Saturday, February 6, 2016

FW: Lake Chapala Birding News

Birding News Lake Chapala
Lake Chapala Birders February 2, 2016

135 species seen in January
Black-backed Oriole
The Great Backyard Bird Count
Upcoming Trips and Bird Walks
Bird Walk & Trip Reports
January 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


  • 135 species seen in January

  • The complete list of sightings is shown at the end of this email.
    There were a number of interesting sighting reports in January, many from visiting birders.
    - John Keeling saw a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in eucalyptus trees at the upper dam at Santa Cruz..
    - Wilson's Snipe are again being seen at the pond known as Agua Escondida near Ixtlahuacan.
    - Visiting birder Bob Porter from Canada observed a small flock of Snow Geese flying over the lake at Ajijic.
    - A birder from Oregon reported a Rufous-crowned Motmot at the east side of Ajijic.
    Don't forget to do some birding in the period of the "Great Backyard Bird Count" anywhere in our area - it is not limited to your own little backyard. (See details below).

    Accidental Species
    Another interesting sighting this month was a Magnificent Frigatebird at Jocotepec, spotted by visiting birder Paul Weston from Wales. This bird rarely crosses land, and is known for attacking other birds to steal food.
    This in not the first report of this sea-going bird here. In 1976 a similar sighting was recorded by Thelma Converse in Chapala.
    The official term for this type of sighting is "Accidental" which is typically reserved for species sighted no more than 3 times in a period of ten years or more in a given county, state or province. The idea is that such birds are assumed to be way off their normal course.
    Another official term reserved for rare birds is "Casual" which is typically employed for species showing up from 4 to 7 times in ten or more years. If a species is seen more than 8 times it becomes a "Regular".

  • Black-backed Oriole

  • This photo by Erik Benedictson shows a young male Black-backed Oriole observed in Chapala. This used to be called Abeille's Oriole, a sub-species of the Bullock's Oriole. But DNA evidence showed that despite very similar appearance, the Abeille's was not related to Bullock's, hence the new name Black-backed. It has more yellow in the tail feathers, and has a different pattern of black on the side of the face. It is endemic to Mexico, summering in central and northern Mexico and wintering in central and southern Mexico.

  • The Great Backyard Bird Count

  • You are all invited to take part in this annual bird count, February 15 to 17. This is now a world-wide count - and anyone can take part. Just go out by yourself or form a small group, take a checklist, record the species and the numbers of birds you see, then enter the data at the GBBC web site. You will be able to see what species were seen by other people in our area. We are hoping for a good showing from Lake Chapala. The data becomes part of a database used for scientific study.

  • 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 Saturday February 6 we will meet at 8.00 a.m. at La Cristina on the west side of Ajijic. We will see some shore birds, some birds in the tall trees and some birds in the scrub. At about 10.00 a.m. we will head to Fonda Dona Lola for breakfast and complete the bird list.
    How to get there: Drive about 2 mi (4km) west from Colon, look for signs for Hacienda La Cristina (near signs for Las Palmas, a bus stop and a vivero), turn down to the lake, and park close to the lake.

    On Wednesday February 17 we will meet at 8.00 a.m. at Donas Donuts to carpool, leaving immediately for the Rosa Amarilla Loop. This is on the south shore, a thousand feet above the lake. We will see higher altitude grassland birds and water birds on the reservoirs. Bring jackets for the early morning, refreshments for mid-morning and sandwiches for the lunch stop at 12.30. We will be back around 3.00 p.m.

    On Friday February 26 we will meet at 8.15 a.m. at the Pumping Station. Expect to see a variety of birds of the fields and hedgerows. At about 10.15 we will go to Las Delicias for breakfast.
    How to get there: Take the Mexcala road from Chapala, pass Santa Cruz on your left, the air strip and water ski park on your right. Look out for the Pumping station on the right with three large gray pump towers and a sign "Acueducto". Immediately after this, turn right on a hidden gravel road. After one mile (2km) turn left at the T junction. Park at the next intersection, leaving space for farmer's cars and pickups to pass.

  • Bird Walk & Trip Reports

  • On January 11, fifteen birders assembled on the shores of Riberas del Pilar. The weather was cool and bright, and we were happy to sight 61 species, including Fulvous Whistling Duck, Tri-colored Heron, Black-vented Oriole, Yellow-breasted Chat, Greater Pewee, Loggerhead Shrike, Plumbeus Vireo and Stripe-headed sparrow.

