Monday, November 7, 2011

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders November 3, 2011


October Sightings & Christmas Bird Count Dates

Green-tailed Towhee

Another New Species for Lake Chapala (again)

Primavera Forest Trip & Bird Walk Coming Up

Bird Walk Reports

October 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


  • October Sightings & Christmas Bird Count Dates

  • In October a total of 131 species were reported around the lake (see the full list below).

    October is the month in which we expect to see the returning migrants from up north. This fall the number of species seen is good, but the quantities of birds appear to be down. Perhaps this is because of warm weather in the north.

    Earlier in the month Don Bell and Paul Hart joined John Keeling on a hike above Las Trojes which is becoming an annual affair to look for migrating warblers. At one point in the target area of the oak forest a small mixed group of warblers came through moving in a southerly direction, and in ten minutes they had moved on. They included painted redstart, black-throated gray warbler, Townsend's warbler and hermit warbler. Also seen on his hike were white-striped woodcreeper and buff-breasted flycatcher.

    Christmas Bird Count Dates

    These are the dates for the local Counts:
    Ajijic - Wednesday December 14
    East End of the Lake - Friday December 16
    Guadalajara - Sunday December 18
    Primavera Forest - Sunday December 18
    Mark your calendar and be sure to assist in at least one of these annual events. More details in the next newsletter.

  • Green-tailed Towhee

  • gt towhee

    Seen last month in Ajijic.

  • Another New Species for Lake Chapala (again)

  • At the beginning of the month John Keeling was drawn into his garden by an unusual bird call. Getting out the scope, a preening Green-tailed Towhee was identified. This is another new species for this area. It is said to be quite elusive, scratching for food at ground level, but is also occasionally seen on a prominent perch. This one was probably on migration.

    The same size as a Canyon Towhee, with the same mousy brown head and body, this species has yellowish-green wings and tail, white throat and rusty crest.

  • Primavera Forest Trip & Bird Walk Coming Up

  • Wednesday November 9 we meet at La Christina at 8.00 a.m. Don Bell will lead us along the lake and around El Bajio and back. Expect to see an number of warblers and perhaps some vireo species. At around 10 o'clock we will go for breakfast at Doña Lolas and complete the list.
    How to Get There: Drive west from Ajijic about 2 miles (5km). After El Bajio you will see signs for Las Palmas and Hacienda La Cristina. Take the road to La Cristina and park near the lake.

    Saturday November 19 we will go on a special trip to the Primavera Forest which is a large protected area on the west side of Guadalajara. We will be led by Francisco Leon who works for the Primavera Forest Management Unit. Francisco insists that the first two hours after sunrise are the key time to view birds.
    We will carpool from Dona's Donuts leaving at 6.00 a.m. sharp. Please reserve (766-1801 or chapalabirders @ Francisco needs a list of names and ages for his office. We will enter areas not normally open to the public. Bring water, refreshments and a jacket.

  • Bird Walk Reports

  • On October 11 nine birders drove to the Sierra de Tapalpa under intermittent rain and low cloud. At one good pond we suffered high winds and 200 yards visibility. We saw the expected eastern bluebird and acorn woodpecker, as well as northern flicker and an unusual short-tailed hawk. Twenty seven species were recorded including four new ones for our Tapalpa master list.

    On October 21 we had 11 birders out at the Pumping Station seeing 53 species including northern harrier, little blue heron, eastern meadowlark, white-tailed kite and greater yellowlegs. American white pelican was also seen - believed to be part of the group that stayed over for the summer, as the migrants have not returned yet.

  • October Sightings List

  • These are the 131 species observed in October around Lake Chapala:

    Groove-billed ani
    American avocet
    Red-winged blackbird
    Yellow-headed blackbird
    Painted bunting (Ac)
    Varied bunting
    Crested caracara (Ra)
    Yellow-breasted chat
    American coot
    Neotropic cormorant
    Bronzed cowbird
    Brown-headed cowbird
    Common ground dove
    Inca dove
    Mourning dove
    White-tipped dove
    White-winged dove
    Long-billed dowitcher (Dp)
    Mexican duck
    Ruddy duck (Ra)
    Cattle egret
    Great egret
    Snowy egret
    Elegant euphonia
    Peregrine falcon (Dp)
    House finch
    Ash-throated flycatcher (Ac)
    Buff-breasted flycatcher (Tr)
    Cordilleran flycatcher
    Dusky-capped flycatcher
    Gray silky flycatcher
    Least flycatcher
    Social flycatcher
    Vermilion flycatcher
    Common gallinule
    Blue-gray gnatcher
    Marbled godwit (Dp)
    Lesser goldfinch
    Great-tailed grackle
    Black-headed grosbeak
    Blue grosbeak
    Laughing gull
    Ring-billed gull
    Northern harrier
    Cooper's hawk (Ac)
    Red-tailed hawk
    Zone-tailed hawk (Ac)
    Black-crowned night heron
    Great blue heron
    Green heron
    Little blue heron
    Tri-colored heron
    Beryline hummingbird
    Black-chinned hummingbird
    Broad-billed hummingbird
    Ruby-throated hummingbird
    Rufous hummingbird
    Violet-crowned hummingbird
    White-faced ibis
    Northern jacana
    American kestrel
    Cassin's kingbird
    Thick-billed kingbird
    Tropical kingbird
    Western kingbird
    Belted kingfisher
    Green kingfisher
    Ruby-crowned kinglet
    Great kiskadee
    White-tailed kite
    Eastern meadowlark (Ra)
    Blue mockingbird
    Northern mockingbird
    Black-backed oriole
    Black-vented oriole
    Hooded oriole
    Streak-backed oriole
    American white pelican
    Greater pewee
    Rock pigeon
    Northern pintail
    Common raven
    Painted redstart (Tr)
    Lesser roadrunner
    Rufous-backed robin
    Spotted sandpiper
    White-collared seedeater
    Northern shoveler
    Loggerhead shrike
    House sparrow
    Lark sparrow
    Lincoln's sparrow
    Rusty-crowned ground sparrow
    Savannah sparrow (Ra)
    Stripe-headed sparrow
    Black-necked stilt
    Barn swallow
    Northern rough-winged swallow
    Tree swallow
    Hepatic tanager
    Western tanager
    Blue-winged teal
    Curve-billed thrasher
    Canyon towhee
    Green-tailed towhee (Av)
    Northern beardless tyrannulet
    Plumbeous vireo
    Black vulture
    Turkey vulture
    Black and white warbler
    Black-throated gray warbler
    Hermit warbler (Tr)
    MacGillivray's warbler
    Nashville warbler
    Rufous-capped warbler
    Townsend's warbler
    Virginia's warbler
    Wilson's warbler
    Yellow warbler
    Yellow-rumped warbler
    American wigeon
    White-striped woodcreeper (Tr)
    Golden-fronted woodpecker
    Ladder-backed woodpecker
    Canyon wren
    House wren
    Spotted wren
    Greater yellowlegs
    Lesser yellowlegs

    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