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
78 Species Last Month
In July a total of 78 species were seen around Lake Chapala. (See the full list below).
John and Rosemary came across three species actively feeding their young in the nest. The first was a pair of Sinaloa Wrens at El Bajio. The nest was cylindrical and the birds flew directly upwards into the bottom opening of the nest. The second was a a pair of Spotted Wrens sighted above San Pedro Itzican. This was a larger cylindrical nest but the entrance was at the top of one side. The third species was a pair of Cliff Swallows with a nest under the eaves of the building which was Sol y Luna. These swallows make a mud nest which is unique in that the nest has a side opening.
We have received reports of Great Horned Owls calling at night. Owls are best distinguished at night by their call, and these owls make a distinct hooooo, hoo hoo; repeated many times.
Those Mexican Jays occurring south of Lake Chapala are now known as Transvolcanic Jays.
Mexico gets New Bird Species
There was no fanfare last year for the official addition of a new Mexican bird species by the AOU (American Ornithologists Union). The new species is the Transvolcanic Jay which occurs only in higher altitude pine forests occurring along the Transvolcanic Range which stretches across central Mexico from Colima Volcano to Orizaba Volcano in Veracruz. Lake Chapala is too low for pine forests, but we see these jays sometimes when we visit Tapalpa. The name Mexican Jay is retained for all Mexican Jays occurring between Lake Chapala and the southern U.S. It turns out that the Transvolcanic Jays do not cross the wide valley of the River Lerma and thus do not interbreed with the other jays to the north. There are only subtle differences between the species in terms of appearance and call.
Upcoming Bird Walks & Trips
On Wednesday, August 8, we will meet at 8.30 a.m. at the Jocotepec malecon park. We hope to see the Eurasian Collared Doves which breed at the park, as well as other woodland and shore birds. At 10.15 we will head to Doña Lolas for breakfast and to complete the bird list. How to Get There: Approaching Jocotepec from Ajijic you encounter serious 'topes' in Chantepec, after which there is a curve to the right leading to the main street of Joco. You must turn left on the curve, then go one block to the lake, and park in the parking lot.
On Monday, August 27 we will leave Donas Donuts at 8.00 a.m. to do the Rosa Amarilla loop on the south side of the lake. This still offers the best birding in the area. Please email John at chapalabirders @ yahoo.com to say if you are coming, and also whether you can provide a car. Bring refreshments as you will not be back in Ajijic before 1.15. Everyone is welcome - just bring binoculars.
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
July 10, nine of us met at El Bajio. Despite lower numbers of shore birds because the lake is low, we observed 34 species which is appropriate for the time of year. These included orange-billed nightingale thrush, rusty-crowned ground sparrow, stripe-headed sparrow, blue mockingbird and white-collared seedeater.
July 25, a convoy of four cars carrying 16 people went the Sierra de Tapalapa. Thirty four species were identified including striped sparrow, chipping sparrow, acorn woodpecker, eastern bluebird, and crested caracara. We did not manage to sight any new species for that area.
The July List
Here are the 78 species observed in July around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove billed Avocet, American Blackbird, red-winged Blackbird, yellow-headed Bobwhite, northern Bushtit Chat, yellow-breasted Coot, American Cormorant, neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cowbird, brown headed Cuckoo, squirrel Dove, Inca Dove, white-winged Duck, Mexican Duck, ruddy (Ra) Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Finch, house Flycatcher, ash-throated Flycatcher, gray silky Flycatcher, Nutting' Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, vermillion Gallinule, common Goldfinch, lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grassquit, blue-black (Tu) Grebe, pied-billed (Ra) Grosbeak, blue Hawk, red-tailed Heron, black-crowned night Heron, great blue Heron, green Heron, tri-colored Hummingbird, berylline Hummingbird, broad-billed Hummingbird, sparkling-tailed Hummingbird, violet-crowned Hummingbird, white-eared Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern Killdeer Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, thick-billed Kingbird, tropical Kiskadee, great Meadowlark, eastern (Cs,Ra) Mockingbird, blue Mockingbird, northern (Ra) Oriole, black-backed (Dm) Oriole, black-vented Oriole, streak-backed Owl, great horned Pelican, American white (Dm) Pewee, western wood Pigeon, rock Raven, common Robin, rufous-backed Seedeater, white-collared Shrike, loggerhead Sparrow, house Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, stripe-headed Stilt, black-necked Stork, wood (Dm,Ra) Swallow, barn Tern, Caspian Thrasher, curve-billed Thrush, orange-billed nightingale Towhee, canyon Vulture, black Woodpecker, golden-fronted Wren, Bewick's Wren, canyon Wren, Sinaloa Wren, spotted
Ac - Ajijic: La Cristina/El Bajio At - Trails above Ajijic Av - Ajijic village Ca - Lake Cajititlan Ch - Chapala 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 & canyon Sa - San Antonio/Chula Vista Sc - San Juan Cosala Tz - Tizapan canyon Te - San Juan Tecomatlan/Mezcala Tr - Las Trojes/oak forest Tu - Tuxcueca canyon Xt - Ixtlahuacan/Las Campanillas