If you have reports of interesting bird sightings near Lake Chapala, or need information about birding around the lake, email us at: ChapalaBirders@yahoo.com or phone 376-766-1801
In November a total of 135 species were reported around the lake (see the full list below).
There were two unusual sightings in our area last month. Don Bell identified a Western Bluebird on the heights of the Rosa Amarilla loop on the south side of the lake. These birds are commonly seen 90 minutes drive away at the higher elevation of Tapalpa, but our Rosa Amarilla has a very similar elevation above sea level.
The other rarity was the sighting of a Herring Gull (first year plumage) by Dave Bengston, a visting birder from California. He reports that it stood out from all the Ring-billed Gulls at Mezcala Island. This bird is a vagrant here, as it is normally confined to the coasts of Mexico which it visits in the winter.
Don't forget to register for the Ajijic Christmas Bird Count coming up very soon. (See details below.)
Seen last month at Rosa Amarilla. Note that the plumage of the female is duller than the male, and is even duller in the winter.
Christmas Bird Counts
The Lake Chapala Christmas Bird Count will be held Wednesday, December 14. It is necessary to pre-register in order to pay the fee and to be assigned to a team. The count will be followed by a dinner at 6.00 p.m. at Sunrise Restaurant. The fee for the count is 100 pesos (much of which goes to the Audubon Society) and the dinner cost is 150 pesos - including tip, drinks extra.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the count - typically we get about 36 participants. This will be the sixth "CBC" for Ajijic and the 112th for the Audubon Society. Our area, a fixed 15-mile diameter circle, is divided into six areas for six teams.
The Cienega Christmas Bird Count on the dike at the other end of the lake will be held Friday, December 16. This is an all-day affair that attracts the serious birders.
Registration for both counts will take place Monday and Tuesday (December 12 and 13) from 10.00 to noon at the residence of John Keeling in Ajijic, Condominium Villas del Tepalo, villa 46, 766-1801. (Go uphill from Donas Donuts, fork half right in front of Min Wah Restaurant, continue uphill and turn in at Callejon al Tepalo #140, on the right, opposite the school.)
Gallery Showings of Bird Pictures
We currently have three displays of bird pictures in town. The first and most impressive is Paul Hart's exhibition "A Celebration of Birds" at Galería Sol Mexicano, Colon #13 in Ajijic. The front gallery is devoted to large color photos of mainly local birds. These are for sale, as is Paul's new calendar, and will be on display until December 9. Be sure to visit.
The other two shows are part of the recent Bird Festival aimed at the Mexican community. In the Ajijic Cultural Center on the square is a show of 20 color photos by Jesus Moreno, a remarkable photographer from Guadalajara. These are displayed on easels on the upper level until December 19. Moreno is known for the high quality calendars featuring his work published for the last two years. His 2012 calendar should be available soon.
At the Centro Cultural Gonzalez Gallo (the old train station) in Chapala there is a show of paintings of birds by Lizzy Martinez. This is in its own room on the upper level, east wing until December 19. Martinez is the leader of the Guadalajara Birders Group and works in the Education Department of the Guadalajara Zoo.
Bird Walks and Reports
Wednesday, December 7, at 8.15, John Keeling will lead a bird walk at the pumping station. This continues to be the location that offers the best variety of birds conveniently accessible on foot. At 10.15 we will head for Las Delicias for breakfast. How to Get There: Drive east from Chapala towards Mezcala. After passing Santa Cruz on your left look out for the pumping station with 3 gray pump towers on your right with the sign 'Aqueducto'. Immediately after the station take the first semi-hidden gravel road on the right. After a mile turn left at the T junction, then right, and park near the lake.
November Bird Walk Reports:
On November 9, Don Bell led 17 birders (including two biology students from Guadalajara) at La Cristina and El Bajio. They saw 44 species including belted kingfisher, blue-winged teal, cinnamon teal and common raven.
