Monday, June 3, 2019

Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter June 2, 2019
    116 Species sighted last month around the Lake
The Complete list of species seen around Lake Chapala last month is shown at the end of this newsletter.
 
High points last month:

-  The Sparkling-tailed Hummingbirds were reported in the Racket Club (they breed here in May and June only.)
-  Blue-throated Hummingbirds were reported in Tlachichilco.
-  Two Limpkins at the Dike (see report below.)


Another New Species for Lake Chapala - Limpkin


Last month, during their monthly visit to the Dike at the East end of the lake, John and Rosemary observed two Limpkins near the village of La Palma. They were feeding in shallow water on flooded corn fields. This species has never been reported at Lake Chapala before. They are larger than Ibises, generally brown, with characteristic white spots.

The range of this species is slowly expanding northwards. In his 1995 reference book, Steve Howell shows the traditional range in Mexico as being the coastal regions of Southern Mexico. Since then the bird has been increasingly reported along the coasts of Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit. In 2006, a University of Guadalajara paper reported sightings in the interior of Jalisco in the area of Autlan. This year Limpkins have been sighted at Presa la Vega just 50 kilometers west of Lake Chapala. They inhabit shallow, fresh water areas. They prefer to eat snails, but will also eat frogs, small crustacians and seeds.
Stilt Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper in winter plumage as seen at Lake Chapala in April on migration.

The Stilt Sandpiper - is a long-distance migrant, breeding in the high Arctic and wintering mainly in South America, also in central Mexico and Central America. It is generally seen in shallow, muddy, fresh water pools and marshes.
- Eggs are laid on the tundra at the time of the Arctic spring in early June. The female sits the eggs at night, and the male during the day. After three weeks the eggs hatch. The chicks leave the nest almost immediately, finding all their own food. The female leaves after a week, and the male after two weeks as the chicks are starting to fly. The adults fly south in August making a mad dash for South America, and the juveniles leave in September taking their time on the route.
- While the breeding plumage is much darker, heavily marked with black and brown spots, the winter plumage is quite plain.
- In winter the Stilt Sandpiper is easily mistaken for the Long-billed Dowitcher when feeding, and is easly confused with the Lesser Yellowlegs when walking. Look for the curvature of the bill, and the white supercilium.
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, 150-200 for a day trip).
 
On Monday June 12, we will meet at 8.00 am to walk the one-mile long Allen Lloyd Trail which has lots of underbrush in which birds love to hide. Expect to see Stripe-headed Sparrow and Groove-billed Ani and hear the Happy Wren and Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush. At about 10.15 we will head to Cafe Negro restaurant for breakfast and complete the bird list.
How to get to the trail head: 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.

On Friday June 21, we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to car pool, 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 at least 48 hours ahead of time saying whether you can bring a vehicle.
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On May 6 we had a small group to bird the lakshore road from the Old Train Station to the Pumping Station. We saw uncommon birds such as Marbled Godwit and Semipalmated Plover, as well as American Avocet, Mourning Dove, Black-backed Oriole and Tri-colored Heron out of a total of 53 species.


