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 MalteraƱa
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

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Newsletter



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

Interesting sightings this month:
  • We have seen Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at Cajititlan and at the Pumping Station, as well as Fulvous Whistling Ducks at San Antonio and Ixtlajuacan.
  • On the Rosa Amarilla loop we were amazed to see at the reservoir not only 180 Wood Storks, but also 165 American White Pelicans.
  • Our first returning migrant from the north is a female western tanager seen in Ajijic.
Great Horned Owl
This Great Horned Owl was photographed by Mexican bird photographer Raul Padilla. Around Ajijic these owls have been heard calling at night throughout August. They are known to call mostly in the breeding season which is in January and February.
  • The Great Horned Owl is our commonest owl. It is known for its fierceness, its large size (4 ft wingspan) and the great strength of its talons. With these it can instantly kill prey larger than itself. It prefers to eat rabbits and hares, but it is flexible, it will eat anything that moves -  birds, mamals, reptiles, fish, insects, whether snakes, scorpions, bats, or geese.
  • It is found from the northern Artic to southern Patagonia, inhabiting forests, deserts, wetlands and backyards.
  • The male has a deeper voice, and the female is 15% bigger in size.
  • The nest is built of twigs in a hollow or hole in a tree, or on top of an older twig nest built by some other large bird species. The female does most of the incubation, sitting for 30 days, twice as long as other smaller bird species. Also, the chicks need 9 weeks before flying, twice the time of smaller species.
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 Saturday September 9, we will meet to carpool at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am leaving immediately for Lake Atotonilco at Villa Corona, (a one-hour drive). We may see Roseate Spoonbills there, as well as various lake and marsh birds. Bring your own refreshments (there is no good place to have breakfast). We will be back in Ajijic about 12.30. If you plan to go please email chapalabirders@yahoo.com indicating whether you can bring a vehicle, to help us balance the car pool.

On Tuesday September 19, we will meet the Jocotepec Malecon at 8.30 am. We expect to see a variety of shore birds such as Northern Jacana, and other species in the tall trees of the park, such as Golden-fronted Woodpecker. At about 10.30 we will head for Frida's for breakfast and complete the bird list.
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 Monday September 25, we will meet to carpool at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am leaving immediately for Cajititlan marsh (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 indicating whether or not you will have a car.
American Ornithologist's Union Changes for 2017
Every August we look out for the annual changes to the official North American bird list.

One big change this year is the change in the name of the association. It now becomes the "American Ornithological Society" (AOS), instead of American Ornithologists Union (AOU).

Here in West Mexico, one species changes its name: Magnificent Hummingbird reverts to 'Rivoli Hummingbird'.

Beyond that, several ducks and geese have had their scientific names changed.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On August 11, it was raining first thing in the morning, so very few turned out at La Cristina on the west side of Ajijic. The rain stopped and we were able to see 31 species including Western Wood Pewee, Spotted Wren, Rufous-backed Robin, Blue Mockingbird, Social Flycatcher, and Laughing Gull.

On August 28, we attracted eight keen birders for the Lakeshore east of Chapala, including the Pumping Station, the San Nicolas outlook, and the lower Santa Cruz Dam. We observed Little Blue Heron, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Black-backed Oriole, Loggerhead Shrike and Stripe-headed Sparrow, in addtion to 130 one-year-old American White Pelicans on the small rocky islands off San Nicolas, for a total of 44 species.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 97 species sighted around Lake Chapala in August:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American
Bittern, Least (Ch,Ca)
Blackbird, red-winged (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bobwhite, northern (Ca)
Bunting, lazuli (Ps)
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, White-tipped
Duck, black-bellied whistling (Ca,Ps)
Duck, fulvous whistling (Xt,Ps)
Duck, Mexican
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Eleania, greenish
Finch, house
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray silky
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermillion
Gallinule, common
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, sharp-shinned
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, little blue
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, sparkling-tailed
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Ca,Jo)
Mockingbird, blue
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Mockingbird, northern
Motmot, russet-crowned
Oriole, black-backed (Ps)
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, orchard
Oriole, streak-backed
Owl, ferruginous pygmy
Owl, great horned
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white (Ra,Sn)
Pewee, western wood
Phoebe, black
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, white-collared
Shrike, loggerhead
Sora (Ca)
Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stork, wood (Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff (Ra)
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Tanager, western (Ac)
Teal, blue-winged
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Vireo, golden (At)
Vulture, black
Willet (Ca)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, spotted
Yellowthroat, common (Ca)
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 MalteraƱa
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