Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders October 3, 2011


September Sightings

Northern Harrier Returns

Another New Species for Lake Chapala

Bird Walks Coming Up

Bird Walk Reports

September 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


  • September Sightings

  • In September a total of 107 species were reported around the lake (see the full list below).

    The big interest this month has been the exploration of our newly-discovered birding area located on an elevated plateau at the village of Rosa Amarilla, just a few minutes drive from the south shore of the lake, and only a one-hour drive from Ajijic.

    Here we have seen returning migrants such as American kestrel and northern harrier (illustrated), resident flocks of ravens, red-winged blackbirds and eastern meadowlarks, as well as wood storks which are summer visitors here.

  • Northern Harrier Returns

  • harrier

    Seen last month at Rosa Amarilla.

  • Another New Species for Lake Chapala

  • On our September 8 Bird Walk at Rosa Amarilla we saw Botteri's Sparrows which are a new sighting for the Lake Chapala area. These are said to be shy, though they are also known for sitting on the topmost branches of bushes. We saw several. One came to a fence close by and suddenly behaved like a wren folding its tail feathers together, cocking its tail up, and then dropping into the grass.

    They are relatively plain, with pink legs, flat head, unstreaked breast, small line through the eye, and a bit of yellow in the leading edge of the wing (marginal coverts). They like open grassland with a few bushes.

  • Bird Walks Coming Up

  • Tuesday, October 11 we will go to the mountain village of Tapalpa. This will be a day trip returning late afternoon (5.00 p.m.) We carpool at Donas Donuts departing 8.00 a.m. Driving time is 1.5 hours. John Keeling will lead the group at various proven spots from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. at which time we will head into the village of Tapalpa to have lunch. Bring snacks for the morning. Expect to see eastern bluebirds and migrating hummingbirds. We may see Mexican jay, the colorful collared towhee and striped sparrow.

    Friday October 21, Don Bell will lead us in the area behind the Pumping Station, which remains our top local birding spot. We will meet there at 8.30 a.m. and at 10.30 we will head to Las Delicias for breakfast and to complete the list. Expect to see a good variety of shore birds and field birds including great blue heron, green heron, tri-colored heron and perhaps a little blue heron.
    How to Get There: Drive east from Chapala passing Santa Cruz on your left and look out on your right for the pumping station which has three gray pump towers and a sign "Aqueducto". Take the first (hidden) gravel road to your right immediately after the pumping station. After a mile turn left at the T intersection, then after a quarter mile turn right and park near the water.

  • Bird Walk Reports

  • On September 18 nine enthusiastic birders joined John Keeling on the Rosa Amarilla loop. Sightings included Botteri's sparrow, crested caracara, eastern meadowlark, woodstork, black-bellied whistling duck, and cinnamon teal. In all 36 species were sighted.

    On September 19, four intrepid birders joined Robert Taylor at the Cajititlan Marsh. We found black-backed and streak-backed orioles, ring-billed and laughing gulls, northern jacana and blue-gray gnatcatcher. The total was 43 species.

  • September Sightings List

  • These are the 107 species observed in September around Lake Chapala:

    Groove-billed ani
    American avocet
    Red-winged blackbird
    Yellow-headed blackbird
    Crested caracara
    American coot
    Neotropic cormorant
    Brown-headed cowbird
    Squirrel cuckoo
    Common ground dove
    Eurasian collared dove (Jo)
    Inca dove
    Mourning dove
    White-tipped dove
    White-winged dove
    Black-bellied whistling duck (Ra)
    Mexican Duck
    Cattle egret
    Great egret
    Snowy egret
    Elegant euphonia (Rp)
    House finch
    Gray silky flycatcher (Av)
    Social flycatcher
    Vermillion flycatcher
    Common gallinule
    Blue-gray gnatcatcher
    Marbled godwit
    Lesser goldfinch
    Great-tailed grackle
    Least grebe
    Pied-billed grebe
    Black-headed grosbeak
    Blue grosbeak
    Laughing gull
    Ring-billed gull
    Northern harrier (Ra)
    Red-tailed hawk
    White-tailed hawk
    Black-crowned night heron
    Great-blue heron
    Green heron
    Tri-colored heron
    Berylline hummingbird
    Black-chinned hummingbird
    Broad-billed hummingbird
    Violet-crowned hummingbird
    White-faced ibis
    Northern jacana
    American kestrel
    Cassin's kingbird
    Thick-billed kingbird
    Belted kingfisher (Cs)
    Green kingfisher (Dp)
    Great kiskadee
    White-tailed kite
    Eastern meadowlark (Ra)
    Blue mockingbird
    Northern mockingbird (Ra)
    Black-backed oriole
    Black-vented oriole
    Hooded oriole
    Orchard oriole
    Streak-backed oriole
    American white pelican
    Greater pewee
    Western wood pewee
    Rock pigeon
    Common raven
    Rufous-backed robin
    Spotted sandpiper
    White-collared seedeater
    Northern shoveler
    Loggerhead shrike
    Botteri's sparrow (Ra)
    Chipping sparrow
    House sparrow
    Lark sparrow
    Rustry-crowned ground sparrow
    Stripe-headed sparrow
    Black-necked stilt
    Wood stork
    Barn swallow
    Cliff swallow
    Northern rough-winged swallow
    Tree swallow
    Blue-winged teal
    Cinnamon teal
    Black tern (Dm)
    Curve-billed thrasher
    Orange-billed nightingale thrush
    Canyon towhee
    Black vulture
    Turkey vulture
    Black-throated gray warbler
    Golden-crowned warbler (Av)
    Nashville warbler
    Wilson's warbler
    Yellow warbler
    Golden-fronted woodpecker
    Ladder-backed woodpecker
    Bewick's wren
    Canyon wren
    Happy wren
    Spotted wren
    Gray-crowned 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
    Ra - Rosa Amarilla
    Rc - Santa Rosa: Carnero dam
    Rp - Riberas del Pilar
    Ra - Rosa Amarilla Loop
    Sc - San Juan Cosala
    Sv - San Antonio/Chula Vista
    Te - San Juan Tecomatlan
    Tr - Las Trojes/oak forest
    Tu - Tuxcueca
    Xl - Ixtlahuacan/Las Campanillas