Sunday, June 2, 2013

FW: Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders June 2, 2013

104 Species Seen in May
Snowy Plover
Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
The May 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


  • 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

  • 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)
    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
    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)

    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
    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