuentra usualmente cerca de agua.

El premio para este concurso es un poncho conveniente para la lluvia – liviano, compacto y perfecto para meterlo en su bolsillo o mochila para pajarear (especialmente útil durante esta época del año).

Por favor tome en cuenta que: Si sus iniciales son JD, JG, JR, JZ o LA , ¡Usted no es elegible para este juego!

Masked Ducks at Finca Cantaros!

A pair of Masked Ducks, Nomonyx dominicus, was seen Saturday, April 25 at Finca Cantaros, by an intrepid group from the SVBC including Roni Chernin, Jo Davidson, Peter Wendell, Nick and Mary from Colorado, and Gail Hull. These birds are often described as “secretive” and “uncommon” and can be difficult to find SO: here’s your chance!

Male Masked Duck in breeding plumage! Photo by Gail Hull (2014).

Male Masked Duck in breeding plumage! Photo by Gail Hull (2014).

Quiz Bird #2 Revealed/La Respuesta del Prueba #2!

Sigue en espanol

Quiz Bird #2 had nine entries, two of which were correct: Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria).

Lesser Goldfinch photographed by Jo Davidson.

Lesser Goldfinch photographed by Jo Davidson.

Our Official Winner is Suzanne Gross of Piedades, Santa Ana, who came on one of our walks at the Wilson Garden last December. Due to the difficulty of mailing cookies from San Vito, Suzanne has generously donated her one dozen Chocolate Chips to our next Bird Walk at the Wilson Garden.

Other entries included two orioles, two tanagers, a vireo, a warbler and a seedeater.

Thanks for a great job Photographer Jo Davidson on making sure the bill was hidden behind a leaf: we fooled everybody except Suzanne and member Jim Zook.

Gracias a nuestra miembre Jo Davidson para su foto de un Carduelis psaltria!

Tuvimos mas respuestas este vez, pero solo dos de nueve estaban correctos.

Felicidades a Suzanne Gross de Piedades, Santa Ana: su respuesta estaba correcto: Lesser Goldfinch!

English Language Students Attend Bird Walk

We were happily overrun with students from the CaRob Instituto de Ingles in San Vito on a recent Bird Walk at Finca Cantaros, a change in venue from our regular twice-monthly outings at the Wilson Botanical Garden.

Lush trails at Finca Cantaros. Photo by Barbara Barton.

Lush trails at Finca Cantaros. Photo by Barb Keeler-Barton.

Alma Dionisi, one of the Instituto’s English teachers, brought her class of 10 via minibus for a two-hour bird walk followed by an English language practice session. Wendy Russell Bernstein, Barb Keeler-Barton, Roni Chernin, Caroline Torres, Susan England and Judith and Joe Ippolito were all on hand to help out – both with bird spotting and practicing conversational English.

The idea for this walk came from Wilkin, one of Alma’s students. Wilkin is a passionate birder, a friend of SVBC Member Cecilia Sansonetti’s and has birded with us several times in the past. Unfortunately he cannot attend more of our walks at the moment because his Saturday mornings are occupied with learning English!

Chatting in English in the Rancho Grande. Photo by Barbara Barton.

Chatting in English in the Rancho Grande. Photo by Barb Keeler-Barton.

It was a large group but we nonetheless managed to see 28 species of birds including one neotropical migrant, a Black-and-white Warbler, sighted by Susan England. Thanks to Alma for organizing this fun morning and also to our loyal volunteer helpers.

Birding from the Canopy Tower

On a recent Bird Walk at the Wilson Botanical Garden, our group of 10 climbed the Canopy Tower to look for returning migrants. Although we did not see any of those, we did see two Masked Tityras, spotted by Caroline Torres.

Masked Tityra. Photo by Mark W. Eaton.

Masked Tityra (Photo by Mark W. Eaton)

I’m not sure why but these birds always give me a jolt of surprise. Maybe it’s the incredible white plumage or perhaps it’s the bright pink orbital skin around the eye and face? Being close to them in the canopy was a thrill as their size is often diminished when they’re seen – typically high in the trees — from the ground. Here, on the Tower, we had the chance to view them at slightly lower than eye level, allowing us to experience them as striking-looking, big, white flycatchers.

When the Tower was inaugurated in May 2011 (click here to read more about this event), we decided to keep a list of all species seen and/or heard in the immediate vicinity. On our recent visit we added add two new ones to the Canopy Tower Bird List: Laughing Falcon (heard not seen) and Spot-crowned Euphonia.

Laughing Falcon (Photo by Alison Olivieri)

Laughing Falcon (Photo by Alison Olivieri)

The falcon’s resonant, slightly eerie call is described by F. Gary Stiles and Alexander F. Skutch in A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica, as “. . . . a long, rhythmic series of loud, hollow notes with somewhat the quality of a child’s shout.”  The local name of this raptor, Guaco, is synchronous with its call so once you learn and hear it, you can be certain it’s a Laughing Falcon. It is well known that this bird of prey’s favorite food item is any kind of snake so they are cherished by local people and those of us who wish they would visit often and eat their fill.

Our female Spot-crowned Euphonia perched quite close to the Tower, affording some of the group excellent looks at her distinctive field marks of rufous forecrown and belly. Identifying this species is easy if you are prepared to do a little work with your field guide. The males are the only euphonia with yellow spots on the crown patch but, if you are looking from below, it is often easier to identify the female. This is a puzzle where the range maps in the Garrigues and Dean field guide (The Birds of Costa Rica) really come in handy. You’ll quickly see another species with similar markings on the female, Olive-backed Euphonia, but a glance at the map will tell you the Olive-backed is found on the Caribbean side and Spot-crowned is the bird you see here.

To date we have 67 species on this list and 10 birders have contributed sightings. If you are curious and would like a copy, don’t hesitate to contact us. Likewise, please let us know if you see or hear a species we are missing.

Thanks to Caroline Torres, Roni Chernin, Jeff Wick, Barb Barton, Judith and Joe Ippolito, Donna and Tony Pagano and their surrogate grandson Rolando for joining us on this walk.