Monday, March 3, 2014

Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders Mar. 2, 2014

126 Species Seen in February
White-tailed Kite
Colima Volcano & Patzcuaro
Upcoming Bird Walks
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
The February 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


  • 126 Species Seen in February

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

    Unusual Species Seen

    Unusual species seen in February included a second sighting of the White-throated Flycatcher by John Roynon in the reed-beds at the San Antonio Tlayacapan malecon. This species was first recorded in the Lake Chapala area in December at the far end of the lake. Carol Bradley and Ian Lind observed two White-tailed Kites mating and nest building on the south side of the lake (see photo below). John and Rosemary Keeling sighted no less than seven Lesser Roadrunners along a stretch of the Rosa Amarilla loop.

    Pelicans with Plastic Tags

    We have not yet seen any pelicans here with red or black plastic tags on their wings, but we want people to be aware that if they see one they should attempt to read the number on the tag and report it. Young white pelicans are being tagged each year at their breeding grounds up north in order to study their migratory range.

    The Great Backyard Bird Count

    This year the 'GBBC' was opened up to the whole world. It took place February 14-17, gathering sightings of over 4,000 species out of the more than 10,000 species in the world. Sightings from Ajijic were uploaded by Don Bell, John Keeling and Darlene Dehlin.

    Next year's event will be held February 13-16, 2015. Sightings are not limited to backyards. Any sightings can be reported with the location and the date.

  • White-tailed Kite

  • White-tailed Kite as seen on the south side of the lake in February - photo by Ian Lind

  • Colima Volcano & Patzcuaro

  • We are consdering possible trips to the Colima Volcanos (2 days, one night) and to the Patzcuaro area (3 days, 2 nights) in March or April.

    If there is enough demand we will attempt to organize the trips. If you are interested in one of these, please email indicating which trip and your date preferences. The Colima trip would be 'pay-as-you-go', with very simple basic accomadation for the night beside the mountain. The last time we did Patzcuaro, the trip cost was $2,500 pesos per person including 2 nights in a comfortable B&B, not including shared gas costs.

  • Upcoming Bird Walks

  • 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 Monday March 10 at 8.00 a.m. we will meet at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for Cajititlan marsh, 30 minutes away. At about 10.30 we will head back to Sunrise Restaurant for breakfast and complete the bird list. If you plan to go please email saying if you can provide a vehicle (to help us balance the passengers.)

    On Wednesday March 19 we will meet at 8.00 a.m. at El Bajio. Expect to see a variety of shore and field birds.
    To Get There: Drive west from Ajijic about 2 miles, look for the sign for El Bajio, exit towards the lake and park immediately on the lateral road. At about 10.30 we will go to Fonda Doña Lola for breakfast.

    On Friday March 28 we will meet at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla loop, about one hour away. We will see an interesting variety of birds on the plateau above the south side of the lake. Bring refreshments. At about 12.30 we leave the plateau and arrive back in Ajijic about 2.00 p.m. 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

  • This month our birding trips were very productive.

    On February 6 we had nine keen observers out at La Cristina. Searching both the shore and inland, we reported 50 species including greater pewee, Lucy's warbler, greater yellowlegs, blue mockingbird and our endemic black-backed oriole.

    On February 12 three fully-loaded vehicles headed for the Sierra de Tapalpa looking for higher-altitude birds. We saw 54 species which included orange-billed nightingale thrush, striped sparrow, zone-tailed hawk, eastern bluebird, olive warbler and acorn woodpecker.

    On February 19 we had two well-loaded vehicles descending into the canyon of the Rio Verde looking for lower elevation birds. We managed to record 47 species including elegant trogon, rose-throated becard, gila woodpecker, berylline hummingbird and Say's phoebe.

  • The February List

  • Here are the 126 species observed in February around Lake Chapala:

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

    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 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