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
90 Species Seen in July
The species observed around the Lake last month are listed at the end of this newsletter.
In the middle of the month John and Rosemary went round the Rosa Amarilla loop where there were still 50 wood storks and 10 American white pelicans. Rosemary saw an unusual-looking sparrow with a single white stripe over the top of its head and a buffy unstreaked breast. This turned out to be a grasshopper sparrow which is a new species for the Lake Chapala Area.
John was out at El Bajio standing hopefully at a big tree where many species were seen in the spring, when he spotted a pair of small northern beardless tyrannulets busily building a nest hidden in a small bunch of air plants.
Now that nesting has been completed for most species we are entering the season of "confusing immatures" as many birds have a juvenile plumage considerably different from the adult plumage making identification more difficult.
Grasshopper Sparrow as seen at Rosa Amarilla in July.
Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips
On Friday August 9, we will go to Lake Cajititlan, meeting at 8.00 a.m. to carpool at Donas Donuts, leaving immediately. This is currently our most productive birding area. At the marsh we expect to see wood storks and perhaps roseate spoonbills. We will also visit the dock at San Juan Evangelista where we might see least bittern and common yellowthroat. If you are going please email John at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know whether or not you will bring a vehicle.
On Wednesday August 14, we will go to the Rosa Amarilla circuit which is a one hour drive to the plateau on the south side of the lake. We will carpool at 8.00 a.m. at Donas Donuts leaving immediately. Bring drinks and snacks. Expect to get back to Ajijic by 2.00 p.m. If you are going please email John at email@example.com and let him know whether or not you will bring a vehicle.
On Tuesday August 20, we will meet at 8.15 a.m. at the Malecon Park in Jocotepec. Expect to see a mixture of birds in the tall trees and on the shore, including Eurasian Collared Dove which breeds at the park. At about 10.00 we will go for breakfast to Fonda Dona Lola to prepare the bird list. To Get There: From Ajijic go to Jocotepec and exit left on the curve leading to the main street of Joco (by the OXXO and Pemex). Drive towards the shore and park in the parking lot.
From time to time it is appropriate to remind ourselves what is considered good behaviour when birding.
1. Don't Scare the Birds * Focus on looking for birds. * Avoid talking, laughing and sudden movements. * Avoid wearing bright colored or white clothes and hat. Birds have moderate hearing and excellent vision, and they are acutely aware of their surroundings. Most birds will spook when you get within 20 or 30 feet of them. You will notice that when you raise your hand to point to a bird, that is when it flies away. You will also notice if you stay still, birds will come by and just ignore you, or they may come to you to satisfy their own curiosity. Keep as quiet as you can while you watch.
2. Be Considerate of Your Fellow Birders * Avoid blocking the view of others viewing a bird. * When you spot an interesting bird, describe to others where it is.
3. Be Considerate of the Environment * Protect the habitat of the birds. * Leave the trails, gates and fences as you found them. * Take out your own litter.
4. Be Prepared * Bring binoculars. * Dress for the possibility of rocky or marshy trails, and thorn bushes.
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On July 17, the hike on the lower oak forest trail at Las Trojes was cancelled due to rain.
On July 27, we had seven people out in two vehicles for the day trip to Tapalpa. On the Los Espinos road we saw many eastern bluebirds, white-eared hummingbird, buff-breasted flycatcher, northern flicker and acorn woodpecker, while on the sierra road we saw crested caracara and eastern meadowlark out of a total of 30 species.
On July 29, a group of 9 birders walked out to the extended shoreline behind the Pumping Station. Good sightings included tri-colored heron, red-winged blackbird, eastern meadowlark, black-necked stilt, an early willet and early least sandpipers for a total of 36 species.
The July List
Here are the 90 species observed in July around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove-billed Bittern, least (Ca) Blackbird, red-winged (Ra,Cs) Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ca) Bobwhite, northern (Cs) Bushtit (Ca) Caracara, crested Chat, yellow-breasted (Ra) Coot, American Cormorant, neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cuckoo, squirrel Dove, common ground Dove, Eurasian collared (Ch) Dove, Inca Duck, black-bellied whistling (Ca) Duck, fulvous whistling (Cs) Duck, Mexican Duck, ruddy Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Elaenia, greenish (At) Finch, house Flycatcher, ash-throated Flycatcher, dusky-capped Flycatcher, gray silky Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, vermillion Gallinule, common Gallinule, purple (Ca) Goldfinch lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grebe, pied-billed (Ra,Ca) Grosbeak, blue Gull, laughing Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, red-tailed Heron, black-crowned night Heron, great blue Heron, green Heron, tricolored Hummingbird, broad-billed Hummingbird, violet-crowned Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern (Sc) Killdeer Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, thick-billed Kingbird, tropical Kiskadee, great Kite, white-tailed (Cs) Meadowlark, eastern (Cs) Mockingbird, blue Mockingbird, northern (Ra) Motmot, russet-crowned Oriole, black-vented Oriole, streak-backed Pelican, American white (Ca,Ch) Pewee, greater Pewee, western wood Pigeon, rock Raven, common Robin, rufous-backed Sandpiper, least (Cs) Seedeater, white-collared Shrike, loggerhead Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra) Sparrow, grasshopper (Ra) Sparrow, house Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, stripe-headed Stilt, black-necked (Cs) Stork, wood (Ca,Ra) Swallow, barn Swallow, northern rough-winged Thrasher, curve-billed Thrush, orange-billed nightingale Towhee, canyon Tyrannulet, northern beardless Vireo, golden Vulture, black Vulture, turkey (Ra) Willet (Cs) Woodpecker, golden-fronted Woodpecker, ladder-backed Wren, Bewick's Wren, canyon Wren, spotted Yellowthroat, gray-crowned (Ra)
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 Sn - San Nicholas/Golf Club Tz - Tizapan canyon Te - San Juan Tecomatlan/Mezcala Tr - Las Trojes/oak forest Tu - Tuxcueca canyon Xt - Ixtlahuacan/Las Campanillas