Friday, October 3, 2014


Birding News Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders October 2, 2014

Another new species for Lake Chapala
Calliope Hummingbird
Immature White Pelicans Update
Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks
Bird Trip and Walk Reports
135 Species seen in September

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


  • 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

  • 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 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 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)
    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)
    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
    Woodpecker, acorn (Tr)
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Wren, Bewick's
    Wren, canyon
    Wren, spotted
    Yellowlegs, greater (Jo,Sn)
    Yellowthroat, common
    Yellowthroat, gray-crowned (Ac)

    Location codes:

    Ac - Ajijic: La Cristina/El Bajio
    At - Trails above Ajijic
    Av - Ajijic village
    Ca - Lake Cajititlan
    Ch - Chapala
    Cu - Cuitzeo/Ocotlan
    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
    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