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
Three New Species
April was a fabulous month with three new species for the Lake and a total count of 134 species (listed at the end of this newsletter) which is as high as our winter levels. The new species are:
Dickcissel seen by Carol Bradley and Ian Lind on the south shore (see photo below). This species spends the winter closer to the coast. The bird sighted would have been migrating to its summer breeding grounds in the southeastern U.S. Mottled Owl seen by Duncan Poole above Las Trojes, sleeping in a tree. This night-hunter is a resident here, being found from central Mexico to northern Argentina. Gray-collared Becard seen by John Keeling and Brian Lewis near Las Trojes. This is an altitude migrant that moves downhill closer to the coast in the winter, returning here to breed. It is endemic to our region being found only in Mexico and neighboring Guatemala.
In the last two weeks we have seen the return of the White-tailed Kites to the pumping station. There has been an influx of summer birds on the trails above Ajijic, including orange-billed nightingale thrush, and the western Mexico endemics: golden vireo and Sinaloa wren. These appear to be altitude migrants, going downhill closer to the coast for the winter, and coming up here to breed (as does the other west-Mexican endemic, the happy wren). Also, at this time of the year the rusty-crowned ground sparrows are suddenly not afraid of appearing in the open.
Dickcissel at Lake Chapala
This Dickcissel was seen on the south side of the lake, on migration to its summer breeding grounds in the eastern U.S. - photo by Ian Lind
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 Tuesday May 6 we will meet outside the Yacht Club in La Floresta. The area is good for birding because it has so many tall trees. We will bird until about 10.00 and then go for breadfast at the Real de Chapala to see shore birds and complete the list. Where to Park: The hotel prefers that you do not park on the street beside their parking lot. Please park near the Yacht Club which is next door on Paseo de la Huerta. Exit from the carretera at the traffic circle with the "sculpture" and go to the last street (Paseo de la Huerta), turn left and park.
On Monday May 12 we will meet at 8.00 a.m. at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla loop which is on the plateau above Tuxcueca on the south shore. This is the only place we see Botteri's sparrow. Expect to see Eastern Meadowlark and perhaps a Lesser Roadrunner. Bring your own refreshments. We will be back in Ajijic by 2.00 p.m. If you are going: please email chapalabirders @ yahoo.com saying whether you can bring a car, so we can balance passengers and vehicles.
Bird Walk and Trip Reports
On April 8, we had six people out on a windy morning at the malecon park in Jocotepec. As usual we sighted the local Eurasian Collared Doves, as well as a few visiting Brown Pelicans and four species of Orioles: Bullock's, Hooded, Orchard and Streak-backed. The orioles were particulary attracted to a flowering silk-oak tree. The list included 41 species.
On April 21, we had four carloads of birders out for the trip to the Sierra de Tapalpa which, besides being scenic, was unusually productive, yielding Yellow-eyed Junco, Eastern Meadowlark, Olive Warbler, Acorn Woodpecker, and Brewer's Blackbird out of a total of 54 species.
The April List
Here are the 134 species observed in April around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove-billed Avocet, American Becard, gray-collared (Tr) Blackbird, yellow-headed (Ca) Bobwhite, northern (Cs) Bunting, indigo Bunting, lazuli Bunting, varied Bushtit Caracara, crested Chat, yellow-breasted Coot, American Cormorant, neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cowbird, brown-headed Cuckoo, squirrel Dickcissel (Tx) Dove, Eurasian collared Dove, Inca Dove, mourning Dove, white-tipped Dove, white-winged Duck Mexican Duck, ruddy Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Euphonia, elegant, Finch, house Flycatcher, ash-throated Flycatcher, buff-breasted (Tr) Flycatcher, cordilleran Flycatcher, dusky-capped Flycatcher, gray silky (Tr) Flycatcher, least Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, vermillion Gallinule, common Gallinule, purple (Jo,Tr) Goldfinch, lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grebe, least Grosbeak, black-headed Grosbeak, blue Gull, laughing Gull, ring-billed Hawk, Cooper's (Ca) Hawk, red-tailed Heron, black-crowned night Heron, great blue Heron, green (Ca) Heron, tri-colored Hummingbird, broad-billed Hummingbird, violet-crowned Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern Killdeer Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, thick-billed Kingbird, tropical Kiskadee, great Kite, white-tailed (Cs) Meadowlark, eastern (Cs) Mockingbird, blue Motmot, russet crowned Oriole, black-backed Oriole, black-vented Oriole, Bullock's Oriole, hooded Oriole, orchard (Jo) Oriole, streak-backed Osprey Owl, great-horned Owl, mottled (Tr) Parula, tropical Pelican, American white Pelican, brown Pewee, greater Pewee, western wood Phoebe, black (Tz) Pigeon, rock Pipit, American (Cs) Raven, common Robin, rufous-backed Sandpiper, least Sandpiper, spotted Seedeater, white-collared Shoveler, northern Shrike, loggerhead Snipe, Wilson's Solitaire, brown-backed (Tz,Tr) Sora Sparrow, chipping Sparrow, house Sparrow, lark Sparrow, rufous-crowned (Tr) Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, stripe-headed Stilt, black-necked Swallow, barn Swallow, cliff Swallow, northern rough-winged Tanager, flame-colored (Tr) Tanager, hepatic Tanager, western Teal, blue-winged Teal, cinnamon Tern Caspian Tern, Forster's Thrasher, curve-billed Thrush, orange-billed nightingale Towhee, canyon Vireo, Bell's Vireo, Cassin's Vireo, golden Vireo, plumbeous Vireo, warbling Vulture, black Vulture, turkey Warbler, black and white Warbler, black-throated gray Warbler, Nashville Warbler, rufous-capped Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, yellow-rumped Woodpecker, acorn (Tr) Woodpecker, golden-fronted Woodpecker, ladder-backed Wren, Bewick's Wren, canyon Wren, house Wren, Sinaloa Wren, spotted 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 area Pz - San Pedro Itzican area 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/South Shore area Xt - Ixtlahuacan/Las Campanillas