Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter May 2, 2018
133 Species Sighted Last Month
May is the month of nesting. Many species have already nested, but all the others will start nesting this month. There will be more bird song, a bigger dawn chorus, and many otherwise shy birds will be more visible.

In April a small group went up Mount Garcia, on the south side of the lake, in an unsuccessfull hunt for Montezuma Quail, but discovered a very pretty and 'birdy' pond on the ridge, and also sighted a Greater Roadrunner.

A larger group went south of the lake area to Concepcion de Buenos Aires sighting higher altitude birds such as Tufted Flycatcher, Slate-throated Redstart and at night, Mexican Whip-poor-will. Shortly after, Brian Lewis heard these Whip-poor-wills unexpectedly on the hill above San Juan Cosala where he lives. Perhaps we are not doing enough night-birding!

Global Big Day, Saturday May 5

Everyone is encouraged to go birding on May 5 to see how many species they can find in one day, and record the list on eBird. For serious birders, a Big Day is when you bird from midnight to midnight travelling to good spots to maximize the number of species you sight. It has become a team sport. The challenge on May 5 is to see how close we can come to reporting all of the world's 10,000 bird species on that day. You don't have to form a team to take part.

Illustrated Bird Folder for Chapala

We would like more people to be aware that there is now a handsome, laminated folder that illustrates 140 local bird species, called 'Quick Guide to the Birds of the Metropolitan Zone of Guadalajara and Chapala'. Currently we have it available for sale at Diane Pearl Coleciones at Colon and Constitucion in Ajijic, for $150 pesos. This is produced with the help of the US non-profit 'Defenders of Wildlife', which is producing similar guides for other cities and tourist destinations in Mexico.
Colima Warbler
       Colima Warbler as seen on the Jocotepec Mountain in March

Species details:

-  The Colima Warbler is an endemic species in Mexico that is also found in one small corner of Big Bend National Park, TX, in the summer.
-  It's identified by a white eyering, brownish-gray coloring, gray head, yellow rump and vent. Males may show a reddish crest.
-  It's a high altitude bird found in pine-oak forests above 6,000 ft.
-  Its summer breeding range is in NE Mexico, and its winter range is a triangular area extending north from Guadalajara on the Sierra Madre as well as east from Guadalajara on the Transvolcanic Belt.
-  It feeds on insects and caterpillars; and builds a nest on the ground, well hidden by overhanging grass, roots or rocks.
Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks
Our bird walks are open to all those interested in birds, both beginners and experienced birders. Just bring binoculars and show up. We always have knowledgeable birders on hand to identify the species. If you are being given a ride, please make a contribution to gas and tolls (perhaps 50-100 pesos for a half day outing, 100-200 for a day trip).
 
On Monday May 7 we will meet at 8.00 am to walk the Allen Lloyd Trail which follows a mile-long arroyo with lots of underbrush in which birds love to hide. Expect to see Stripe-headed Sparrow, Western Wood Pewee and possibly a Squirrel Cuckoo. At 10.15 we will head to Cafe Negro restaurant for breakfast.
How to Get There: Drive up the Libramiento a half mile from the traffic light at Walmart, and park on the north side of the road across from the El Dorado Condominium tower.

On Saturday May 12 we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to car pool, proceeding immediately to the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the plateau above the south side of the lake (60 minute drive). Expect to see higher altitude and pasture birds such as Eastern Meadowlark, Redwing Blackbird and if we are lucky a Roadrunner. Bring refreshments for the morning and sandwiches for the 12.30 lunch stop. We will be back about 3.00 pm. If you plan on going, please email John at chapalabirders@yahoo.com at least 24 hours ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On April 6, there were seven birders out for the walk at La Cristina. Interesting sightings included Black-vented Oriole, Common Raven, Plumbeous Vireo, Cliff Swallow (in addition to the regular Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallow), Tri-colored Heron and Black-headed Grosbeak, part of an impressive total of 56 species.

