Monday, April 3, 2017

April Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter April 2, 2017
151 Species Sighted Last Month
This is a high number of species for March in recent years, though figures used to be better - our highest March count was 166 species in 2011. The complete list of March sightings is shown at the end of this newsletter.

Interesting sightings last month:
  • On the Allen Lloyd Trail we saw Elegant Euphonia, which has been  uncommon in the last year.
  • While working on the Birding App for Lake Chapala, we listened to the recorded call of the Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, and heard it in Ajijic within a week. It is an under-reported bird - see below.
  • Visiting Lake Cajititlan marsh we saw a Merlin in a tall dead tree at the lake edge for a sufficient time to establish that it was not a Peregrine Falcon nor an American Kestrel.
  • Hiking with Duncan Poole and Brian Lewis up the arroyo above Zapotitan near Jocotepec, we encountered both Magnificent and White-eared Hummingbirds at 1,500 feet above the lake level.
Northern Beardless Tyrannulet
Northern Beardless Tyrannulet as seen last month in Ajijic
  • This is our very smallest flycatcher, inhabiting scrub, open areas and woodlands from Mexico to Costa Rica. It is known to be elusive (and under-reported), often sitting in a tree not moving. Most times you will only know it is there from its call, either a descending 'peej-peej-peej-peej' (weaker than a Canyon Wren call) or 'tiddlydoo'.
  • It has an upright posture, a drab gray-brown color, with the mandible partially flesh-colored, often raising its crest into a dome shape.
  • It prefers to pick small insects from trees and leaves, occasionally flying out to capture flying insects, and eats berries in season.
  • The nest is built in trees at mid-levels hidden between clumps of other growths like air-plants or mistletoe, with a side entrance.
  • It is called 'beardless' because it lacks the little bristles at the base of the bill seen on most flycatchers.
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 7 we will meet at 8.00am to walk 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 possibly a Squirrel Cuckoo. 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 April 19 we will meet at 8.00am to carpool at Donas Donuts departing immediately for Lake Cajititlan (30 minutes drive). We will see a variety of marsh and lake birds. At about 10.15 we will go to 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.

Results of the February 17-20 "Great Backyard Bird Count".
This year four of our local birders submitted lists during the four-day count period. Worldwide, more than 200,000 people submitted reports on 5,940 species. The specie with the highest count was the Snow Goose with 4.7 million individuals reported.

The country reporting the most species was India with 801 species,  followed closely in second place by Mexico with 774 species.

It was observed that as a result of an unusually warm winter this year in the U.S., many birds started their northward migration more than two weeks earlier than normal, particularly Tree Swallows, Killdeer, Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On March 9 four of us went to the Rio Verde canyon near Acatic. The hot pools were better than ever for swimming. We saw Gila Woodpecker, Black-throated Magpie Jay, Green Kingfisher, Common Black Hawk and Squirrel Cuckoo from a total 39 species sighted.

On March 15 we had 14 people out at El Bajio on the west side of Ajijic. We saw an incredible 75 species, including Black-necked Stilt, Summer Tanager, Plumbeous Vireo, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Yellow-breasted Chat, White-tailed Kite, Tri-colored Heron, Berylline Hummingbird and Rufous Hummingbird.

On March 27 a group of seven birders went to the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the 'El Tigre' plateau. After a slow start we accumulated a list of 66 species including Gray Hawk, American Avocet, Lesser Yellowlegs, Say's Phoebe, Stripe-headed Sparrow, Northern Mockingbird and a flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds hiding in a bush making sounds exactly like water flowing into a pool.
March Sightings List
Here are the 151 species sighted around Lake Chapala in March:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ca,Ra)
Blackbird, red-winged (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bunting, indigo
Bunting, lazuli
Bunting, painted (Ac)
Bunting, varied
Bushtit
Caracara, crested
Chat, yellow-breasted (Ac,Ca)
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, common ground (Ca)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed
Duck, fulvous whistling
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (Jo)
Euphonia, elegant (Sa,Jo)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray silky (Jo)
Flycatcher, Hammond's (Jo)
Flycatcher, least (Ac)
Flycatcher, Nutting's (Av)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermillion
Gadwall (Ac)
Gallinule
Gnatcatcher, blue-grey
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, Cooper's (Sa,Jo)
Hawk, gray (Ac,Ra)
Hawk, red-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, blue-throated (Aw)
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, magnificent (Jo)
Hummingbird, rufous (Ac,Jo)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Hummingbird, white-eared (Jo)
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, norther
Kestrel, American
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western
Kingfisher, belted (Ca)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed
Merlin (Ca)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Nightjar, buff-collared
Oriole, black-backed (Ac)
Oriole, black vented
Oriole, Bullock's (Ac)
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ra)
Owl, great horned
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Phoebe, black (Tz)
Phoebe, Say's (Ra)
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Redstart, American (Sa,Ac)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, white-collared
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Solitaire, brown-backed (Jo,Tz)
Sparrow, chipping
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's (Ca)
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, song (Ac)
Sparrow, stripe-headed (Ra)
Stilt, black-necked
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff (Ra)
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree (Ac)
Swallow, violet-green (Ra)
Tanager, summer (Ac,Tz)
Tanager, western (Sa)
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Tern Caspian
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless (Ra,Av)
Vireo, Bell's (Tz)
Vireo, Cassin's
Vireo, golden (Jo)
Vireo, plumbeous (Ac,Tz)
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, Lucy's (Ac)
Warbler, McGillivray's
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned
Warbler, rufous-capped (Sa)
Warbler, Tennessee (Ac)
Warbler, Townsend's
Warbler, Virginia's
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Wigeon, American (Ac)
Willet (Ac)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, house (Sa)
Wren, marsh (Ca)
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, lesser (Ra)
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

Saturday, March 4, 2017

March Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter March 2, 2017
153 Species Sighted Last Month
The complete list of sightings around the lake is shown at the end of this newsletter.

