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
150 Species recorded in February
The 150 species observed around the Lake last month are listed at the end of this newsletter.
Unusual species this month included the Blue-black Grassquit in Jocotepec mentioned below, a dozen Wood Storks seen on the Rosa Amarilla loop, and several uncommon species seen on the Las Trojes Bird Hike including Red-faced Warbler, Acorn Woodpecker and White-striped Woodcreeper.
Another 'escapee' was reported by John Roynon who discovered a Military Macaw loose in central Riberas del Pliar. He noted it was not behaving like a wild bird! Ryon Johnston reported the sighting of a male Blue-black Grassquit in non-breeding plumage in Jocotepec. This has been verified by photos taken by Derick MacDonald. We have normally seen the males in breeding plumage (almost totally black) in mid-summer only, typically identified by their unique vertical jumping behaviour.
These birds are resident from here to the coast and as far south as Honduras. They are small, being the same size as the white collared seedeater, but with a beak more like a bunting. The females are easy to confuse with the females of several species such as seedeaters, buntings and sparrows.
This male Blue-black Grassquit in winter plumage has been seen in Jocotepec for two winters now. Photo - Derick MacDonald.
Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips
On Thursday March 7, at 8.00 a.m. we will meet at the entrance to Cristianía Park in Chapala. We will walk through the park and beyond to the shoreline, seeing a broad spectrum of species. At about 10.00 a.m. we will head for breakfast at Las Delicias. To Get There: From Ajijic cross straight over the main traffic light; go 5 blocks to the T-junction; turn left and park immediately on your right.
On Friday March 15 we will carpool at Donas Donuts at 8.00 a.m. leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla Loop on the south side of the lake. On the higher level fields and reservoir we are likely to see White-tailed Hawk, American Avocet and Woodstork. Bring refreshments. Don't expect to be back in Ajijic before 2.00 p.m.
On Wednesday March 27 we will meet at El Bajio at 8.00 a.m. This has been a perennially good birding spot - let's hope there is not too much construction going on. At about 10.00 we will head for Doña Lola's for breakfast and to complete the morning's list. To Get There: Drive about 2 miles west from Ajijic; look for the sign for El Bajio on the right and then take the next left. Park on the side road beside the carretara.
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
February 8, we were joined by 14 birders to hike the lower oak forest at Las Trojes, which was as beautiful and as easy going as usual, and the red-faced warblers were wating for us in the usual area, though not as easy to see as the last time. Others on the list of 30 speces included Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Brown-backed Solitaire, White-striped Woodcreeper, Flame-colored Tanager and Townsend's Warbler.
February 21, saw fourteen birders at the Pumping Station. Of particular interest were Yellow-headed Blackbird, Peregrine Falcon, American Pipit, Tricolored Heron, Warbling Vireo and Song Sparrow in a list of 58 species identified.
February 23, there were 16 keen birders in the convoy of cars going to the Primavera Forest. We hiked an area just south of Ahuisculco and had our lunches in a park close to the village with large overhanging trees which proved quite birdy revealing Russet-crowned Motmot and Gila Wookpecker which is a species we do not see at Lake Chapala.
The February List
Here are the 150 species observed in February around Lake Chapala:
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