Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter December 2, 2018
Join us on the Ajijic Christmas Bird Count December 17.
The Ajijic area Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be held on Monday December 17. All are welcome to participate in this annual century-spanning event.

This is one of the birding highlights of the year. We invite all of you to take part - it's a fun day of intensive birding in an assigned territory with your team. We plan several teams of about five people, each with a leader and an assigned area. Most teams start at about 8.00 am and are usually through by lunch time. There is no cost to take part in the count, but there is a charge for the evening dinner celebration at 6.00 p.m. where we share details of each team's adventures. Feel free to invite friends along if they have an interest in birds. We ask all participants to preregister so we can plan the counting teams and the dinner.

Bird Count Registration:

Registration will take place on Saturday December 15, between 10.00 a.m and 1 p.m at John Keeling's home, Condominium Villas del Tepalo, Callejon al Tepalo #140, Villa #46. This is three blocks up-hill from Donas Donuts, on the east side of the school. For detailed driving instructions, or if this time does not work for you, phone John at 766-1801, or email chapalabirders@yahoo.com; we can arrange an alternate registration time for you.

The 'Cienega' Christmas Bird Count

The second Christmas Bird Count is on Wednesday December 19. This is the La Cienega (marsh) CBC at the east end of the lake some 80 km (50 miles) away. This is generally attended by our keener birders but all are welcome. We set up two teams assigned to different parts of the dyke across the lake. The teams leave Ajijic about 8.00 am and meet for a sandwich lunch at about 1.00 pm on the shore of the Lerma River. You can sign up for this count at the same time as signing up for the Ajijic CBC.
   137 Species sighted last month
The Complete list of species seen around Lake Chapala last month is shown at the end of this newsletter.

Current Sightings:

- We are seeing more Roseate Spoonbills - two at Lake Cajititlan and fourteen at Rosa Amarilla.
- There are currently six Osprey at the reservoir on the Rosa Amarilla Loop.
- Our winter birders are back. Don Bell is finding the La Cristina area productive, while John Roynon is finding the Allen Lloyd Trail productive.
- Carlo Cuevas continues to hear the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl in Jocotepec.
Black-backed Oriole
  A male Black-backed Oriole as seen at Lake Chapala.

The Black-backed Oriole is an endemic species only seen in Mexico. It is found at higher altitudes in the Transvolcanic Belt which runs east-west from Pico de Orizaba volcano to Colima volcano. Some individuals migrate locally in the summer a few hundred miles north to breed, and some individuals migrate locally in the winter a few hundred miles south. It is fairly common in Ajijic, and more common at the east end of Lake Chapala.
   
The bird is not well-known because it was named as a species only 23 years ago, and does not show up in the major bird books. It was considered a sub-species of Bullock's Oriole based on similar appearance, until DNA evidence showed the two species are not closely related.  

Like other orioles, the females and immature birds are pale yellow with very little black. The nest is a shallow hanging bag, six-inches diameter, hidden ten feet up in the branches of a tree. These birds are insectivores,  but also suck nectar from large flowers.
Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks
Our bird walks are open to all those interested in birds, both beginners and experienced birders. Just bring binoculars. We always have knowledgeable birders on hand to identify the species. We will try to limit day trips to four vehicles, as larger convoys are less manageable. 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 December 10 we will walk the one-mile long Allen Lloyd Trail which has lots of underbrush in which birds love to hide. We Meet at 8.30 am at the trail head. Expect to see Stripe-headed Sparrow, Tropical Kingbird and Groove-billed Ani. At about 10.15 we will head to Cafe Negro restaurant for breakfast and to complete the bird list.
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 two Condominium towers.

On Friday December 28 we will carpool at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am, leaving immediately for Villa Corona (60 minutes drive). We expect to see various shore birds such as White-faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill and Snow Goose. Bring your own mid-morning refreshments. There will be a break for snacking at 11.00 am. We will be back in Ajijic by about 1.30 pm. If you plan on going, please email John at chapalabirders@yahoo.com at least 48 hours ahead of time saying whether you will bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning. (We don't always have enough cars).
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On November 7, six of us explored the El Bajio road on the west side of Ajijic. We saw 41 species including Social Flycatcher, Varied Bunting, Black-backed Oriole, Blue Mockingbird, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Cinnamon-rumped Seedeater, Rufous-backed Robin as well as Greenish Elaenia which is a bird more commonly heard than seen.