Where are the birds? Though we are seeing many species, many of us are concerned by the apparent lack of numbers of birds to be seen here in the last two years. We do not have local statistical information, and we are interested to know what the trends really are. We do know that the populations of many species are declining steeply in North America due to habitat loss as a result of human development and agribusiness.

Interesting sightings last month:
  • We heard the clear call of the Mountain Trogon on the birding hike on the 'horizontal oak trail' at Las Trojes.
  • We also saw the Red-faced Warbler there, in exactly the spot as in previous years (see the trip report below.)
  • We had two reports of the uncommon Hammond's Flycatcher (see photo below).
Yellow-headed Blackbirds: We would like to know where these birds are roosting at night in the Chapala area. Last year the San Antonio malecon was a major roosting spot. Typically they fly in to roost 5.30 to 7.00 pm and leave in the moring around 7.30 am. If you know where they are roosting this year, please let us know at chapalabirders@yahoo.com.  
Hammond's Flycatcher
Hammonds Flycatcher as seen last month in West Ajijic

This flycatcher is one of six small "Empydonax" flycatchers that we see here, that are almost identical. Hammond's winters in Mexico and Guatemala, and breeds in the summer from the N.E. United States up to the Arctic Circle. It is identified by the relatively long projection of the primary wing-tips accentuating a relatively short tail, a minor eye ring, small dark narrow bill, and the mandible may be flesh colored.
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 Thursday March 9 we will meet to carpool at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am leaving immediately for the Rio Verde Canyon
, (two hours drive north-east from Ajijic). We will access the canyon at the site which has an entrance fee of 100 pesos per person and hot water issuing from the rocks into pools. Bring bathing suits, towels, refreshments and sandwiches. Expect to see lower altitude birds such as Gila Woodpecker, Squirrel Cuckoo, Mexican Parrotlet and Black Phoebe. We will get back about 5.00 p.m. If you plan to come please email chapalabirders@yahoo.com and indicate if you can bring a car.

On Wednesday March 15 we will meet at 8.00 am at El Bajio.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 Dona Lolas 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 extreme speed bumps. Park immediately on the lateral.

On Monday March 27 we will meet to carpool at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am 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.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On February 8 we had 15 people out to the Two Dams between Santa Cruz  and San Nicolas. Sightings included Yellow-headed Blackbird (a cloud of 4,000 birds), Fulvous Whistling Duck, Ring-billed Gull (about 250 birds on the upper dam), Common Yellowthroat, American Avocet and Northern Bobwhite. The total count was 55 species for the morning.

On February 17 we went to Tapalpa with six birders. We managed to add three species to the Tapalpa list: American Pipit, Pine Siskin (a group of ten birds) and Song Sparrow. We also saw Bufflehead, Slate-throated Redstart and Eastern Bluebird out of list of 42 species in total.

On February 27 we traveled to Las Trojes in a party of four to hike the Horizontal Oak Forest Trail. We manged to count 53 species including Magnificent Hummingbird, Mountain Trogon (heard), Gray Hawk, Greenish Elaenia (heard), Red-faced Warbler and Brown-backed Solitaire (heard).
January Sightings List
Here are the 153 species sighted around Lake Chapala in December:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ps)
Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ps)
Bobwhite, northern (Ca, Ps)
Bunting, indigo
Bunting, lazuli (Pz)
Bunting, painted
Bunting, varied
Bushtit
Caracara, crested
Chat, yellow-breasted
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel (Sa,At)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed
Duck, fulvous whistling (Ps)
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (Tr)
Euphonia, elegant (Sa)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated (Av)
Flycatcher, cordilleran
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray silky (Sa)
Flycatcher, Hammond's
Flycatcher, least
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Gadwall (Sa)
Gallinule, common
Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, Cooper's
Hawk, gray (Tr)
Hawk, red-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, tricolored
Hummingbird, blue-throated (Ac)
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, calliope
Hummingbird, magnificent (Tr)
Hummingbird, ruby-throated
Hummingbird, rufous (Pz)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Kestrel, American
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, western (Sa)
Kinglet, ruby-crowned
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Nightjar, buff collared (Av)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, hooded
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey
Owl, great-horned (Av)
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Redstart, American (Sa)
Redstart, painted (Pz,TR)
Robin, rufous-backed thrush
Sandpiper, least
Sandpiper, spotted
Sapsucker, yellow-bellied (Ac)
Seedeater, white-collared
Shoveler, northern
Shrike, loggerhead
Solitaire, brown-backed (Sa, Tr0
Sora
Sparrow, chipping
Sparrow, clay-colored
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, savannah
Sparrow, song
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked (Ps)
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Swallow, tree
Swallow, violet green
Tanager, hepatic (Tr)
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon
Tern, Caspian
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, hermit
Towhee, canyon
Trogon, mountain (Tr)
Tyrannulet, northern beardless (At)
Vireo, Bell's (Sa)
Vireo, Cassin's
Vireo, golden
Vireo, Hutton's
Vireo, warbling (Sa)
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, black-throated gray
Warbler, Grace's
Warbler, Lucy's (Pz)
Warbler, McGillivray's
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned
Warbler, red-faced (Tr)
Warbler, rufous-capped (Sa)
Warbler, Townsend's (Sa,Tr)
Warbler, Virginia's (Sa)
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Wigeon, American (Ac)
Willet (Ac)
Woodpecker, acorn (Tr)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, Canyon
Wren, happy (Sa)
Wren, house (Pz)
Wren, marsh (Ps)
Wren, spotted
Yellowthroat, common (Ps)
Yellowthroat, gray-crowned (Tr)

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