Sunday, September 8, 2013

FW: Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders Sep. 2, 2013

93 Species Seen in August
Least Bittern
Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
The August 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


  • 93 Species Seen in August

  • The species observed around the Lake last month are listed at the end of this newsletter.

    This summer we discovered a new birding hotspot on Lake Cajititlan. The south-side jetty is a great place to see the Least Bittern which is usually a cautious and skulking bird. It is normally seen two feet above the water grasping the stems in a reed bed. On the August 9 birdwalk it was particularly interesting to be able to compare Least Bittern with Green Heron almost side by side.

    The Least Bittern has the ability to move rapidly through the reed bed, disappearing almost instantly. This species is found in geographical pockets throughout North and South America and is resident here.

    Other interesting sightings were a Tropical Parula by Brian Lewis near Santa Cruz, and in the same location John Keeling discovered several Purple Gallinules, previously only seen at the far end of Lake Chapala in years when the water level was much higher than now.

  • Least Bittern
  • Least Bittern
    Least Bittern as seen at Lake Cajititlan in August.

  • Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips

  • On Tuesday September 10, we will meet at La Cristina at 8.00 a.m. (Remember, this is west of Ajijic, not in Chapala!). We expect to see a selection of shore and land birds. At 10.00 we will head for Fonda Doña Lola for breakfast to prepare the bird list.
    How to Get There: Drive west from Ajijic. After El Bajio you will see signs for Las Palmas and Hacienda La Cristina. Take the La Cristina road and park near the lake.

    On Wednesday September 18, we will go to Lake Cajititlan, meeting at 8.00 a.m. to carpool at Donas Donuts, leaving right away. This is currently our best birding spot, both the marsh and the jetty, because the water levels have not affected the reed beds. If you are going, please email saying whether on not you will bring a vehicle.

    On Monday September 30, we will go to Tapalpa, meeting at 8.00 a.m. to carpool at Donas Donuts,
    leaving right away. The fall flowers will be at their best, and we should see migrating hummingbirds. Bring snacks. We will have lunch in Tapalpa at 1.30, getting back to Ajijc at 5.00. If you are going, please email saying whether on not you will bring a vehicle.

  • Bird Walk and Trip Reports

  • On August 9, a group of eight of us went to the marsh at Lake Cajititlan. We were rewarded with a singing common yellowthroat, as well as yellow-headed blackbird, wood-stork, roseate spoonbill and white-tailed kite. We then moved on to the warf at San Juan Evangelista where we observed least bittern quite clearly in the reeds, and juvenile black-crowned night herons, for a total of 36 species.

    On August 14, a select group of 5 birders went round the Rosa Amarilla circuit. Interesting sightings were gray-crowned yellowthroat, Botteri's sparrow, northern mockingbird, 10 wood storks, 30 Wilson's phalaropes and 30 American white pelican out of a total list of 45 species.

    On August 20, seven keeners joined us at the Jocotepec malecon park, seeing a pair of northen jacana with baby chicks in tow. We saw six brown pelicans (the largest number we have seen at the lake) which flew up to join twenty wheeling birds that looked like an ocean species with interesting patterns on their wings, but which we later determined were immature laughing gulls. At the San Juan Evangelista jetty we saw many young and adult black-crowned night heron and two least bittern as mentioned above. The list came to 31.

  • The August List

  • Here are the 93 species observed in August around Lake Chapala:

    Ani, groove-billed
    Avocet, American (Jo)
    Bittern, least
    Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ca)
    Bobwhite, northern (Xt)
    Caracara, crested
    Coot, American
    Cormorant, neotropic
    Cowbird, bronzed
    Cowbird, brown-headed
    Crossbill, red
    Cuckoo, squirrel
    Dove, Eurasian collared
    Dove, Inca
    Dove, white-tipped
    Dove, white-winged
    Duck, black-bellied whistling
    Duck, fulvous whistling
    Duck, Mexican
    Duck, ruddy
    Egret, cattle
    Egret, great
    Egret, snowy
    Euphonia, elegant
    Finch, house
    Flycatcher, gray silky
    Flycatcher, vermillion
    Gallinule, common
    Gallinule, purple (Cs)
    Goldfinch, lesser
    Grackle, great-tailed
    Grebe, least
    Grebe, pied-billed
    Grosbeak, blue
    Gull, laughing
    Hawk, red-tailed
    Heron, black-crowned night
    Heron, great blue
    Heron, green
    Heron, tricolored
    Hummingbird, berylline
    Hummingbird, broad-billed
    Hummingbird, rufous (Sc)
    Hummingbird, violet-crowned
    Ibis, white-faced
    Jacana, northern
    Kingbird, Cassin's
    Kingbird, thick-billed
    Kingbird, tropical
    Kiskadee, great
    Kite, white-tailed
    Meadowlark, eastern
    Mockingbird, blue
    Mockingbird, northern (Ra)
    Motmot, russet-crowned
    Nightjar, buff-collared
    Oriole, black-vented
    Oriole, streak-backed
    Owl, northern saw-whet (Av)
    Parula, tropical (Cs)
    Pelican, American white
    Pelican, brown (Jo)
    Pewee, western wood
    Phalarope, Wilson's (Ra)
    Pigeon, rock
    Raven common
    Robin, rufous-backed
    Sandpiper, least
    Seedeater, white-collared
    Shrike, loggerhead
    Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra)
    Sparrow, chipping
    Sparrow, house
    Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
    Sparrow, stripe-headed
    Spoonbill, roseate (Ca)
    Stilt, black-necked
    Stork, wood (Ca,Ra)
    Swallow, barn
    Thrasher, curve-billed
    Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
    Towhee, canyon
    Vireo, golden (At)
    Vulture, black
    Vulture, turkey
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Woodpecker, ladder-backed
    Wren, Bewick's
    Wren, canyon
    Wren, spotted
    Yellowthroat, common (Ca)
    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 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