On November 14, we had seven keen birders out on a cold windy morning to explore the lakeshore going west from Chapala as far as San Nicholas de Ibarra. With water levels up, the birds were closer than usual. We recorded both Blue-winged and Cinnamon Teal, Black-necked Stilt, both Green and Little Blue Heron, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Monk Parakeet and a large cloud of Yellow-headed Blackbirds from a total of 50 species.

On November 26, we had four carloads of birders going round the Rosa Amarilla loop which is at 6,500 ft (1,500 ft above lake level). We saw Roseate Spoonbill, Loggerhead Shrike, Greater Roadrunner, Wood Stork, Black Phoebe, White-tailed Hawk and six Osprey on the reservoir for a total of 54 species.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 137 species sighted around Lake Chapala in October:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bunting, Indigo (Sa)
Bunting, painted
Bunting, varied
Caracara, crested (Ra0
Chat, yellow-breasted (Ac)
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, Eurasian-collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning (Jo)
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed
Duck, fulvous whistling
Duck, Mexican (Ra)
Duck, ruddy (Ra)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated (Ra)
Flycatcher, cordilleran
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray-silky
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermillion
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, common black (Jo)
Hawk, Cooper's
Hawk, red-tailed (Ra)
Hawk, sharp-shinned
Hawk, white-tailed (Ra)
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, little blue
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, beryline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, ruby-throated (Ac)
Hummingbird, rufous (Jo)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
kingbird, western (Ac, Sa)
Kingfisher, belted (Ps)
Kinglet, ruby-crowned (Ra)
Kiskadee, great
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ra)
Owl, ferruginous pygmy (Jo)
Owl, great horned
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Phoebe, black (Ra)
Pigeon, rock
Pintail, northern (Ra)
Raven, common
Redstart, American (Ac)
Redstart, painted (Jo)
Roadrunner, greater (Ra)
Robin, rufous-backed
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, savannah (Ra)
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Spoonbill, roseate
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood (Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Swallow, violet-green
Tanager, summer (Av)
Tanager, western (Ac)
Teal, blue-winged (Ra)
Teal, cinnamon
Teal, green-winged (Ra)
Tern, Caspian
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, Cassin's (Sc, Sa)
Vireo, plumbeous (Ac)
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, hermit (Jo)
Warbler, Lucy's (Ac)
Warbler, MacGillivray's (Sa)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy (At)
Wren, house (Ac)
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, lesser (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
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.
A laminated folder "Quick Guide to the Birds of Lake Chapala" illustrating 150 local species can be purchased for $150 pesos at Diane Pearl Collecciones, Colon #1, in the center of Ajijic.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter November 2, 2018
122 Species Sighted Last Month 
The complete list of species seen around Lake Chapala is shown at the end of the newsletter.
Among the interesting October sightings were:
- Nutting's Flycather and Least Bittern sighted by Carlo Cuevas in the Jocotepec area.
- Hammond's Flycatcher and Black-chinned Hummingbird seen by Don Bell on the west side of Ajijic.
- Hermit and Townsend's Warblers seen at 7,000 ft elevation by John Keeling and Paul Hart hiking above Las Trojes.
- Nine Ospreys at the reservoir on the Rosa Amarilla Loop observed by the Keelings and the Harts (normally we see only one). 

Spotted Wren
A Spotted Wren at Lake Chapala. Photo by local bird photographer Paul Hart.

The Spotted Wren is an endemic species only seen in Mexico. It is found at higher altitudes in pine-oak forests and dry bushy areas, along the western Sierra Madre mountain range and along the "Trans-Volcanic Belt" which runs across central Mexico from Colima volcano to Popocatépetl near Mexico City.
It is one of the larger wrens. Like many wrens it hides in low vegetation, and eats primarily caterpilars and insects. It makes an untidy ball-shaped nest of grass with a side-entrance, eight feet off the ground, often between the 'paddles' of a prickly pear cactus. The young birds travel in noisy chattering groups along hedge-rows and bushes. These birds are seen from time to time in Ajijic gardens.  

