Wednesday, March 6, 2013

FW: Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders March 3, 2013

150 Species recorded in February
Blue-black Grassquit
Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
The February 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


  • 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.

  • Blue-black Grassquit
  • bb grassquit
    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:

    Ani, groove-billed
    Avocet, American
    Blackbird, yellow-headed
    Bunting, indigo
    Bunting, lazuli
    Bunting, painted (Ac)
    Bunting, varied
    Chat, yellow-breasted
    Coot, American
    Cormorant, neotropic
    Cowbird, bronzed
    Cowbird, brown headed
    Dove, Inca
    Dove, mourning
    Dove, white-tipped
    Dove, white-winged
    Dowitcher, long-billed
    Duck, Mexican
    Duck, ring-necked (Ra)
    Duck, ruddy (Ra)
    Egret, cattle
    Egret, great
    Egret, snowy
    Euphonia, elegant
    Falcon, peregrine
    Finch, house
    Flycatcher, cordilleran
    Flycatcher, dusky-capped
    Flycatcher, gray-silky
    Flycatcher, least
    Flycatcher, social
    Flycatcher, vermillion
    Gadwall (Ac)
    Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
    Goldfinch, lesser
    Grackle, great-tailed
    Grassquit, blue-black (Jo)
    Grebe, eared
    Grebe, least
    Grebe, pied-billed
    Grosbeak, black-headed
    Grosbeak, blue
    Gull, laughing
    Gull, ring-billed
    Harrier, northern
    Hawk, Cooper's (Ac)
    Hawk, red-tailed
    Hawk, white-tailed
    Hawk, zone-tailed
    Heron, black-crowned night
    Heron, great blue
    Heron, tri-colored
    Hummingbird, broad-billed
    Hummingbird, rufous
    Hummingbird, violet-crowned
    Ibis, white-faced
    Kestrel, American
    Kingbird, Cassin's
    Kingbird, thick-billed
    Kingbird, tropical
    Kingfisher, belted
    Kinglet, ruby-crowned
    Kiskadee, great
    Meadowlark, eastern (Ra)
    Mockingbird, blue
    Mockingbird, northern
    Motmot, russet-crowned
    Nightjar, buff-collared (Av)
    Oriole, black-backed
    Oriole, black-vented
    Oriole, Bullock's
    Oriole, hooded
    Oriole, orchard (Sa)
    Oriole, streak-backed
    Owl, great-horned
    Parakeet, orange-fronted
    Pelican, American white
    Pewee, greater
    Pewee, western-wood
    Pigeon, rock
    Pintail, northern
    Pipit, American (Ch)
    Raven, common
    Redstart, painted
    Roadrunner, lesser (Ra)
    Robin, rufous-backed
    Sandpiper, least
    Sandpiper, spotted
    Scaup, lesser
    Seedeater, white-collared
    Shoveler, northern
    Shrike, loggerhead
    Solitaire, brown-backed (Tr)
    Sparrow, chipping
    Sparrow, house
    Sparrow, lark
    Sparrow, Lincoln's
    Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
    Sparrow, savannah
    Sparrow, song
    Sparrow, stripe-headed
    Stilt, black-necked
    Stork, wood (Ra)
    Swallow, barn
    Swallow, northern rough-winged
    Swallow, tree
    Swallow, violet-green
    Tanager, flame-colored
    Tanager, hepatic
    Tanager, western
    Teal, blue-winged
    Teal, cinnamon
    Tern, Caspian
    Tern, Forster's (Ac,Rp)
    Thrasher, curve-billed
    Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
    Towhee, canyon
    Tyrannulet, northern beardless (Ac)
    Vireo, Cassin's
    Vireo, plumbeous
    Vireo, warbling
    Vulture, black
    Vulture, turkey
    Warbler, black and white
    Warbler, black-throated gray
    Warbler, hermit
    Warbler, Lucy's (Ac)
    Warbler, MacGillivray's
    Warbler, Nashville
    Warbler, red-faced
    Warbler, Townsend's (Tr)
    Warbler, Virginia's
    Warbler, Wilson's
    Warbler, yellow
    Warbler, yellow-rumped
    Wigeon, American (Rp)
    Woodcreeper, white-striped (Tr)
    Woodpecker, acorn (Tr)
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Woodpecker, ladder-backed
    Wren, Bewick's
    Wren, canyon
    Wren, happy (Ar)
    Wren, spotted
    Yellowlegs, greater (Ra)
    Yellowlegs, lesser (Ra)
    Yellowthroat, gray-crowned

    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