On April 16, eleven keen birders travelled to Villa Corona on Lake Atotonilco, were we observed 59 species. These included both Snowy and Semipalmated Plover, American Pipit, Eastern Meadowlark, 10 Roseate Spoonbills, 50 Woodstorks and both Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbird.

The April 25 trip to Tapalpa was postponed due to low interest (a time of year thing).
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 133 species sighted around Lake Chapala in April:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet American (Ca)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Tr,Ca)
Bunting, indigo
Bunting, varied
Bushtit
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, common ground (Tr)
Dove Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning (Tr,Ca)
Dove, white-tipped
Dive, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed (Ca)
Duck, black-bellied whistling (Xt)
Duck, fulvous-whistling (Xt)
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy (Ca)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (At,Sa)
Euphonia, elegant (Tr)
House, finch
Flycatcher, buff-breasted
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, grey silky (Tr)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermillion
Gallinule, common
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least (Ca)
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, gray
Hawk, red-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, blue-throated
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, calliope
Hummingbird, violet crowned
Ibis, white-faced (Ca)
Jacana, northern (Xt)
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kiskadee, great
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Motmot, russet-crowned
Nightjar, buff-collared
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, orchard (Ac)
Oriole streak-backed
Owl, great-horned
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, western wood (Tr)
Pigeon, rock
Pipit, American (Ps)
Rail, Virginia
Raven, common
Roadrunner, greater
Robin, American
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, white-collared
Shrike, loggerhead
Solitaire, brown-backed (Tr)
Sora (Xt)
Sparrow, chipping
Sparrow, clay-colored
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked (Ca)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Swallow, violet-green
Tanager, hepatic
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Tern, Caspian
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, hermit (Tr)
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, golden
Vireo, plumbeous
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, MacGillivray's (Sa)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, rufous-capped
Warbler, Tennessee
Warbler, Virginia's (Sa)
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow (Ac)
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Waterthrush, northern (Tu)
Whip-poor-will, Mexican (Sc)
Wigeon, American (Ac)
Woodpecker, acorn
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, marsh
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, greater (Ca)
Yellowlegs, lesser (Ps)

Location codes:
Ac - Ajijic: La Cristina/El Bajio
At - Trails above Ajijic
Av - Ajijic village
Ca - Lake Cajititlan
Ch - Chapala
Cu - Cuitzeo/Ocotlan
Dm - Dike near Malteraña
Dp - Dike near La Palma
Hv - Hidden Valley oak forest
Ja - Jamay
La - La Cañada-Hidden Valley
Jo - Jocotepec
Ld - Lerma & Duero rivers
Pe - Petatan area
Ps - Pumping Station/Santa Cruz
Pt - San Pedro Tesistan area
Pz - San Pedro Itzican area
Ra - Rosa Amarilla loop
Rc - Santa Rosa/Carnero dam
Rp - Riberas del Pilar & canyon
Sa - San Antonio/Allen Lloyd Trail
Sc - San Juan Cosala
Sn - San Nicholas/Golf Club
Tz - Tizapan canyon
Te - San Juan Tecomatlan/Mezcala
Tr - Las Trojes/oak forest
Tu - Tuxcueca/San Luis Soyatlan
Xt - Ixtlahuacan/Las Campanillas
John&Rosemary
Lake Chapala Birders is an informal group of bird observers led by John and Rosemary Keeling. Don't hesitate to contact us if you are seeking information about birding in the area. We also like to hear about sightings of birds or nests at: chapalabirders@yahoo.com or 376.766.1801. Check out the website: chapalabirders.org

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter April 2, 2018
160 Species Sighted Last Month
This is another record number of species for this time of year. We think this is primarily a result of having more and better birders here.  The complete list of March sightings is shown at the end of this newsletter.

April is the month in which all the northern migrants fly up north to breed in the US, Canada and the Arctic. At the same time we see southern migrants arriving here to breed, including Northern Beardless Tyrannulet and Western Wood Pewee.

