Monday, December 12, 2011

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders December 3, 2011


November Sightings

Western Bluebird

Christmas Bird Counts

Gallery Showings of Bird Pictures

Bird Walks and Reports

November 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


  • November Sightings

  • 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.)

  • Western Bluebird

  • western bluebird

    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.

  • November List

  • 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
    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
    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
    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

    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
    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