Thursday, January 3, 2013

FW: Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders January 3, 2013

137 Species Seen in December
Orange Breasted Bunting
Christmas Bird Count Results
Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
The December 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


  • 137 Species Seen in December

  • The 137 species observed around the Lake last month are listed at the end of this newsletter, and a summary of the Christmas Bird Counts is given below.

    Uncommon sightings during the month included a Redhead (Duck) seen near Rosa Amarilla by a group with Mexico City birder Hector Ceballos.

    Two Rare Species Sighted
    A Fork-tailed Flycatcher was seen by Derick MacDonald in Riberas del Pilar behind Mom's Restaurant. This is a beautiful long-tailed non-migratory bird of southern Mexico that is occasionally seen on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. Also, an Orange-breasted Bunting was identified in Jocotepec by Ryon Johnson, and later photographed. This brightly-colored species is not normally seen at our altitude, but is common near the coast of Jalisco.

    Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that these two birds arrived here unaided. They are probable escapees. More than 40 species of wild birds are regularly sold illegally in the markets of Guadalajara. The pre-Christmas season is the peak purchasing period, and a few of them accidentally fly out their cages before or after being given as a family gift.

  • Orange Breasted Bunting
  • Or Br Bunting
    Orange Breasted Bunting seen at Jocotepec. Photo - Derick MacDonald

  • Christmas Bird Count Results

  • The two Christmas Bird Counts were a big success as usual. For the seventh Ajijic Christmas Bird Count we had 17 people assigned to five teams, who managed to count 109 different species and a total of 5,482 individual birds. The count included 1 Gadwall, 127 American White Pelicans, 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 15 Gray Silky Flycatchers, and 14 Eastern Meadlowlarks. A cheerful Count Celebration dinner was held at the end of the day at Sunrise Restaurant.

    For the La Cienega Christmas Bird Count at the other end of the lake we had a select group of 5 birders in two teams who sighted 83 species and 8,017 individual birds, including Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Little Blue Heron, Eurasian Collared Dove and also Greater Pewee which is an unusual sighting in the winter season.

  • Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips

  • On Friday January 11 at 8.30 a.m. we will meet at the Jocotepec Malecon Park, where we expect to see Eurasian Collared Doves and perhaps Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers as well as a selection of shore birds. By 10.15 we'll be heading for Fonda Doña Lola for breakfast.
    To Get There: As you approach Jocotopec from Ajijic, turn left at the OXXO on the left. Proceed to the lake and park in the parking lot.

    On Monday January 21 we will carpool at Donas Donuts at 8.00 a.m. to go the the Rio Verde Canyon - a 90-minutes drive north-east of Ajijic. We hope to see Elegant Trogon, Squirrel Cuckoo and Gila Woodpecker. If you plan to come, please email John at and let him know whether or not you can bring a vehicle. Bring snacks and sandwiches for lunch. Don't expect to be back before 4.00.

    On Tuesday January 29 we will meet at 8.00 a.m. at La Christina. This is one of our better birding spots - we'll be looking for warblers and vireos as well as ducks on the shore. At 10.00 we will go to Dona Lola's for breakfast and complete the bird list.
    To Get there: Drive about 2 miles west from Ajijic, look for the sign to Hacienda La Christina. You will see the exits to Las Palmas and La Christina just a few yards apart. Proceed downhill to La Cristina and park near the lake.

    Binoculars For Sale

    Bushnell Birding Series Natureview Waterproof 8x42 Binoculars Model 123000 with bright image, wide field of view, weighing only 26 oz. Slightly used. Asking $70US, orig $120. Email Marv Armendinger

  • Bird Walk and Trip Reports

  • December 7, thirteen enthusiastic birders assembled at El Bajio on the west side of Ajijic, where they idenitified 58 species including Varied Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat, Gray Silky Flycatcher, Common Raven, and Stripe-headed Sparrow.

    December 27, fifteen birders formed a four-car convoy to bird the Sierra de Tapalpa, which is 1,500 feet higher than Lake Chapala. During the morning they observed 48 species including Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, American Robin, Striped Sparrow as well as two new species for the Tapalpa List, the Mexican Chickadee and the Olive Warbler.

