Monday, October 8, 2012

FW: Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders Oct 3, 2012

106 Species Seen Last Month
Wilson's Phalarope
Upcoming Bird Walks & Trips
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
The September 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


  • 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
  • wilson's phalarope
    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
    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
    Woodcreeper, white-striped (Tr)
    Woodpecker, acorn (Tr)
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Woodpecker, ladder-backed
    Wren Bewick's
    Wren, canyon
    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 MalteraƱa
    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