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
104 Species Seen in May
The 104 species observed around the Lake last month are listed at the end of this newsletter.
All the local dams in the communities around the lake are drying up as a result of inadequate rainfall in the last three years. Similarly, the lake is suffering from inadequate water release from the thirty dams built on the Rio Lerma over the last thirty years. At the pumping station the waterline is currently receding at the rate more than ten feet per week. The lake is only 36% full.
One result of this has been that certain shorebirds have been able to use the open mudflats (without reeds) for nesting. Behind the Pumping Station John and Rosemary saw ten American Avocets on the shore with ten chicks, and a similar number of adult Snowy Plovers. This species has been reported here before, but not for a number of years. (Howell & Webb, our key reference, shows that both American Avocet and Snowy Plover regularly breed in a small patch of central Mexico lying between Lake Chapala and Mexico City.)
More than a hundred Woodstorks were seen on the dam on the Rosa Amarilla loop (we usually see only a few at a time.) The American White Pelicans appear to have left for the north in the last week of May.
Flossie, the Hummingbird Lady, has reported the arrival of the Sparkling-tailed Humminbirds which come here for five weeks to breed before moving on.
Snowy Plover seen at the Pumping Station in May. Photo by Paul Hart.
Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips
On Thurday, June 6, from 9.00 to 10.30 a.m. we will visit with Flossie, the hummingbird lady. Besides the usual Violet-crowned, Broad-billed, and Berylline Hummingbirds, we hope to see the Sparkling-tailed, and perhaps Magnificent, Black-chinned and White-eared Hummingbirds. To Get There: Go to the blue gate on the south side of Independencia just west of Morelos, approximately opposite Barbara's Bazaar.
On Wednesday, June 12, we will walk through Lower La Floresta. There are many tall trees with a good variety of birds, and some birds on the shore. At about 10.00 we will have breakfast at the Real de Chapala and complete the bird list. To Get There: From the sculpture on the carretera in La Floresta, drive towards the lake, turn left at the Real de Chapala sign onto Paseo de las Brisas, take the first right on Paseo de Prado and park. This meeting point is adjacent to the hotel property.
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On May 21, five of us met at La Christina where there were a few American White Pelicans still around, and both Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls. The big excitement was a Nutting's Flycatcher which we observed going into its nest in the top of a 4-inch metal pipe being used as an 8-foot fence post. Nutting's is assumed to be rare here. Knowledge about this species is sparse because its occurrence is very rare in the U.S. It is extraordinarily difficult to reliably distinguish between Dusky-capped, Ash-throated and Nutting's Flycatchers. In this case we went back later and were able to confirm that the wing pattern sequence was reddish-yellowish-whiteish (for the primary-secondary-tertiary edgings); and the call was a sharp "weerk". The total species count was 36.
On May 29, four keeners went round the Rosa Amarilla loop. On the pastures we saw a few Eastern Bluebirds, the first Botteri's Sparrow of the season and a Lesser Road-runner. On the reservoirs there were more than a hundred Wood Storks (usually just a few come to our area), and a lone Eared Grebe which we see less than once a year. The total species count was 46.
The May List
Here are the 104 species observed in May around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove-billed Avocet, American (Cs) Blackbird, red-winged (Cs, Ra) Bluebird, eastern (Ra) Bushtit Caracara, crested Coot, American Cormorant, neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cuckoo, squirrel Dove, common ground Dove, Eurasian collared (Ch) Dove, Inca Dove, white-tipped Dove, white-winged Duck, fulvous whistling Duck, Mexican Duck, ruddy (Ra) Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Elaenia, greenish Finch, house Flycatcher, ash-throated Flycatcher, dusky-capped Flycatcher, gray silky (Av) Flycatcher, Nutting's Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, vermilion Gallinule, common Goldfinch, lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grebe, eared (Ra) Grebe, pied billed Grosbeak, black-headed Grosbeak, blue Gull, laughing Gull, ring-billed Hawk, red-tailed Hawk, white-tailed (Ra) Heron, black-crowned night Heron, great blue Heron, green Heron, tricolored Hummingbird, berylline Hummingbird, black-chinned (Av) Hummingbird, broad-billed Hummingbird, magnificent (Av) Hummingbird, sparkling-tailed (Av) Hummingbird, violet-crowned Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern Killdeer Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, tropical Kiskadee, great Kite, white-tailed Meadowlark, eastern (Cs) Mockingbird, blue Mockingbird, northern (Ra) Motmot, russet-crowned Oriole, black-backed Oriole, black-vented Oriole, streak-backed Pelican, American white Pelican, brown (Cs) Pewee, western wood Phalarope, Wilson's Pigeon, rock Pipit, American Plover, semi-palmated (Cs) Plover, snowy (Cs) Raven, common Roadrunner, lesser (Ra) Robin, rufous-backed Sandpiper, spotted (Cs) Seedeater, white-collared Shoveler, northern Shrike, loggerhead Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra) Sparrow, house Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, stripe-headed Stilt, black-necked Stork, wood (Ra) Swallow, barn Swallow, northern rough-winged Swallow, tree Swallow, violet-green Tern, Caspian Tern, Forster's Thrasher, curve-billed Thrush, orange-billed nightingale Towhee, canyon Tyrannulet, northern beardless Vireo, golden Vulture, black Vulture, turkey Woodpecker, golden-fronted Woodpecker, ladder-backed Wren, Bewick's Wren, canyon Wren, spotted Yellowthroat, common (Ca)
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