    On January 18, we had two carloads of birders to explore the Sierra de Tapalpa which is 1,500 ft higher than Ajijic. Species observed included Bufflehead, Eastern Bluebird, Striped Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Arizona Woodpecker, White-tailed Hawk, Olive Warbler, Rufous-capped Warbler and Rufous Hummingbird, out of a total of 48 species. (Note: these are not part of the Lake Chapala List.)

    On January 29, a group of eleven birders drove to the Cajititlan Marsh, seeing Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Snipe, Ruddy Duck, Sora, Orchard Oriole, Black-necked Stilt, Northern Jacana, and Crested Caracara. The total count was 64 species.

  • January Sightings List

  • Here are the 135 species observed in January around Lake Chapala:

    Ani, groove-billed
    Avocet, American (Ca)
    Blackbird, red-winged (Rp,Ca)
    Blackbird, yellow-headed
    Bunting, indigo
    Bunting, lazuli (Ps,Ca)
    Bunting, painted (Ps)
    Bunting, varied
    Caracara, crested (Ca)
    Chat, yellow-breasted (Rp)
    Coot, American
    Cormorant, neotropic
    Cowbird, bronzed
    Cowbird, brown-headed
    Dove, common ground (Ca)
    Dove, Eurasian collared
    Dove, Inca
    Dove, mourning
    Dove, white-tipped
    Dove, white-winged
    Duck, fulvous-whistling (Rp,Ca)
    Duck, Mexican
    Duck, ruddy
    Egret, cattle
    Egret, great
    Egret, snowy
    Euphonia, elegant (At)
    Finch, house
    Flycatcher, ash-throated
    Flycatcher, dusky-capped
    Flycatcher, gray silky
    Flycatcher, social
    Flycatcher, vermilion
    Frigatebird, magnificent (Jo)
    Gadwall (Ca)
    Gallinule, common
    Gnatcatcher, blue-gray
    Goldfinch, lesser
    Goose, snow (Av)
    Grackle, great-tailed
    Grebe, eared (Ps)
    Grebe, least (Ca)
    Grebe, pied-billed (Rp)
    Grosbeak, black-headed
    Grosbeak, blue
    Gull, laughing
    Gull, ring-billed
    Hawk, Cooper's
    Hawk, gray
    Hawk, red-tailed
    Heron, black-crowned night
    Heron, great-blue
    Heron, green (Ca)
    Heron, tri-colored (Rp)
    Hummingbird, broad-billed
    Hummingbird, violet-crowned
    Ibis, white-faced
    Jacana, northern
    Kestrel, American
    Kingbird, Cassin's
    Kingbird, thick-billed
    Kingbird, tropical
    Kingfisher, belted (Xt)
    Kiskadee, great
    Kite, white-tailed (Av,Ca)
    Mockingbird, blue
    Mockingbird, northern
    Motmot, rufous-crowned
    Oriole, black-backed (Ch,Ca)
    Oriole, black-vented
    Oriole, hooded
    Oriole, orchard (Ca)
    Oriole, streak-backed
    Owl, great-horned
    Parakeet, monk
    Pelican, American white
    Pewee, greater (Rp)
    Phoebe, black (Ps,Ca)
    Pigeon, rock
    Pintail, northern (Ca)
    Raven, common
    Robin, rufous-backed
    Sandpiper, least
    Sandpiper, spotted
    Sapsucker, yellow-bellied (Ps)
    Seedeater, white-collared
    Shoveler, northern
    Shrike, loggerhead
    Snipe, Wilson's (Xt)
    Sparrow, chipping
    Sparrow, clay-colored
    Sparrow, house
    Sparrow, lark
    Sparrow, Lincoln's
    Sparrow, savannah
    Sparrow, strip-headed
    Stilt, black-necked (Ca)
    Swallow, barn
    Swallow, northern rough-winged
    Swallow, tree
    Swallow, violet-green
    Teal, blue-winged
    Teal, cinnamon
    Teal, green-winged
    Tern, Caspian
    Tern, Forster's
    Thrasher, curve-billed
    Towhee, canyon
    Vireo, black-capped
    Vireo, Cassin's (At)
    Vireo, golden (At)
    Vireo, plumbeous (Rp)
    Vireo, warbling
    Vulture, black
    Vulture, turkey
    Warbler, black and white
    Warbler, MacGillivray's (At)
    Warbler, Nashville
    Warbler, orange-crowned (At)
    Warbler, rufous-capped
    Warbler, Townsend's (At)
    Warbler, Virginia's (At)
    Warbler, Wilson's
    Warbler, yellow-rumped
    Wigeon, American
    Woodpecker, golden-fronted
    Woodpecker, ladder-backed
    Wren, Bewick's
    Wren, canyon
    Wren, house (Ca)
    Wren, marsh (Ca)
    Yellowthroat, common (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 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