On May 17 we travelled to the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the plateau above the south shore. We saw an impressive 64 species including Western Wood Pewee, Say's Phoebe, four Wren species - Spotted, Happy, Bewick's and Canyon, as well as Eastern Bluebird, and Botteri's Sparrow which comes to the grass fields of this area every summer.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 116 species sighted around Lake Chapala in May:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ps)
Becard, rose-throated
Blackbird, red-winged (Ra,Dp)
Bluebird, eastern (Ra)
Bunting, varied (Pt)
Bushtit
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, common ground (Ca,Ra)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning (Ps)
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed (Ps)
Duck, black-bellied whistling (Ca)
Duck, fulvous whistling (Ps,Ca)
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy (Ca,Ra)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish
Euphonia, elegant (Sa,Av)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray (Sa)
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermillion
Gallinule, common
Godwit, marbled (Ps)
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, red-tailed
Hawk, sharp-shinned
Hawk, white-tailed (Ra)
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, green (Dm)
Heron, little blue (Dm)
Heron, tri-colored (Ps)
Hummingbird, beryline
Hummingbird, blue-throated (Pt)
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, sparkling-tailed (Sc)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Hummingbird, white-eared (Av)
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, tropical
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed
Limpkin (Dp)
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern (Ca)
Motmot, russet-crowned (Sa)
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, streak-backed
Parakeet, monk
Pelican, American white
Pewee, western wood
Phoebe, Say's (Ra)
Pigeon, rock
Plover, semipalmated
Raven, common
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, stilt (Ps)
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shrike, loggerhead
Solitaire, brown-backed
Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, Savannah
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Spoonbill, roseate (Dp)
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood (Ra,Dp)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff (Ra,Dm)
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Teal, cinnamon (Dp)
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's (Dp)
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, golden
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Widgeon, American (Dp)
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy (Ra,Sa)
Wren, Sinaloa (Sa)
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, lesser (Ps)

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.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Newsletter



Chapala Birders Newsletter May 2, 2019
    143 Species sighted last month around the Lake
The Complete list of species seen around Lake Chapala last month is shown at the end of this newsletter.

-  The American White Pelicans left for their northern breeding grounds in the middle of April. The first year males have stayed behind.
-  Wilson's Phalaropes were seen in considerable numbers on Lake Cajititlan. They are making their way north on migration.
-  The hills above Ajijic are now full of the calls of Greenish Elaenia, Lesser Beardless Tyrannulets (residents) and the just-arrived Wetern Wood Pewees.

Among the interesting sightings last month were:

-  Lesser Roadrunners on the International School Road.
-  Northern Bobwhites at Cajititlan marsh.
-  Least Bittern at the San Antonio malecon.
-  Purple Gallinule at the Dike.
Rufous-crowned Motmot
Rufous-crowned Motmot. Photo by our friend Vince at BirdsofMexico.com.

The Rufous-Crowned Motmot
- Occurs from nothern Mexico to southern Guatemala. There are many other motmot species in Central and South America - all part of the same family as Kingfishers and European Bee-eaters.
- They have a characteristic "krrok" call which can be heard at this time of the in the hills above Ajijic. 
- They are known for sitting still on a branch for long periods of time, sometimes wagging the tail slowly from side to side when something catches their attenion.
- They eat large insects and small vertebrates including lizards and snakes.
- Both parents excavate a meter-long horizontal tunnel in an earth bank. The tunnel may be straight or have a bend, ending in a larger cavity, where four eggs are laid on the ground. Incubation is 20 days and it is another month before the chicks fly.They tend to return to the same nesting area every year.
- Here at lakeside they nest in the four-inch plastic drainage pipes employed in walls and gardens, particularly in the Chula Vista and Vista del Lago fraccionamientos.
Global Big Day
Once again eBird is promoting "Global Big Day" on Saturday May 4. Everyone around the world is encouraged to go birding on that day and report their sightings on eBird. Very keen birders will get up early to count owls, spend the day going from hotspot to hotspot, and look for nightjars in the evening. A year ago almost 70 percent of the world's species were sighted on that one day. Please consider being part of the fun.
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, 150-200 for a day trip).
 
On Monday May 6, we will meet at the Old Train Station in Chapala at 8.30 am leaving immediately to bird the Chapala Lakeshore Road East to the the pumping station and San Nicolas. Expect to see a good variety of shore birds in a variety of habitats. At 10.00 we will head to the Palapa de Don Juan for breakfast and complete the bird list. If you need a ride to Chapala please email John at chapalabirders@yahoo.com at least 48 hours ahead of time. The train station is on the Lakeshore road just east of Cristiania Park.

On Friday May 17, 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 minutes 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. (We don't always have enough cars).
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
The April 5 trip to Rio Verde was cancelled due to car problems.

