Saturday, August 4, 2012

FW: Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders Aug 3, 2012

78 Species Last Month
Transvolcanic Jay
Mexico gets New Bird Species
Upcoming Bird Walks & Trips
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
The July 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


  • 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.

  • Transvolcanic Jay
  • t-v jay
    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 @ 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
    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
    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

    Location codes:

    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