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 at the lake, email us at: ChapalaBirders@yahoo.com 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Killdeer 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 Sora 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