On April 15 we birded the 'La Cristina' area, as well as the 'Las Palmas' area, with eight people. We saw 52 species including Blue Mockingbird, Black-headed Grosbeak, Least Flycatcher, Painted Bunting, Rusty-crowned Ground Sparrow and Spotted Wren.

On Arpril 29 we had nineteen keen birders out for the trip to the Cajititlan marsh. There had just been a significant brush fire (still smoking!) but this allowed us to see very clearly a group of Northern Bobwhite and several bright yellow male Common Yelowthroat. Also sighted were Eastern Meadowlark, White-throated Flycatcher, both Black-bellied and Fulvous Whistling Ducks, American Pipit and more than a hundred Wilson's Phalarope stopping briefly on their northern migration.
Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 143 species sighted around Lake Chapala in April:

Ani, groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ds,Ca)
Becard, Rose-throated Sa)
Bittern, least (Sa)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bobwhite, northern (Ca)
Bunting, indigo
Bunting, painted
Bunting, varied
Bushtit
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed
Cuckoo, squirrel
Dove, common ground
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, mourning
Dove, white-tipped
Dove, white-winged
Dowitcher, long-billed (Ds,Ca)
Duck, black-bellied whistling (Ds,Ca)
Duck, fulvous whistling (Dn,Ds,Ca)
Duck, Mexican
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish (At,Sa,Pz)
Euphonia, elegant (Av,Sa)
Finch, house
Flycatcher, ash-throated
Flycatcher, cordilleran
Flycatcher, dusky-capped
Flycatcher, gray
Flycatcher, gray silky
Flycatcher, least
Flycatcher, Nutting's
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermilion
Flycatcher, white-throated (Ca)
Gallinule, common
Gallinule, purple (Ds)
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least
Grebe, pied-billed
Grosbeak, black-headed
Grosbeak, blue
Grosbeak, yellow (Pz)
Gull, laughing
Gull, ring-billed
Hawk, red-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue (Ds,Ca)
Heron, green (Ds,Ra)
Heron, little blue (Ds)
Heron, tri-colored (Av)
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced
Jacana, northern
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingbird, tropical
Kiskadee, great
kite, white-tailed (Ca)
Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern
Motmot, russet-crowned (Av)
Nightjar, buff-collared
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, Bullock's
Oriole, Orchard
Oriole, streak-backed
Owl, great-horned
Parakeet, monk
Parula, tropical (Sa)
Pelican, American white
Pewee, greater
Pewee, western wood
Phalarope, Wilson's (Ds,Ca)
Phoebe, black (Dn)
Pigeon, rock
Pipit, American (Ca)
Raven, common
Redstart, American (Ac,Dn)
Roadrunner, lesser (Ch)
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted
Seedeater, cinnamon-rumped
Shoveler, northern (Ra,Ca)
Shrike, loggerhead
Sora (Dn)
Sparrow, chipping
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, lark
Sparrow, Lincoln's (Ra)
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, savannah (Ra)
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Stilt, black-necked
Stork, wood (Ra)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff (Ra)
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Tanager, hepatic (Sa)
Tanager, western
Teal, blue-winged
Tern, Caspian
Tern, Forster's (Ds)
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless (Av)
Vireo, golden (At)
Vireo, warbling
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Warbler, black and white
Warbler, Colima (Sa)
Warbler, MacGillivray's
Warbler, Nashville
Warbler, orange-crowned
Warbler, rufous-capped
Warbler, Virginia's
Warbler, Wilson's
Warbler, yellow (Dn,Sa)
Warbler, yellow-rumped
Wigeon, American
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren, Bewick's
Wren, canyon
Wren, happy
Wren, marsh (Sa)
Wren, Sinaloa (Pz)
Wren, spotted
Yellowlegs, lesser (Ds)
Yellowthroat, common (Dn,Ds,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
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.