Christmas Bird Count Coming up in December
The Ajijic Area Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be held on Monday December 17. Please mark this date on yur calendar. Full details of registration etc. will be published in our December newsletter. All are welcome to participate in this annual century-spanning event.

The CBC at the far (east) end of the lake will be held two days later on Wednesday December 19, for those willing to do a whole day of birding.
Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks
Our bird walks are open to all those interested in birds, both beginners and experienced birders. Just bring binoculars. We always have knowledgeable birders on hand to identify the species. We will try to limit day trips to four vehicles, as larger convoys are less manageable. 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 Wednesday November 7, we will meet at 8.00 am at El Bajio, on the west side of Ajijic. We will walk down the lane to the lake, expecting to see a good variety of birds in the tall trees and fields. At about 10.00 we will head to Fonda Dona Lola's for breakfast and complete the bird list.
How to Get There: From Ajijic go about 2 mi. (3 km) west from the light at Colon, turn downhill at the sign for El Bajio next to the multiple speed bumps. Park immediately on the lateral.

On Wednesday November 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 La Palapa de Don Juan restaurant for breakfast and complete the birdlist. If you need a ride please email John at chapalabirders@yahoo.com ahead of time. The train station is on the Lakeshore road to Mezcala, located just east of Cristiania Park.

On Monday November 26, we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to car pool, leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the plateau above the south side of the lake (60 minute drive). Expect to see Wood Storks, Osprey and possibly a White-tailed Hawk. 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 48 hours ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle, to help in carpool planning. 
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On October 5, five keen birders travelled to Lake Atonilco at Villa Corona. This time there was not the mass of birds seen on our previous trip, but we did identify 43 species including Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Northern Shoveller, Yellow-headed and Red-winged Blackbirds, Belted Kingfisher, Lesser Yellowlegs and Roseate Spoonbill.

On October 17, we went to the Cajititlan Marsh. Interesting sightings were four bright Painted Buntings, one Roseate Spoonbill, also American Avocet, Loggerhead Shrike, Spotted Wren and Common Yellowthroat for a total of 36 species.

On October 29, there were 11 people out to hike the Allen Lloyd Trail in San Antonio Tlayacapan. Everyone was thrilled to see both Squirrel Cuckoo and Russet-crowned Motmot, which are two of our most colorfull but less common birds. Other sightings included Happy Wren, Bullock's Oriole, Warbling Vireo and also Thick-billed, Tropical and Western Kingbirds. The count total was 39 species.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 122 species sighted around Lake Chapala in October:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ra,Ca)
Bittern, least (Jo)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ca)
Bunting, painted (Ca)
Bunting, varied
Bushtit
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel (Sa)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Duck, ruddy (Ra)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Finch, house
Flycatcher, buff-breasted
Flycatcher, cordilleran
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray-silky
Flycatcher, Hammond's (Ac)
Flycatcher, Nutting's (Jo)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gadwall  (Ra)
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grosbeak, black-headed (Tr)
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, Cooper's (Tr)
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, sharp-shinned (Av,Tr)
Hawk, white-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, little blue
Heron, tricolored
Hummingbird, beryline
Hummingbird, black-chinned (Ac)
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, rufous (Ra,Tr)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kiskadee, great
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Motmot, russet-crowned (Sa)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, orchard
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ra)
Owl, ferruginous pygmy
Owl, great horned
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Pewee, western wood
Phoebe, black
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Redstart, painted (Tr)
Robin, rufous-backed
Seed-eater, cinnamon rumped
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Spoonbill, roseate (Ca)
Stilt, black-necked (Ca)
Stork, wood (Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Tanager, hepatic (Tr)
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Tern, Caspian
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Vireo, golden (Tr)
Vireo, plumbeous (Tr)
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, hermit (Tr)
Warbler, Lucy's
Warbler, MacGillivray's (Ca)
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, Townsend's (Tr)
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy (Sa)
Wren, spotted
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
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.
The laminated folder "Quick Guide to the Birds of Lake Chapala" illustrating 150 local species can be purchased for $150 pesos at Diane Pearl Collecciones, Colon #1, in the center of Ajijic.