Monday, August 5, 2013

FW: Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders Aug. 2, 2013

90 Species Seen in July
Grasshopper Sparrow
Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips
Birdwatching Etiquette
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
The July 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


  • 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
  • Grasshopper Sparrow
    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 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 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.

  • Birdwatching Etiquette

  • 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)
    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)

    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
    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