Sunday, November 5, 2017

Birding Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter November 2, 2017
120 Species Sighted Last Month
The complete list of October sightings is shown at the end of this newsletter.

Interesting sightings last month:

-  Local birder Helen Sanchez sent us a photo of a Northern Cardinal which she took recently at Lake Cajititlan. This species has not been seen here before - we are wondering whether it might have been a cage-escape.
-  John Keeling saw a Painted Redstart in the Tempisque arroyo. We expect to see this species on migration at higher altitude above Las Trojes. It is unexpected to see it so close to lake level.
-  At the Pumping Station we saw Eastern Phoebe and Say's Phoebe. Both are unusual visitors.

Another New Species for the Lake Chapala List

John was birding this month in the oak woods above the lakeside village of San Pedro Itzican, when a Louisiana Waterthrush popped out of the bushes looking for insects under leaves in a large water puddle on the trail. It was apparently on migration from the US to central America. We have not previously seen this species in the Lake Chapala region.


Mark your calendar for the Christmas Bird Count:

The Ajijic Christmas Bird Count will be held on Friday December 15, and the Count at the east end of the lake (50 miles away) will be on Monday December 18. Everyone is invited to take part. Registration details will appear in our December 2nd Newsletter.
Louisiana Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush photo by Mexican birder Raul Padilla.

Species details:

- The Louisiana Waterthrush looks like a small thrush, but is actually part of the warbler family. It breeds in the Eastern US, and winters from September to March in Central America from Mexico to Colombia as well as in the West Indies. If we see it here it is likely to be on migration.
- It is known for its tail-wagging, hopping around creeks or puddles, lifting up leaves and eating anything that moves underneath.
- Its preferred breeding habitat is close to running water, but in winter is found on wet trails, parks and gardens not far from streams.
- It eats primarily small water-based animals such as larvae of dragon flies and mayflies, small crustaciens, tiny fish as well as snails, seeds, beetles and ants.
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 November 10 we will meet at 8.15 am at the entrance to La Cristianía Park in Chapala. We should see an interesting selection of species in the tall trees and on the shore of the lake. At about 10.30 we will go to Las Delicias for breakfast and complete the bird list.
How to Get There:  From Ajijic go to the traffic light at the main street of Chapala (Av. Madero), cross straight over and keep going straight for five blocks, turn left at the T intersection and park on the right.

On Friday November 17, we will meet at 8.00 am to carpool at Donas, leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla Loop, on the plateau above the south side of the lake (60 minutes 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 ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning.


On Monday November 27 we will meet at 8.00 am to carpool at Donas Donuts, leaving immediately for Lake Cajititlan (30 minutes drive). We will see a variety of marsh and lake birds. At about 10.15 we will go Las Delicias restaurant in Chapala for breakfast and complete the bird list. If you plan on going, email John: Chapalabirders@yahoo.com ahead of time indicating whether or not you will have a car.
Should you be Putting your Sightings on eBird?
If you like to observe and identify birds, and occasionaly make lists, then you should consider recording your lists on eBird. It is a world-wide database of bird sightings that keeps track of your lists and allows you to see your life list, your state list, etc. It also allows you to see what other people have seen. For instance, you can ask for a map of all reports of Crested Caracara in your area in the last month.

To sign up, you supply your name and a password at ebird.org, and start entering data, giving the location and times of your sightings. eBird has a mobile app for recording in the field, and a large help section on the website with "Frequently Asked Questions".

The database is particularly valuable for scientists to study trends such as the spreading or decline of species due to droughts, climate change, and other factors, which is important for guiding environmental policies.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On October 13 we had 17 people out for the hike up the Allen Lloyd Trail. We observed Gray Hawk, American Kestrel, Common Raven, Stripe-headed Sparrow, Western Tanager and Black and White Warbler, out of total of 28 species.

On October 18 seven people made it out for the hike up the Las Trojes 'Horizontal Oak Forest Trail'. Again we sighted 28 species including Red-tailed and Sharp-shinned Hawks, Blue Grosbeak, Mountain Trogon (heard), Cassin's Vireo, and at the highest point we saw Painted Redstart, Red-faced Warbler and Buff-collared Nightjar. This last bird was disturbed from it's sleep on the ground, flew up in a clumsy manner, and settled horizontally on a tree branch.

On October 27  eleven keen birders travelled to the Sierra de Tapalpa where we identified 38 species including White-eared and Rufous Hummingbirds, Gray-silky flycatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Hepatic Tanager, Olive Warbler, White-tailed Hawk and Acorn Woodpecker.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 120 species sighted around Lake Chapala in September:

Ani, groove-billed
Becard, rose-throated (Ps)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Caracara, crested
Coot American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel (At)
Dove, common ground (Tr)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Duck, Mexican
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (At, Sn)
Euphonia, elegant
Finch, house
Flycatcher, buff-breasted(Tr)
Flycatcher, cordilleran
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray silky (Av)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed (Tr)
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, Cooper's
Hawk, gray (Sa)
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, sharp-shinned
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, tri-colored (Ch)
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, Rivoli's (magnificent) (Tr)
Hummingbird, ruby-throated (Tr)
Hummingbird, rufous
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa,Ac)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Nightjar, buff-collared
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard (Ca)
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey
Owl, great-horned (Av)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater (Tr)
Pewee, western wood
Phoebe, eastern (Ps)
Phoebe, Say's (Ps)
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Redstart, American (Pz)
Redstart, painted (At)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted
Shrike, loggerhead
Solitaire, brown-backed (Tr)
Sora
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Tanager, hepatic (Tr)
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Trogon, mountain (Tr)
Tyrannulet, northern beardless (Sa)
Vireo, Bell's (Tr)
Vireo, Cassin's
Vireo, golden (At)
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, back-throated gray
Warbler, hermit (tr)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, red-faced (Tr)
Warbler, rufous-capped
Warbler, Townsend's
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Waterthrush, Louisiana (Pz)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, house (Tr)
Wren, spotted

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
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/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/South Shore area
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

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Birding Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter October 2, 2017
98 Species Sighted Last Month
The complete list of September sightings is shown at the end of this newsletter.

