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
Another new species for Lake Chapala
On the bird walk to the lower oak forest at Las Trojes, we came across three pods of mixed warbler species passing through on migration, one of which was a Slate-throated Redstart, a species not recorded here before. This is a warbler having a black body, red belly and black and white tail which it fans from time to time. This species has many sub-species found from Mexico to the Andes of South America. In central America it has an orange belly and in South America it has a yellow belly. Though it often joins flocks of mixed warbler species, it is normally non-migratory.
Uncommon Hummingbird Sighting
On a separate trip to Las Trojes John and Rosemary spotted a striking male Calliope Hummingbird sitting on a twig, sallying out to catch insects and returning to its perch. This tiny bird breeds in the western U.S. and Canada and comes down to west Mexico for the winter.
135 Species observed in September
This is a much higher count than usual - the previous September low and high counts were 97 and 107 respectively. We speculate that the migrants are coming down a few weeks early this year.
Calliope Hummingbird as sighted last month at Las Trojes.
Immature White Pelicans Update
In mid-August we discovered that 500 young American White Pelicans were occupying three small islands off the shore at San Nicolas. The immediate questions were: Were they born here this spring? Or did they just not go back up north for the summer? Or did they fly down early from up north? Two weeks later John Keeling discovered one of them with a red plastic tag on the wing. He reported the code number on the tag to the Patuxent Banding Center in Maryland. The bird was tagged in July 2013 when two months old at the Minidoka Wildlife Refuge in Idaho. Given that we have seen many more white pelicans than usual on the lake this summer, and no nesting activity has been found, our conclusion is that these immature birds chose to stay here for the summer instead of flying up north to breed.
Upcoming Trips and 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 knowledgeable birders on hand to identify the species.
On Friday October 10, we will meet at 8.30 a.m.at La Christina (the west side of Ajijic). We expect to see a good variety of birds on the shore, in the tall trees and in the scrub area. At about 10.30 we will go to Dona Lola's for breakfast and complete the bird list. How to Get There: Two miles west of Ajijic, turn down at the sign for 'Hacienda La Christina" (which is right beside the turn for Las Palmas). Park near the lake.
On Saturday October 18, we will meet at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla loop on the plateau at the south side of the lake. We will see grassland and higher altitude birds. Bring mid-morning refreshments and sandwiches since we get back to Ajijc about 2.30. If you intend to go please email John at firstname.lastname@example.org indicating whether you will bring a vehicle.
On Friday October 24, we will meet at 8.30 a.m. at the Jocotepec Malecon Park. We will see shorebirds and other species in the tall trees of the park. At about 10.30 we will head to Dona Lola's for breakfast. How to Get There: Coming from Ajijic, as you get close to Jocotepec, you encounter a long left curve, a series of topes and then a curve to right, with an OXXO on the left side. Turn left at the OXXO, go down to the lake and park in the parking lot.
Bird Trip and Walk Reports
On September 12, we had a select group of seven birders out at the shorebird hotspot of San Nicolas bay and the lower Santa Cruz dam where we saw both Black-bellied and Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Yellow-headed blackbird, Black-necked Stilt and Little Blue Heron, out of a total count of 39 species.
On September 17, we had six birding-hikers out for the five-hour (return trip) hike along the "horizontal oak forest" at Las Trojes. We encountered three flocks of mixed warblers - including Black and White, Black-throated Gray, Hermit, Red-faced, Townsend's, and Wilson's Warblers, also Painted Redstart, and the new Slate-throated Redstart mentioned above. We have not encountered so many warbler species together in our area before. The total species count was 37.
135 Species seen in September
Here are the 135 species observed in September around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove-billed Avocet, American (Ra) Becard, rose-throated Blackbird, red-winged (Ra) Blackbird, yellow-headed (Sn) Bobwhite, northern (Sn) Bunting, varied Bushtit (Tr) Caracara, crested Coot, American Cormorant, neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cuckoo, Squirrel Dove, common ground Dove, Eurasian collared Dove, Inca Dove, white-tipped Duck, black-bellied whistling (Sn) Duck, fulvous whistling (Sn) Duck, Mexican Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Elaenia, greenish (Tr,Ac) Euphonia, elegant (Tr) Finch, house Flycatcher, ash-throated Flycatcher, buff-breasted Flycatcher, cordilleran Flycatcher, dusky-capped Flycatcher, gray silky (Tr,Ac) Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, vermillion Gallinule, common Gnatcatcher, blue-gray Godwit, marbled (Sn) Goldfinch, lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grassquit, blue-black Grebe, least 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 (Sn) Heron, tri-colored Hummingbird, beryline Hummingbird, broad-billed Hummingbird, calliope (Tr) Hummingbird, rufous Hummingbird, violet-crowned Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern Kestrel, American (Tr) Killdeer Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, thick-billed Kingbird, tropical Kiskadee, great Kite, white-tailed (Jo) Meadowlark, eastern (Ra) Mockingbird, blue Mockingbird, northern (Ra) Motmot, russet-crowned Oriole, black-backed Oriole, Bullock's Oriole, hooded Oriole, orchard Oriole, streak-backed Osprey (Ca) Owl, great-horned (Av) Pelican, American white Pelican, brown (Ac) Pewee, greater (Tr) Pewee, western wood Phoebe, black (Tr) Pigeon, rock Raven, common Redstart, painted Redstart, slate-throated (Tr) Robin, American (Tr) Robin, rufous-backed Sandpiper, least Sandpiper, solitary (Jo,Ac) Sandpiper, spotted Sandpiper, western (Jo) Seedeater, white-collared Shrike, loggerhead Solitaire, brown-backed (Tr) Sora Sparrow, Botteri's (Ra,At,Tr) Sparrow, house Sparrow, lark Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, stipe-headed Spoonbill, roseate (Sn) Stilt, black-necked Stork, wood (sn,Ra) Swallow, barn Swallow, tree Tanager, hepatic (Tr) Tanager, western Teal, blue-winged (Ra) Tern, Forster's Thrasher, curve-billed Thrush, orange-billed nightingale (Tr) Towhee, canyon Vireo, golden (Tr) Vulture, black Vulture, turkey Warbler, black and white Warbler, black-throated gray Warbler, hermit Warbler, Nashville Warbler, orange-crowned Warbler, red-faced (Tr) Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, yellow Warbler, yellow-rumped Willet Woodpecker, acorn (Tr) Woodpecker, golden-fronted Wren, Bewick's Wren, canyon Wren, spotted Yellowlegs, greater (Jo,Sn) Yellowthroat, common Yellowthroat, gray-crowned (Ac)
Ac - Ajijic: La Cristina/El Bajio At - Trails above Ajijic Av - Ajijic village Ca - Lake Cajititlan Ch - Chapala Cu - Cuitzeo/Ocotlan 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 Ps - Pumping Station/Santa Cruz 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