Carlo Cuevas has been busy in March, monitoring the birds of the Jocotepec Malecon park for his undergraduate thesis and starting a birding group in Joco. He invited birders from Guadalajara and Autlan to his first bird walk on March 11. He also took his Autlan friends to the top of the Jocotepec mountain, where they identified two species which are new for Lake Chapala but which they see in the Autlan area: Blue Bunting and Colima Warbler.

Other unusual sightings:
- Carlo observed a Virginia Rail in the reeds at the pier of the Jocotepec malecon. (We also managed to see this bird on our March 9 bird walk).
- Don Bell saw a rare Northern Goshawk on the west side of Ajijic.
Virginia Rail
Photo of a Virginia Rail at the Jocotepec malecon taken by Carlo Cuevas in March. This is unusual here. It is shy and is at the southern end of its 'normal' winter range.

Species details:

Virginia Rail may be identified by three characteristics: it is half the size of our other rail (Aztec Rail); has a blue-gray side to the face; and patches of rusty-red feathers on the wings.
-  It is found only in shallow water marshes with reeds. It is rarely seen, spending its time hiding in the reeds. It eats insects and small animals such as worms, slugs, small fish and frogs.
-  It winters from September to April in much of central Mexico as far south as Lake Chapala and also on the southeast coast of the US.
-  It flys north in April, and in May lays up to a dozen eggs which produce black chicks.
-  Its summer range includes southern Canada, north-east US and much of the western US.
Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks
Our bird walks are open to all those interested in birds, both beginners and experienced birders. Just bring binoculars and show up. We always have knowledgeable birders on hand to identify the species. If you are being given a ride, please make a contribution to gas and tolls (perhaps 50-100 pesos for a half day outing, 100-200 for a day trip).
 
On Friday April 6 we will meet at 8.00 a.m. at La Cristina on the west side of Ajijic. We will see some shore birds, some birds in the tall trees and some birds in the scrub. At about 10.00 a.m. we will head to Fonda Dona Lola for breakfast and complete the bird list.
How to Get There: Drive about 2 mi (4km) west from Colon, look for signs for Hacienda La Cristina (near signs for Las Palmas, a bus stop and a vivero), turn down to the lake, and park close to the lake.

On Monday April 16, we will meet at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am to carpool, leaving immediately for Villa Corona (60 minutes drive). We expect to see Black-necked Stilts and Roseate Spoonbills, among other species. Bring your own morning refreshments. We will be back in Ajijic around 1.00 pm. If you plan on going, please email John at chapalabirders@yahoo.com ahead of time saying whether you will bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning.

On Wednesday April 25, we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts, leaving immediately for the Sierra de Tapalpa (90 minutes away). We will bird from 9.30 till 12.30 and have lunch in the town of Tapalpa and complete the bird list. We expect to see higher altitude birds such as Acorn Woodpecker and Slate-throated Redstart and if we are lucky Trans-volcanic Jay. Bring your own refreshments for the morning. We will be back about 5.00 pm. If you plan on going, please email John at chapalabirders@yahoo.com ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On March 9, twelve birders joined us at the Jocotepec Malecon Park. The highlights were sightings of the rare Virginia Rail, and also the shy Least Bittern. We also saw Yellow Warbler, Lucy's Warbler, Marsh Wren, Bullock's Oriole and Common Yellowthroat, out of a total of 46 species.

On March 14, we had 18 people to visit the prime spots on the Lakeshore east of Chapala.We recorded American Pipit, Orchard Oriole, American Avocet, Red-winged Blackbird and Yellow-headed Blackbird. Also we saw a hawk in a tree showing a blue bill, which we identified as an immature Red-tailed Hawk. The species count was 74.

