Thursday, June 2, 2011

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders June 1, 2011


114 Species Sighted in May

Spotted Towhee

Bird Walk at Flossies on Thursday

Birdwalk at El Bajio

Bird Walk Reports

May Sightings List

Lake Chapala Birders

Observadores de Aves del Lago de Chapala

Your hosts
John and Rosemary Keeling
John & Rosemary

If you have reports of interesting bird sightings near Lake Chapala, or need information about birding around the lake, email us at:
or phone 376-766-1801


  • 114 Species Sighted in May

  • At the beginning of the month we saw the stragglers before they flew north (Townsend's warbler, Virginia's warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, Savannah sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, blue-winged teal, and cinnamon teal). At the end of the month we saw some newly arrived summer visitors (blue-black grassquit, and wood stork). The full list for the month is shown below.

    Another New Species for Lake Chapala

    John Keeling sighted a Spotted Towhee (previously known as Rufous-sided Towhee) at the Tepalo waterfall. This is a first sighting for the Lake Chapala area.

  • Spotted Towhee

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    Observed in May at the Tepalo waterfall.

  • Bird Walk at Flossies on Thursday

  • Our first "bird walk" this month will be Thursday June 2, at Flossie's to see the Sparkling-tailed Hummingbirds. These tiny birds come through for only a few weeks every year. Expect to see four or five other species of hummingbirds, of course. Flossie is currently running 14 feeders simultaneously. We will have two viewing sessions, the first at 8.00 a.m., the second at 9.00 a.m. Please bring a donation of plain sugar for Flossie as most of her social security goes to buy sugar for the hummingbirds.

    How to Get There: Go to Independencia #2 in Ajijic, just one block up from the pier. The house has a blue-gray door across from Barbara's Bazaar. Pull hard on the rope to ring the bell.

  • Birdwalk at El Bajio

  • Our second bird walk will be at El Bajio, Tuesday June 14 at 8.00 a.m. The variety of tall trees draws a good selection of large and small birds. Expect to see black-backed and streak-backed orioles, rufous-backed robin, social flycatcher, and western wood pewee. At about 10.00 a.m. we will go for breakfast at Doña Lola.

    How to Get There: Drive one mile west of Ajijic. There is a sign for El Bajio on the highway. The exit is on the south side. Park on the lateral road beside the carretera.

  • Bird Walk Reports

  • On May 9 we had eleven birders out at Villa Corona to see the birds on Lake Atotonilco. There was an unusually good selection of bird species, 36 in all. Interesting species were wood stork, roseate spoonbill, American avocet, fulvous whistling duck and perhaps a hundred Wilson's phalarope on their way north.

    On May 24, John Keeling led a group of 9 birders to the area behind the pumping station at Santa Cruz. 45 species were sighted which was considered good for the time of year. Less common species included common ground dove, white-tailed kite, eastern meadowlark, red-winged blackbird, American avocet, and one that should have already flown north, the northern shoveler.

    Bird's Nests
    Two nests were seen on the bird walk. A loggerhead shrike's nest consisting of a few twigs in the fork of a small tree on the road; and a bushtit's nest in a piece of mistletoe overhanging the road. This nest appeared to be made of leaves and spider's web in the shape of a tube sock, such that the nest expanded as the bird moved around inside. In previous years we have seen inca doves and vermilion flycatchers sitting on minimalist nests in the same area.

  • May Sightings List

  • These are the 114 species observed in May around Lake Chapala:

    Groove-billed ani
    American avocet (Cs,Dp)
    Red-winged blackbird (Cs)
    Yellow-headed blackbird
    Varied bunting
    Crested caracara
    American coot
    Neotropic cormorant
    Bronzed cowbird
    Squirrel cuckoo (At)
    Common ground dove
    Inca dove
    Mourning dove
    White-tipped dove
    White-winged dove
    Black-bellied whistling duck (Dm)
    Fulvous whistling duck (Dm)
    Mexican duck
    Cattle egret
    Great egret
    Snowy egret
    House finch
    Ash-throated flycatcher
    Dusky-capped flycatcher
    Gray-silky flycatcher
    Social flycatcher
    Vermillion flycatcher
    Lesser goldfinch
    Great-tailed grackle
    Blue-black grassquit (Tu)
    Least grebe (Dm)
    Pied-billed grebe (Dm)
    Black-headed grosbeak
    Blue grosbeak
    Laughing gull
    Cooper's hawk
    Black-crowned night heron
    Great blue heron
    Green heron
    Little blue heron
    Tri-colored heron
    Berylline hummingbird
    Broad-billed hummingbird
    Calliope hummingbird (Av)
    Magnificent hummingbird (Av)
    Ruby-throated hummingbird (Av)
    Sparkling-tailed hummingbird (Av)
    Violet-crowned hummingbird
    White-eared hummingbird
    White-faced ibis
    Cassin's kingbird
    Thick-billed kingbird
    Tropical kingbird
    Great kiskadee
    White-tailed kite
    Eastern meadowlark (Cs)
    Blue mockingbird
    Common moorhen
    Russet-crowned motmot
    Buff-collared nightjar
    Black-backed oriole
    Black-vented oriole
    Streak-backed oriole
    American white pelican
    Greater pewee
    Western wood pewee
    Wilson's phalarope (Cs)
    Rock pigeon
    Common raven
    Rufous-backed robin
    Spotted sandpiper
    Western sandpiper
    White-collared seedeater
    Loggerhead shrike
    House sparrow
    Rusty-crowned ground sparrow
    Savannah sparrow (Cs)
    Stripe-headed sparrow
    White-crowned sparrow (Cs)
    Roseate spoonbill (Dm)
    Black-necked stilt
    Wood stork (Dm)
    Bank swallow (Cs)
    Barn swallow
    Cliff swallow (Cs)
    Northern rough-winged swallow
    Western tanager
    Blue-winged teal
    Cinnamon teal
    Caspian tern
    Curve-billed thrasher
    Orange-billed nightingale thrush
    Canyon towhee
    Spotted towhee (At)
    Warbling vireo
    Black vulture
    Turkey vulture
    Orange-crowned warbler
    Townsend's warbler
    Virginia's warbler
    Yellow warbler
    Golden-fronted woodpecker
    Ladder-backed woodpecker
    Bewick's wren
    Cactus wren (Av,Tu)
    Canyon wren
    House wren
    Spotted wren
    Greater yellowlegs
    Lesser yellowlegs
    Common yellowthroat

    Location codes:

    Ac - Ajijic: La Cristina/El Bajio
    At - Trails above Ajijic
    Av - Ajijic village
    Ch - Chapala
    Cl - Lake Cajititlan
    Cs - Santa Cruz/pumping station
    Dm - Dike near Malteraña
    Dp - Dike near La Palma
    Hv - Hidden Valley oak forest
    Jo - Jocotepec
    Lc - La Cañada
    Ld - Lerma & Duero rivers
    Pe - Petatan causeway
    Po - Poncitlan
    Pt - San Pedro Tesistan
    Pz - San Pedro Itzican
    Rc - Santa Rosa: Carnero dam
    Rp - Riberas del Pilar
    Sc - San Juan Cosala
    Sv - San Antonio/Chula Vista
    Te - San Juan Tecomatlan
    Tr - Las Trojes/oak forest
    Tu - Tuxcueca
    Xl - Ixtlahuacan/Las Campanillas