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

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter March 2, 2018
154 Species Sighted Last Month
The complete list of February sightings is shown at the end of this newsletter.

Interesting sightings last month:

-  The Allen Lloyd Trail continues to be a hot-spot with reports of Greenish Elaenia, Rufous-capped Warbler, Macgillivray's Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Golden Vireo, and many other species.
-  Brian Lewis has once again seen a Gray Flycatcher at the Racket Club in San Juan Cosala. This species is sighted across Jalisco, but is quite uncommon.
- Visiting birder Rich MacIntosh from Kodiak Island, Alaska, found the uncommon Green-tailed Towhee at the Allen Lloyd trail. Knowing his gulls, he was able to identify both Bonaparte's Gull and Black Tern flying over the lake at Ajijic. For us, these are uncommon species.
Bonaparte's Gull
Bonaparte's Gull as seen at Ajijic in February.

Species details:

Bonaparte's Gull is frequently referred to as being 'different'. It is the only gull that nests in trees; it does not eat carrion, as other gulls do; and flies more like a tern than a gull.
-  It is one the smallest gulls, noted for its black head in summer and only a black patch behind the ears in winter.
-  They breed in most of Canada and Alaska, building a nest of twigs in conifers, usually spruce, not far from a pond or bog. Their summer diet is principally insects caught in flight.
-  They over-winter in the south-east United States, and on the Pacific coast of Mexico, occasionally coming inland to visit Lake Chapala. In winter they eat small creatures up to a half-inch long, in the water or on the shore, such as insect larvae and small crustacions.
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 March 9 we will meet at 8.30 am at the Malecon Park in Jocotepec. We expect to see a variety of shore birds such as Northern Jacana, as well as other species in the tall trees of the park, such as Golden-fronted Woodpecker. At about 10.30 we will head to Frida's for breakfast and complete the bird list.
How to Get There:
From Ajijic go through San Juan Cosala and after El Chante you wiil encounter a long curve to the left, followed by major topes, followed by a long curve to the right. Take a left exit at the beginning, or end, of this last curve. Proceed towards the lake and park in the malecon parking lot.

On Wednesday March 14 we will meet at 8.00 am at the Old Train Station in Chapala, proceeding immediately to bird various prime shore spots along the lakeshore east of Chapala as far as San Nicolas de Ibarra. This will cover a wide range of habitats. At 10.15 we will head to Las Delicias restaurant for breakfast and complete the birdlist. If you need a ride please email John at chapalabirders@yahoo.com ahead of time.

On Monday March 26 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 Western Tanager, Stripe-headed Sparrow and possibly a Squirrel Cuckoo. At 10.15 we will head to Sunrise 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.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On February 6 nineteen people came out for the birdwalk at El Bajio on the west side of Ajijic. With good weather and an interested crowd we sighted 60 species including Gray-silky Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeak, Tri-colored Heron, Lucy's Warbler and two endemic species: Blue Mockingbird and Black-backed Oriole.

On February 21
we had nineteen people in seven vehicles going to Lake Cajititlan. Fortunately, everone managed to stick with the group through four observation stops. We saw Common Yellowthroat, Western Sandpiper, Belted Kingfisher, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Northern Jacana, Orchard Oriole and Northern Harrier out of a total of 66 species.

On February 26
we had six carloads of birders for the trip to the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the south side of the lake. Sightings included Beryline Hummingbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Red-tailed Hawk, Gray Hawk, Red-winged Blackbird, Wood Stork, and Northern Beardless Tyrannulet for an unexpectedly high total of 73 species.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 154 species sighted around Lake Chapala in February:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ca)
Bittern, American (Ca)
Bittern, least (Sa)
Blackbird, red-winged (Sa,Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Sa,Ra)
Bluebird, eastern (Ra)
Bunting, Indigo
Bunting, painted
Bunting, varied
Chat, yellow-breasted (Ca)
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel (Sa)
Dove, common ground (Ca)
Dove, Eurasian-collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning (Ca)
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed (Ra,Ca)
Duck, Mexican (Ra,Ca)
Duck, ruddy (Ra,Ca)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (Sa)
Euphonia, elegant (At, Ac)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, cordilleran
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray (Sc)
Flycatcher, gray-silky (Av,Ac)
Flycatcher, least
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gadwall (Av,Ac)
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, Bonaparte's (Jo,Av)
Gull, ring-billed
Harrier, northern (Ra,Ca)
Hawk, gray (Ra)
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, sharp-shinned (Ac)
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, beryline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kingfisher, belted (Ca,Av)
Kiskadee, great
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Merlin (Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Nightjar, buff-collared (Ac)
Oriole, black-backed (Ac)
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, bullock's (Sa,Av)
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard (Ca)
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ra,Av)
Owl, great-horned
Owl, mottled (At)
Parakeet, monk
Parrot, red-lored
Pelican, American-white
Pewee, great
Phoebe, black (Ca,Rp)
Pigeon, rock
Pintail, northern
Rail, Aztec (Sa)
Raven, common
Redstart, American (Ac)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, least
Sandpiper, spotted
Sandpiper, western (Ca)
Seedeater, white-collared
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Snipe, Wilson's (Sa)
Solitaire, brown-backed (At)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood (Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Swallow, violet-green (Ca)
Tanager, summer (At)
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Teal, green-winged
Tern, black (Av)
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's
Thrasher, curve-billed
Towhee, canyon
Towhee, green-tailed (Sa)
Tyrannulet, northern beardless (Ra)
Vireo, black-capped (Sa)
Vireo, Cassin's
Vireo, golden
Vireo, plumbeous
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, Lucy's (Ac)
Warbler, MacGillivray's (At,Sa)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned
Warbler, rufous-capped (Sa)
Warbler, Virginia's (Sa)
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Widgeon, American
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, marsh (Ca,Av)
Wren spotted
Yellowlegs, greater
Yellowthroat, common (Ca)

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