Lake Chapala Birders Observadores de Aves del Lago de Chapala Your hosts John and Rosemary Keeling
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
106 Species Seen Last Month
In September a total of 106 species were observed around the Lake. (See the full list below).
The highlight of our first bird walk in September was finding a group of Wilson's Phalaropes on migration in non-breeding plumage (see note below).
The highlight of the second bird walk was the observation of a female Phainopepla - a species which comes here only rarely. We saw them, mainly males, for the first time last winter. Wilson's Phalarope - Long Distance Migrant
The Wilson's Phalarope is a spring and fall migrant that we have seen in the Lake Chapala region. It nests in the prairie marshes of the U.S. and Canada. The sexual roles are reversed in phalaropes - the female is brightly colored and selects the male. When the males are sitting the eggs the females head south for an early migration. Some of them fly to the Great Salt Lake to fatten up on brine shrimps before heading south for the saline lakes of the Andes in Peru and surrounding areas. This is a 4,000 mile journey which is sometimes flown non-stop, and sometimes made with stops such as at Lake Chapala.
Wilson's Phalarope seen at the Pumping Station
Upcoming Bird Walks & Trips
On Tuesday, October 9 at 8.00 a.m. we will leave from Donas Donuts to go to Tapalpa for the day. The fall flowers will be at their best, and we hope to see both rufous and ruby-throated hummingbirds in the afternoon sunlight. Bring snacks for the morning and sandwiches for lunch. Expect to get back around 5.00 p.m. If you want to go, phone John Keeling (leave a message) so we can plan the car pooling.
On Friday October 12 at 8.00 a.m. we will meet at El Bajio where we will be looking for warblers and vireos. How to Get There: From Ajijic drive west about 2 miles and turn left after the sign saying El Bajio (the sign may be overgrown). Park along the section that parallels the carretera.
On Monday October 22 at 8.00 a.m. we will leave from Donas Donuts to go to Las Trojes for a 4-hour hike (not difficult) through the horizontal oak forest. Don't expect so many bird species, but the hike will be pleasant. Bring sandwiches. We will get back around 3.30 p.m. If you want to go, phone John so we can plan the car pooling.
Everyone is welcome on these walks - just bring binoculars.
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
September 7, five of us went to the Pumping Station. Though the lake is still only just over half full, we did see a good number of species by walking out to the shoreline. We saw crested caracara; two immature American white pelicans which presumably were born here this summer, wilson's phalaropes on migration, and a marvelous view of a white-tailed kite dropping down to its prey with wings elevated high above its back, soon returning to its perch on a dead tree where it ate a small mammal.
September 19, six keen birders gathered at La Cristina. Sightings included black-backed oriole, phainopepla, rufous backed robin, black-headed grosbeak and a small cloud of yellow-headed blackbirds.
The September List
Here are the 106 species observed in September around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove-billed Avocet, American Blackbird, red-winged (Ra) Blackbird, yellow-winged (Cs, Ac) Bunting, varied Caracara, crested Chat, yellow-breasted Coot, American Cormorant, Neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cowbird, brown-headed Cuckoo, squirrel Dove, common ground Dove, Inca Dove, white-tipped Dove, white-winged Duck, fulvous whistling (Ca) Duck, Mexican Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Euphonia, elegant Finch, house Flycatcher, cordilleran Flycatcher, least Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, vermillion Gallinule, common Gnatcatcher, blue-gray Goldfinch, lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grebe, pied-billed Grosbeak, black-headed Grosbeak, blue Gull, laughing Gull, ring-billed 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, rufous Hummingbird, violet-crowned Hummingbird, white-eared Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern Killdeer Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, thick-billed Kingbird, tropical Kiskadee, great Kite, white-tailed Meadowlark, eastern (Ra) Mockingbird, blue Motmot, russet-crowned Oriole, black-backed Oriole, black-vented Oriole, streak-backed Owl, great horned Pelican, American white (Ch, Ra) Pewee, greater (Tr) Phainopepla (Ac) Phalarope, Wilson's (Cs) Pigeon, rock Raven, common Robin, rufous, backed Sandpiper, least Sandpiper, spotted Sandpiper, stilt Seedeater, white-collared Shrike, loggerhead Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra) Sparrow, house Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, stripe-headed Spoonbill, roseate (Cs) Stilt, black-necked Stork, wood (Ra) Swallow, barn Swallow, northern rough-winged Tanager, hepatic (Tr) Tanager, western Teal, blue-winged Tern, Caspian Tern, Forster's Thrasher, curve-billed Thrush, orange-billed nightingale Towhee, canyon Vulture, black Vulture, turkey Warbler, back-throated gray Warbler, rufous-capped Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, yellow Willet Woodcreeper, white-striped (Tr) Woodpecker, acorn (Tr) Woodpecker, golden-fronted Woodpecker, ladder-backed Wren Bewick's Wren, canyon 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