On March 26, we attracted 20 people to walk up the Allen Lloyd Arroyo where we spotted 55 species including Lazuli Bunting, Western Kingbird, Cooper's Hawk, Rufous-capped Warbler and Macgillivray's Warbler. After hearing the call of the tiny Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, we managed to bring it in close by playing a recording. This bird is frequently overlooked because of its small size.  
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 160 species sighted around Lake Chapala in March:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ch)
Bittern, least (Jo)
Blackbird, red-winged (Ch)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ch)
Bunting, blue (Jo)
Bunting, indigo
Bunting, lazuli (Sa)
Bunting, painted (Ac)
Bunting, varied
Bushtit (At)
Caracara, crested
Chat, yellow-breasted (Ac)
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel (At)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning (Av)
Dive, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed (Ch)
Duck, Mexican
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated (Jo,Sa)
Flycatcher, cordilleran (Sa)
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray (Ac)
Flycatcher, least (Sa)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gadwall (Ac,Ch)
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Goshawk, northern
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, Clark's (Tu)
Grebe, least
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, Cooper's
Hawk, red-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green (Ch)
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, calliope ((Ac)
Hummingbird, ruby-throated (Ac)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Hummingbird, white-eared (Ac)
Ibis, white-faced
Kestrel, American
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kingfisher, belted
Kingfisher, green (La)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Ch)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Motmot, russet-crowned (At,Jo)
Nighthawk, lesser (Jo)
Nightjar, buff-collared (Av,Jo)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard (Ch)
Oriole, streak-backed
Owl, barn (Jo)
Owl, ferruginous pygmy (Jo)
Owl, great horned
Parakeet, monk (Av,Ch,Sn)
Parrot, red-lored (Ch)
Pelican, American white
Pelican, brown (Jo)
Pewee, greater (Av,Ch)
Pigeon, rock
Pintail, northern
Pipit, American (Ps)
Plover, semipalmated (Ch)
Rail, Virginia (Jo)
Raven, common
Redstart, American (Jo)
Redstart, painted (Sa)
Roadrunner, lesser (Jo)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Sandpiper, spotted
Sapsucker, yellow-bellied (Jo)
Seedeater, white-collared
Shoveler, northern (Ch)
Shrike, loggerhead
Sora
Sparrow, chipping (At)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's (Jo)
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground (Sa,Jo)
Sparrow, savannah (Sa)
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked
Swallow, bank (Jo)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff (Tu)
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Teal, green-winged
Tern, Caspian
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale (Jo)
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless (Sa,At)
Vireo, Cassin's (Sa,At)
Vireo, golden (Sa,At)
Vireo, Hutton's (Jo)
Vireo, plumbeous
Vireo, warbling (Av,Sa)
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, Colima (Jo)
Warbler, Lucy's (Jo)
Warbler, MacGillivray's (Jo,Sa)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned
Warbler, red-faced (Tr)
Warbler, rufous-capped (Sa)
Warbler, Virginia's
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow (Ch)
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Whip-poor-will, Mexican (Jo)
Wigeon, American
Willet
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, house (Av)
Wren, Marsh
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, greater
Yellowthroat, common

Location codes:
Ac - Ajijic: La Cristina/El Bajio
At - Trails above Ajijic
Av - Ajijic village
Ca - Lake Cajititlan
Ch - Chapala
Cu - Cuitzeo/Ocotlan
Dm - Dike near Malteraña
Dp - Dike near La Palma
Ja - Jamay
Jo - Jocotepec
La - La Cañada/Hidden Valley
Ld - Lerma & Duero rivers
Pe - Petatan area
Ps - Pumping Station/Santa Cruz
Pt - San Pedro Tesistan area
Pz - San Pedro Itzican area
Ra - Rosa Amarilla loop
Rc - Santa Rosa/Carnero dam
Rp - Riberas del Pilar & canyon
Sa - San Antonio/Chula Vista
Sc - San Juan Cosala
Sn - San Nicholas/Golf Club
Tz - Tizapan canyon/Rio la Pasion
Te - San Juan Tecomatlan/Mezcala
Tr - Las Trojes/oak forest
Tu - Tuxcueca/San Luis Soyatlan
Xt - Ixtlahuacan/Las Campanillas
John&Rosemary
Lake Chapala Birders is an informal group of bird observers led by John and Rosemary Keeling. Don't hesitate to contact us if you are seeking information about birding in the area. We also like to hear about sightings of birds or nests at: chapalabirders@yahoo.com or 376.766.1801. Check out the website: chapalabirders.org