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
146 Species Seen in December
The species observed around the Lake last month are listed at the end of this newsletter.
New Species for Lake Chapala The big news this month is the addition of the White-throated Flycatcher to the Lake Chapala list. This bird was seen by Lois and Brian Lewis on the reeds of a marshy ditch along the dike at the far end of the lake, while they were taking part in the Christmas Bird Count. This bird is an 'empidonax' type of flycatcher that occurs on the Pacific Slope of Mexico, spending its winters in marshes.
Other unusual sightings included a Sharp-Shinned Hawk which sat for several minutes on a tree close to John Keeling's back yard in Ajijic; also a Barn Owl seen by Diana Friedman from her house in San Antonio Tlayacapan. Other unusual sightings are reported below in the Christmas Bird Count Report.
White-throated Flycatcher as seen near Maltaraña in December.
Christmas Bird Count Results
As usual we ran two official Christmas Bird Counts in association with the U.S. Audubon Society, the first on December 16 in the Ajijic area ("Laguna de Chapala" - MXLN), and the second on December 18 at the dike across the far end of the lake ("La Cienega de Chapala" - MXCC).
At Ajijic we had 23 obsevers in the field reporting 13,400 birds of 114 species. At La Cienega we deployed 12 observers who sighted 9,200 birds of 85 species.
Analyzing the results we were unable to spot trends, other than the continuing spread of the Eurasian Collared Dove which arrived in Jocotepec six years ago, and is now seen at Chapala, Santa Rosa and Jamay. This species, originally from India, started expanding its range 400 years ago, reaching Florida in the 1980s. It is now found throughout the U.S.
Less common species included Eared Grebe at Santa Rosa, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at San Antonio and Fulvous Whistling Ducks east of Chapala.
If you would like a copy of the results (in pdf format), please email your request to email@example.com.
Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips
Our birdwalks are open to all those interested in birds, both beginners and experienced birders. Just bring binoculars and show up. We always have knowledgable birders on hand to identify the species.
On Saturday January 11, we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to carpool leaving immediately for Rosa Amarilla. It takes 60-90 minutes to get there because of road construction. We bird from 9.30 to 12.30. You must not expect to be back before 2.00 pm. Bring refreshments - there are no places to buy food there. If you plan to go please email John Keeling indicating the number of people and if you have a vehicle so we can more easily balance the loads.
On Thursday January 16, we will meet at 8.00 am at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for Lake Cajititlan, which is 30 minutes away. Expect to see a variety of shore and marsh bids. This lake is currently good because the water levels are reasonably high. At 10.15 we will go for breakfast in Ixtlahuacan de los Membrillos to prepare the bird list. If you plan to go please email John Keeling indicating the number of people and if you have a vehicle so we can more easily balance the loads.
On Friday January 24, we will meet at 8.30 am at the Jocotepec Malecon Park. Expect to see shore birds and park birds in the tall trees, perhaps Eurasian Collared Dove and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. At 10.15 we will head to Dona Lolas in Ajijic for breakfast. How to Get There: From Ajijic, as you near Jocotepec you encounter a left hand curve, some serious topes, and a right hand curve with an OXXO store where you must turn left. Proceed to the lake and park in the parking lot.
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On December 6, we had fourteen birders out on the causeway on Lake Atotonilco near Villa Corona. When we arrived there was mist over the water with few birds easily visible. Within the hour the mist lifted magically revealing many more birds including 45 roseate spoonbills, a white ibis (unusual), and a woodstork. Further down the lake we found a group of snow geese, another group of white-fronted geese and a pair of western grebes - 23 species in total.
On November 18, fourteen birders joined us at the Pumping Station at Santa Cruz. We saw crested caracara, cinnamon teal, Forster's tern, American pipit, tropical kingbird and Cassin's kingbird. The total count was 44 species.
The December List
Here are the 146 species observed in December around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove-billed Avocet, American (Ca) Becard, rose-throated (Dm) Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ca,Dp) Bunting, indigo Bunting, lazuli Bunting, varied Bushtit Caracara, crested Chat, yellow-breasted (Ac) Coot, American Cormorant, neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cowbird, brown-headed Cuckoo, squirrel Dove, common ground (Dm) Dove, Eurasian collared Dove, Inca Dove, white-tipped Dove, white-winged Duck, black-bellied whistling Duck, fulvous whistling Duck, Mexican Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Falcon, peregrine (Rp,Dm) Finch, house Flycatcher, ash-throated Flycatcher, cordilleran Flycatcher, dusky-capped Flycatcher, gray silky (Av) Flycatcher, least Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, vermillion Flycatcher, white-throated (Dm) Gadwall (Cs) Gallinule, common Gnatcatcher, blue-gray Goldfinch, lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grebe, eared (Rc) Grebe, least Grebe, pied-billed Grosbeak, black-headed Grosbeak, blue Gull, laughing Gull, ring-billed Harrier, northern (Dp) Hawk, Cooper's (Rc) Hawk, gray Hawk, red-tailed Hawk, sharp-shinned (Av) Hawk, white-tailed (Dm,Dp) Heron, black-crowned night Heron, great blue Heron, green Heron, tri-colored Hummingbird, berylline Hummingbird, broad-billed Hummingbird, rufous Hummingbird, violet-crowned Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern Kestrel, American Killdeer Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, thick-billed Kingbird, tropical Kingbird, western Kingfisher, belted Kingfisher, green Kinglet, ruby-crowned Kiskadee, great Kite, white-tailed Meadowlark, eastern Mockingbird, blue Mockingbird, northern Motmot, russet-crowned Oriole, black-backed Oriole, black-vented Oriole, Bullock's Oriole, hooded Oriole, orchard Oriole, streak-backed Osprey (Dm) Owl, barn (Sa) Pelican, American white Pewee, greater Pewee, western wood Phoebe, black Phoebe, Say's (Dp) Pigeon, rock Pintail, northern Pipit, American (Cs) Raven, common Robin, rufous-backed Sandpiper, least Sandpiper, spotted Seedeater, white-collared Shoveler, northern Shrike, loggerhead Sora (Ca,Dm) Sparrow, clay-colored (Cs) Sparrow, house Sparrow, lark Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, stripe-headed Stilt, black-necked Swallow, barn Swallow, northern rough-winged Swallow, tree Swift, Vaux's (Rp) Tanager, western (Ac) Teal, blue-winged Teal, cinnamon Teal, green-winged Tern, Caspian Tern, Forster's Thrasher, curve-billed Towhee, canyon Vireo, plumbeous Vireo, warbling (Av,Ac) Vulture, black Vulture, turkey Warbler, black and white Warbler, black-throated gray Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Nashville Warbler, orange-crowned Warbler, rufous-capped (At) Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, viginia's Warbler, yellow Warbler, yellow-rumped Willet Woodpecker, golden-fronted Woodpecker, ladder-backed Wren, Bewick's Wren, canyon Wren, house Wren, Marsh (Ca,Dp) Wren, spotted Yellowlegs, greater Yellowlegs, lesser Yellowthroat, common
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 area 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