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
Christmas Bird Count - December 16
December is the month of our annual Ajijic Area Christmas Bird Count. This is one of the birding highlights of the year. You can take part in an international census of bird species that has been conducted for 114 years. We plan five teams of about five people, each with a leader and an assigned area. There is no cost to take part in the count on the morning of December 16, but there is of course a charge for the evening dinner celebration at 6.00 p.m. where we share details of each team's adventures. Feel free to invite friends along if they have an interest in birds. We ask all participants to register ahead both for the count and for the dinner.
Bird Count Registration:
Registration will take place on Monday between 10.00 a.m and 2 p.m at John Keeling's home, Condominium Villas del Tepalo, Callejon al Tepalo #140, Villa #46. This is three blocks up-hill from Donas Donuts, on the east side of the school. For detailed driving instructions, or if this time does not work for you, phone John at 766-1801, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can arrange an alternate time for you.
The other Bird Count
We expect our keener birders to come with us also on Friday December 18 for the Christmas Bird Count at the far end of the lake (known as the "Cienega" count) which is a whole day trip because of the distance. We expect to pick up a number of species not seen on the Ajijic count. 144 Species Seen in November The list of species seen in November is shown at the end of this newsletter.
This fall we have noticed an unusually high number of house wrens throughout the greater Lake Chapala area. Some years we don't see any. (See the photo and notes below).
Other birds that have been more commonly observed this fall than usual, are the Northern Mockingbird, mentioned in the last newsletter, and the Osprey. which we have seen on many of the small dams and lakes around Lake Chapala. Unusual sightings included three species sighted by Don Bell in west Ajijijc, the Baltimore Oriole (very rare here), the Blue-throated Hummingbird, and the Black-chinned Hummingbird.
House Wren as seen at Santa Cruz de la Soledad in November. This species is the most widely dispersed of any bird species in the Americas, occurring from Canada to Argentina. They nest up north between May and September, and come down to the southern U.S. and Mexico for the winter. The nest is constructed of twigs and softer lining materials always inside a protected cavity such as a woodpecker hole.
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 Wednesday December 11 we will meet at 8.00 a.m. at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for Lake Atonilco at Villa Corona, a one-hour drive. Throughout this year we have seen Roseate Spoonbills there, as well as various lake and marsh birds such as Common Yellowthroat. Take your own refreshments (there is no good place to have breakfast). We will be back in Ajijic about 12.30. If you plan to go please email email@example.com indicating whether you can bring a vehicle, to help us balance the car pool.
On Monday December 28 we will meet at 8.00 a.m. at the entrance to La Cristianía Park in Chapala. We should see an interesting selection of species in the tall trees and at the bushy edge of the lake. At about 10.30 we will go to Las Delicias for breakfast and complete the bird list. How to Get There: From Ajijic go the traffic light at the main street of Chapala (Av. Madero), cross straight over and keep going straight for five blocks, turn left at the T intersection and park on the right.
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
On November 9 we had 15 birders out at the San Antonio Tlayacapan malecon, which we surveyed for an hour before going on to the point in Riberas del Pilar. We saw Tri-colored Heron, Common Yellowthroat and Marsh Wren in the reeds, as well as American White Pelican, Cassin's, Thick-billed and Tropical Kingbirds, and Black-vented, Hooded and Streak-backed Orioles, for a total species count of 52.
On November 18, four people ventured out to the Rosa Amarilla loop on the south side of the lake, where we sighted Brown-headed Cowbird, White-tailed Kite, Cooper's Hawk, Osprey, Wood Stork, and Blue and Northern Mockingbirds. The count was 60 species.
November Sightings List
Here are the 144 species observed in November around Lake Chapala:
Ani, groove-billed Avocet, American (Dp) Bittern, American (Ca) Bittern, least (Ca) Blackbird, red-winged Blackbird, yellow-headed Bobwhite, northern (Ps) Bunting, Indigo Bunting, varied Bushtit Caracara, crested Chat, yellow-breasted Coot, American Cormorant, neotropic Cowbird, bronzed Cowbird, brown-headed Cuckoo, squirrel Dove, Eurasian collared Dove, Inca Dove, mourning Dove, white-tipped Dove, white-winged Dowitcher, long-billed (Dp) Duck, black-bellied whistling Duck, Mexican Duck, ruddy (Ca,Ps,Ra) Egret, cattle Egret, great Egret, snowy Falcon, peregrine (Ca) Finch, house Flycatcher, ash-throated Flycatcher, buff-breasted Flycatcher, cordilleran Flycatcher, dusky-capped Flycatcher, gray silky Flycatcher, least Flycatcher, social Flycatcher, vermillion Gallinule, common Gnatcatcher, blue-gray Goldfinch, lesser Grackle, great-tailed Grebe, least (Ca,Dm) Grebe, pied-billed (Ca,Ra) Grosbeak, black-headed Grosbeak, blue Gull, laughing Gull, ring-billed Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, gray (Ca) Hawk, red-tailed Heron, black-crowned night Heron, great blue Heron little blue Heron, tri-colored Hummingbird, black-chinned (Ac) Hummingbird, blue-throated (Ac) Hummingbird, broad-billed Hummingbird, rufous Hummingbird, violet-crowned Hummingbird, white-eared Ibis, white-faced Jacana, northern Kestrel, American Killdeer Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, thick-billed Kingbird, tropical Kingbird, western (At) Kingfisher, belted (Xt,Dm) Kiskadee, great Kite, white-tailed (Ca,Dp) Mockingbird, blue Mockingbird, northern Motmot, russet-crowned Oriole, Baltimore (Ac) Oriole, black-backed Oriole, black-vented Oriole, bullock's Oriole, hooded Oriole, streak-backed Osprey (Ra,Ps) Owl, great horned Parakeet, monk (Av,Ch,Sn) Pelican, American white Pelican, brown (Ca) Pewee, greater Pewee, western wood Phoebe, black (Ch,Ps) Phoebe, eastern (Ps) Pigeon, rock Pintail, northern (Ca) Raven, common Robin, rufous-backed Sandpiper, spotted (Ra,Dm) Seedeater, white-collared Shrike, loggerhead Sora Sparrow, chipping Sparrow, house Sparrow, lark Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, rusty-crowned ground Sparrow, stripe-headed Stilt, black-necked (Dm,Ca) Stork, wood (Ra) Swallow, barn Swallow, cliff (Ra) Swallow, northern rough-winged Swallow, tree Swallow, violet-green Tanager, western Teal, blue-winged (Ra,Ca) Teal, cinnamon (Ra,Ca) Teal, green-winged (Ra) Tern, black Tern, Caspian Thrasher, curve-billed Towhee, Canyon Vireo, Bell's (Ps) Vireo, Cassin's Vireo, plumbeous Vireo, warbling Vulture, black Vulture, turkey Warbler, black and white Warbler, black-throated, gray Warbler, Lucy's (Ac) Warbler, MacGillivray's (Ca) Warbler, Nashville Warbler, rufous-capped Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, yellow (Ps) Warbler, yellow-rumped Woodpecker, golden-fronted Woodpecker, ladder-backed Wren, Bewick's Wren, canyon Wren, house Wren, marsh (Sa,Ca) Wren, spotted Yellowlegs, greater (Ca) Yellowthroat, common(Sa,Ca)
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