Monday, December 7, 2015

FW: Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding News Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders November 2, 2015

114 Species Seen in October
Northern Mockingbird
Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
October Sightings 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 at the lake, email us at:
or phone 376-766-1801


  • 114 Species Seen in October

  • The list of species seen in October is shown at the end of this newsletter.

    Back in early September we received a second photo from the local kayakers of a Neotropic Cormorant nest near the San Antonio malecon, full of eggs, -- just as we had received in the middle of March. It is amazing just how long the breeding season can be. Some species are able to perform four nesting cycles in a summer. At the end of August we were impressed to see other water birds with chicks including Common Gallinule, Least Grebe, Mexican Duck and Black-bellied Whistling Duck.

    At the end of the month we birded with two birders from California, and were pleased to see the uncommon (shy) Least Bittern at the San Antonio malecon. We will be going back there on our first bird walk this month.

    This fall we have seen an unusually large influx of Northern Mockingbirds which are much more vocal and less shy than our native Blue Mockingbirds. They seem to be everywhere. See the photo and species notes below.

    Christmas Bird Count Dates
    The Ajijc Christmas Bird Count will be held on Wednesday December 16, and the Cienega Count at the far end of the lake will be on Friday December 18. Mark your calendars now. Sign-up details will be given in our December 2nd newsletter.

  • Northern Mockingbird

  • Northern Mockingbird as seen in Ajijic in October. This species is found from Southern Canada to Southern Mexico. It is not a long distance migrant, but local populations vary according to climatic conditions such as drought.

    They often sing continuously, being able to imitate up to 200 other species quite accurately. For this reason they are one of the more common species found for sale in cages in Mexican markets.

    Northern Mockingbirds are known for their lack of fear and aggressive defense of nests and territory. The adults are preyed upon by owls and hawks, while the eggs and nestlings are preyed upon by crows, jays, hawks, squirrels and cats.

  • Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks

  • Our bird walks 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. If you are being given a ride, please make a contribution to gas and tolls (perhaps 50-100 pesos for a half day outing, 100-200 for a day trip).

    On Monday November 9 at 8.00 am we will meet at the parking lot at the west end of the San Antonio malecon. Along the quarter-mile malecon we can expect to see a variety of shore birds such as Northern Jacana, Black-crowned Night Heron, and possibly Least Bittern. At about ten o'clock we will head for breakfast to Sunrise Restaurant and complete the bird list.
    How to Get There: Access to the parking lot is tricky. A good route is to go down hill from the traffic light west of SuperLake on San Jose. When you are close to the lake, turn right on La Paz. Go one block to a 'T' junction; turn left onto Colon and you arrive at the approved parking lot.

    On Wednesday November 18 we will meet at Donas Donuts at 8.00 am to carpool, leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla loop on the plateau above the south shore. There we expect to see a variety of pasture birds and water birds on the reservoir. Take refreshments for the morning and sandwiches for the last stop at 12.30. Do not expect to be back in Ajijic before 2.30 pm. If you plan to go please email 48 hours ahead indicating if you can bring a vehicle, to help us plan the carpooling.

  • Bird Walk & Trip Reports

  • On October 9 we had nine birders to check out the birds at El Bajio. Principal sightings were Western Tanager, Bushtit, Common Raven, Forster's Tern, Cassin's Vireo, Dusky-capped Flycatcher and all three Kingbirds: Cassin's, Thick-billed, and Tropical, for a total of 46 species.

    On October 19 seven keen observers traveled to the Sierra de Tapalpa. In addition to Berylline and White-eared Hummingbirds, we saw four new species for the Tapalpa list: Pygmy Nuthatch, Great Blue Heron, Say's Phoebe, and Northern Mockingbird out of 38 species for the day.

    On October 28 a larger group of 17 people went to Agua Escondida, seeing Black-bellied and also Ruddy Ducks, Belted Kingfisher and White-tailed Kite, then on to Lake Cajititlan, which is still suffering fish-kill due to pollution, seeing Osprey and Brown Pelican.

  • October Sightings List

  • Here are the 114 species observed in October around Lake Chapala:

    Ani, groove-billed
    Bittern, least (Sa)
    Blackbird, yellow-headed
    Bobwhite, northern (Ps)
    Bunting, painted (Ps)
    Bunting, varied
    Bushtit (Ac)
    Caracara, crested
    Yellow-breasted chat
    Coot, American
    Cormorant, neotropic
    Cowbird, bronzed
    Cowbird, brown-headed (Ra)
    Cuckoo, squirrel
    Dove, Eurasian collared
    Dove, Inca
    Dove, mourning
    Dove, white-tipped
    Dove, white-winged
    Duck, black-bellied whistling
    Duck, Mexican
    Duck, ruddy (Ra, Xt)
    Egret, cattle
    Egret, Great
    Egret, snowy
    Euphonia, elegant (Rp)
    Finch, house
    Flycatcher, ash-throated
    Flycatcher, dusky-capped
    Flycatcher, gray-silky
    Flycatcher, social
    Flycatcher, vermilion
    Gallinule, common
    Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
    Goldfinch, lesser
    Grackle, great-tailed
    Grebe, least
    Grebe, pied-billed (Ra,Sa)
    Grosbeak, black-headed (Ra)
    Grosbeak, blue
    Hawk, Cooper's (Ps)
    Hawk, red-tailed
    Heron, black-crowned night
    Heron, great blue
    Heron, green
    Heron, tri-colored (Ps)
    Hummingbird, broad-billed
    Hummingbird, ruby-throated (At)
    Hummingbird, violet-crowned
    Ibis, white-faced
    Jacana, northern
    Kestrel, American
    Kingbird, Cassin's
    Kingbird, thick-billed
    Kingbird, tropical
    Kingfisher, belted (Xt,Ps)
    Kiskadee, great
    Kite, white-tailed
    Mockingbird, blue
    Mockingbird, northern
    Oriole, black-backed
    Oriole, black-vented
    Oriole, Bullock's
    Oriole, orchard (Ps)
    Oriole, streak-backed
    Osprey (Pa,Ca,Ps)
    Owl, great-horned
    Parakeet, monk
    Pelican, American white
    Pelican, brown (Ca)
    Pewee greater (Av)
    Phoebe, Say's (Ra)
    Pigeon, rock
    Pintail, northern (Ra)
    Raven, common
    Robin, rufous-backed
    Sandpiper, spotted
    Seedeater, white-collared
    Shrike, loggerhead
    Sparrow, house
    Sparrow, lark
    Sparrow, Lincoln's
    Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground
    Sparrow, stripe-headed
    Stilt, black-necked (Ra,Ps)
    Swallow, barn
    Swallow, northern rough-winged
    Swallow, tree
    Tanager, western
    Teal, blue-winged (Ra,Sa)
    Teal, cinnamon (Ra,Ca,Ps)
    Tern, Caspian
    Tern Forster's
    Thrasher, curve-billed
    Thrush, orange-billed nightingale
    Towhee, canyon
    Vireo, Bell's (Ps)
    Vireo, Cassin's (Ac)
    Vireo, plumbeous (At)
    Vulture, black
    Vulture, turkey
    Warbler, black-throated gray
    Warbler, MacGillivray's (At)
    Warbler, Wilson's
    Warbler, yellow-rumped
    Warbler, yellow-throated (Ps)
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Woodpecker, ladder-backed
    Wren, Bewick's
    Wren, canyon
    Wren, house (Ps)
    Wren, spotted

    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 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