Saturday, June 6, 2009

Birding Lake Chapala News

Birding Lake Chapala
June 6, 2009


Audubonista's Farewell Party for Allen & Judy

Next Birdwalk Wednesday June 24, 8.30 a.m.

River of Raptors - Veracruz October 2009

Birding the Lake Chapala Dike - Trip Report - Rosemary and John Keeling

John & Rosemary
Your hosts
John and Rosemary Keeling

  • Audubonista's Farewell Party for Allen & Judy
  • To say goodbye to Allen Turner and Judy Boyd who are leaving for Ecuador at the end of the month, and to celebrate their four years dedicated to promoting birding at Lake Chapala, we will have a party at Restaurant Ajijic Tango, Wednesday June 17 at 6.00 p.m. We hope to see you there.

    Please reply to this e-mail by June 13 if you plan on attending. We can only reserve seats for those who indicate they will come. IMPORTANT - we will change the location of the party if a large number of people will be coming.

  • Next Birdwalk Wednesday June 24, 8.30 a.m.
  • Tom Holeman will be the leader of the next birdwalk, which will look for birds in the arroyo above Mom's Restaurant in Riberas. This will involve a 20 minute hike to the little reservoir at the top. Wear appropriate shoes and bring your binoculars. Around 10.30 we will go for breakfast at Mom's to prepare the birdlist.

    We will meet at the intersection of San Jorge and San Vicente. To get there from Ajijic, drive to Riberas; turn left at Mom's onto San Jorge; proceed two blocks to the end of the street; and park.

  • River of Raptors - Veracruz October 2009
  • Because the mountains come close to the sea in Veracruz state, raptors migrating south in September and October are funneled over one narrow area. This fall the American Birding Association is holding a 6-day event in that vicinity, October 4-10, 2009. The publicity material says:

    "Following Wednesday morning's workshop, we'll travel from Xalapa to Cardel, the raptor capital of the world --- Even a "slow" day here can exceed the seasonal totals for most other hawkwatches in the western hemisphere --- The hawkwatch is staffed by professional Pronatura counters, who will help find and identify what could be a dozen or more raptor species passing overhead."

    Audubonista Joan Waldron from Nova Scotia will be attending this event on her way back to Ajijic. She would like to see other Audubonistas there. Note that Steve Howell, famous author of two Mexican birding "bibles" will be a featured speaker at this event.

    Conference details
  • Birding the Lake Chapala Dike - Trip Report - Rosemary and John Keeling
  • On June 2 we spent the day birding around the whole lake. Our primary purpose was to find out whether there is any good access to the shore line at the east end of the lake. Given the shallowness there and the changing lake level, this shoreline has moved a mile or more in the last three years.

    On the way to Ocotlan in the morning we passed by the dam above Tecomatlán. Though in our experience this has frequently been birdless, roseate spoonbills were reported there in January of last year. This time we saw a pair of Muscovy ducks and a pair of Mexican ducks, otherwise no other birds on the water or the shore.

    At the east end of the lake we discovered the dike that was built across the lake 100 years ago. This dike is drivable having a gravel surface, the whole way from Jamay to La Palma, and currently provides fantastic views of shore and wading birds for two-thirds of its 10 mile length. We saw many fulvous whistling ducks, tri-colored herons, white-faced ibises, and black-necked stilts. We even saw a young man go by on a bicycle with shotgun and a dog, and observed him firing at a bird, probably unsuccessfully. Towards the southern end of the dike, we were surprised to see 10 American white pelicans, a sizable flock of red-winged blackbirds, and a single roseate spoonbill displaying exceptionally pink wings.

    On the way back on the south side of the lake we drove up a hill above Tuxcueca where we observed a flock of 12 common ravens, and also a flock of 30 lesser goldfinches in a single bush making it look like a Christmas tree!

    List of birds seen (50 total):
    Least Grebe (3)
    American white pelican (flock of 10, near La Palma)
    Neotropic cormorant
    Great blue heron
    Great egret
    Snowy egret
    Cattle egret
    Black-crowned night heron
    White-faced ibis (many)
    Roseate spoon bill (1, near La Palma)
    Fulvous whistling duck (many)
    Mexican duck
    Blue-winged teal
    Cinnamon teal
    Muscovy duck (pair, at Tecomatlan dam)
    Black vulture
    White-tailed kite (3, near the dike)
    Common moorhen
    American coot
    Northern jacana (many)
    Black-necked stilt (many)
    American avocet (6) Kildeer
    Rock Pigeon
    Inca dive
    Groove-billed ani
    Violet-crowned hummingbird
    Golden-fronted woodpecker
    Ladder-backed woodpecker
    Vermilion flycatcher
    Great Kiskadee
    Northern rough-wing swallow
    Barn swallow
    Curve-billed thrasher
    Rufous-backed robin
    Loggerhead shrike
    Common raven (flock of 20, above Tuxcueca)
    White-collared seedeater
    Rusty-crowned ground-sparrow
    Canyon towhee
    Stripe-headed sparrow
    Blue grosbeak
    Red-winged blackbird (flock of 200, near La Palma)
    Great-tailed grackle
    Bronzed cowbird
    Streak-backed oriole
    Bullock's oriole
    House finch
    Lesser goldfinch (flock of 30 above Tuxcueca)
    House sparrow

    phone: 376 766 1801

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    Audubonistas de Laguna Chapala | Callejon al Tepalo #140-46 | Ajijic, Chapala | Jalisco | 45920 | Mexico