Saturday, February 4, 2012

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders February 3, 2012


Four Unusual Sightings

Mountain Trogon

Birding Trip to El Tuito

Upcoming Bird Walks

Bird Walk Reports

January 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


  • Four Unusual Sightings

  • In addition to a number of sightings of the phainopepla, there were four rare sightings among the 149 species seen around the lake in January. (The full list is shown below).

    John Roynon saw a female Mountain Trogon near the Tepalo waterfall. This is within its normal range, but it is very rare here. (We had a probable sighting of one on the Primavera Forest trip in the fall.)

    Bob Forgie spotted a Common Merganser at the San Juan Cosala malecon. This species is normally seen in the winter in northern Mexico, but used to be seen this far south in the early days of birding more than a hundred years ago.

    Don Bell saw some Franklin's Gulls at La Canacinta. These are 'irregular' throughout much of Mexico. Their regular migration route from the northern prairies follows the Atlantic coast down to the isthmus where they cross over and continue down the Pacific coast to winter on the west coast of South America.

    Lois Brock observed a Ringed Kingfisher at the malecon between Riberas and Chapala. It is characterized by its large size and raucous call. Here, it is considerably outside its normal range, but it is a common resident at the coast.

  • Mountain Trogon

  • Female Trogon

    Female Mountain Trogon seen at the Tepalo waterfall.

  • Birding Trip to El Tuito

  • We have organized a four day/three night birding trip to El Tuito, Februry 21-24. This trip fills up quickly with people who have been before, but we still have 2 spots open. El Tuito is in the center of a large unpopulated area south of Puerta Vallarta. We will explore a variety of highland and lowland habitats accompanied by a professional guide. If you are interested, please email or phone John Keeling.

  • Upcoming Bird Walks

  • Tuesday February 7 at 8.30 am Robert Taylor will lead a bird walk at the Jocotepec malecon. Expect to see Eurasian collared doves, woodpeckers, warblers and a range of shore birds. At 10.30 we will head to El Bambu restaurant for breakfast.
    How to Get There: From Ajijic, drive to Jocotepec and turn left on the curve to the right entering Joco where there is an OXXO on the left and a Pemex on the right. Park in the malecon car park.

    Monday February 13 at 8.00 am we will meet at El Bajio where Don Bell will lead the group. Expect to see vireos, tanagers, warblers and shore birds. At 10.00 we will head for Doña Lola's for breakfast and prepare the bird list.
    How to Get There: From Ajijic drive west for about 2 mi (4km) and look for the sign 'El Bajio'. Exit left and park on the lateral road.

    Wednesday February 29 at 8.00 am we will car-pool at Donas Donuts and drive to the Cajititlan marsh where John Roynon will lead us. Expect to see marsh and creek birds as well as dry scrub species. At 10.30 we will go to Los Cinco Potrillos restaurant for breakfast.

  • Bird Walk Reports

  • On January 6, a convoy of 19 birders followed John Keeling around the Rosa Amilla loop on the south side of the lake. The 54 species observed included ruddy duck, crested caracara, eastern meadowlark, northern mockingbird and phainopepla.

    On January 23 John Roynon guided 28 birders around Cristiania Park in Chapala. The weedy shore line at the east end provided considerable bird activity. Sightings included Eurasian collared dove, greater pewee, American pipit and semipalmated plover.

  • January List

  • Here are the 149 species observed in January around Lake Chapala:

    Ani, groove-billed
    Avocet, American
    Blackbird, Brewer's (Dm)
    Blackbird, red-winged
    Blackbird, yellow-headed
    Bunting, indigo
    Bunting, lazuli
    Bunting, painted (Dp)
    Bunting, varied
    Caracara, crested
    Chat, yellow-breasted
    Coot, American
    Cormorant, neotropic
    Cowbird, bronzed
    Cowbird, brown-headed
    Cuckoo, squirrel
    Dove, common ground
    Dove, Eurasian collared
    Dove, Inca
    Dove, white-tipped
    Dove, white-winged
    Dowitcher, long-billed
    Duck, Mexican
    Duck, ruddy
    Egret, cattle
    Egret, great
    Egret, snowy
    Euphonia, elegant
    Finch, house
    Flycatcher, ash-throated
    Flycatcher, cordilleran
    Flycatcher, dusky-capped
    Flycatcher, gray silky (Ac,Av)
    Flycatcher, least
    Flycatcher, social
    Flycatcher, vermilion
    Gallinule, common
    Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
    Goldfinch, lesser
    Grackle, great-tailed
    Grebe, least
    Grebe, pied billed
    Grosbeak, black-headed
    Grosbeak, blue
    Gull, Franklin's (Ac)
    Gull, laughing
    Gull, ring-billed
    Harrier, northern
    Hawk, Cooper's
    Hawk, red-tailed
    Hawk, white-tailed (Ra)
    Heron, black-crowned night
    Heron, great blue
    Heron, green
    Heron, tri-colored
    Hummingbird, berylline
    Hummingbird, broad-billed
    Hummingbird, violet-crowned
    Ibis, white-faced
    Jacana, northern
    Kestrel, American
    Kingbird, Cassin's
    Kingbird, thick-billed
    Kingbird, tropical
    Kingbird, western
    Kingfisher, belted
    Kingfisher, ringed (Ch)
    Kiskadee, great
    Kite, white-tailed
    Meadowlark, eastern
    Merganser, common (Sc)
    Mockingbird, blue
    Mockingbird, northern
    Motmot, russet-crowned
    Nighthawk, lesser (Cs)
    Oriole, black-backed
    Oriole, black-vented
    Oriole, Bullock's
    Oriole, hooded
    Oriole, streak-backed
    Pelican, American white
    Pewee, greater
    Phoebe, Say's
    Pigeon, rock
    Pintail, northern
    Pipit, American
    Plover, semipalmated
    Raven, common
    Redstart, American
    Robin, rufous-backed
    Sandpiper, least
    Sandpiper, spotted
    Seedeater, white-collared
    Shoveler, northern
    Shrike, loggerhead
    Snipe, Wilson's
    Sparrow, chipping
    Sparrow, clay-colored
    Sparrow, house
    Sparrow, lark
    Sparrow, Lincoln's
    Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
    Sparrow, Savannah
    Spoonbill, roseate
    Stilt, black-necked
    Swallow, barn
    Swallow, northern rough-winged
    Swallow, tree
    Swallow, violet green
    Tanager, hepatic
    Tanager, summer
    Tanager, western
    Teal, blue-winged
    Teal, cinnamon
    Teal, green winged
    Tern, Caspian
    Tern, Forster's
    Thrasher, curve-billed
    Towhee, canyon
    Trogon, mountain (At)
    Vireo, black-capped
    Vireo, warbling
    Vulture, black
    Vulture, turkey
    Warbler, black and white
    Warbler, black-throated gray
    Warbler, Macgillivray's
    Warbler, Nashville
    Warbler, orange-crowned
    Warbler, rufous-capped
    Warbler, Townsend's
    Warbler, Virginia's
    Warbler, Wilson's
    Warbler, yellow-rumped
    Wigeon, American (Ac)
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Woodpecker, ladder-backed
    Wren, Bewick's
    Wren, canyon
    Wren, happy (At)
    Wren, house
    Wren, spotted
    Yellowlegs, greater
    Yellowthroat, common

    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