On November 19, 17 people drove for 90 minutes to Tala to enter the Primavera Forest at 8.30 a.m. Our leader, Francisco Leon, apologized for not having insisted that we got up even earlier to see the best birds. The scenery was gorgeous, and many saw a few lifers, such as Arizona woodpecker and acorn woodpecker. A few problems with Vialidad Police taking two foreign license plates off our cars while we were having breakfast completed an interesting morning.
On November 26, John Keeling led nine birders at Cristianía Park in Chapala as part of the Bird Festival aimed at getting the local Mexican people more interested in birds. The majority were Guadalajara residents. Sightings included crested caracara, American white pelican and semipalmated plover.
These are the 135 species observed in November around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove-billed Avocet, American Becard, rose-throated (Ac) Bittern, American Blackbird, red-winged Blackbird, yellow-headed Bluebird, western (Ra) Bunting, painted Bunting, varied Bushtit Caracara, crested Chat, yellow-breasted Coot, American Cormorant, neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cowbird, brown headed Dove, inca Dove, white-tipped Dove, white-winged Duck, Mexican Duck, ruddy Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Elaenia, greenish (Ac) Euphonia, elegant Finch, house Flycatcher, ash-throated Flycatcher, cordilleran Flycatcher, gray-silky Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, olive-sided Flycatcher, vermilion Gadwall Gallinule, common Gnatcatcher, blue-gray Goldfinch, lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grebe, eared Grebe, least Grebe, pied-billed Grosbeak, black-headed Grosbeak, blue Gull, herring (Te) Gull, laughing Gull, ring-billed Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, red-tailed Hawk, white-tailed Hawk, zone-tailed Heron, black-crowned night Heron, great blue Heron, green Heron, little blue Heron, tri-colored Hummingbird, berylline Hummingbird, broad-billed Hummingbird, magnificent Hummingbird, rufous Hummingbird, violet-crowned Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern Kestrel, American Killdeer Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, thick-billed Kingbird, tropical Kingbird, western Kingfisher, belted Kiskadee, great Kite, white-tailed Meadowlark, eastern (Ra) Mockingbird, blue Mockingbird, northern Oriole, black-vented Oriole, hooded Oriole, streak-backed Osprey (Ra) Parula, tropical (Ac) Pelican, American white Pewee, greater Pigeon, rock Plover, semipalmated (Ch) Raven, common Redstart, American Robin, rufous-backed Sandpiper, least Sandpiper, spotted Sandpiper, stilt (Cs) Sandpiper, western (Cs) Seedeater, white-collared Shoveler, northern Shrike, loggerhead Snipe, Wilson's Sparrow, clay-colored Sparrow, house Sparrow, lark Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, stripe-headed Stilt, black-necked Swallow, barn Swallow, cliff Swallow, northern rough-winged Swallow, tree Tanager, hepatic Tanager, summer Tanager, western Teal, blue-winged Teal, cinnamon Teal, green-winged Tern, Caspian Tern, Forster's Thrasher, curve-billed Towhee, canyon Tyrannulet, northern beardless Vireo, Bell's Vireo, Cassin's Vireo, warbling Vulture, black Vulture, turkey Warbler, black and white Warbler, Lucy's Warbler, Nashville Warbler, rufous-capped Warbler, Wilsons' Warbler, yellow Warbler, yellow-rumped Woodpecker, golden-fronted Woodpecker, ladder-backed Wren Bewick's Wren, canyon Wren, house Wren, spotted Yellowlegs, greater
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 Ld - Lerma & Duero rivers Pe - Petatan causeway Po - Poncitlan Pt - San Pedro Tesistan Pz - San Pedro Itzican Ra - Rosa Amarilla loop Rc - Santa Rosa: Carnero dam Rp - Riberas del Pilar Sc - San Juan Cosala Sv - San Antonio/Chula Vista Te - San Juan Tecomatlan/Mezcala Tr - Las Trojes/oak forest Tu - Tuxcueca Xl - Ixtlahuacan/Las Campanillas