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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

August Newsletter



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

Interesting sightings:
  • This summer our area has been host to considerable numbers of Wood Storks. Usually we think that a group of six or eight birds is a large group. But we have been seeing as many as 150 birds recently on the Rosa Amarilla Loop.
  • We are continuing to see Least Bittern in the reed beds at Cristiania Park in Chapala. These birds are known to be shy and only live around reed beds.
  • Sparkling-tailed Hummingbirds were reported in the Raquet Club in San Juan Cosala. We see this species in May, June and perhaps July when they nest here, usually leaving shortly after the rainy season starts in June.
Golden Fronted Woodpecker
This Golden Fronted Woodpecker photo was taken by Barbara Baird and submitted to the National Audubon Society. It is one of a series of beautiful bird photos which you can see here: "The 2017 Audubon Photography Awards: Top 100"
  • The Golden-fronted Woodpecker is the most common woodpecker in the Lake Chapala area. It is found in semi-open woodlands in central and eastern Mexico, as well as in Texas, and south as far as Nicaragua. It is non-migratory.
  • It is a medium-sized bird with fine black and white bars across the back and wings. It has an orange patch on the nape, and a small yellow patch between the eyes and the bill.
  • Both parents excavate a nest cavity in a hardwood tree or post, and both share in incubation duties as well as the feeding of the young.
  • They eat small insects under tree bark as well as larger insects on the ground, and a wide variety of nuts, seeds and fruit such as prickly pears in season.
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 August 11 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 August 28, we will meet at the old Train Station at 8.15 am to bird the Lakshore, including the Pumping Station, San Nicolas and the Lower Dam. 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.

Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On July 3 we went to the Sierra de Tapalpa with three other birders. Under overcast skies we managed to see 28 species including an uncommon sighting of Mexican Chickadee, also Berylline Hummingbird, Trans-volcanic Jay, Slate-throated Redstart, Striped Sparrow, and Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush.

On July 18
we had eleven birders out to hike the Allen Lloyd Trail, but within 15 minutes of setting out along the arroyo it started to rain and we had to take shelter under a very large tree, until we reluctantly declared an early breakfast, reconvening at Sunrise Restaurant. In the short time available we recorded 18 common species, including Blue Mockingbird, Bushtit, Western Wood Pewee and Northern Beardless Tyrannulet.

Monthly Sightings List
Here are the 93 species sighted around Lake Chapala in July:

Ani, Groove-billed
Avocet, American (Ch)
Bittern, least
Blackbird, red-winged (Ra)
Blackbird, yellow-headed
Bobwhite, northern (Pz)
Bushtit
Caracara, crested
Coot, American
Cormorant, neotropic
Cowbird, bronzed
Cowbird, brown-headed (Dp)
Dove, common ground (Ps)
Dove, Eurasian collared
Dove, Inca
Dove, white-tipped
Duck, fulvous whistling (Xt)
Duck, Mexican
Duck, ruddy (Ra)
Egret, cattle
Egret, great
Egret, snowy
Elaenia, greenish
Euphonia, elegant
Finch, house
Flycatcher, social
Flycatcher, vermillion
Gallinule, common
Goldfinch, lesser
Grackle, great-tailed
Grebe, least (Dp)
Grebe, pied-billed (Ps,Ch)
Grosbeak, blue
Gull, laughing (Ps)
Gull, ring-billed (Ps)
Hawk , red-tailed
Heron, black-crowned night
Heron, great blue
Heron, tri-colored
Hummingbird, berylline
Hummingbird, broad-billed
Hummingbird, sparkling-tailed (Sc)
Hummingbird, violet-crowned
Ibis, white-faced (Ra,Ps)
Jacana, northern
Killdeer
Kingbird, Cassin's
Kingbird, tropical
Kingbird, thick-billed
Kingfisher, green (Dp)
Kiskadee, great
Kite, white-tailed (Ca)
Meadowlark, eastern (Dp,Ra)
Mockingbird, blue
Mockingbird, northern (Ra)
Motmot, russet-crowned
Oriole, black-backed
Oriole, black-vented
Oriole, streak-backed
Osprey (Ps)
Owl, great horned
Parakeet, monk (Av,Ch)
Pelican, American white
Pewee, western wood
Pigeon, rock
Raven, common
Robin, rufous-backed
Sandpiper, spotted (Dm)
Seedeater, white-collared
Shrike, loggerhead
Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra)
Sparrow, house
Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
Sparrow, stripe-headed
Spoonbill, roseate ((Dp)
Stork, wood (Dp,Ra,Ca)
Swallow, barn
Swallow, cliff (Dp,Ra)
Swallow, northern rough-winged
Tern, Caspian
Thrasher, curve-billed
Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
Towhee, canyon
Tyrannulet, northern beardless
Vireo, golden
Vulture, black
Vulture, turkey
Woodpecker, golden-fronted
Woodpecker, ladder-backed
Wren Bewick's
Wren, spotted
Yellowthroat, common
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