Though we made an effort to push the September listing significantly above the August level (98 species compared to 97) the returning fall migrants seemed happier to stay in the north rather than boost our numbers!

Interesting sightings this month:

-  On the Cajititlan Marsh bird trip we were pleasantly surprised to see in the big tree not only an Osprey but a pair of Peregrine Falcons - both of these species are seen year-round here, but are not common.
-  Paul Hart sighted a Yellow-throated Warbler from his house on the west side of Ajijic. This is a pretty bird, somewhat similar to Grace's Warbler which also has a yellow throat. The reference books show that both Yellow-throated and Graces are not really expected here, but we do see both on occasion.
Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon as seen at Lake Cajititlan in September.

Species details:

- Peregrine falcons are so successful, they are found in most parts of the world. They are year-round residents in our area and in northern Mexico, but are winter visitors to southern Mexico.
- They are heavily-built birds with a wingspan of 40 in (100cm) and, as with many falcons and hawks, the females are noticeably larger than the males.
- They are renowned for the speed achieved in vertical dives. They go up to a great height, and having chosen their prey (usually a medium sized bird) they close their wings and dive. Their aim is to hit the wing of the target bird with a leg to disable the target, then they turn in mid-air to catch the falling prey to take it away and eat it.
- Their primary food is pigeons and ducks, but if they are hungry and something smaller or bigger comes by they will catch it and eat it.
- Pairs mate for life. In the spring, a primitive nesting spot is selected on a ledge on a cliff or tall building where four eggs are laid. Incubation takes 30 days, fledging takes 40 days, and the fledglings need looking after for another 40 days.
- Their major predator is the Great Horned Owl which is larger and more powerful.
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 October 13 we will meet at 8.00 am at the Allen Lloyd Trail which follows a mile-long arroyo with lots of underbrush in which birds love to hide. It remains our most interesting local bird walk. Expect to see Golden-fronted Woodpecker, stripe-headed Sparrow and Blue Mockingbird. At 10.15 we will head to Sunrise restaurant for breakfast and complete the birdlist.
How to Get There: Drive up the Libramiento a half mile and park on the north side of the road opposite El Dorado Condominium.

On Wednesday October 18 we will meet a 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for Las Trojes (one hour away), to hike the Horizontal Oak Forest Trail. We hike to the edge of the hidden valley (3-hours hiking uphill, 2-hours back). Don't expect very many birds, but the hike is very pleasant and we may see the Red-faced Warbler. We will be back about 4.00 pm. Bring refreshments and sandwiches for lunch at noon at the top. If you plan on going, please email John at chapalabirders@yahoo.com ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning.

On Friday October 27 we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to carpool, 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.
Local Boy's Birding Research Paper Published
For the last two years we have been following the progress of university student Carlo Cuevas from Jocotepec. He is in his final year of Environmental Studies at the Autlan campus of the University of Guadalajara. His first major research paper has just been published in Huitzil, the Mexican Journal for bird research. His paper is a report on the birds seen at the Jocotepec malecon. This is quite a coup for an undergraduate student. We congratulate him for his work.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On September 9 five keen birders set out for Villa Corona on Lago Atotonilco. We observed 46 species including 50 beautiful Clark's Grebes, as well as both Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Eastern Meadowlark, Greater Roadrunner, and 40 Roseate Spoonbills.

On September 19 five people got the the Malecon in Jocotepec, but not all at the same time unfortunately! Thirty one species were sighted including Northern Jacana, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-headed Blackbird and Social Flycatcher.

On September 25 we had seven birders at Lake Cajititlan Marsh where we saw Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Osprey, Peregine Falcon, Crested Caracara, and both Western Wood Pewee and Greater Pewee for a total of 44 species.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 98 species sighted around Lake Chapala in September:

Ani, groove-billed
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bluebird, eastern (Ra)
Bobwhite, northern (Ca)
Bushtit
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, brown-headed
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Duck, black-bellied whistling (Ca)
Duck, Mexican
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (At)
Euphonia, elegant (Ac)
Falcon, peregrine (Ca)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray-silky (Ra,Sa,Av)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great, blue
Heron, green
Hummingbird, beryline (At)
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, ruby-throated (Ca)
Hummingbird, rufous
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kingfisher, belted (Jo)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Nightjar, buff-collared (Av,Sc)
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard (Jo,Ca)
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ca)
Owl, great-horned (Av,Sc)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Pewee, western wood
Phoebe, black (Ra)
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Redstart, slate-throated (Ac)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, solitary (Ac)
Sandpiper, spotted (Ca)
Seedeater, white-collared
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stork, wood (Ra,Ca)
Swallow, barn
Tanager, western (Sa)
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless (Av)
Vireo, Hutton's (Ac)
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow (Jo)
Warbler, yellow-throated (Ac)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, spotted
Yellowthroat, gray-crowned (Ra)

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
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/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/South Shore area
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