  • The December List

  • Here are the 137 species observed in December around Lake Chapala:

    Ani, groove billed
    Avocet, American
    Bittern, least (Ca)
    Blackbird, Brewer's (Ch)
    Blackbird, red-winged
    Blackbird, yellow-headed
    Bunting, indigo
    Bunting, lazuli
    Bunting, varied
    Caracara, crested
    Chat, yellow-breasted
    Coot, American
    Cormorant, neotropic
    Cowbird, bronzed
    Cowbird, brown-headed
    Dove, common ground (CaCs)
    Dove, Eurasian collared (JaCh)
    Dove, Inca
    Dove, mourning (Cs)
    Dove, white-winged
    Dowitcher, long-billed
    Duck, Mexican
    Duck, ring-necked
    Duck, ruddy
    Egret, cattle
    Egret, great
    Egret, snowy
    Falcon, peregrine
    Finch, house
    Flycatcher, cordilleran
    Flycatcher, gray silky (Av)
    Flycatcher, least
    Flycatcher, social
    Flycatcher, vermillion
    Gadwall (Ac)
    Gallinule, common
    Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
    Godwit, marbled
    Goldfinch, lesser
    Grackle, great-tailed
    Grebe, eared (Ra)
    Grebe, least
    Grebe, pied-billed
    Grosbeak, black-headed
    Grosbeak, blue
    Gull, laughing
    Gull, ring-billed
    Harrier, northern
    Hawk, Cooper's
    Hawk, gray
    Hawk, red-tailed
    Hawk, white-tailed (Ca)
    Heron, black-crowned night
    Heron, great blue (Dp)
    Heron, green
    Heron, little blue
    Heron, tricolored
    Hummingbird, berylline
    Hummingbird, broad-billed
    Hummingbird, calliope
    Hummingbird, ruby-throated (Ac)
    Hummingbird, rufous
    Hummingbird, violet-crowned
    Ibis, white-faced
    Jacana, northern
    Kestrel, American
    Kingbird, Cassin's
    Kingbird, thick-billed
    Kingbird, tropical
    Kingfisher, belted
    Kiskadee, great
    Meadowlark, eastern
    Mockingbird, blue
    Mockingbird, northern
    Oriole, black-backed
    Oriole, black-vented
    Oriole, Bullock's
    Oriole, hooded
    Oriole, streak-backed
    Owl, barn
    Pelican, American white
    Pewee, greater
    Pigeon, rock
    Pintail, northern
    Pipit, American
    Raven, common
    Redhead (Ra)
    Redstart, American (Ac)
    Robin, rufous-backed
    Sandpiper, least
    Sandpiper, spotted
    Sapsucker, yellow-bellied (Cs)
    Scaup, lesser
    Seedeater, white-collared
    Shoveler, northern
    Shrike, loggerhead
    Sora (Ca)
    Sparrow, house
    Sparrow, lark
    Sparrow, Lincoln's
    Sparrow, stripe-headed
    Stilt, black-necked
    Swallow, barn
    Swallow, northern rough-winged
    Swallow, tree
    Tanager, hepatic
    Tanager, western
    Teal, blue-winged
    Teal, cinnamon
    Teal, green-winged
    Tern, Caspian
    Tern, Forster's
    Thrasher, curve-billed
    Towhee, canyon
    Vireo, plumbeous
    Vulture, black
    Vulture, turkey
    Warbler, black and white
    Warbler, black-throated gray
    Warbler, Nashville
    Warbler, orange-crowned
    Warbler, rufous-capped
    Warbler, Virginia's
    Warbler, Wilson's
    Warbler, yellow
    Warbler, yellow-rumped
    Wigeon, American
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Woodpecker, ladder-backed
    Wren, Bewick's
    Wren, canyon
    Wren, house
    Wren, marsh
    Wren, spotted
    Yellowlegs, greater (Ac)
    Yellowthroat, common

    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
    Ja - Jamay
    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