Monday, February 3, 2014

Lake Chapala Birding Newsletter

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders Feb. 2, 2014

131 Species Seen in January
Zone-tailed Hawk
Upcoming Bird Walks and Trips
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
The January 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


  • 131 Species Seen in January

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

    Unusual species seen in January included a Zone-tailed Hawk seen circling with Turkey Vultures on the trip to Rosa Amarilla. This hawk has a wing pattern like a Turkey Vulture but has a barred tail which the vultures do not have. Eared Grebe was sighted again this month, this time at Lake Cajiitlan. Also we continue to see Peregrine Falcon at the Lake Cajititlan marsh.

    A pair of Monk Parakeets are currently living in the area around the pier in Ajijic. These are escapees of course. It remains to be seen whether they will breed there.

    This winter we are seeing the migrant American White Pelicans much more spread out along the shores of Lake Chapala generally, instead of being concentrated primarily at the far eastern end of the lake. This may be due to relative scarcity of reed beds at the eastern end.

  • Zone-tailed Hawk

  • Zone-tailed Hawk as seen on the Rosa Amarilla circuit in January.

  • 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 Thursday February 6 at 8.00 a.m. we wll meet at La Cristina which is just west of Ajijic. We expect to see a variety of warblers, vireos, tanagers and orioles in the tall trees. At about 10.00 a.m. we will head to the Waffle House for breakfast to complete the list.
    How to Get There: From Ajijic go about 2 miles, turn left at the sign to Hacienda La Christina (very close to the road to Las Palmas). Park close to the lake.

    On Wednesday Februray 12 at 8.00 a.m. we will meet at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for the Sierra de Tapalpa. We will stop at points on the plateau from 9.00 to 12.30 and go for lunch in Tapalpa. We will be back in Ajijic about 5.00. If you plan to go please email saying if you can provide a vehicle (to help us balance the passengers.)

    On Wednesday February 19 at 8.00 a.m. we will meet at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for the Rio Verde. We will be going to the access point where we have seen trogons but does not have hot pools for swimming. Bring sandwiches and other refreshments for lunch time. We will be back in Ajijic about 5.00. If you plan to go please email saying if you can provide a vehicle (to help us balance the passengers.)

  • Bird Walk and Trip Reports

  • On January 11, eleven keen birders travelled in three vehicles to the Rosa Amarilla Loop observing 52 species in all. Interesting sightings included Crested Caracara, White-tailed Hawk, and Wood Stork, An unusual sighting was a Zone-tailed Hawk seen circling with a group of Turkey Vultures. Notice in the photo above how similar the wing pattern is to a Turkey Vulture.

    On January 16, we went with 14 birders to Lake Cajititlan where we managed to see Yellow-headed Blackbird, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Eared Grebe, Black-necked Stilt and Common Yellowthroat for a total of 47 species.

    On January 24, a dozen birders grouped at the Jocotepec Malecon observing Northern Jacana, McGillivray's Warbler, Greater Yellowlegs and Eurasian Collared Dove for a total list of 56 species.

  • The January List

  • Here are the 131 species observed in Jnauary around Lake Chapala:

    Ani, groove-billed
    Avocet, American (Ca)
    Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ca)
    Bunting, indigo
    Bunting, lazuli
    Bunting, varied
    Caracara, crested (Ra)
    Chat, yellow-breasted
    Coot, American
    Cormorant, neotropic
    Cowbird, bronzed
    Cowbird, brown-headed
    Cuckoo, squirrel
    Dove, Eurasian collared (Jo)
    Dove, Inca
    Dove, white-tipped
    Dove, white-winged
    Duck, fulvous whistling
    Duck, Mexican
    Duck, ruddy (Ra)
    Egret, cattle
    Egret, great
    Egret, snowy
    Euphonia, elegant
    Falcon, peregrine (Ca)
    Finch, house
    Flycatcher, ash-throated
    Flycatcher, cordilleran
    Flycatcher, gray silky (Av)
    Flycatcher, least
    Flycatcher, social
    Flycatcher, vermillion
    Gallinule, common
    Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
    Goldfinch, lesser
    Grackle, great-tailed
    Grebe, eared
    Grebe, least
    Grosbeak, black-headed
    Grosbeak, blue
    Gull, laughing
    Gull, ring-billed
    Harrier, northern
    Hawk, Cooper's (Av)
    Hawk, red-tailed
    Hawk, white-tailed (Ra)
    Hawk, zone-tailed (Ra)
    Heron, black-crowned night
    Heron, great blue
    Heron, green
    Heron, tri-colored
    Hummingbird, berylline
    Hummingbird, broad-billed
    Hummingbird, magnificent (Sa)
    Hummingbird, rufous
    Hummingbird, violet-crowned
    Ibis, white-faced
    Jacana, northern
    Kingbird, Cassin's
    Kingbird, thick-billed
    Kingbird, tropical
    Kiskadee, great
    Meadowlark, eastern
    Mockingbird, blue
    Mockingbird, northern
    Nightjar, buff-collard (Av)
    Oriole, black-backed (Ac,Ch)
    Oriole, black-vented
    Oriole, bullock's
    Oriole, hooded
    Oriole, streak-backed
    Owl, great-horned (Av)
    Pelican, American white
    Pewee, greater
    Pewee, western wood
    Pigeon, rock
    Raven, common
    Robin, rufous-backed
    Sandpiper, least
    Sandpiper, spotted
    Seedeater, white-collared
    Shoveler, northern
    Shrike, loggerhead
    Sparrow, chipping
    Sparrow, house
    Sparrow, lark
    Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
    Sparrow, song
    Sparrow, stripe-headed
    Stilt, black-necked
    Stork, wood (Ra,Jo)
    Swallow, barn
    Swallow, northern rough-winged
    Swallow, tree
    Tanager, summer (Av)
    Tanager, western
    Teal, blue-winged
    Teal, cinnamon
    Teal, green-winged
    Tern, Caspian
    Tern, Forster's
    Thrasher, curve-billed
    Towhee, canyon
    Vireo, golden
    Vireo, plumbeous
    Vireo, warbling
    Vulture, black
    Vulture, turkey
    Warbler, black and white
    Warbler, black-throated gray
    Warbler, McGillivray's
    Warbler, Nashville
    Warbler, orange-crowned
    Warbler, rufous-capped
    Warbler, Wilson's
    Warbler, yellow
    Warbler, yellow-rumped
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Woodpecker, ladder-backed
    Wren, Bewick's
    Wren, canyon
    Wren, happy
    Wren, marsh
    Wren, spotted
    Yellowlegs, greater (Jo)
    Yellowthroat, common (Ca,Jo)

    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 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