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
New species at Lake Chapala
In mid-August John Keeling observed a male Ruddy Turnstone on the shore at San Nicolas on migration to points south. This is the first time this species has been seen here. They nest on coasts of the high arctic, and winter on the coasts of central and south America. They have been reported on a rare basis at points all over the north American Continent. These birds have a strong pointed bill used to turn over stones and crack open the molluscs found underneath. Some travel vast distances, for instance those wintering in S.E. Australia fly to Siberia for the summer (proven by satellite tracking of attached transmitters).
As usual at this time the first migrants are passing through: Willet, Marbled Godwit, Wilson's Phalarope Yellow-rumped warbler and Dunlin (uncommon).
September 6 and 7 (Saturday & Sunday) will be the first "World Shorebirds Day". Birders are encouraged to get out and record sightings of birds on shorelines. Since Lake Chapala is a "Living Lake" and a "Ramsar Site" I think Lake Chapala Birders should put on a good count on Saturday and Sunday. Please let John know by email if you would like to take part in a small team, say 8-noon Saturday, and possibly Sunday. Mexico gets a new bird species Every August the American Ornithologists Union (AOU) publishes changes to its official list of North and Central American birds. This year the Mexican sub-species of King Rail has been bumped to "full species" status and assigned the new name 'Aztec Rail'. We have seen these shy birds in reed beds at the Lake Cajititlan marsh and at the eastern end of Lake Chapala.
Ruddy Turnstone as sighted last month at San Nicolas bay.
Red-tagged Pelican Report
On August 30, John Keeling observed that one American White Pelican out of a group of 100 just east of Chapala had an obvious red plastic tag on its wing. He managed to read the code number on the tag and has reported it to the Bird Banding Lab at Patuxent, MD. It seems that red tags come from Minidoka in Indiana, where they currently have 4,000 adult pelicans in the summer, producing 2,000 offspring each year.
Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks
We are proposing to run over-night trips to the following locations this fall. Note that the maximum capacity for this type of trip is normally 8 people. If you are interested in any of these, please email email@example.com:
- Patzcuaro, 2 nights, early October - San Sebastian del Oeste, 2 nights, late October. - Colima Volcano, 1 night, early November.
Our birdwalks are open to all those interested in birds, both beginners and experienced birders. Just bring binoculars and show up. We always have knowledgeable birders on hand to identify the species.
On Friday September 12, we will meet at 8.30 am on the shore at San Nicolas Bay. This is currently our best birding area. After about an hour we will go to the lower Santa Cruz Dam before heading for breakfast at Las Delicias Restaurant.. How to Get There: Proceed west from the old train station in Chapala, passing Santa Cruz on the left and the pumping station marked Aqueducto on your right. The next village is San Nicolas. At the last house turn right on a hidden steep gravel road to the shore. If you arrive at the Country Club, go back a quarter mile.
On September 17 we will meet at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am, leaving immediately for Las Trojes to hike the horizontal oak forest trail - three hours out and two hours back. This is a relatively easy hike. Do not expect many birds, but we always hope to see uncommon birds like acorn woodpeckers. Bring refreshments and sandwiches for lunch. We will be back about 4.00 pm. If you plan to go please email John at firstname.lastname@example.org indicating whether you can bring a vehicle.
On September 30, we will meet at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am, departing immediately for Tapalpa. We expect fall flowers and migrating hummingbirds. Bring light refreshments. We will have lunch at 1.30 in the village of Tapalpa, and will be back in Ajijic about 5.00 pm. If you plan to go please email John, at least 48 hours before the trip, at email@example.com indicating whether you can bring a vehicle.
Bird Trip and Walk Reports
On August 7, we had nine people out at the Pumping Station where we saw both red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds, tri-colored heron, eastern meadowlark and black-backed oriole out of a total of 40 species.
On August 17, we had a good crowd - 17 people in four cars for the circuit round the Rosa Amarilla loop. Interesting birds included another greater roadrunner at the top of a tree, as well as red-tailed hawk, white-tailed hawk, Cooper's hawk, white-tailed kite, and black-vented oriole, for total of 52 species.
117 Species seen in August
Here are the 117 species observed in August around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove-billed Avocet, American (Sn) Becard, rose-throated Blackbird, red-winged (Cs) Blackbird, yellow-headed (Cs,Sn,Ra) Bobwhite, northern (Sn,Ra,Ca,Pt) Bunting, varied Bushtit Caracara, crested Coot, American Cormorant, neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cuckoo, squirrel (Ch) Dove, Eurasian collared Dove, Inca Dove, mourning Dove, white-tipped Dowitcher, long-billed (Sn) Duck, black-bellied whistling (Sn) Duck, fulvous whistling (Cs,Sn) Duck, Mexican Duck, ruddy (Ra) Dunlin (Sn) Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Elaenia, greenish (At) Finch, house Flycatcher, ash-throated Flycatcher, cordilleran Flycatcher, dusky-capped Flycatcher, gray silky Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, vermillion Gallinule, common Gallinule, purple (Cs) Gnatcatcher, blue-gray Godwit, marbled (Sn) Goldfinch, lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grassquit, blue-black Grebe, least Grebe, pied-billed Grosbeak, black-headed Grosbeak, blue Gull, laughing Gull, ring-billed Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, red-tailed Hawk, white-tailed (Ra) Heron, black-crowned night Heron, great-blue Heron, green Heron, little blue (Ca,Sn) Heron, tricolored Hummingbird, beryline (Pt,At) Hummingbird, broad-billed Hummingbird, rufous (Ra) Hummingbird, violet-crowned Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern Killdeer Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, thick-billed Kingbird, tropical Kiskadee, great Kite, white-tailed (Ra) Meadowlark, eastern (Ra) Mockingbird, blue Mockingbird, northern (Pt) Motmot, russet-crowned (At) Nightjar, buff-collared Oriole, black-backed Oriole, black-vented Oriole, orchard Oriole, streak-backed Owl, great horned (Av,Sa) Pelican, American White Pewee, western wood Phalarope, Wilson's (Sn) Pigeon, rock Raven, common (Ca) Roadrunner, greater(Ra,Ca) Robin, rufous-backed Sandpiper, least Sandpiper, spotted Seedeater, white-collared Shrike, loggerhead Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra,Pt) Sparrow, house Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, stripe-headed Stilt, black-necked Stork, wood Swallow, barn Swallow, cliff Swallow, northern rough-winged Tanager, western (Aj) Tern, Forster's Thrush, hermit Thrush, orange-billed nightingale Towhee, canyon Turnstone, ruddy (Sn) Vireo, golden (Pt) Vulture, black Vulture, turkey Warbler, rufous-capped Warbler, yellow (Sn) Warbler, yellow-rumped Willet (Sn) Woodpecker, golden-fronted Woodpecker, ladder-backed Wren, Bewick's Wren, canyon Wren, spotted Yellowthroat, common (Ca) Yellowthroat, gray-crowned (Ra,Cu)
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